Stu Rothenberg, writing in Roll Call, maps out the early states for the GOP nominating contests.
He looks at the Iowa Bachmann-Pawlenty dynamic and says, “anything worse than a very competitive second-place showing to Bachmann in the caucuses — would cripple his effort financially and have observers writing his political obituary.” On Bachmann, “If she can’t win Iowa, she can’t win anywhere.” And: “New Hampshire will be a Romney-Huntsman primary, with the winner continuing and the loser trying to explain why he is still relevant.”
BACHMANN: On TODAY, NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports that undercover video taken from Michele Bachmann’s husband’s Christian counseling center “reveals that her therapists are using prayer and Bible scriptures to help cure people of homosexual tendencies.”
Bachmann also said yesterday that she did not read language in a pledge, promoted by Iowa social conservative group The Family Leader, which seemed to suggest that black children were better off when born during slavery, the Des Moines Register writes. The language was included in an introductory passage of the pledge but not the vow itself. ““I did not see that language. That was not a part of the vow,” Bachmann told reporters in Iowa.
GOP12 notes that Bachmann and FOX host Bill O’Reilly sparred over the debt ceiling and why Speaker Boehner is pushing for an increase if she’s right. She “opened the door to voting to raise the debt ceiling on Monday — in the extraordinarily unlikely instance that it's tied to a repeal of President Obama's healthcare law.”
GINGRICH: Newt Gingrich will not sign the Family Leader’s pledge “The Marriage Vow,” Politico writes.
GIULIANI: “Rudy Giuliani will head back to New Hampshire on Thursday as he mulls another White House bid -- but prominent state Republicans don't believe he'll run,” the New York Post writes.
HUNTSMAN: Speaking on a conference call with reporters ahead of Jon Huntsman’s appearance at a South Carolina county GOP fundraiser, state Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian pushed back on a suggestion that he scheduled the call because Huntsman is an especially formidable opponent for President Obama, Politico writes. "Here's a guy who had his lips firmly planted on the president's butt three months ago, and now is speaking ill out of 'em out of those same lips. Can you trust a guy who turns this quickly?” Harpootlian asked.
Motocross star Travis Pastrana tweeted his endorsement of Huntsman yesterday, ABC reports. “Not one 4 politics, but John Huntsman, fellow MX rider, good friend of nitro & the smartest man I know, is running 4 President. Look him up,” Pastrana tweeted.
PAWLENTY: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has an op-ed in the Des Moines Register, in which he ties together the debt talks in Washington to the government shutdown in Minnesota -- which borders Iowa. “With America facing 9.2 percent unemployment and anemic economic growth, the last thing we need is more government,” he writes. “We need to balance government budgets by cutting spending and rejecting tax increases. This can be done in both Minnesota and Washington, but only if Republicans draw a line in the sand and stand firm against more spending and taxes.”
Left unsaid in the op-ed: Why, less than a year after Pawlenty left office, is Minnesota facing a deficit and a government shutdown?
PERRY: Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling Republican leaders in Iowa and New Hampshire.
ROMNEY: “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will pick up endorsements on Thursday from three New Hampshire county attorneys,” the Boston Globe reports. “During a day-long swing through New Hampshire, Romney, is expected to get the endorsements of Cheshire County Attorney Peter Heed, Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams, and Merrimack County Attorney Scott Murray.”
SANTORUM: Rick Santorum said, according to Politico, that he was shocked by the clause in the Family Leader’s “Marriage Vow” that asked him to be faithful to his wife.