The "National Religious Liberties Conference", sponsored by radical evangelical pastor Kevin Swanson, with featured speaker Phillip Kayser, was primarily focused on how homosexuality was destroying god-fearing people everywhere, and how gays should be executed if they don't repent and stop being so gay. Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal cuddled up with Mr. Swanson in their quest to outcrazy the other candidates, which is a difficult task, let's be honest. Rachel Maddow (skip to minute 6:00) is the first (and so far, only) national media journalist to cover the story and show footage of the event.
So what happened? In the run up to 2008, Jon Huntsman Jr. wanted to be a player in national politics, and Mitt Romney all but patted him on the head and urged him to sit on the bench. Three years later, the specter of the next presidential election would fan smoldering resentment into flaming disgust in full view of the political world. Huntsman, then ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, left his dream job for his own White House run against Romney, whom he considered an exceptionally weak front-runner. Romney, for his part, saw Huntsman as a political opportunist he would relish crushing. Members of both families deny a feud exists and instead offer polite, politically correct compliments about their counterparts. Behind the facade, though, lie two political tribes that have grown to dislike and distrust one another.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced (via a YouTube video and emails to supporters) she is running for the position of nominee on the Democratic Party ticket for the 2016 US Presidential Election. Her campaign website. Will she win the Democratic candidacy? Bookmakers currently say "very likely". And the presidency itself? "50/50". [more inside]
Artist Bas Van Oerle presents a series of propaganda posters for the 2012 Republican presidential contenders. Ron Paul For The Youth Vote. Fields of Santorum. Love Me Romney. Join The Cosmonewts.
After interminable months of campaigning, debates, and roller-coaster polling, the first official vote of the 2012 presidential race is in -- and boy, is it a doozy. Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann placed second-to-last, while former juggernaut Rick Perry performed so badly he's canceled upcoming events and is said to be on the verge of dropping out. Meanwhile, perennial laughingstock Rick Santorum, consolidating the support hemorrhaging from Perry, Bachmann, and an ad-blitzed Newt Gingrich, rocketed past the youth- and independent-backed Ron Paul and, with 99% of the vote counted, is separated from Mitt Romney by four votes out of ~120,000 -- by far the closest result in caucus history. As the shaken field contemplates the path ahead through Romney firewall New Hampshire, conservative South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, and beyond, President Obama staged a quiet redux of his own dramatic caucus win four years ago, a dry run for the looming general election. And as for powerhouse Buddy Roemer? Don't worry -- his team is ready to do battle with evil.
Santorum surges from behind in Iowa. With the countdown to the Iowa Caucuses entering its final hours the GOP race remains in a dead heat. Polls show the unlikely campaigns of social conservative Senator Rick Santorum and libertarian leaning Representative Ron Paul in surprisingly strong positions to challenge Governor Mitt Romney for the opening victory in the Republican primary season. Both Paul and Santorum have focused heavily on traditional retail politics in the Hawkeye State.
Is Newt really going to be the nominee? As Romney collapses and Newt surges in the polls, the party establishment is worried. Libertarians are panicking. Can the establishment stop him? What about Ron Paul? Can Huntsman save the party from catastrophe?
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason. After two months of gaffes, impolitic stands, and bizarre speeches that quickly waned his once-strong odds of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video] to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate" in his memory. While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims -- an oddly ineffective scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
Rep. Michelle Bachmann has won the Ames Straw Poll. Rep. Ron Paul came in a close second. This poll, though undemocratic, has a fairly good predictive track record. Since 1979, the winner or runner up has gone on to win the Iowa caucuses each time. [more inside]
They were polite to us. They were more than happy for us to come to the rallies and stand in lines for hours to cheer on the candidates.... But when they got elected, behind closed doors, they would laugh at us and speak with scorn and derision that we were, as one article I think once said "the easily led." So there's been almost this sort of, it's okay if you guys get a seat on the bus, but don't ever think about telling us where the bus is going to go.[more inside]
Tag-clouds for the first debates of the Democratic and Republican primaries. via the kreat orange satan
Georgia Republicans Attempt to Derail Democratic Primary "Overzealous staffers" signed affidavits of identity for candidates in eight Senate seats to pose as primary opponents to more established Democratic candidates. Dirty pool or legitimate tactic?