Ford O'Connell Discusses Santorum's Campaign Strategy And The Upcoming Michigan GOP Contest At Fox News

Ford O'Connell joins Fox News' Neil Cavuto on "Your World With Cavuto" to discuss Rick Santorum's strategy of going negative on Mitt Romney, the 2012 CPAC straw poll, the Maine caucuses and the upcoming Michigan GOP presidential nominating contest. Also, see Fox News Insider.


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Should Gingrich Exit The GOP Presidential Race?

According to the editors at the National Review, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich should bow out of the 2012 GOP presidential race. While I am not sure about this one, Santorum would certainly be the beneficiary if Gingrich exited at this juncture.

At the moment Rick Santorum appears to be overtaking Newt Gingrich as the principal challenger to Mitt Romney. Santorum has won more contests than Gingrich (who has won only one), has more delegates, and leads him in the polls. In at least one poll, he also leads Romney. It isn’t yet a Romney–Santorum contest, but it could be headed that way.

It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for [Gingrich] now is to endorse Santorum and exit.

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Santorum Surging In Michigan, Leads Romney By Double Digits

A handful of recently released national polls have Rick Santorum pulling even with Mitt Romney for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination; in fact, a couple even have Santorum leading Romney. But the most important poll of the day might have come from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling (PPP). According to the latest PPP survery, Santorum leads Romney by double digits in the upcoming Michigan (Feb. 28) Republican presidential nominating contest.

Rick Santorum's taken a large lead in Michigan's upcoming Republican primary. He's at 39% to 24% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Ron Paul, and 11% for Newt Gingrich.

Santorum's rise is attributable to two major factors: his own personal popularity (a stellar 67/23 favorability) and GOP voters increasingly souring on Gingrich.  Santorum's becoming something closer and closer to a consensus conservative candidate as Gingrich bleeds support.

“Rick Santorum has all the momentum in Michigan right now,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But it’s important to note that more than 50% of voters say they could change their minds in the next 2 weeks. There’s a lot of room for this race to shift back toward Romney in the coming days.”

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White House Hopeful Romney Gets Boost In Maine

US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney receives a sorely needed boost in the rocky race for the Republican presidential nomination, winning a non-binding contest in Maine and a straw poll among conservatives after a trio of unnerving losses.

The former Massachusetts governor edged out Texas congressmanRon Paul by fewer than 200 votes in the Maine caucuses Saturday, and outpolled former senator Rick Santorum in the straw poll at theConservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Though largely symbolic, those wins spelled relief for a candidate whose frontrunner status was again put in question Tuesday when Santorum scored upset victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota.

Despite Romney's wins, however, the Republican race to pick a standard bearer to run against Obama in November remained unsettled.

The state's delegates to the Republican National Convention will be decided later, but with the next contests in the race taking place February 28 in Arizona and Michigan the results will likely reverberate for weeks.

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Fox News that Romney could not afford to lose four in a row going into Michigan and Arizona, with Santorum on the rise and the Super Tuesday primaries looming.

Read more at Yahoo News


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Ford O'Connell Discusses The State Of The Republican Presidential Field At Fox News

Ford O'Connell and Democratic strategist David Mercer join Fox News' Uma Pemmaraju on America's News HQ to discuss the upcoming Maine caucuses, the state of the 2012 Republican presidential field, the GOP primary calendar and President Obama's decision to compromise on contraception as it relates to ObamaCare.

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Romney Looks To Right Campaign With Maine Win

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney looked to right his faltering campaign with a victory in Maine on Saturday, but he faced a race to the wire against long-shot Texas congressman Ron Paul.

Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, on Friday announced an 11th-hour trip to nearby Maine in a last-ditch push for support, after a trio of stinging defeats dented the sense of inevitability surrounding his nomination bid.

Paul is currently in fourth place nationwide, though his feisty campaign has gained traction among young voters, and a victory in Maine would provide a substantial boost.

But experts dismiss his chances of winning the nomination or the national election.

"Ron Paul will not win the nomination," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Fox News.

"This is all about Mitt Romney. He can't lose four in a row going into Michigan and Arizona, which are must-wins because Super Tuesday follows that, and Rick Santorum is on the rise and he (Romney) needs to stop that."

Should Romney lose to Paul, a libertarian-leaning champion of small government and reduced foreign aid and military action, it would deal a worrying setback for the frontrunner in his own backyard.

Read more at AFP

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To Avoid A Failed February, Mitt Romney Needs A Big Idea

To borrow a headline from Matt Drudge, former Gov. Mitt Romney got "Rick Roll[ed]" on Tuesday night, thanks to decisive victories by Rick Santorum in the Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado Republican presidential nominating contests.

Romney's strategy of going negative on his primary opponents while touting his extensive business experience might have worked if both the economy and Romney's opponents kept collapsing. Both have proven to be more resilient of late, and Team Romney still has yet to figure out how to successfully win over both establishment Republicans and conservatives with a conviction that he can successfully take the fight to President Obama in the fall.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, Romney is dearly in need of a "big idea" to help generate passion so that Republican primary voters en masse will back his candidacy. Team Romney needs to go back to the drawing board and give conservatives a better reason to vote for him because, trust me, slogans like "Believe In America" and off-key renditions of "America The Beautiful" just won't cut it.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

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Who Are You And Why Are You Running?

If you are the only candidate in your race, then you don’t really need to clearly articulate who you are and why you are running. For everyone else, however, this is a critical first step. If you can get this message down on paper in a concise statement, it makes everything that comes after—building your website, planning your advertising, designing brochures, fundraising and even your day-to-day operations—much easier to plan and execute.

There is another reason why it is important for you to sharpen the definition of your campaign. In 2012, there will be thousands of candidates running for office. Not all of them will be on the ballot with you, but all of these candidates compete for money, media coverage and voter attention. The guy running for U.S. Senate may not have any connection to your race for city council, but he is probably asking for money from your voters and he will be the person hogging the media spotlight.

With more and more blockbuster federal races reaching out across the country for financial support, you could very well find yourself competing with candidates from other states for campaign contributions and for the attention of activists.

For most of the media covering political campaigns, the attention starts at the top of the ticket and works its way down. In 2012, the professional journalists and top-tier bloggers will be focusing on the presidential race and a handful of campaigns for the House and Senate. Eventually, the media will work its way down the ticket and your race stands a chance of earning some coverage. But that’s not likely to happen for a while.

Read more from Steve Pearson and Ford O'Connell at Campaigns & Elections Magazine

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Ford O'Connell Discusses Apple's Working Conditions In China And Cell Phones As An Entitlement At Fox Business

Ford O'Connell joins Fox Business' Power And Money Power Players panel to discuss the uproar over Apple's business practices in China and the U.S. government's cell phone entitlement program for low-income Americans.

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Santorum, Romney To Face Off In High-Stakes Appeal To Party Faithful

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will appear in the same venue Friday for the first time since Santorum handed Romney a three-pronged defeat earlier in the week.

Both will be competing for the support of the same cluster of die-hard conservatives — more than 10,000 in total — who have amassed for the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Addressing the annual convention of party faithful is a rite of passage for presidential candidates, but for Santorum and Romney, the stakes are much higher.

Still reeling from his bruising Tuesday loss to Santorum in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, Romney must convince activists he’s the bona fide conservative he claims to be. For Santorum, the challenge is to win over those whose doubts about his electability against President Obama make them reluctant to bet on a losing horse.

“Romney needs a big idea to rally folks around,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Mitt Romney is the most electable, but he hasn’t given anyone in the base or independents any reason to vote for him. That’s why he needs that big idea. ‘Believe in America’ just ain’t going to cut it.”

Read more from Josh Lederman and Cameron Joseph at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy