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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Waffling about running for president

Hmm. Jeb Bush doesn't 'anticipate' becoming a Republican candidate in 2012

Republican former Florida Governor Jeb BushWith the Republican presidential field still not coalescing around a dominant front-runner, despite the incumbent Democrat's obvious weakness, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he does not "anticipate" running for the White House in 2012.


Yeh, that's what we thought too.

With Bushes having occupied the Oval Office for 12 of the last 22 years (and the last one leaving with notably low approvals), we figured if Jeb was going to take a turn at the nation's top political prize, it would be 2016.

At only 58, the family's likable and most natural politician still has plenty of time, and that timetable would let the fading animus toward older brother George W. fade even further.

But there was Jeb tonight on the Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity show saying, "You never say never."

He's still saying, no, no, I'm not running. And it is getting late for 2012 presidential planning. Ask Rick Perry, the man who's been Texas governor ever since George W. left the Austin mansion across the street from the Capitol. Perry will likely be jumping into the crowded but lackluster GOP field in early August.

Here's how the two-term, bilingual governor of the crucial Sunshine State described a possible candidacy:

I don’t anticipate that. You never say never. This is a standard answer that I’ve kind of learned how to give which is -- you never say never, but I never rule out being on Dancing with the Stars either … there are a lot of ways you can make a difference.

Who, btw, said he had to make a difference? He did.

On President Obama's repetitive criticism of brother George W.: "That’s a personal thing for me, Sean. I get tired of it. I think most people do."

On the chance that anyone in the current GOP could politically knock off an incumbent Democrat expecting to spend a billion dollars to extend his White House lease:

If you recall, my dad in 1992 had an approval rating that was double what President Obama has right now and he was running against the seven dwarfs I think. … And one of those dwarfs became president … dwarf, you know President Clinton, so the notion that somehow these aren’t folks that are capable of winning I just think is ridiculous. These are good people.

Good people, perhaps. But any with the heft and charisma to excite Americans enough and win?

They’re capable. They’ve made the all-in commitment and this yearning for something else is very flattering for someone if you’re that someone else. But in reality I think this race, we have qualified candidates and as it gets closer to the primaries to the caucuses and primaries, I think people will begin to see the mettle of the men and women that are running.

And if they don't?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: John Raoux / Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani thinks GOP should 'get the heck out of people's bedrooms'

Rudy Giuliani thinks GOP should get the heck out of people's bedrooms

Rudy Giuliani has been married three times. Maybe that's why he doesn't want the government in his bedroom? Or maybe that's why he doesn't feel he should be telling Americans what marriage is?

Either way, the former New York City mayor feels that his political party should get out of the marriage business.

"I think the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people's bedrooms and let these things get decided by states," Giuliani told Candy Crowley on Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"We'd be a much more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots," the 67-year-old native New Yorker said.

Recently New York passed a same-sex marriage bill that allows gays and lesbians to wed legally. Giuliani consistently had stated that gays and lesbians should opt for civil unions as opposed to traditional marriages. Did watching that historic event play out change his mind about gay marriages?

"I think it's wrong, but there are other things that I think are wrong that get decided by democratic vote," Giuliani said. "I see more harm, however, by dwelling so much on this subject of gays and lesbians and whether it's right or wrong in politics."

In 2009 when he was considering running for New York governor, Giuliani had no problem mixing the controversial subject with politics.

Continue reading »

Sarah Palin in Iowa: Top volunteer 'can’t see her sitting this one out'


This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, may be the "First Dude," but according to some the former governor has "a man in Iowa" and that man believes that the hockey mom will run for the White House in 2012.

Peter Singleton, a lawyer from California is the mysterious "man in Iowa" who says he has never met Palin but has been working tirelessly to help the conservative organize in the Hawkeye state.

Singleton who helped organize Wednesday's premiere screening of the Palin film "The Undefeated" seems to have no problem comparing the former beauty queen with the likes of Winston Churchill and George Washington.

"She’s the right person at this time,” Singleton told the Telegraph on Wednesday in Iowa. “If you look back at Churchill’s time, in 1938 Churchill was unelectable, in 1940 he was indispensable.

“I can’t see her sitting this one out,” he added. “The stakes are too high. It goes back to 1940. Can you see Churchill sitting it out? It’s unthinkable. Can you see George Washington in 1776 sitting it out? Unthinkable. He wanted to be back on his farm, but they said we need you to be president of the republic.”

In April, the Wall Street Journal did a profile on Singleton where those interviewed agreed that he was who he appeared to be. "When it comes to Palin in Iowa, it's pretty much Peter Singleton," Iowa Tea Party Director Ryan Rhodes told the paper. "The guy is everywhere."

For the Record, 5:35 p.m. June 29: The headline on an earlier version of this post said, "Sarah Palin will enter the 2012 race, says 'her man in Iowa.' " The revised headline is meant to better reflect his unofficial role in supporting Palin.


Sarah Palin's letter from God

How long can Sarah Palin put off Iowa?

Remember how Palin said Paul Revere warned the British? well, he did

-- Tony Pierce

Andrew Malcolm is on vacation

Photo: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin greets supporters during a barbecue after the screening of the film "The Undefeated" in Pella, Iowa, Tuesday, June 28, 2011. The documentary is about her time as governor and her ascent as a national political figure. Credit: AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Andrea Melendez

Sarah Palin arrives in Pella, Iowa; keeps mum on the whole president thing


Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, arrived in Pella, Iowa, on Tuesday to attend the premiere of "The Undefeated," a feel-good story about an Alaskan beauty queen who hunts and fishes and becomes governor of the largest state in the union.

Everyone knows the story. And how could anyone not know it by now? The media follows her everywhere she goes even now that she is no longer governor and has done her best to spread herself thin through reality shows and regular appearances on Fox News and other outlets.

The only thing they don't know is what her daughter knows: whether she will run to try to be the first female president of the United States.

"It's a tough decision, it's a big decision to decide whether to run for office or not. I'm still contemplating," Palin said Tuesday in Pella. "I am still thinking about the decision, and you know a lot goes into such a life-changing, relatively earth-shattering type of decision and still thinking about it," the hockey mom said.

Palin panicked when she heard that her eldest daughter Bristol was talking to the "lamestream" media about a possible run at the White House.

"I texted Bristol, I said, 'Honey, what did you say this morning on some news program,'" Palin said. "She said, 'Oh, mom, you've got to watch the interview. You know how they take everything out of context.' I said, 'You remember, Bristol, what we talk about on the fishing boat stays on the fishing boat.' I don't know what she said. She said I have to watch it myself."

Governor, if you haven't yet seen the clip, here it is, but this is all your 20-year-old daughter said: "What's talked about at our dinner table is going to stay there," Bristol told "Extra's" Jerry Penacoli, adding that her mom is "awesome" and would beat anyone.


Levi Johnston dubbed 'the gnat' by Bristol Palin in her memoir

Levi Johnston to release a tell-all book about Sarah Palin's family

Sarah Palin 'definitely knows' if she will run for president, Bristol says

-- Tony Pierce

Andrew Malcolm is on vacation

Photo: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin greets supporters as she arrives for the premiere of a documentary about her called "The Undefeated" in Pella, Iowa, on June 28, 2011. The documentary traces Palin's rise from mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska, to state governor and her rise to John McCain's running mate in 2008. Credit: Brian C. Frank/Reuter

Sarah Palin 'definitely knows' if she will run for president, Bristol says


Sarah Palin knows if she will make a run for the White House, but since that discussion happened at the Palins' Wasilla home, eldest daughter Bristol says it's going to stay there until the hockey mom is ready to make an announcement.

Bristol on Tuesday continued her tour to promote her memoir, "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far," which came out last week. While on shows like "Extra" and several Fox News programs, Bristol continued to criticize the father of her child, Levi Johnston, while praising her famous mother.

"She's a great politician, and she would be awesome for our country," Bristol said when asked if her mother should try to be the next president.

When asked on "Extra" if she knew whether Palin would run in 2012, Bristol said, "Of course", but stopped short of giving any breaking news.

"What's talked about at our dinner table is going to stay there," Bristol told Jerry Penacoli, adding that her mom is "awesome" and would beat anyone.

The mother and daughter will sign books Wednesday at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Bristol Palin's autobiography is rising in the Amazon charts. It's currently #11 on their biographies list, just above Chelsea Handler's three-year-old tome "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea."



Bristol Palin puts Arizona house up for rent

Levi Johnston dubbed 'the gnat' by Bristol Palin in her memoir

Levi Johnston to release a tell-all book about Sarah Palin's family

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Sarah Palin and daughter Willow cutting the cake on Willow's 16th birthday last July at Todd's parents' house in Dillingham. Credit: Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images

Sarah Palin questions report that she will decide about presidency next week

Twitter Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin took to Twitter on Friday to question a report that next week she will announce whether or not she will run for president.

A conservative blog said the former governor was "expected within a week to make a decision on whether to enter the 2012 presidential campaign, according to one Republican source."

"Vendors of campaign services who hope to work for Team Palin have been told that Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, will decide soon one way or another on mounting a 2012 campaign," Robert Stacy McCain wrote Friday on The American Spector blog.

Palin tweeted that it was news to her. "Really? Hmm, guess they forgot to inform me what I'm 'expected to do' next," she wrote.

When McCain updated the post in response to her tweet, he asked the hockey mom whether his source was wrong, but Palin has yet to respond.

A Rasmussen poll released Thursday said that 36% of likely GOP primary voters think it would be good for Republicans if Palin entered the race.


Sarah Palin comes off as a complete airhead, Maher says

Sarah Palin for president in 2012? Most people polled say no

Anthony Weiner would have been 'rendered impotent' in Congress, Sarah Palin says

-- Tony Pierce

 Image: A screenshot from Sarah Palin's Twitter page. Credit: Twitter

Ron Paul says fellow Texan Rick Perry is 'very much the status quo'

Rick Perry

Ron Paul was on Fox News on Thursday and said if voters are looking for change they shouldn't look to fellow Texan Rick Perry.

Paul told Fox's Neil Cavuto that Gov. Perry "doesn’t identify with the people who are disenchanted with the status quo."

Perry is "identified with the previous [George W. Bush] administration, and very much the status quo,” Paul, 75, said on "Your World with Neil Cavuto," a news program Perry had appeared on just Wednesday. 

When Perry spoke with Cavuto, the former Democrat who has yet to announce officially his intention to run for the GOP nomination for president, said he was "certainly giving it the appropriate thought process".

"He’s going to dilute the vote,” Paul warned. "But he’ll dilute the establishment vote. But the people who are sick and tired of what they’re getting in Washington, I don’t think he’s going to be that attractive to that group of people."

A  NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday showed that Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Herman Cain lead the pack of would-be GOP contenders, with Perry and Paul in the middle of the group. Romney got 30% of the support, Palin had 14%, Cain came in with 12%, while Perry and Paul had 8% and 7% respectively.

A Texas Lyceum statewide poll conducted a few weeks ago showed Paul ahead of Perry by a percentage point. But even in Texas, voters were not fawning over their local representatives. The Lone Star state gave Romney 16% of support from those polled, followed by Sarah Palin at 12%. Rep. Paul got 10% with Perry right behind him at 9%.


Ron Paul won GOP debate according to applause

Ron Paul of Texas wins CPAC presidential straw poll

Trump on Ron Paul: 'He has no chance of getting elected'

-- Tony Pierce


Photo: Texas Gov. Rick Perry greets some of the Texas Sheriffs after speaking to members of the Sheriff's Assn. of Texas at the Tarrant County Convention Center, Monday, July 26, 2010, in Fort Worth, Texas.  Credit: Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT

What the Newt Gingrich staff implosion means for the 2012 Republican race


The real import of Thursday's aide walkout from Newt Gingrich's flailing presidential campaign has little to do with the former House speaker himself.

It's like a football expansion draft, the players from Gingrich's now-crippled political franchise will get picked up and signed on to other GOP campaigns, this being the eve of prime-time for these savvy hired guns who live for the unpredictable adrenalin rush and constant predictable grind of campaign days.

Immediately, Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor and national co-chair for Gingrich 2012, signed on to Tim Pawlenty's political team.

But what's more important is that two of these now-departed Gingrich campaign aides were actually on loan from another governor, Texas Republican Rick Perry. Chief among them Rob Johnson, Gingrich’s campaign manager, and Dave Carney.

The tall conservative Eagle Scout, now Texas' longest-serving governor ever, has stated several times that he's not running for his party's 2012 nomination, which is smart. He's been dealing with the state legislature all spring. And why ask to be targeted by opponents sooner than necessary?

But he's waffled enough to keep the hopeful murmurs smoldering like a Texas wildfire during the night, especially among fiscal conservatives dissatisfied with the fiscal and smaller government bona fides of the current crop of Republican wannabes.Texas Republican governor rick Perry

With his fiscal (and reportedly personal) stinginess, no-new taxes and pro-business climate, Perry's state has created more new American jobs in the last four years alone than all the other 49 states combined.

Think that might resonate instantly with many Americans who've told pollsters from Day One of the Obama Change Era that the economy/jobs were, are and will be Issue One for them?

And Perry's recent book title is a perfect campaign theme for anti-Obama forces assembling on the right: "Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington."

Perry is also chairman of the Republican Governors Assn., putting him in almost daily touch with the country's heavy financial hitters. With his campaign gang back home in the heat of the Texas summer, Perry can now begin seriously assessing his 2012 prospects, for a possible move later this summer if the lack of passion for the current Republicans field continues.

As for Gingrich, he passed for a no-holds-barred D.C. politician 15 years ago. With his long classroom experience, he was one of the best no-notes public speakers around. And his widely-distributed Go-Pac lecture tapes tying world history into contemporary American issues could be mesmerizing.

He seemed to overflow with new ideas, often pulling folded notes or articles from his coat pocket to show listeners. His speaker resignation after the disappointing 1998 midterms combined with serial romances created overweight personal baggage and took him off the playing field for too many years, despite frequent TV appearances.

Additionally, the pace and meanness of federal politics has increased. So, even without his opening campaign missteps this time, Gingrich's bid seemed marginal at best and from another time. Many of his most logical supporters were not just not supporting him, but harshly criticizing him.

A dead giveaway to this doomed campaign came in his one-sentence Thursday vow to continue:

"I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles."

Actually, not Los Angeles. Beverly Hills. The influential Republican Jewish Coalition is meeting there. There's only one reason any pol starts anew, stops or ends in Beverly Hills. And it's not to greet commuters exiting the subway.

It's money, dollars being the most important kind of votes at this stage in any presidential campaign.


The secret lesson within Gingrich's botched campaign launch

Romney now leads President Obama among registered U.S. voters

You know how Sarah Palin said Paul Revere warned the British? Well, he did

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow the Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Jack Plunkett / Associated Press (Perry).

Donald Trump warns GOP that they could lose the House, hints at returning to presidential race

Donald Trump speaks at a tea party rally in Boca Raton, Fla. on April 16, 2011

Donald Trump took to YouTube on Thursday to warn the Republicans that they are in danger of losing their majority in the House of Representatives and if they nominate "the wrong guy" they may have to deal with the billionaire.

The real estate tycoon criticized Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s GOP budget plan calling the timing and concept of the plan "so bad," referring specifically to the congressman's desire to radically overhaul the entitlement program.

“When they tamper with Medicare -- which happens to be a good program, but there’s lots of fraud and waste which we should take care of -- but when they tamper with Medicare, they have a death wish,” Trump said.

"The Democrats are laughing at the stupidity of the Republicans and this Ryan plan," Trump said.

Trump performed well in preliminary polls while he was demanding that President Obama release his long-form birth certificate. Weeks after Obama's Hawaii document was released and Osama bin Laden was killed, Trump stood down and said he wouldn't run for the GOP nomination.

But that doesn't mean he won't run as an Independent, something he hinted at in Thursday's video.

Continue reading »

Sarah Palin's chief fires back at Michele Bachmann's strategist

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, in  California on Feb. 4. and Rep. Michele Bachmann

Sarah Palin's chief of staff did not retreat when Michele Bachmann's political strategist, Ed Rollins, called the hockey mom "not serious" in regards to her political aspirations.

Michael Glassner, chief of staff of Sarah PAC, fired off an email to Politico's Ben Smith on Wednesday to put Bachmann's advisor in his place.

"Beltway political strategist Ed Rollins has a long, long track record of taking high profile jobs and promptly sticking his foot in his mouth. To no one's surprise he has done it again, while also fueling a contrived narrative about the presidential race by the mainstream media," Glassner wrote in an emailed statement.

What got Glassner ticked off was when Rollins told Brian Kilmeade on the "Kilmeade and Friends" radio show that "Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years."

"She got the vice presidential thing handed to her, she didn't go to work in the sense of trying to gain more substance, she gave up her governorship," Bachmann's top consultant said.

Glassner predicts Bachmann will reign in Rollins, who worked for Mike Huckabee in 2008, and force him to take back his fighting words.

"One would expect that his woodshed moment is coming and that a retraction will be issued soon," Glassner said of Rollins in the statement.

Bachmann is on record as saying that she considers President Obama her competition, not Palin.

"First of all, I want to say I like Sarah Palin a lot. We’re friends and I don’t consider her a competitor. I consider her a friend," the Minnesota conservative said on ABC’s "Good Morning America" at the end of May.


Bachmann may struggle in Palin's shadow

Margaret Thatcher refuses to meet with Sarah Palin

Palin's vacation irks congressman; Michele Bachmann's camp says Palin's not serious

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). Credit: Robyn Beck / AFP and Mandel Ngan / AFP


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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