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A tired-looking Ron Paul returns to South Carolina after four-day absence

A tired-looking Ron Paul showed up in South Carolina Sunday after a four-day disappearing act that has some close aides wondering if their candidate is running short on stamina. Paul, the oldest candidate in the GOP presidential sweepstakes, often takes time off between primaries but his latest absence from a key primary campaign leaves some observers and even ardent supporters thinking the candidate needs more than just a few days off.” “Dr. Paul is tired.  Campaigning for President is hard work,” says Terry Andrews, a Paul supporter.  “But he’s in great shape.” Others aren’t so sure.  Paul has shown increasing
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Santorum stepping up attacks on Romney, Paul

A fired up Rick Santorum, saying he is upset over attacks from Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, plans to hold a press conference Monday to say campaigns are too negative. Then he will go negative himself with strong attacks on both Romney and Paul. Many see South Carolina as Santorum’s last chance to prove his close second-place finish in Iowa wasn’t a fluke.  After a miserable showing in New Hampshire, a bad finish in South Carolina could finish Santorum’s campaign. So, in desperation, he will condemn negative campaigning before launching his own scorched-earth attacks on the two he see as
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Jon Huntsman latest casualty in GOP sweepstakes

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor whose campaign never caught on, plans to quit the GOP Presidential race today. Close campaign aides tell Capitol Hill Blue that Huntsman told his staff Sunday night and will announce his departure from the race in a press conference where he will also endorse current GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. “It’s over,” a disheartened campaign aide said.  “We tried but we just couldn’t make it work.” Huntsman’s announcement comes one day after he gained an major endorsement in South Carolina from The State newspaper. “Too little, too late,” the aide said.  “It’s over.” Some campaign
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Boehner fed up with obstruction by tea party GOP Reps

Speaker of the House John Boehner, fed up with the Republican freshman House members supported by the so-called “populist” tea party movement, is ignoring their whines and stonewalling and will work towards a compromise to avoid another public relations disaster on tax cuts and budget deals. Capitol Hill Blue has learned that a frustrated Boehner recently told his close aides “to hell with them,” referring to many of the 85 freshman Republicans installed in Congress in 2010 by the tea party movement. Polls show growing buyers remorse among voters who supported the tea party-backed Republicans in 2010 and Boehner —
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Bombastic Gingrich draws Republican ire

When Newt Gingrich stepped down as Speaker of the House and resigned from Congress amid an ethics scandal over a book deal and revelations that he was once again dumping a wife because of an affair with a younger woman, Republicans on Capitol Hill breathed a sign of relief. Newt was gone…or so they thought. Gingrich may have left elected office but he did not disappear into the shadows as so many in the GOP hoped. “Newt Gingrich is a political vampire,” one former aide tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “It would take a wooden stake to kill his ego, his
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Pathetic GOP field turns perennial losers into contenders

In a Twilight Zone political season where a celebrity-seeking real estate developer, a serial adulterer, a sexual predator, a brain-dead Texas governor and an intellectually-challenged Congresswoman can be touted as leading contenders at one time or another, it should come as no surprise that losers like Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul now find themselves one-two-three in the race for delegates for the GOP nomination for President. For different reasons, no one in the crowded field of GOP pretenders deserves to be President.  Among the three delegate leaders, one is a shape-shifting political package molded by pollsters and strategists,
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Romney wins New Hampshire: Can he be stopped?

After back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, the question now for the muddled Republican field of Presidential contenders is:  Can Mitt Romney be stopped? Romney cruised to an easy win in New Hampshire Tuesday, capturing nearly 40 percent of the vote and leaving a field of other pretenders — led by Ron Paul with 23 percent — far behind. “It’s a convincing win to be sure,” GOP analyst Stan Wilson tells Capitol Hill Blue, “but it’s a win with an asterisk because it’s a win over second-tier candidates.” Political professionals say that in a perfect political world — a
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What happened to Rick Santorum?

Rick Santorum wrapped up his campaigning in New Hampshire Monday with a shell-shocked state of mind in a state that took a close look at him and didn’t like what it saw. Santorum’s hopes of continuing the momentum from his near-upset of GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in Iowa last week ran head-on into political reality. Some feel Jon Huntsman will be the new Santorum, the back bencher who rises from obscurity to contender.  Whatever happens, it appears the Santorum bubble popped as soon as he landed in the Granite State. “This isn’t Iowa. Rick Santorum doesn’t sell here,” New Hampshire
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The worst Presidential field ever? That’s affirmative

Listen to the watchers and talkers in New Hampshire and you hear the same thing:  The current crop of Republican presidential candidates is the worst, most lackluster, most mediocre collection ever assembled by a political party. “I hate to admit it but there isn’t a standout in the whole bunch,” longtime New Hampshire political activist Sam Ruskin tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “They are, on the whole, a sorry lot.” MSNBC host — and former Republican Congressman — Joe Scarborough agrees. “Political luminaries come up to me, grab me by the lapels and whisper in my ear that this is the
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Romney roughed up a little in second New Hampshire debate

After back-to-back debates Saturday night and Sunday morning, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney got his hair mussed but the general consensus among debate watchers and pundits is that the former Massachussets governor was not hurt enough to stop his momentum. University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato: Romney was dinged in the second debate, but not seriously wounded.  Basically, the candidates firmed up their own individual base but I don’t think they took much away from Romney either in terms of Republicans or independents. Sabato’s assessment was echoed by a panel of New Hampshire voters assembled by Capitol Hill Blue. 
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