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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Is this the end of the Mitt Romney rumors?

Since we just can’t seem to get enough of the Romneys, we start today with the latest from our “almost” first couple.

Mitt RomneyLast week we saw Ann Romney hitting the airwaves to discuss her new book and she mentioned during the interview that she and Mitt were “mystified” and “entertained” by this year’s presidential race and they were still “assessing” whether to take a bigger role.

Now, as reported by Kyle Cheney of Politico, Ann said they made the “right decision” to skip the 2016 race -- and Jeb Bush played no role in their conclusion.

"We thought about it for 20 seconds, put our toe in and then quickly withdrew," Ann said. "It was really — it just didn’t feel right."

Romney reiterated it was the timing -- not Jeb Bush’s backers -- that made staying out the right choice.

In other words, it sounds like Mitt’s out for good. Ann’s Politico interview is the closest we’ve come to an outright denial of the possibility of his jumping in.

Again, Ann and Mitt Romney are good people with their hearts in the right places. But there’s just no way that his joining the 2016 Republican race is a good idea – for them, or anyone else.

Trump jabs at Romney’s top strategist

On a related Romney note, Nick Gass of Politico reports, “Donald Trump slammed Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney's top 2012 strategist, after Stevens declared Monday on CNN that the Republican presidential candidate would be out of the race before the Iowa caucuses in February.”

If you say such things about Trump, expect a response. In this case, The Donald called on his favorite mode of dispersion, Twitter, to deliver the message. “Political strategist Stuart Stevens, who led Romney down the tubes in what should have been an easy victory, has terrible political instincts!”

It’s certainly not the first time Trump has criticized Romney’s campaign. This latest episode is yet another example of the Washington political establishment keeping The Donald’s name in the news – and another opportunity for Trump to score points by highlighting how ineffectual they are.

At any rate, it appears as though the Romney “savior” stories will be a thing of the past.

Fiorina fires back at Planned Parenthood president

Yesterday we saw how Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards called Carly Fiorina a “liar” for the candidate’s truthful description (during the CNN presidential debate) of the recent videos showing the abortion giant’s heinous body-parts-for-profit schemes.

Like Donald Trump, Fiorina was not about to let Richards get away with a falsehood. Sarah Ferris of The Hill reports Carly said during an interview with Boston Herald Radio that was highlighted by BuzzFeed News, “Cecile Richards can step down. She probably should step down.”

Fiorina added, “Unless something fundamental changes, that we stop funding these people with taxpayer dollars, that they are actually investigated and prosecuted, the reality is nothing’s really going to change.”

Fiorina’s rhetoric doesn’t fit the media’s limited notions on what a candidate should and should not say. The fact she’s highlighting the disgusting and unethical practices of Planned Parenthood makes her ripe for attack. But she’ll have nothing of it.

Perhaps that’s why Carly says she’s “horrifying to liberals” (as reported by Nick Gass of Politico).

During an interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox, Fiorina said, “Look, we know that most of the media is very liberal. We know that liberal women have trouble accepting that there are many, many women who don't agree with them. And in fact, it's liberal women, unfortunately, who believe that unless you follow their orthodoxy — [MSNBC's] Rachel Maddow is one, but Hillary Clinton is one, as well.”

All of the Republican candidates at one time or another have gone after the Democrats. Attacking the opposite party is easy prey and that’s how you get people fired up to help you win the nomination (though it must be noted this year the Republicans would do well to speak the truth about their own party’s weak and counterproductive establishment leadership, too).

But Fiorina has been the most effective voice in exposing Hillary Clinton. Maybe it’s because they’re both women, but Carly has a unique ability to see the target and articulate just the right words to strike it.

In effect, she’s right. Fiorina is “horrifying” to liberals.

Lastly on Carly, Noemie Emery of the Washington Examiner explains why Fiorina scares them so badly. “Feminists tend to be cute when they're mad, and they've never been madder than they are at the moment, when they're seeing their long-held dream of a Hillary regency blow up in front of their eyes.”

“…They thought, because they wanted to do so, that all women think the way they do, ignoring the fact that men don't think like each other, or fight about what's better for men (and indeed for all people) literally all of the time.”

Fiorina has a lot of Sarah Palin’s qualities in terms of not being afraid to challenge what’s “acceptable” for a woman to believe. Similar to the way they treat racial minorities, liberals want to cram all women into a “one size fits all” box – and it doesn’t work.

Carly will get as far as her views carry her. She’s being vetted just like all the other candidates. There are some things to like and some things that aren’t so promising about her.

Let the process play out – and keep ticking off the leftists, Carly.

If Carly is the anti-Hillary, then Ben Carson is the anti-Obama

As a lifelong physician, Ben Carson knows medicine. Surveys show voters are still supremely interested in ditching Obamacare, so does it make sense that a doctor might be the best one to do it?

Writing at the American Spectator, David Catron thinks so. “Only Carson has been consistently and vehemently opposed to the law: In 2013 he compared it to slavery: ‘It was never about health care. It was about control.’ This wasn’t bluster from a career politician. Carson is a neurosurgeon with intimate knowledge of our health care system.”

For so long we’ve been hearing about plans to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. Carson’s solution is to push Health Savings Accounts for Americans with additional coverage for catastrophic injury. It’s a sensible solution that’s been around for years, but having Carson at the helm gives it an added dose of credibility.

Not only that. Carson has proven very effective in defending conservative ideas against attacks from the Left. It was never more evident than his appearance on ‘The View’ on Tuesday, where he sat down to directly confront the show’s hosts who represent the full range of views of liberals and Democrats.

(As reported by Daniel Nussbaum of Breitbart) Carson stood up for his pro-life views when challenged by none other than Whoopi Goldberg.

“We are killing babies all over the place. I’ve spent my entire career trying to preserve life and give people quality of life, even operating on babies in the womb, operating all night long sometimes on premature babies. And I get to meet those people when they’re adults, and productive adults. There is no way you’re going to convince me that they’re not important, that they’re just a mass of cells.”

One measure of any politician (on non-politician, in this case) is, does he or she show a demonstrated willingness to confront the “enemy” and remain true to principle in the face of a hostile audience?

Carson went into the “lion’s den” of liberalism and didn’t give an inch. No wonder he’s doing so well in national surveys on candidate likability.

If Carly is the anti-Hillary, Ben is the anti-Obama.

Let them all debate

With three weeks to go until the next debate, Erick Erickson thinks the best solution to the “who’s in, who’s not” dilemma should be to let them all participate.

“The RNC and CNBC, at this point with candidates already dropping out, should be opening up the stage to the fourteen candidates who the polling averages detect. (Note: Erickson is excluding Jim Gilmore, who has failed to register in any polls.)

“We do not have a national primary. Further constriction of the field based on national polling, which is more based on name identification and, in most cases, media coverage rather than work in the early states, instead of using polling averages of the early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina at this point are hurting voters from hearing from a variety of candidates.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Erickson’s point on national polling. As I pointed out yesterday, Bobby Jindal is tied for fourth place in Iowa at 6%. Iowa is the first state to vote, right?

Just because some survey participant in Idaho has never heard of Jindal doesn’t mean he hasn’t been pounding the pavement (or corn fields?) of Iowa trying to meet people and talk to them one-on-one.

As I’ve said, there has to be a better way. It may be too late for this cycle, but the RNC has a lot more work to do ahead of the next nominating cycle to make sure it’s better than this one.

Jeb hints George W. is “conservative lite”

Jeb Bush has gone out of his way to insist how conservative he really is in spite of a record that contains numerous blips that wouldn’t register on the radar screen of the Heritage Foundation.

So if Jeb’s so conservative, what does he think of his brother?

Rebecca Berg of Real Clear Politics reports, “As Bush seeks to convince Republican primary voters that he is sufficiently conservative, his brother has become his favorite measuring stick — serving the dual purpose of shoring up Jeb Bush’s conservative credentials while creating space between him and his family name.”

Jeb says he wouldn’t spend as much as his brother, while insisting the budget of Florida shrank under his watch.

It didn’t.

The media might call George W. Bush a conservative, but we know he wasn’t. He did some conservative things, but he didn’t govern as a conservative.

It’s safe to say, neither would Jeb.

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