This story by the AP’s Steve Peoples suggests that Tuesday’s Las Vegas GOP presidential debate pitted only two candidates—former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas governor Rick Perry—when in fact, there were seven candidates on hand: Texas congressman Ron Paul, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former businessman Herman Cain, former Pennsylvania congressman Rick Santorum, and former Georgia congressman and House speaker, Newt Gingrich.
Peoples and his editors clearly want to reduce the field to two.
It was a preview of what Republicans can expect to hear in the coming weeks as the Jan. 3 leadoff Iowa caucuses inch closer, with Romney and Perry emerging as the two candidates with the best chances of winning the nomination. They're arguably the only Republicans with the money and organization necessary to go the distance. [Immigration debate intensifies in GOP race by Steve Peoples, Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle, October 20, 2011.]
That’s dubious: Paul has the organization, and based on his ability to get his fanatical followers to send “money bombs,” the resources to go the distance. Peoples is seeking eliminate Paul as a viable candidate, and bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Considering that, according to NumbersUSA’s Roy Beck, Paul is now lousy on immigration, I can’t imagine why the AP would want him out of the race. It’s not as if the story were a brief item; Peoples had 880 words to run with. Besides, even a brief report would have to mention that there were seven candidates present.
Heck, Peoples didn’t even mention what day it was. And then comes the DNC/La Raza talking point, which Peoples appeared to have handy on macro.
There is danger is pushing too hard on immigration. Polling suggests the issue may help the candidates score political points with Republican primary voters but could alienate the ballooning Hispanic population or hurt the candidates among independents in a general election matchup against President Barack Obama.
What polling? Peoples never says.
There is absolutely no electoral danger to any Republican candidate in pushing hard on immigration.
“Alienate the ballooning Hispanic population”? All Hispanics who could potentially be alienated by “tough talk” on immigration fall into one or more of the following categories:
Conversely, being soft on immigration could cost a candidate the nomination, which is why Perry pushed back against Romney with such vehemence.
[Thanks to reader-researcher “W.”]