Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell is a writing fellow at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

It's Only a Surprise When Ed Rollins Sticks Around

The Bachmann campaign announced over the weekend that campaign manager Ed Rollins would be vacating that role and assume the more auxiliary position of "senior advisor." Rollins' health was cited as the explanation for the move. Though it does seem possible that the daily grind of a campaign could get to a 68-year-old, it looks like there was more going on in this case, as Rollins' deputy and ally David Polyansky left the campaign on the same day. I, for one, am not all too surprised by the transition. Rollins is made out to be one of the savants of Republican operatives (his decision to work for Bachmann helped boost her from the fringe to the crème of the crop candidates), but he has a checkered past with few actual successes. Rollins struck it big by managing Ronald Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign that won 49 of the 50 states. Yet after that, his candidates went nowhere. He advised Jack Kemp's 1988 campaign that failed to win any primaries, resigned just two months into helming...

Gun-Shy Governor

(Photo: Flickr/ Gage Skidmore ) By most accounts, Rick Perry has become the Republican front-runner less than a month after he entered the race. He not only leads by wide margins in national polls, besting former leader Mitt Romney by 15 percent in a survey released yesterday; he appears to hold the edge in many of the early primary states that will decide the nomination long before the rest of the country has any say. In the latest polls from Iowa , South Carolina , and even Nevada , Perry tops the field. One problem: Most GOP voters have yet to see Rick Perry in action. So far, he's ducked the media and stuck to speeches before small, friendly crowds. That will change tonight when he takes part in his first presidential debate. He missed his first chance to share the stage with his opponents when he ducked out of a Monday forum in South Carolina to return to Texas to tend to the spreading wildfires. But that natural disaster won't keep Perry away from the debate in California this...

Why Norquist Hearts Perry

Will America's leading anti-taxer lift his soul mate into the White House?

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore Grover Norquist, president of a taxpayer advocacy group, Americans for Tax Reform
Presidential debates often configure their rules in subtle ways to include certain candidates rather than others, though it's usually not spelled out explicitly. But when Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform delayed a Nevada debate they were to host in July, they left no doubt that the move was made to accommodate their favored candidate. "We're waiting for Perry," Norquist told The Washington Post at the time. It's not the only instance where Norquist has operated to bolster Rick Perry's nascent presidential campaign. When Politico published a story last week questioning Perry's intelligence, Norquist rose to the Texas governor's defense, firing off a missive to the article's author touting Perry's willingness to put government spending online. "That idea has now been adopted by 26-plus states. We took Perry's idea to other state legislators and governors," Norquist said. He hasn't made any kind of public endorsement, but all signals point to Perry as Norquist's ideal candidate...

Some Sunshine for Presidential Nominations

Rick Perry has already been declared the front-runner to gain the GOP nomination less than a month after launching his campaign. He's posted a significant lead in recent polls over previous front-runner Mitt Romney. The only problem is that national polls mean nothing at this point in the election cycle -- it's all about how the candidates will perform in the early primary states. The current crowded field will get narrowed down to a handful of candidates by the time most of the states hold their primaries. Exceeding or failing expectations in the first few states determines which Republican gets the positive media coverage that boosts fundraising and polling across the country. It isn't possible to game out any of those sceneries yet since, as Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard reports , the nomination calendar is still in flux: GOP officials have yet to issue a final decision on which states will be first in 2012, and it's not clear when they will. While the RNC dawdles, several states are...

Fox News Forces Candidate to Defend Reality

When politicians hit the campaign trail and make sweeping policy statements, it's the press's role to call them out when their comments stray too far from reality. Basic questioning forces the candidates to stay honest. Fox News, though, reversed that traditional press role during an interview with Jon Huntsman this morning. They brought up Huntsman's tweet from a few weeks ago, which said: "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy." Fox's Brian Kilmeade took him up on that challenge, and questioned the veracity of climate-change research. Watch the exchange (video via GOP12 ): Huntsman stood by his statement as Kilmeade pushed right-wing conspiracy theories about scientists manipulating studies. "We're not the ones taking grant money with scientists and making up results which hurt the cause," he said. Despite Fox's fearmongering, there is no legitimate dispute among the scientific community on climate change. As The Washington Post 's...

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