TPM News

In a recent opinion piece for The Weekly Standard, conservative commentator William Kristol writes that Mitt Romney’s nomination is “all too evitable.”

“Republicans…will be especially wary of proclamations of inevitability that come from media who do not have conservatives' best interests at heart,” writes Kristol, pointing out that polling has never confirmed Romney to be a clear frontrunner, and that Newt Gingrich leads Romney in several recent surveys.

“And even if Gingrich fades,” writes Kristol, “let’s not assume it’s over. Bachmann and Santorum could still have a run in Iowa.”

Kristol also says that a fragmented field could pave the way for an undeclared candidate to enter the race: “If [Bachmann and Santorum] continue to trail badly, it’s not out of the question that someone else could still present himself in mid-December to the citizens of Iowa (Hi there, Mike Huckabee! Hello, Sara Palin!).”

Kristol even speculates that “Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio [could] win the January 31 Florida primary as…write-in candidate[s]” if the Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina contests “produce fragmented results.”

The Gingrich surge is upon us, with Newt the latest GOP candidate to take a national lead in Quinnipiac's polling of the Republican primary. New data out Tuesday morning shows him taking 26 percent of GOPers with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in second with 22, followed by a fading businessman Herman Cain in third at 14. The rest of the field is in single digits.

Conservative voters have flocked to Gingrich, as the numbers show he wins 30 percent of them to Romney's 21, while Romney beats Gingrich on moderates 28 - 17. Conservative voters in the Republican primary have been the most mobile in the race, flocking from Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Cain and now Gingrich as the alternative to Romney. Newt also has outsized Tea Party support and wins among evangelical voters.

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Three American students have been arrested in the ongoing clashes in Cairo, the Associated Press reports.

The students — identified as Derrik Sweeny, of Georgetown University; Luke Gates, of Indiana Unviersity; and Greg Porter, of Drexel University — are studying abroad at the American University in Cairo and allegedly threw firebombs at Egyptian security forces.

More than 30 people have been killed in the clashes between Egyptian demonstrators and the country’s military leaders.

The Los Angeles Times reports that city officials have offered Occupy L.A. protesters office space and farmland in an attempt to get them to remove their encampment from city hall. The office space would include a $1-a-year lease on a 10,000-square-foot space.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has released a new pol, conducted by the Mellman Group, claiming a lead in the open North Dakota Senate race.

According to the poll, Democratic former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp leads Republican freshman Rep. Rick Berg by 47%-42%. The poll of likely voters was conducted from November 12-16, and has a ±4% margin of error.

The seat is held by Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad, who announced this past January that he will retire in 2012. Heitkamp joined the race two weeks ago, after being courted by the national Dems.

Sarah Palin will endorse a 2012 candidate, New York Magazine reports.

“I have an idea of who it is,” a Palin adviser told the magazine, “but I’m not telling.”

Of all the presidential candidates, Republican voters have the most faith in Newt Gingrich when it comes to knowledge and experience, according to a new Qunnipiac poll.

When Republican voters were asked which presidential candidate had the “knowledge and experience necessary to be a good president,” Gingrich outpaced the field by a wide margin.

48% said Gingrich, compared to 22% for the second-place Romney. No other candidate broke single digits.

The poll is another piece of good news for the surging Gingrich, and is among the first to confirm that his perceived erudition and experience may be a factor in his rapidly improving prospects.