Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – A survey of GOP insiders indicates that Mitt Romney was the biggest winner of Monday night's CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader Republican presidential debate.
According to a National Journal Political Insiders poll, 51 percent of those questioned say that the former Massachusetts governor was the biggest winner of the debate, with 21 percent saying that Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was the winner. In third place in the survey was former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at nine percent, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at seven percent, former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at four percent.
None of the 54 Republican political operatives, strategists, campaign consultants and lobbyists who are part of the National Journal's regular panel of Washington insiders said that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was the biggest winner of the debate.
So who was the biggest loser?FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker
(CNN) – David Axelord, senior strategist for President' Obama's re-election campaign, sat down with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King to sound off on the Republican field of presidential contenders ahead of the 2012 GOP presidential debate Monday night.FULL STORY
(CNN) – Close ties between two of the Newt Gingrich's departing senior staffers and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are fueling speculation about a potential Perry presidential campaign.
Gingrich staff members Rob Johnson, who was the former House Speaker's campaign manager, and David Carney, a Gingrich senior adviser, are two of Governor Perry's top political confidantes.
Their resignation from the Gingrich presidential campaign now frees them to assist Perry should he decide to seek the GOP nomination.
Perry recently said he plans to consider a presidential bid after the Texas legislative session concludes.
One Republican told CNN that while a potential Perry candidacy was not the cause of the Gingrich resignations, it might be the effect.
A senior GOP strategist told CNN's Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger that some of Perry's top donors have been calling around Washington this week asking what Perry should do.
Meanwhile, a Perry adviser in Austin said Johnson and Carney "can now talk to the rest of" Perry's advisers "where they couldn't before."
"Nobody could have discussions because they were working for Newt," the adviser said.
The adviser added, "There have been no decisions or happenings in Texas concerning Gov. Perry. There's been no meetings, no discussions [among Perry's inner circle]."
Despite the 2012 buzz, Perry's office continues to insist that the governor has no current plans to run for president.FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker
Washington (CNN) – At least seven members of Newt Gingrich's senior campaign staff resigned Thursday, sources told CNN, but the Republican presidential candidate pledged he would start his campaign "anew."
In addition, one of his national campaign co-chairs defected Thursday to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign, according to a Pawlenty campaign release. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue of Gingrich's home state of Georgia moved over to the competing campaign.
The staff resignations included his campaign manager Rob Johnson and long-time Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler. Also departing are Gingrich strategists Dave Carney and Sam Dawson. Consultants Katon Dawson, who is based in South Carolina, Craig Schoenfeld, who is based in Iowa, and Scott Rials, who is based in Georgia, have left as well as six staff members in Iowa and Perdue.
Gingrich held a meeting Thursday with Johnson and Dawson to discuss disagreements between the candidate and his staff. Tyler said the discussion was about "Newt as a candidate and control of the campaign and scheduling."
The aides resigned when an agreement was not reached, but Tyler said aides are "always hopeful for a mutually agreeable path forward."
But when a campaign and a candidate do not see eye to eye "they've got to part ways," Tyler told CNN.
"The professional team came to the realization that the direction of the campaign they sought and Newt's vision for the campaign were incompatible," Carney told CNN.
Gingrich responded to the events on his Facebook page Thursday.
"I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles," Gingrich wrote.
An aide told CNN that "Newt will participate in Monday's debate in New Hampshire as originally planned."
CNN, WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader are sponsoring a GOP presidential debate Monday in Manchester.FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker
(CNN) – Current and former advisers to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee insist they do not know what he plans to announce Saturday on his Fox News show, fueling speculation he won't seek a second shot at the Republican nomination.
Signs have mounted for the last two years that Huckabee – while keen on staying in the political arena – has not been preparing to embark on a second national campaign.FULL STORY
Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° Tuesday beginning at 10 p.m. ET to see the remainder of Gary Tuchman's investigation into President Barack Obama's birthplace. Tuchman speaks with Hawaii’s Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie who says he knew Obama’s parents decades ago. Abercrombie weighs in on the controversy over Obama’s birthplace and explains why he has not released Obama’s birth certificate like he said he would.
(CNN) – Real estate mogul Donald Trump's latest claim about President Obama's birth certificate is that it's missing.
"Well I've been told very recently, Anderson, that the birth certificate is missing," Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday. "I've been told that it's not there or it doesn't exist. And if that's the case it's a big problem."
When asked from whom he received the information, Trump said he didn't want to say and that he feels bad about the situation.
"I'd love for him to produce his birth certificate so that you can fight one-on-one," Trump said in an interview set to air Monday. "If you look at what he's doing to fuel prices, you can do a great fight one-on-one, you don't need this issue."
CNN's Gary Tuchman also interviewed the former director of the Hawaii Department of Health, who said she has seen the original birth certificate in the vault at the Department of Health.