GOP race in a microcosm: Romney fund-raising in NY, Gingrich lectures on brain research

Mitt Romney is fund-raising in New York. Newt Gingrich is talking about brain science research in Iowa. What are the other Republican candidates doing today?

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is interviewed on a Fox News program Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011, in New York.

That’s how Decoder feels looking at the schedules for each of the GOP candidates today. It’s not poetically perfect by any stretch, but examining what each of the candidates is up to today builds a very helpful microcosm of the 2012 primary to this point. (Quoted text, unless otherwise noted, from the AP.)

What’s Mitt Romney doing? “Hosting four fundraisers across New York City.” To be fair, Mitt has been in both Iowa and New Hampshire recently - and it’s not like President Obama isn’t cramming in year-end fundraisers. But you could argue this encapsulates Romney: raising tons of money and not willing to risk much either financially or in public perception on the early voting process.

(This has recently started to change with a Romney Super PAC blasting the Iowa airwaves with advertisements and his campaign’s fusillades against Newt Gingrich).

And to add another level of gloss to our “today as microcosm” idea, there’s this nugget, which aptly explains how Democrats feel about the race:

Democratic National Committee attempts to capitalize on former Massachusetts Governor’s live $10,000 dollar bet offer to Rick Perry by hiring a plane to fly over New York and New Jersey trailing sign reading ‘Bet you 10k Romney’s Out of Touch’.

Let’s just say there aren’t planes soaring over the University of Iowa, where our next candidate is holing up.

What’s Newt Gingrich doing? The candidate “is set to talk about brain science research Wednesday afternoon at the University of Iowa.” Brain science? Seriously? But for Gingrich, doing things like a talk on brain science is really key to the brand, in an odd way - he’s played the smartest, savviest, biggest-brained guy in the room during the entire process. Why stop now? Once you’ve already hit moon mining and child janitors, brain science really isn’t too far afield.   

What are the rest doing? What you’re (conventionally) supposed to be doing - beating the pavement to meet voters.

  • Rick Santorum is visiting Urbandale and Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday morning before attending a noon event in Johnston and a Christmas party at his Des Moines headquarters.”
    • “Rick Perry is spending the day hosting a town hall meeting in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and appearing in the Iowa towns of Harlan and Denison.”
    • “Ron Paul is visiting the New Hampshire towns of Amherst, Hillsborough and Derry.”

    So here we are - an almost entirely gun-shy former frontrunner (although that is changing, or has changed already), an unconventional pollsitter and a slew of candidates trying to do the right thing but not gaining any traction.

    The next big event? Tomorrow night’s debate in Iowa, which will bring the candidates together for the penultimate time before the Iowa caucuses. Watch to see if the candidates who have been out and about across the Hawkeye state are keen to criticize those who’ve avoided such peregrinations.

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