Quote Of The Day: Former Huckabee Staffer — Scandal Is Going To Destroy Romney

“Mitt Romney will never be President — I won’t be surprised if Mitt Romney wins the Iowa Caucus. I will be surprised, however, if he’s still in the race when the South Carolina primary comes around. Even if the impending scandal that has been rumored for weeks doesn’t derail his campaign (I can’t say what it is but you should hear about it before Jan. 8)…” — Blogger & Former Huckabee staffer Joe Carter

PS #1: I have no idea how much credence to put into this, but I thought I’d share it.

PS #2: It would be unethical, but highly effective for the Huckabee campaign to release something like this via a blogger who was leaving their campaign. However, from what I have seen of them, they’re way too unorganized to plan and execute something like that.

PS #3: Carter’s whole article about working for the Huckabee campaign for 30 days presents an interesting perspective.

Update #1: I’ve got sources in every Republican campaign except Ron Paul’s and I’ve started reaching out to some of them on this story. Here’s what one of them, who would like to remain anonymous, told me,

I think I know what the story is, but I don’t have any information I can leak. And, really, I don’t know if the story has legs or not. That said, it’s not a story that’s coming from us. I wish I could tell you more, but that’s really all I can say.

Update #2: Another source of mine, which is not with the Huckabee campaign or the same campaign as my previous source, told me that they are hearing that the story is going to be that Romney was behind the “anti-Mormon” push polling that got so much attention in Iowa.

Intriguingly, these allegations were made previously and the Romney campaign strongly denied that they had anything to do with the polling.

If that turned out not to be the case, it would be a damaging story indeed — but, it remains to be seen whether this is the specific allegation Carter was referring to and whether the Romney campaign had anything to do with it.

I will be continuing to look into the story this afternoon.

Update #3: I went back to my first source and asked if this was the story he was thinking about. He told me that it was.

Update #4: From another anonymous source,

“The “rumor”…is the one that everyone knows about already (at least I thought they did)–that Commonwealth PAC is supposedly behind the Mormon push-poll…. While I think it is serious (the coverup will be worse than the crime), others may disagree.”

If this turns out to be true — and I caution you that it may not be — I think it would be extremely damaging to Mitt because there is absolutely no way, given the tight ties that Mitt has to that PAC, that they could be doing push polling like this without Mitt knowing that they were behind it.

Here’s a little info on Commonwealth PAC and its relationship to Romney,

Friends and supporters of Governor Mitt Romney have established a political action committee that has lavished more than $250,000 on Republican candidates and county GOP organizations across the nation since July, apparently laying the groundwork for a potential presidential run for the Massachusetts politician in 2008.

…Funded largely by Romney’s former colleagues at the venture capital firm Bain Capital, Commonwealth PAC has quickly established a strong presence in states that are crucial to any presidential hopeful. Romney has made time for appearances in most of those states, too.

…Commonwealth PAC director Trent Wisecup said the committee is not a sign of Romney’s presidential ambitions, but rather evidence that the Massachusetts governor is ”a rising star in the national Republican Party.”

”He’s taken a leadership role in the party, and he’s being called upon increasingly to help out the party nationally, so some people close to him wanted to help the governor, help Republicans across the nation,” Wisecup said. ”They thought it would be good to put together this PAC effort to help out the party nationally.”

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s communications director, said the governor has no say in the workings of the PAC.

”Governor Romney is fully aware of the Commonwealth PAC and is supportive of its mission,” Fehrnstrom said. ”However, he does not participate in the management decisions of the PAC.”

Money for the PAC’s donations is mostly coming from Bain executives, as well as Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Darrell Crate and Staples Inc. founder Thomas Stemberg.

This is the sort of incredibly dirty trick (ginning up a phony attack on your campaign and complaining about it) that you’d expect from Richard Nixon or Hillary Clinton, someone with no scruples or ethics at all. So, I certainly hope that this turns out to be completely untrue.

Update #5: The phone number and press email address for Commonwealth PAC are both no longer in working order. I have also emailed & IM’d my contact at the Romney campaign to get a comment on this story and so far, I haven’t heard back, which isn’t that surprising given that the Iowa caucus is today.

Update #6: I have spoken to Stephen Smith from the Mitt Romney campaign. Here’s his response to these allegations,

“We have strongly denied any connection to these anti-Mormon calls. And that we stand by that denial.”

As far as I am concerned, unless some new information comes out on this, I’m going to take Mitt’s campaign at their word and assume that these rumors have no basis in fact.

Update #7: The Romney campaign has just sent out a release.

Today, Romney for President Campaign Manager Beth Myers issued the following statement regarding the McCain campaign’s push polling allegations:

“The Romney campaign had nothing to do with these alleged push polling calls. It is reckless, irresponsible and egregious for the McCain campaign to even mention the Romney campaign in relation to these calls. If they have any proof, let’s see it. If not, Senator McCain should immediately apologize for the actions of his own campaign.”

Incidentally, I have no idea where the McCain campaign fits into all this, but that’s what the release says.

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