Gingrich trusted with "3 a.m. phone call?": Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has become a frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination by consolidating support among key GOP groups, and while some have dismissed him as another Republican "flavor of the month," his longtime Washington ties may give him a key edge over other contenders: experience. Fully 36 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said Gingrich is the most qualified candidate to be commander in chief in a November CNN/ORC poll, topping the 20 percent who named Mitt Romney.
The results echo a November Fox News poll that found likely primary voters trusting Gingrich with nuclear weapons more than any other candidate. About half as many trusted his top rival Romney. Indeed, almost eight in 10 Republicans said Gingrich has the experience to serve effectively as president, along with a similar number who said this about Romney. Fewer than half of Republicans thought Cain possessed the necessary experience to serve as president (the poll was conducted before accusations that Cain was involved in a 13-year extramarital affair).
Military spending cuts divide public: Embattled Republican presidential contender Herman Cain argued forcefully against military spending cuts in a speech on Tuesday, criticizing what he called a "cut, cut, cut" approach to national security. Cain's position echoes those other Republicans aimed at protecting military spending following the failure of Congress' supercommittee to produce a $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts.
Americans overwhelmingly see the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan causing financial problems for the country. Six in 10 adults said the wars deserved "a great deal" of responsibility for size of the national debt in a Pew Research Center poll this spring, compared with about four in 10 who blamed the national economy and a quarter who cited increased domestic spending.
Possibly reflecting war-weary attitudes of a public after 10 years of wars in Afghanistan and about as many in Iraq, nearly two-thirds of Americans approved of reducing military commitments overseas to help reduce the debt in a September Pew Research Center poll. But fewer support reducing military spending in general -- half of adults in an October Washington Post-Bloomberg News poll -- and just four in 10 backed "major cuts in military spending" in a November CNN/ORC poll.