September 30, 2013

Obama nominates former Romney advisor to post

President Barack Obama today nominated Lanhee Chen, policy director for the Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board.

The White House notes that Chen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, lecturer in public policy at Stanford University and lecturer in law at Stanford Law School, was policy director for the Romney-Ryan campaign, as well as Romney's chief policy adviser and a senior strategist on the campaign. Chen also served as domestic policy director of Romney's campaign in 2008.

August 07, 2013

Romney: 'Exercise great care' when talking of government shutdown

Mitt Romney doesn't like the idea of a government shutdown fueled by Republican eagerness to cut off funding for the 2010 health care law.

Some Republicans have urged such a step, though others are discouraging it. Romney put himself in the latter camp, according to an Associated Press report from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, where the 2012 party presidential nominee spoke at a fundraiser.

"I badly want Obamacare to go away, and stripping it of funds has appeal. But we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government," Romney said, according to AP. "What would come next when soldiers aren't paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty?"

Romney added that "I'm afraid that in the final analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy. I think there are better ways to remove Obamacare."

To read the complete AP article:

July 22, 2013

Clinton, Christie tie in Iowa 2016 trial run

Iowa's been a swing state in presidential elections for years, and true to form, it looks like it could be that way again in 2016.

A new Quinnipiac poll released Monday found Democrat Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, tied with Republican Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, in a trial run. Each had 41 percent.

Each rolls up big margins among party loyalists, and split the independent vote.

Vice President Joe Biden, another possible Democratic contender, trails Christie, 49-32 percent.

The poll also matched the Democrats with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Clinton beats Walker, 46-39 percent, while Biden trails 42-39 percent.

Iowa is a key presidential election state. Not only is it traditionally the site of the nation's first party caucuses, it's been considered too close to call in general elections. Obama won the state with 54 percent of the vote in 2008 and 52 percent last year over Republican Mitt Romney

The poll also found Iowa voters disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing, 55-41 percent.

To read more click here.

July 01, 2013

Ky. Secretary of State Grimes will challenge McConnell for Senate seat

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will seek the Senate seat now held by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction," Grimes told an afternoon news conference, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

McConnell, first elected to the Senate in 1984, has been under fire from both liberals and conservatives. Democrats have painted him as having hung around Washington too long; conservatives say he's been too timid in pushing their agenda.

Grimes, though, faces an uphill fight. The Herald-Leader reports that McConnell has raised $13 million for his Senate bid. And McConnell will undoubtedly try to tie her to the Obama administration. Republican nominee Mitt Romney won 60 percent of Kentucky's presidential vote last year, while Obama took about 38 percent.

The Herald-Leader reported several other possible Democratic candidates are considering seeking the nomination, including former Miss America Heather French Henry and former state party chairman Bill Garmer. Actress Ashley Judd considered the race but elected not to enter.

To read more:

June 14, 2013

Republicans like Ryan, Democrats like Christie

Republicans really like Paul Ryan. But Democrats like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Those are key findings of a new Gallup poll released Friday. It tested the public's view of five potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates: Ryan, the 2012 party vice presidential nominee; Christie; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

"The five Republican officeholders currently appear to meet two minimum factors for a successful presidential campaign: they are generally well-liked by the Republican rank-and-file, and are more liked than disliked by the larger general population," said an analysis by Gallup's Jeffrey Jones.

But, he said, Christie and Ryan offer "interesting contrasts."

His analysis: "Ryan's high favorability among Republicans but lower favorability among the general public would position him to do well in the Republican primaries, but perhaps make him a less formidable general election candidate.

"Christie, on the other hand, would appear to be a stronger general election than Republican primary candidate, given his lower favorability among Republicans but higher favorability among Democrats and Americans more generally."

Continue reading "Republicans like Ryan, Democrats like Christie" »

May 03, 2013

Mass. Senate race could be closer than expected, new poll suggests

Rep. Ed Markey, the Democratic candidate for a Massachusetts' U.S. Senate seat "is the favorite, but it does look like this could be another closer than expected Massachusetts Senate special election," according to a new analysis and poll from Public Policy Polling.

Its first survey found Markey leading Republican Gabriel Gomez, 44-40.

"Gomez is starting out as a pretty popular candidate, with 41% of voters rating him favorably to 27% with an unfavorable opinion," the poll analysis said.

Gomez does well with independents. But, the poll found, "To put Gomez's 16 point lead with independents in context though, our final poll in the 2010 special election found (Republican) Scott Brown winning them by a 64/32 margin. So he still has a long way to go to replicate the formula that let Brown pull off that upset."

Some other poll findings:

To read more:

Continue reading "Mass. Senate race could be closer than expected, new poll suggests" »

March 28, 2013

Republican group finds support for changing immigration laws

Resurgent Republic, a center-right Republican group that includes a lot of big party names, found strong support for changing the nation's immigration laws in focus groups it conducted with party primary voters in Des Moines and Greenville, S.C.

“President Obama’s reelection victory, and Republicans’ shrinking support among non-white voters, has been a seminal moment for conservatives,” said Ed Gillespie, former Republican party chairman and now a Resurgent Republic Board Member.

Among the key fiindings, as described by the group in its own words:

"1.  These Republican base voters strongly support legal immigration. On this point, participants volunteer descriptors such as “freedom,” “opportunity,” “hard work,” and an ability “to make a better life for themselves.” Regardless of their individual positions on immigration reform, Republicans should open any discussion on this issue highlighting the benefits legal immigration brings to America.

2.   Immigration reform is not on the radar of the Republican base. They are following this issue from a distance, so Republicans seeking to pass broad based immigration policies need to make the case as to why this is necessary. They were aware that Republicans like former Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio are leading figures on this issue and in regards to potential plans, one Des Moines woman noted: “I’d like to see what Marco Rubio comes up with. I trust him.” (The groups occurred prior to Senator Rand Paul’s immigration announcement on March 19, 2013).

To read other findings:

Continue reading "Republican group finds support for changing immigration laws" »

March 22, 2013

Kohut: Republican conservatives "are far beyond the mainstream"

Veteran pollster and political analyst Andrew Kohut sees the Republican party leaning so far right it's handcuffing their ability to retake the White House.

In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Kohut, former Pew Research Center president, writes "In my decades of polling, I recall only one moment when a party had been driven as far from the center as the Republican Party has been today."

He sees little hope for change, seeing "little reason to believe that the staunch conservative bloc will wither away or splinter; it will remain a dominant force in the GOP and on the national stage.

But, he said, "at the same time, however, I see no indication that its ideas about policy, governance and social issues will gain new adherents. They are far beyond the mainstream."

As a result, the party faces a dilemma: "While staunch conservatives help keep GOP lawmakers in office, they also help keep the party out of the White House. Quite simply, the Republican Party has to appeal to a broader cross section of the electorate to succeed in presidential elections," Kohut said.

His research has found that "a bloc of doctrinaire, across-the-board conservatives has become a dominant force on the right. Indeed, it is their resolve and ultra-conservatism that have protected Republican lawmakers from the broader voter backlash that is so apparent in opinion polls."

The percentage of people self-identifying as Republicans has hit historic lows, Kohut said, "but that within that smaller base, the traditional divides between pro-business economic conservatives and social conservatives had narrowed. There was less diversity of values within the GOP than at any time in the past quarter-century."

And, he added, "According to our polling, three factors stand out in the emergence of the GOP’s staunch conservative bloc: ideological resistance to President Obama’s policies, discomfort with the changing face of America and the influence of conservative media."

While polarized news consumption is hardly new, Kohut found, "it’s been apparent in more than 20 years of data collected by the Pew Research Center. What is new is a bloc of voters who rely more on conservative media than on the general news media to comprehend."

To read more:

March 15, 2013

Romney urges conservatives to learn from his mistakes

Mitt Romney came to the conservative political action conference Friday to remind them he'd stand with them, and to urge them to learn from successful governors.

Romney, once regarded as a center-right governor of Massachusetts, told the conservatives, "you were there from the very start and made a difference for me. Your campaign gave me that early boost.  You worked on the front lines promoting my campaign.  You made calls.  I owe to each of you and appreciate your support and help through that campaign."

 He was somewhat reflective.

"We've lost races before in the past.  But those setbacks prepared us for larger victories.  It's up to us to make sure that we learn from our mistakes and my mistakes and that we take advantage of that learning to make sure that we take back the nation, take back the White House, get the Senate and put in place conservative principles," Romney said.

He offered this advice:

"Now, as someone who just lost the last election, I'm probably not in the best position to chart the course for the next one," Romney said.

"But that being said, let me offer this advice.  And perhaps because I'm a former governor, I would urge us all to learn lessons that come from some of our greatest success stories.  And that's 30 Republican governors across the country.

"They're winning elections, but more importantly, they're solving problems, big problems, important problems."

Here's more of Romney's remarks:

Continue reading "Romney urges conservatives to learn from his mistakes" »

December 23, 2012

Tagg Romney says his dad "had no desire" to seek White House

The Boston Globe's Michael Kranish has a detailed look at how and why Mitt Romney lost the November election:

What stands out is Romney's reluctance to engage with others at times, including his son Tagg saying his father was not eager to run for president.

Here's some of the piece:

"Romney’s inner circle of family and friends understood the candidate’s weakness all too well: He was a deeply private person, with an aversion to reveal­ing too much of himself to the public. They worried that unless the candidate opened up, he would too easily be ­reduced to caricature, as a calculating man of astounding wealth, a man unable to relate to average folks, a man whose Mormon faith put him outside the mainstream.

"Romney’s eldest son, Tagg, drew up a list of 12 people whose lives had been helped by his father in ways that were publicly unknown but had been deeply personal and significant, such as assisting a dying teenager in writing a will or quietly helping families in financial need. Such compelling ­vignettes would have been welcome material in almost any other campaign. But Romney’s strategists worried that stressing his personal side would backfire, and a rift opened ­between some in Romney’s circle and his strategists that lasted until the convention. More than being reticent, Romney was at first far from sold on a second presidential run. Haunted by his 2008 loss, he initially told his family he would not do it. While candidates often try to portray themselves as reluctant, Tagg insisted his father’s stance was genuine.

“'He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”'



"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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