August 10, 2012

Obama camp pushes back on welfare claim with a new ad

Republicans and the Romney camp have hit the Obama administration for three days running over a decision to offer flexibility to states in administering welfare -- a move the GOP says guts the welfare to work requirement hammered out in the 1990s between former President Bill Clinton and Republicans.

The Obama camp is up today with an ad that blasts the claim, citing the New York Times calling it "blatantly false" and Bill Clinton saying it was "not true." The ad is running in the battleground states of Colorado, Iowa, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.

The Romney campaign released an ad charging Obama with gutting welfare to work on Tuesday and the former presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have leveled the charge on conference calls with reporters. (Though Gingrich in a CNN interview acknowledged there was "no proof" that it would end welfare to work, just that it seemed like it was something Obama would want to do.)

May 15, 2012

Ron Paul campaign looks ahead, hopes for influence at convention

Ron Paul's presidential campaign is not over, his chief strategist said in a memo Tuesday. But he's also conceding that Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee.

"Dr. Paul is NOT ending his campaign," wrote Jesse Benton to the Texas Republican congressman's supporters, and is "in this race all the way to the Republican National Convention...."

Paul is the last major Republican to effectively end his nomination bid. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum dropped out previously.

The Paul campaign said it will no longer "invest" in upcoming primary states, but will "continue to run strong programs" at local GOP conventions. It hopes to win several more states, move into local leadership positions and head to the convention with "a solid group of delgates."

But, Benton said, "unfortunately, barring something very unforeseen, our delegate total will not be strong enough to win the nomination." 1,144 delegates are needed to nomiination, and Romney is close.

Benton noted that delegates can still hope to have influence on party rules and the party's future.

"Our campaign is presently working to get several items up for consideration," he said, "including monetary policy reform, prohibitions on indefinite detention and Internet freedom."

May 02, 2012

Romney, Paul praise Gingrich's spirit

Newt Gingrich's presidential rivals praised the former House Speaker Wednesday after he suspended his campaign, recalling his spirit and his energy.

“Newt Gingrich has brought creativity and intellectual vitality to American political life. During the course of this campaign," said presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in a statement. Gingrich did not formally endorse Romney Wednesday, but is expected to do so soon.

Romney had praise for Gingrich. "Newt demonstrated both eloquence and fearlessness in advancing conservative ideas," Romney said. "Although he long ago created an enduring place for himself in American history, I am confident that he will continue to make important contributions to our party and to the life of the nation. Ann and I are proud to call Newt and Callista friends and we look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead as we fight to restore America’s promise.”

Texas Rep. Ron Paul also had kind words.

"As he exits the race for the Republican nomination, I'd like to acknowledge my former colleague in the House Newt Gingrich for running a spirited campaign," said Paul, who remains in the GOP race.


"In particular, I want to thank the former Speaker for echoing my calls for monetary policy reform including a full audit of the Federal Reserve, steps that will bring America closer to lasting economic prosperity for middle-class Americans who bear the brunt of the dangerous and unjust inflation tax."

Obama campaign uses Newt Gingrich to bash Mitt Romney

The Obama campaign is up today with a web video that uses footage of the former House Speaker bashing Mitt Romney.

Gingrich is expected to throw his support to Romney today, but the Obama camp says the video illustrates that his support "comes with some awkward memories: from questioning the motivation behind Romney's Swiss bank account to calling Romney a liar, Gingrich has layered the presumptive nominee in criticism and disapproval."

April 25, 2012

Gingrich to leave presidential race next week, media reports say

Newt Gingrich will end his presidential campaign next week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

He's expected to leave the race Tuesday and probably endorse presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the paper, as well as other media sources, reported.

The former House Speaker sounded like the end was at hand during a breakfast in North Carolina Wednesday morning.

"We’ll be working out the details of our transition and we’ll have information for the press in the next couple days," he said. "But I am committed to this party. I am committed to defeating Obama. We will find ways to be helpful but I do think it’s pretty clear that Gov. Romney is ultimately going to be the nominee."

Here's the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story:







April 24, 2012

Romney easily wins five primaries; Santorum lags far behind in Pa.

Rick Santorum proved to be no threat to Mitt Romney in Tuesday's Republican presidential primary.

With 99 percent of the vote counted, Romney had 57 percent to 19 percent for Santorum, who represented the state in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2007.

Romney swept all five primaries Tuesday and was expected to get more than 200 Republican National Convention delegates. He began the day with 698, according to the Associated Press. 1,144 are needed for nomination.

Santorum left the race two weeks ago. Still running are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose best showing was a distant second in Delaware, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Paul's best result came in Rhode Island, where he got 24 percent.

But Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, topped 56 percent in all five states.

April 03, 2012

Santorum up by 6 in home state of Pennsylvania

Rick Santorum leads Mitt Romney, 41-35 percent, in Pennsylvania, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Pennsylvania, which holds its presidential primary April 24, is a crucial state for Santorum, a U.S. senator from that state from 1995 to 2007. He lost his re-election bid in 2006 by 18 percentage points.

The survey shows that while he's ahead in the GOP primary this year, the race is volatile. 37 percent of those who could name a candidate said they could still change their minds. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has a wide lead in GOP convention delegates.

To read full details:

Here's the text of the Quinnipiac release:


Favorite Son Rick Santorum leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 41 - 35 percent among likely voters in Pennsylvania's Republican presidential primary, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has 10 percent, with 7 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

With three weeks before the primary, 6 percent of likely voters remain undecided and 37 percent of those who name a candidate say they still could change their mind, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. This is the first look at likely voters and cannot be compared with earlier surveys of registered voters.

Santorum tops Romney 43 - 33 percent among men, while women split 39 - 38 percent. Santorum also leads 53 - 24 percent among white evangelical Christians, 50 - 32 percent among Tea Party members and 48 - 30 percent among self-described conservatives. Romney is ahead 45 - 29 percent among self-described moderates.

"The Keystone State is critical for Sen. Rick Santorum, the native son who must win to reasonably continue the race for the presidency," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Can Santorum hold on against Gov. Mitt Romney's money machine which has turned the tide in other states, washing away Santorum's early leads?

"Pennsylvania is a critical swing state, so the Republican primary winner wants to make a good showing in April to bolster chances for success in November."

By a 59 - 22 percent margin, Pennsylvania likely Republican primary voters have a favorable opinion of Romney, compared to 64 - 24 percent favorable for Santorum, a slightly negative 33 - 36 percent for Paul and a positive 44 - 39 percent favorable for Gingrich.

It's better for the Republican Party if Santorum stays in the race, 57 percent of likely primary voters say, while 33 percent say it's better for the party if Santorum drops out.

Pennsylvania likely Republican primary voters also see native son Santorum as more principled than Romney, saying:
  • 52 - 7 percent that Santorum has more honesty and integrity than most people in public life, with 36 percent saying about the same;
  • 25 - 14 percent that Romney has more honesty and integrity than most people in public life, with 55 percent saying about the same;
  • 49 - 8 percent that Santorum changes his position less often than most public figures, with 38 percent saying about the same;
  • 27 - 7 percent that Romney changes his position more than most public figures, with 60 percent saying about the same;
  • 49 - 41 percent that Santorum changes his position on issues because of politics rather than principle;
  • 74 - 17 percent that Romney changes his position on issues because of politics rather than principle.

March 21, 2012

Romney wins big in Illinois, other candidates head for Louisiana

Final Illinois Republican primary results: With 99 percent of precincts reporting, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has 46.7 percent. Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum had 35 percent.

Trailing were Texas Rep. Ron Paul, 9.3 percent, and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, 8 percent.

Gingrich heads to Louisiana Wednesday for four days of campaigning in that state, which holds its primary Saturday. Romney plans a visit to Arbutus, Md., a blue-collar Baltimore suburb.

Santorum plans three days of campaigning in Louisiana, starting Wednesday, while Paul plans two town hall meetings in Louisiana later this week.

March 19, 2012

Iowa GOP names panel to study caucuses mess

In the wake of its screw up of the Republican presidential caucuses, the Iowa Republican Party Monday named a special committee to review the way it counts the votes.

The 17-member panel, which will include the deputy director of elections from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, is an effort to clean up the mess from the Jan. 3 caucuses.

The party first reported that Mitt Romney won the caucuses, edging out Rick Santorum. Party officials at first denied reports that some counties did not count votes adequately.

Later, however, they said that some ballots would never be counted, and conceded that a closer count found that Santorum actually won. The party chairman resigned.

From the party’s statement Monday:

The Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) State Central Committee today approved the formation of a 17-member Iowa Caucus Review Committee and confirmed Chairman A. J. Spiker’s nominees to the committee.

The committee will be chaired by RPI Co-Chair Bill Schickel. Iowa Secretary of State Deputy of Elections Mary Mosiman will serve as committee co-chair.

“My challenge to the committee is to bring back recommendations that will build upon the most open and transparent presidential preference process in the country,” Spiker said.
“The purpose of the committee is to conduct a full audit and review of the Republican Caucus,” said Schickel. “We’re going to review what went right and what went wrong. We will fix what went wrong and promote what went right.”

The committee will hold its first meeting at 10 A.M. Thursday, April 26 in Des Moines. Future meetings will be held in other communities across the state.
Committee members will be assigned to sub-committees on public relations, operations and training. A research subcommittee will gather data and background information for the committee.

The committee and each of the sub-committees will be asking for ideas and suggestions from experts and ordinary citizens alike throughout the state and nation, Schickel said.

“Although this will be a review of the Republican caucuses, we will be acting in consultation with our colleagues in the Democrat Party,” Schickel said. “Having open, honest and transparent caucuses is in the interest of all Iowans.”


March 16, 2012

Obama to GOP: Get like Lincoln

In Chicago to raise campaign money Friday, President Barack Obama said Republicans should be a little more like Illinois Republican Abraham Lincoln, and support greater spending by the federal government.

“We have some guests in Illinois this week," Obama told contributors, noting the candidates vying for coming Illinois Republican presidential primary on Tuesday.

"There is actually some interest in the primary we have here on Tuesday. My message to all the candidates is welcome to the land of Lincoln because I am thinking maybe some Lincoln will rub off on them while they are here.

“We remember  Lincoln as the leader who saved our union. This is a president who in the midst of the civil war launched the Transcontinental Railroad, understanding that in order for America to grow, we had to stitch ourselves together."

“Lincoln, the first Republican president, knew that if we as a nation through our federal government didn’t act to facilitate these things then they likely wouldn’t happen and as a result we would all be worse off.   He said Lincoln  knew  “we are also one nation, and one people and we rise or fall together.”



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

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