May 15, 2013

Boehner spokesman reacts to White House email release

Here's reaction to the White House release of Benghazi emails from Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

"The House interim report found that senior State Department officials requested the talking points be changed to avoid criticism for ignoring the threat environment in Benghazi’ and that those changes were ultimately made.

"Those findings are confirmed by the emails released today, and they contradict statements made by the White House that it and the State Department only changed one word in the talking points. The seemingly political nature of the State Department’s concerns raises questions about the motivations behind these changes and who at the State Department was seeking them.

"This release is long overdue and there are relevant documents the Administration has still refused to produce.  We hope, however, that this limited release of documents is a sign of more cooperation to come.”


July 17, 2012

Romney getting closer to Obama in New Hampshire

Mitt Romney is getting closer to President Barack Obama in New Hampshire, one of the nation's swing states in this fall's presidential election, according to a new WMUR Granite State poll.

Obama leads Romney, 49-45 percent, in the latest survey. In April, Obama had a 9 percentage point lead over the Republican presidential candidate.

The survey found "Obama and Romney are locking up their partisan bases." Obama is backed by 89 percent of the state's Democrats, while Romney, who has a home in Wolfeboro, N.H., is supported by 86 percent of Republicans.

The poll also found a gender gap. Women prefer Obama by 14 percentage points while men favor Romney by 6 percentage points. The July 5-15 survey has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. 521 people were surveyed.


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.”


February 04, 2012

I'll trade you a Rick Perry for a Newt Gingrich

Just in time for the rest of the caucuses and primaries, trading card manufacturer Upper Deck is releasing "World of Politics" trading cards featuring the presidential contenders: from still-in-the-running President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum to also-rans like Rick Perry and Herman Cain.

The California-based company says nine subjects will be featured in all: "With so much attention around the 2012 election, we thought it was only fitting to produce a set of cards that would help pay tribute to all the highs and lows of this presidential race by capturing the top candidates on cardboard," said Jason Masherah, Upper Deck's marketing veep. The cards will be released Feb. 21.

It's not Obama's first time on a trading card: the trading card company released a caricature of Obama after he won in 2008. 

Perry NewtObama

January 19, 2012

Rick Perry endorses Newt Gingrich: "Not perfect, but who among us is?"

The Texas governor -- who once was expected to be a giant slayer in the GOP race -- dropped out of the race today and endorsed Newt Gingrich for president.

"We need bold, conservative leadership that will take on the entrenched interest and give the American people their country back," he said. Of Gingrich, he noted, he's "not perfect, but who among us is?"

Perry, who came roaring out of the gate, but stumbled during debates, said he came to the conclusion there as no "viable path" for him in the race. He says he's taking Sam Houston's advice and beating a "strategic retreat."

January 11, 2012

Romney, Paul dismiss critics

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, who finished 1-2 in Tuesday's New Hampshire Republican primary, were upbeat Wednesday as they criticized their critics.

"I've g ot a good start. I've got an uphill climb in South Carolina ahead of me but it could not have worked out better last night," Romney told NBC's "Today Show."

He was not pleased with the recent attacks from fellow Republicans. "I think it's something we expected to come from President Obama. We didn't expect that Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry would become the witnesses for his prosecution, if you wil," Romney said.

Paul scoffed at talk that he's not electable.

"I've been electable. I've won 12 elections already and we're doing quiet well now," the Texas congressman said.

Of his rivals, Paul added, "They're all in fourth, fifth and sixth place and they're all electable? I don't know how that adds up."

He also dismissed talk conservatives should unite around one alternative to the center-right Romney.

"Why should we coalesce behind conservatives  who aren't conservatives? I don't know why people don't understand this," Paul said.


January 09, 2012

Many GOP voters lukewarm toward White House hopefuls

A lot of Republican voters aren't crazy about their presidential field.

A new Pew Research Center survey found 51 percent of GOP or GOP-leaning registered voters rated their candidates excellent or good. 44 percent said they were fair or poor.

Four years ago, there was more enthusiasm. In January 2008, 68 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners liked their field.

This year's survey was conducted Jan. 4-8. 1,507 adults were polled, including 549 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney led, with 27 percent, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen.  Rick Santorum and and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, each with 16 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul has 12 percent.

January 04, 2012

McCain expected to endorse Romney

Sen. John McCain is reportedly going to endorse Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination later Wednesday.

The Arizona senator defeated Romney in 2008 for the GOP nod. McCain beat Romney in the New Hampshire primary that year, effectively ending the former Massachusetts governor's effort.

A McCain endorsement would be a huge boost for Romney. McCain has been popular in New Hampshire, site of the Jan. 10 primary. He also won the 2000 primary, defeating George W. Bush.

Romney is scheduled to leave Iowa Wednesday morning and address a rally at Manchester's Central High School in early afternoon.

January 02, 2012

Romney, others will campaign in S.C. this week

Looks like some candidates will take a detour to South Carolina this week, as the presidential action moves from Iowa to New Hampshire.

iowa's Republicans caucus Tuesday night, and New Hampshire voters go to the polls in the nation's first primary a week later.

But South Carolina holds its first in the South primary Jan. 21. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a full South Carolina schedule starting Wednesday, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is also expected to head there this week.

IThey'll be joined by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a heavy favorite to win New Hampshire. Romney's campaign announced Monday night he'll host a campaign event in Charleston Thursday afternoon and another Friday morning in Myrtle Beach.

January 01, 2012

Romney has big lead in new New Hampshire poll

Mitt Romney has opened up a big lead among New Hampshire Republicans as that state's first-in-the-nation primary draws closer, a new Suffolk University poll released Sunday night has found.

The poll showed Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. leading with 41 percent of the vote, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 15 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 11 percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 9 percent. Trailing were former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who is surging in Iowa polls, as well as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Huntsman has skipped Iowa, which holds the nation's first GOP caucus Tuesday, but has made little headway in New Hampshire.

“There is only one candidate who can win both Iowa and New Hampshire,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center.  “That candidate is Mitt Romney.  Although the 16 percent undecided is high right now, it is unlikely that Romney will lose New Hampshire, despite what Iowa voters may do.”

The survey polled 500 likely voters on Dec. 30 and 31. Margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.


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

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