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.)

July 16, 2012

Romney pollster says presidential race remains tight

Mitt Romney's campaign is fighting back hard Monday, accusing President Barack Obama of doing too many favors for his friends and donors, and insisting the presidential race remains too close to call.

Here are some details from a memo from Romney pollster Neil Newhouse, released Monday:

1.    Barack Obama V. 2012 is not keeping up with Barack Obama V. 2008.

Four years ago today, candidate Barack Obama led John McCain 47.0%-42.5% (+4.5%) in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.  Today, the race is even tighter for now President Obama.  The most recent Real Clear Politics average puts the race at 46.8% Obama-44.4% Romney (+2.4%). 

 And, for the incumbent President to be polling well below the 50% mark does not bode well for his re-election prospects.

 2.    The ballot is narrowing despite the Obama $28.7 million ad advantage.

 According to The Washington Post, since the unofficial start of the general election campaign on April 10 (when Senator Santorum suspended his campaign), President Obama’s campaign has run $51.4 million in paid television advertising, while the Romney campaign has run $22.7 million (after having spent $87 million in winning the GOP primary).  Of Obama’s $51.4 million, more than half of it has been in negative advertising.

What has that bought the Democrats?  A closer race – Obama has slipped and support for Gov. Romney has increased.

 3. After weeks of negativity from the Obama campaign, the ballot is within the margin of error.

The three most recent national polls (released since Friday afternoon), show the Presidential race to be a dead heat – Rasmussen has the race tied, while both the Gallup tracking and the recent McClatchy/Marist poll show President Obama with a two-point margin.

 If the point of the Obama negative onslaught is to undercut the Governor’s advantage on handling the economy, recent polling would indicate it has fallen short.  In the most recently released Washington Post/ABC News Poll (conducted July 5-8), Governor Romney leads President Obama 48%-45% on which candidate would better handle the economy.

If throwing the kitchen sink at Gov. Romney while leveraging a two-to-one ad-spending advantage doesn’t move numbers for the President, that’s got to tell you something about the state of the electorate: Voters are frustrated with President Obama’s failure to keep his promises from the 2008 campaign and don’t truly believe the next four years will be any different from the last three and a half. The Obama campaign’s misleading advertising can’t make up for the failed policies of this Administration.

 

June 17, 2012

Romney carefully addresses the immigration issue

Mitt Romney carefully answered a question Sunday about President Obama's Friday directive that in effect stops the deportation of thousands of younger people whose parents entered the country illegallly.

Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, told CBS' "Fact the Nation: "With regard to these kids who were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long term solution so they know what their status is."

Romney did not criticize the substance of Obama's act, but he did criticize Obama, saying he has had three and a half years to work on that solution but has done little.

But Romney would not say if he'd overturn Obama's directive. "We'll look at that setting as we reach that," Romney said. "But my anticipation is, I'd come into office and say we need to get this done on a long-term basis, not this kind of stopgap measure."

The Obama campaign was highly critical of this approach, issuing a statement saying it showed "a complete lack of political courage and leadership."

But former GOP rival Rick Santorum seemed to understand. He told CNN Romney "is trying to walk a line as not to sound like he is hostile to Latinos."

 

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 11, 2012

The senators who remember their mothers

Seems like almost every day was Mother's Day for Rick Santorum.

A Sunlight Foundaiton study, which searched the Congressional Record back to 1996,found that use of the words mother and mom has declined in recent years, and some of the big mentioners have left.

Santorum, a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007, "holds the all-time record for using the word 'mother,''' the study found. Santorum, a Republican, sought the GOP presidential nomination this year.

Running second is Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill.

But, Sunlight noted, "the Senate's deputy Democratic leader can claim another distinction: He may be No. 2 in our tally of the use of 'mother,' but he leads the field by a country mile when it comes to saying 'mom.'

"That makes him the clear leader in filial piety for the current Congress," the report said.

Other findings: Democrats have spoken more about "mother" than Republicans, but the parties are divided on using "mom."

Women, including Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both California Democrats, do well. But men appear to be most mom-friendly on the Senate floor.

The study by reporter Kathy Kiely found that "some of Congress' biggest momma's boys have, like Sen. Santorum, left its marble hall." Former Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, is among the top five members of Congress who used "mother" most often, while the late Sens. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., were 8 and 9.

To read the study: http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/2012/mommas-boy-santorum-holds-congressional-record-mentioning-mother/

 

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 09, 2012

Poll finds most GOP voters see Romney as nominee

Looks like most Republicans think the race for the party's presidential nominatino is over.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 5-8, found 74 percent of GOP and GOP-leaning voters said Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, will definitely be the nominee.

Twenty-one percent said someone other than Romney still has a shot. Romney swept three primaries last week, in Wisconsin, Maryland the District of Columbia. The next round comes April 22 in several states, including Pennsylvania, which chief rival Rick Santorum represented in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2007.

Another poll finding: By a 47 percent to 36 percent margin, more say it is a bad for the party, not good, that the nomination race has not yet been decided and is still going on.

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: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/pennsylvania/release-detail?ReleaseID=1731

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 26, 2012

Santorum argues his case

    Rick Santorum Monday took his case against the 2010 federal health care law to the Supreme Court.

    That is, he took it to the foot of the court. About half an hour after the court heard arguments relating to the law, the Republican presidential candidate appeared at the bottom of the court steps and argued against the law.

     As a swarm of media, onlookers and advocates on both sides surrounded him--making it nearly impossible to hear anything--Santorum railed against the law and against Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and Santorum's chief rival for the GOP presidential nomination.

            ""If you really want Obamacare repealed," Santorum, aformer U.S. senator from Pennsylvania said, "there's only one person who can make that happen."

            And it's not Romney, he argued, who signed into law a state health care measure similar to the federal overhaul.

            Romney has said it's up to each state how to design health care plans. But Santorum charged, "He defends Obamacare at the state level." And, Santorum noted, "He's not here. He's not making the argument."

           Santorum wasn't there very long either. After making his remarks, he was hustled into a Chevy Suburban van and left the scene.

March 22, 2012

Romney has big lead in Connecticut

Here's one state where Mitt Romney can probably count on a primary victory: Connecticut.

A new Quinnipiac University poll showed the former Massachusetts governor leading among Republicans with 42 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was second at 19 percent, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 13 percent and Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 9 percent.

Connecticut holds its primary April 24, the same day as New York, Rhode Island, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Connecticut Republicans have long had a reputation for being moderate and Romney, who governed Massachusetts as a center-right executive from 2003 to 2007, has had strong support there.

That support, though, hardly means Connecticut would turn to him in a general election. The poll found President Barack Obama would crush Romney, 53-37 percent. The poll was conducted March 13-19. Margin of error among Republicans is plus or minus 4.7 pecentage points. Margin of error for the entire sample is 2.4 percentage points.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

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

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