Mitt Romney is getting into the endorsements game, backing Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) over a primary challenger with the backing of the conservative Club for Growth.
Simpson's campaign announced the backing of Romney on Monday. Romney also sent a fundraising e-mail on Simpson's behalf alluding to groups like the Club targeting the incumbent.
Mitt Romney is building a new house in Utah, returning to the state where he helped lead the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
From the Deseret News:
Mitt Romney is once again going to have a home in Utah.
"Even though he's lived in different places around the country, I think we all count him as a Utahn. It's nice to see him back home," Romney's longtime friend Fraser Bullock said Wednesday.
Romney is building a new home in the Walker Lane area of Holladay and plans to live nearby while the house is being built, a source told the Deseret News Wednesday. Two of Romney's five sons live in Utah — Josh and Ben.
The two-time GOP presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor plans to split his time "pretty evenly" between Salt Lake City and his homes in La Jolla, Calif., near San Diego and a lakeside resort community in New Hampshire, the source said.
He will also spend time in his Boston apartment, located at his son Tagg's home there. Romney is the chairman of the executive committee of Tagg Romney's Boston-based investment firm, Solamere Capital.
This won't be the first time Romney has had a home in Utah. For years, he owned a Deer Valley vacation home where he stayed while running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He sold that house in 2009.
Mitt Romney, who has kept a low profile since failing in his quest for the White House, plans to resurface next week to ham it up with Jay Leno.
The former Republican presidential nominee will be Leno's guest on NBC's "The Tonight Show" on May 17, a publicist for the show confirmed Thursday.
Romney, who keeps a residence in San Diego, has appeared on Leno's show multiple times over the years, and the two developed something of a friendship. Romney last visited Leno's set in Burbank, Calif., in March 2012, amid the drawn-out Republican primary campaign.
Mitt Romney's path to Election Day had its highs and lows, but one moment stood out in particular: the day Romney approved a statement that accused President Obama of sympathizing with anti-American interests in the Muslim world. The statement was publicized before the GOP presidential nominee learned that attacks in Benghazi had killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The Washington Post's Scott Wilson and Phillip Rucker, in their story detailing both campaigns' strategies, write of that pivotal moment:
We screwed up, guys, Romney told aides on a conference call that morning, according to multiple people on the call. This is not good.
A senior adviser described Romney as "snake bit" by the incident. Read about how it played out here. Columnist Richard Cohen has a take on why Romney lost, and The Fix's Chris Cillizza offers up some lessons from 2012.
In a ballot initiative Tuesday, Maryland residents voted to legalize same-sex marriage starting next year.
The vote on Maryland's Question Six marked the first time voters decided by referendum to approve gay marriage. Other states that have legalized gay marriage have done so through state legislatures and the courts.
WINTER PARK, Fla. — How’s this for presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s attempt at wooing women voters: A once-possible first lady introduced the possible future first lady, who used the words of a former first lady in her campaign speech Wednesday.
Ann Romney visited this ritzy neighborhood outside Orlando Wednesday afternoon as part of a three-stop tour along Florida’s critical Interstate 4 corridor, which stretches from Tampa to Orlando.
The Biden-ism that came out of last week’s vice presidential debate was “malarkey.”
Recall Joe Biden rebutted Paul Ryan and the Republican ticket by referring to Ryan’s statements on Libya as “a bunch of malarkey.”
The term came up again at a rally in Reno Wednesday night, but it was not Biden who threw it out.
“We learned that Governor Romney lost his $5 trillion tax cut on the way to the debate,” Biden said. “Now, we learn that there is a tax plan that isn’t going to cost anything.”
“Malarkey! Malarkey!” the crowd shouted out. Biden smiled.
Romney “said don’t worry! But I worry,” Biden continued. “Because I’ll tell you what … all of the experts looked at this plan. And they said the only way he could cut taxes like he said was to raise the taxes of middle class taxes.”
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — Mitt Romney isn’t doing anything to spoil his good mood.
“What a beautiful day,” he said at a rally on the alumni green at Shawnee State University here in the state’s conservative south. “What a wonderful opportunity to be in Shawnee State.”
Everything seems like an opportunity these days for Romney. After waking to a Columbus Dispatch front page heralding “Romney on the rise in Ohio,” he huddled with his senior advisers and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) for another session of debate prep, hoping to repeat the Denver performance that injected life into his candidacy. In Portsmouth, he tilted his head and smiled as the crowd chanted “Romney, Romney, Romney.” Wearing a crisp white shirt and blue tie, he held a microphone in front of his stomach with his left hand and jabbed the air with his right index finger.
DAYTON, Ohio — With his running mate set to take the stage in Kentucky tonight, Mitt Romney is squeezing in one more debate prep session this morning before flying to North Carolina.
Campaign aides said that Romney is rehearsing again this morning with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has played the role of President Obama during debate rehearsals.
The GOP presidential candidate is scheduled to fly later Thursday to Asheville, N.C., where he will hold a 6 p.m. rally with Ronnie Milsap, a country music singer popular in the 1970s and 1980s for hits including “Smoky Mountain Rain” and “Any Day Now.”
After the rally, Romney plans to decamp to the nearby Grove Park Inn to watch GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan debate Vice President Biden. The picturesque mountainside resort is the same spot where President and Michelle Obama stayed during a couple’s weekend in April 2010.
Obama and Romney will debate again next Tuesday.
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mitt Romney will stop mentioning a former Navy SEAL killed in the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last month in his campaign speeches, according to aides, after the man’s mother said the GOP presidential candidate should stop invoking her son’s name.
“I don’t trust Romney. He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda,” Barbara Doherty said in a statement broadcast Wednesday on WHDH-TV in Boston. “It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Any U.S. involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria should focus on identifying “reasonable and responsible people” who could lead a new government and any American role in the situation “doesn’t mean sending troops or dropping bombs,” Mitt Romney said Wednesday.
“My own view is in a place like Syria for instance we should, through our partners in the region, work to identify dissidents within Syria that are reasonable and responsible people, try and coalesce, them bring them together,” the GOP presidential candidate said in response to a question during a town hall meeting here with factory workers.
Republican Mitt Romney cast President Obama as weak on foreign policy, lamenting Thursday that the United States was “at the mercy of events instead of shaping events” and promising a military revival that he said would bring “American leadership” to the Middle East and across the world.
Romney paid tribute to the four Americans lost in this week’s deadly assault on diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya at a campaign rally Thursday in Northern Virginia. The Republican nominee indirectly suggested that unrest overseas was a result of a president he portrayed as a weak commander in chief.
“As we watch the world today, sometimes it seems that we’re at the mercy of events instead of shaping events, and a strong America is essential to shape events,” Romney told an estimated 2,700 supporters at Van Dyck Park in Fairfax. “A strong America, by the way, depends on a strong military. We have to have a military second to none and that’s so strong no one would ever think of testing it.”
Romney rhetorically pressed the same themes of his statements Tuesday and Wednesday responding to the crisis overseas, but he only indirectly attacked Obama. Unlike in his earlier statements, Romney did not slam him by name Thursday in his discussion of foreign affairs.
“The world needs American leadership,” Romney said. “The Middle East needs American leadership. And I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and will keep us admired throughout the world.”
This story has been updated.
They’ve been talking about each other for months. On Wednesday, President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spoke to each other for the first time since the general election campaign has begun in earnest.
According to the White House, Obama called Romney just before noon to congratulate him on securing the Republican presidential nomination after he won the Texas GOP primary on Tuesday. Romney’s victory, coming after his leading challengers withdrew or suspended their campaigns over the past several weeks, gave him at least 88 more delegates, putting him over the 1,144 he needed to clinch the nomination.
“President Obama said that he looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America’s future, and wished Governor Romney and his family well throughout the upcoming campaign,” the White House said in a statement.
The call marked the first time the two men have spoken to each other since Obama was a U.S. senator more than three years ago, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
NEW YORK – Mitt Romney on Tuesday announced a team of education policy advisers that includes former education secretary Rod Paige and other top appointees from President George W. Bush’s administration.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Romney, who is attending a series of fundraisers in New York Tuesday, has not made education policy a focus of his campaign. But he plans to outline what he would do as president in an education policy address in Washington on Wednesday.
Romney is a proponent of expanding school choice – as governor of Massachusetts, he was a charter schools advocate -- and has been an outspoken critic of teachers’ unions.
Romney’s Education Policy Advisory Committee includes several prominent opponents of teacher’s unions, including Paige, who as secretary of education in 2004 labeled the National Education Association a “terrorist organization.”
Announcing the committee, Romney said in a statement: “Our education system is failing too many of our kids, and I look forward to working closely with these leaders to chart a new course that emphasizes school choice and accountability, the importance of great teachers, and access to quality, affordable higher education.”
Here are the advisers and their biographies, as provided by Romney’s campaign:
President Obama will wrap up the NATO summit in Chicago on Monday, then head to Joplin, Mo. to speak at a high school commencement as the city prepares to mark the first anniversary of the deadly tornadoes that struck it in 2011.
Mitt Romney has no public events scheduled.
Here’s your look at Obama’s schedule for May 21, from the White House Press office.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney and his wife have each given $75,000 to the Romney Victory Fund, the joint fundraising group that collects money for his presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee, campaign sources said Friday.
The amounts, first reported by CNN, are the maximum that outside individuals are allowed to contribute to Romney’s campaign, the RNC and four state-level committees that he has set up. The sources asked to be anonymous because the donation has not yet been publicly reported.
But Romney himself could actually give much more as a personal gift or as a loan to the campaign, though he has not indicated he will do so.
In 2008, Romney dipped into his personal money to contribute $45 million toward his unsuccessful effort to gain the Republican presidential nomination. Romney, who made most of his $250 million fortune as co-founder of the Bain Capital private equity firm, also used his own funds in his successful 2002 campaign to be Massachusetts governor and a failed 1994 bid to unseat the late senator Ted Kennedy.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) said Thursday that he believes gay couples should be allowed to adopt children, even as he reiterated his view that marriage is defined as a relationship between a man and a woman.
In an interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox Business Network, Romney was asked whether he believes the gay marriage debate is a new civil rights movement, as some Democrats have framed the issue.
“I don’t see it in that light,” Romney responded. “I believe my record as a person who has supported civil rights is strong and powerful. At the same time, I believe that marriage has been defined the same way for literally thousands of years by virtually every civilization in history and that marriage is by its definition a relationship between a man and woman.”
He added that “if two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship, even want to adopt a child — in my state, individuals of the same sex are able to adopt children. In my view, that’s something which people have the right to do, but to call that marriage is, in my view, a departure from the real meaning of the word.”
OMAHA, Neb. -- Speaking before an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred supporters here Thursday afternoon, Mitt Romney cited a Washington Post story -- about domestic energy production.
That was as close as the GOP frontrunner came to addressing either of the stories that have dominated the campaign over the past 24 hours: a report Thursday morning by The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz on pranks by Romney in high school that included cutting the hair of a student suspected of being gay, and President Obama’s move Wednesday afternoon to back same-sex marriage.
Romney spoke at length about the Post story in a Fox interview earlier Thursday. In his brief remarks at a riverside restaurant here, he instead stuck to his usual stump speech focused on jobs, the economy and energy production.
Today’s Trail Mix comes to you from Oklahoma City, where Mitt Romney was in town on Wednesday to raise money at the home of billionaire oil tycoon Harold Hamm.
At the end of March, Romney’s campaign had one-tenth the cash-on-hand of the Obama campaign. Can the presumptive GOP nominee catch up? We take a look:
FORT LUPTON, Colo. – Addressing workers on a vast oil production field here, Mitt Romney assailed President Obama’s energy policies as “out of date” and pledged to free up more domestic land for exploration.
Making his first visit to Colorado since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Romney told supporters in this critical general election battleground that he would lower energy costs and create more jobs in oil, gas and coal production.
“This is a choice for the American people: They can decide to stick with President Obama, and many feel he’s a nice guy. I don’t have a problem with the man personally,” Romney said. “But his policies are rooted in perspectives of the past. His ideas about energy are simply out of date. His other policies flow from the thinking of the liberals from years ago.”
Even as the nation’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.1 percent in April, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called Friday’s jobs report “terrible and very disappointing.”
The unemployment rate has been slowly ticking down over the past few months, but Romney is arguing that the recovery has been anemic because fewer Americans are actively looking for jobs. While the country added 115,000 jobs in April, Romney said Friday that in a “normal recovery,” each month would bring some 500,000 new jobs.
A Republican National Committee conference call Thursday morning aimed at putting the heat on President Obama instead devolved into a discussion of whether the Virginia Republican Party chairman intended to insult the residents of the Windy City by taking aim at Obama’s Chicago political roots.
On the RNC call, which comes as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney spends his second straight day campaigning in the Old Dominion, Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins described Obama as “a cold, calculating Chicago political operator.”
“Clearly, he was just selling us a heap of phony rhetoric,” Mullins said of the Obama of 2008.
Chicago’s reputation for bare-knuckle politics is well-known, and Republicans on the trail frequently make jabs at the city that is Obama’s political homebase.
But Mullins appeared to be caught off-guard Thursday when he was asked by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times to explain what exactly he meant by the phrase.
Mitt Romney came to a small warehouse in Northern Virginia on Wednesday and ticked through a litany of accusations about President Obama – that he doesn’t like businesses very much and is choking them with a medley of burdensome regulations and high taxes.
“What the president has done – and I think unknowingly, never having spent any time in the private sector himself… was one item after another [making] it harder for small businesses to thrive and to grow and to start up,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said.
Then, for the second time this week, Romney invoked former Democratic president Jimmy Carter, saying Obama has “the most anti-small business administration I’ve seen probably since Carter. Who would’ve thought we’d look back at the Carter years as the good ole days?”
Beginning a two-day campaign swing in Virginia, a critical general election battleground where Obama is planning a large rally on Saturday, Romney kept his message focused squarely on the economy.
NEW YORK – Mitt Romney on Tuesday accused President Obama of politicizing the one-year anniversary of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, saying “any thinking American would have ordered the exact same thing.”
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee congratulated Obama, the intelligence community and Navy Seals for the successful raid, and said the president “has every right” to take credit. But he lashed out at Obama and his re-election campaign for suggesting that Romney would not have given the same order under the same circumstances.
“Of course I would have. Any thinking American would have ordered the exact same thing,” Romney said in a live interview Tuesday on CBS News’s “This Morning.”
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney said Monday that he would have given the order to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Asked by reporters following a campaign event here whether he would have given the order to go after bin Laden, Romney suggested that any president would have made the same decision as President Obama.
“Of course. Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” Romney said, referring to the former Democratic president known for his reluctance to use military force.
On Sunday, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs insinuated in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Romney might not have given the order to kill bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Asked if Romney would have made the same decision as Obama, Gibbs said: “I don’t think it’s clear that he would.”
Other Obama supporters have made similar comments.
This story has been updated.
The memo comes as Romney kicks off a campaign swing at an Ohio university Friday afternoon, and days after Obama’s campaign advisers announced a slate of official campaign events on May 5.
Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, in the memo compared President Obama’s campaign to “one of those gyrating, intermittent lawn sprinklers, spewing out attacks in seemingly random directions, hoping to get somebody wet somewhere but hoping even more to talk about anything but the unemployment rate, federal debt, gas prices, or rising health insurance premiums.”
The same campaign advisers that have counseled Mitt Romney not to release several years’ worth of tax returns are counseling Sen. Scott Brown, who is running for re-election in Massachusetts, to do just the opposite.
Brown’s campaign plans to release six years’ worth of the Massachusetts Republican’s tax returns at the end of the week, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
And Brown’s campaign manager has penned a letter to Democrat Elizabeth Warren urging her to do the same.
STAMFORD, Conn. — In a rare political appearance Monday night, Ann Romney delivered a defiant defense of her years as a stay-at-home mother and described her decision to support a second White House run by her husband, Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee and former Massachusetts governor.
And when it came to the time she spent raising the couple’s five sons, the defense began even before she opened her mouth — an indication that the “mommy wars” won’t be receding from the political spotlight anytime soon.
“Yes, Ann Romney works very hard every day,” Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said to applause as he introduced her at the annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner.
Then, taking the lectern, Ann Romney delivered an at-times emotional 20-minute address during which she made the case that raising children is indeed hard work and also described her decision to go through “such an emotionally draining thing” as a presidential campaign yet again.
As the 2012 presidential election draws nearer, Mitt Romney and President Obama are ramping up their Twitter feeds to interact with followers and voters. We analyzed the candidates’ past 200 tweets to determine what subjects they’re tweeting about the most.
As the chart below shows, the @BarackObama Twitter account — maintained by staff of the campaign — has focused heavily on the Buffett Rule and women. The Twitter account frequently mentions latest news on campaign efforts and — tallied separately here — specific ways to donate to the campaign.
By far, the most mentioned subject on the @MittRomney account is President Obama. The Twitter feed makes frequent references to limiting Obama to a one-term presidency and issues where Romney and Obama differ.
ASTON, Pa. – If Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has an opinion on Sen. Marco Rubio’s scaled-back version of the DREAM Act, he’s not willing to share it just yet.
The act would grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants who were under the age of 16 when they were brought to the United States; hold a high school diploma; and have completed two years of college or military service.
“(Rubio) and I have spoken about his thinking on his version of a different act than the DREAM Act that’s been proposed in the Senate,” Romney told reporters here at a press availability ahead of his first joint event with Rubio, the GOP rising star and freshman senator from Florida. “The one that’s been proposed in the Senate creates a new category of citizenship for certain individuals. The senator’s proposal does not create that new category but instead provides visas for those that have come into the country that came in as young people with their families.”
“I’m taking a look at his proposal; it has many features to commend it but its something that we’re studying,” Romney added.
Updated, 3:40 p.m.
ASTON, Pa. — As the White House ramps up its push to woo young voters by urging Congress to head off a scheduled increase in student loan interest rates, GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney struck back Monday, throwing his support behind an extension of the current rates at a campaign event outside Philadelphia.
The former Massachusetts governor made the announcement at a press availability with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the first joint appearance of Romney and the Florida Republican whose name is often floated as a top choice for his running mate.
“There’s one thing that I wanted to mention, that I forgot to mention at the very beginning, and that was that particularly with the number of college graduates that can’t find work or that can only find work well beneath their skill level, I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans,” Romney said at the end of a seven-minute joint news conference with Rubio.
SOUTH PARK TOWNSHIP, Pa. — On the eve of the Keystone State’s GOP primary, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) delivered a withering critique of President Obama’s leadership on energy and the economy, telling a crowd of several hundred supporters who had braved unseasonably wintry weather that Obama is “a president who by his own measure has failed, and so he looks around for someone to blame.”
In a 20-minute speech at the headquarters of Consol Energy, a Fortune 500 coal and natural gas company, Romney sought to place responsibility for the country’s sluggish recovery squarely on Obama’s shoulders. And he contended that Obama’s move to “blame Congress” is moot because for Obama’s first two years in office, Democrats controlled Capitol Hill.
“So he’s out of ideas, and he’s out of excuses, and in 2012, we’ve got to make sure he’s out of office,” Romney said to loud applause from the early-morning crowd.
Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani endorsed his one-time political foe Mitt Romney for president Monday, saying that the former Massachusetts governor has won the Republican nomination “fair and square.”
Putting aside years of animosity with Romney following the 2008 presidential race, Giuliani said he met Romney for breakfast last week and, after pressing him on economic and foreign policy matters, concluded he would be the GOP’s best standard bearer.
“I think that Mitt has won fair and square,” Giuliani said during an interview Monday morning on Fox News. “He’s proven he’s the most effective Republican, he’s taken on everybody and won an incredible number of primaries, and he’s got the resume and background for the job.... Who better than Mitt Romney to carry our banner?”
PITTSBURGH — Mitt Romney may no longer face any serious opposition on his way to the GOP presidential nod.
But as he campaigns across the Keystone State ahead of its Tuesday primary, a different contest is coming into focus — the race to serve as the former Massachusetts governor’s running mate.
This afternoon, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) becomes the first potential VP pick to campaign alongside Romney since former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) bowed out of the race earlier this month. Romney and Rubio will appear at a town hall in Aston, Pa., just outside Philadelphia at 1 p.m. Eastern time.
A day after Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) said that Mitt Romney’s family came from “a polygamy commune in Mexico,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee defended his father in an interview with Fox News.
“My dad’s dad was not a polygamist. My dad grew up in a family with a mom and a dad and a few brothers and one sister,” Romney told Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron. “They lived in Mexico and lived a very nice life there, from what I understand, and then when he was 5 or 6 years old there was a revolution in Mexico. They escaped ... My dad had a very tough upbringing.”
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Mitt Romney assumed the mantle of GOP standard bearer in a symbolic visit here Friday to a gathering of Republican Party officials, framing the general election contest against President Obama even as he avoided laying direct claim to the Republican nomination.
At a meeting of the Republican National Committee in Scottsdale, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the party’s 2008 nominee, enthusiastically embraced Romney and exhorted Republicans not to “let an hour go by” that they are not working to mobilize voters to support Romney in November.
When Romney took the stage here, he spoke of the Republican primaries as history. The former Massachusetts governor thanked his GOP opponents, even reading aloud a list of their names, and commended them for the campaigns they ran.
“Each is going to play a vital role in making sure we win in November,” Romney said. But he made no mention of the fact that two of them, Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, remain active candidates.
An earlier version of this post incorrectly quoted President Obama’s reference to not being born with a silver spoon in his mouth. This version has been corrected.
After President Obama took a not-so-subtle jab at his Republican opponent Mitt Romney by saying, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” Romney on Thursday accused the president of “attacking people” when he should be “attacking problems.”
It’s Tax Day, and the presidential candidates are celebrating by doing battle over their respective tax proposals.
Today we take a look at President Obama’s tax rate versus Mitt Romney’s and how both stack up against the Buffett Rule, which was blocked by the Senate late Monday.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has tapped one of his longest-serving aides, Beth Myers, to lead his search for a vice presidential running mate, two campaign officials confirmed Monday.
Myers, a lawyer who served as chief of staff during Romney’s term as Massachusetts governor and who managed his 2008 presidential campaign, will oversee the vetting of potential running mates this spring. Myers, who has a long career in Massachusetts politics and has worked with Romney for 10 years, is one of his most trusted confidants and oversaw Romney’s preparation for the Republican primary debates.
The Keystone XL oil sands pipeline takes center stage on Capitol Hill -- again -- as congressional and campaign politics collide:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s camp seized on a Sunday morning interview in which Obama senior adviser David Axelrod appeared to suggest that the country’s economic recovery is not on the right path.
“The choice in this election is between economy that produces a growing middle class and that gives people a chance to get ahead and their kids a chance to get ahead, and an economy that continues down the road we are on, where a fewer and fewer number of people do very well, and everybody else is running faster and faster just to keep pace,” Axelrod told host Chris Wallace during a contentious interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Axelrod went on to argue that the country should “take that first route,” and later in the interview appeared to suggest that by “the road we are on” he meant “the same failed policies that were so disastrous in the last decade” and not the Obama administration’s current policies.
Still, the Romney campaign pounced on the comments and quickly circulated a Web video of the Axelrod interview under the headline, “Obama adviser David Axelrod makes the case for Mitt Romney for President.”
It’s Act Two in the GOP veepstakes drama.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) will campaign this weekend in Colorado on behalf of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor’s camp announced Friday.
Thune, a rising star who serves in the No. 3 spot in Senate Republican leadership, will hold a meet-and-greet with Colorado Republicans Saturday morning in Denver and will address the state GOP convention.
President Obama said Thursday that there is “no tougher job than being a mom” as he distanced himself from the remarks of veteran Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, who created a firestorm when she attacked Ann Romney’s decision to be a stay-at-home mom.
In an interview with an ABC television affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama sought to diffuse the budding controversy over Rosen’s comments on CNN on Wednesday that the wife of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had “never worked a day in her life.”
Obama told interviewer Bruce Aune of KCRG-TV9: “When I think about what Michelle had to do, when I think about my own mom, a single mom who raised me and my sister: That’s work. Anyone who would argue otherwise probably needs to rethink their statement.”
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) made the TV rounds Wednesday morning – and made a prediction that, come November, the Old Dominion will flip from blue to red.
“Is Virginia in play?” host Charlie Rose asked McDonnell during an interview on CBS’ “This Morning.”
“Absolutely,” McDonnell responded. “Poll came out yesterday had Romney up by 6. Others have it a little bit closer. But I certainly think it’s going to be competitive and I expect Romney to win. The last three election cycles in Virginia I won by 18, we’ve had other races Republicans have won. I think it’s tilting back to its right-of-center orientation.”
He added that while he expects Romney will win, “it’s going to take a lot of hard work.”
McDonnell, who is also chairman of the Republican Governors Association, announced his support for Romney in January and is frequently mentioned as a potential running mate for the former Massachusetts governor.
The Republican presidential race had a big shake-up Tuesday when former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) announced that he was suspending his campaign.
What happens next? We take a look in today’s Trail Mix video:
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) has yet to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, but that hasn’t stopped the vice-presidential speculation from already kicking into overdrive.
Will it be Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)? Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)? House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)?
There’s certain to be plenty of guesswork about the veepstakes from here to the Tampa convention this summer, but a bigger question looms over all the speculation: Does a candidate’s choice of running mate make a difference in the fall?
Today’s Trail Mix video takes a look:
President Obama and his top aides took aim at Mitt Romney Thursday night, calling on the likely Republican presidential nominee to release more of his tax returns and questioning whether he has used loopholes to avoid publicly disclosing more information about his personal wealth.
Seizing on a Washington Post report that Romney is using an exception in federal ethics laws to avoid disclosing the full extent of his investment holdings, Obama sent three tweets under his personal Twitter name attacking Romney. In his final tweet, the president wrote: “So what’s Romney hiding? Tweet @MittRomney to demand he release his tax returns. #WhatsRomneyHiding.”
In a statement, Messina accused Romney of having “put his personal financial assets in a black box and hid the key.” Messina called on Romney to release more than the two years of tax returns he released in February.
Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) may have plenty of political opportunities ahead of him — but a run as Mitt Romney’s vice president choice isn’t likely to be among them.
The reason? Santorum’s “softness under pressure,” former New Hampshire governor and top Romney backer John H. Sununu (R) tells National Review Online’s Robert Costa:
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Mitt Romney continued his fresh assault on President Obama here Saturday, again accusing Obama of promoting “a government-centered society” and questioning his commitment to American exceptionalism.
Opening a weekend of busy campaigning across Wisconsin before the state’s Tuesday primary, Romney ignored his two leading opponents for the Republican presidential nomination even though they spoke from the same stage at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s forum in this Milwaukee suburb.
Instead, Romney, who is trying to be seen as the presumptive GOP nominee, lashed out at Obama as he tried to frame what he sees as a general election battle for economic freedom and American revival, themes he rolled out in a speech Friday.
APPLETON, Wis. – Seizing the mantle of the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney on Friday sought to frame the general election contest as a battle to restore America’s promise and said the sputtering economy is the legacy of “Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society.”
In a formal speech here, the former Massachusetts governor delivered a passionate defense of America’s free enterprise system, which he said had been under attack by an administration that considered businesses as “the villain and not the solution.”
“In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, the government must do more because the economy is doomed to do less,” Romney said. “When you attack business and vilify success, you will have less business and less success.”
A state political action committee run by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave $10,000 to a conservative group that has come under scrutiny for plans to “drive a wedge” between African-Americans and gays, according to documents revealed Friday.
Free & Strong America PAC Alabama, one of a network of state-level PACs that has raised and disbursed money on Romney’s behalf, gave the donation in 2008 to the National Organization for Marriage, which at the time was working to pass Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in California, disclosure records show.
The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, argues that Romney disbursed the money through his little-known Alabama PAC in an attempt to avoid drawing national attention to the donation and said it could violate California disclosure requirements. The group said it first learned of the gift from confidential NOM tax records provided by a whistleblower, which listed the money as coming from a PAC address in Massachusetts.
The Romney campaign says the donation to NOM is hardly surprising given the candidate’s opposition to same-sex marriage and his avowed support for Proposition 8, which was approve by California voters.
“Gov. Romney believes marriage is an institution between a man and a woman and his PAC made a donation to a group supporting that view,” campaign spokesman Andrea Saul said Friday.
Less than 12 hours after Sen. Marco Ruibo (R-Fa.), a rising GOP star ,announced his endorsement of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor’s camp is up with a Web ad touting the move.
Former President George H.W. Bush will formally endorse Mitt Romney’s presidential bid on Thursday, becoming the latest establishment Republican to rally behind the GOP frontrunner.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul confirmed that Bush and Romney will huddle privately in Houston on Thursday and that the 41st president is expected to make his endorsement of the former Massachusetts governor at a joint event following the meeting. News of the endorsement was first reported by the Associated Press.
For months, there had been signals that a Bush endorsement of Romney might be in the works. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle in December, the former president offered strong words of encouragement for Romney, although he stopped short of officially backing him in the GOP race.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a top backer of Mitt Romney, is hitting the campaign trail for the former Massachusetts governor on Friday.
Christie will headline a 12:10 p.m. event at Elmhurst College, about 20 miles west of Chicago.
The Newark Star-Ledger notes that the event will mark Christie’s sixth appearance on Romney’s behalf.
The GOP presidential nominating contest is not a battle between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum – it’s a race between Romney and a deadlocked national convention.
So says former Missouri senator Jim Talent, a top surrogate for the Romney campaign.
In an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Talent framed the delegate race as one in which voters are faced with two distinct alternatives.
DeKALB, Ill. — Richard Waddell, a retired engineer and salesman of industrial storage equipment, might sum up the unexpectedly tight race in the Land of Lincoln.
A staunch conservative, Waddell is looking for someone to beat President Obama, first and foremost, but also wants it to be someone with great passion and intellect who will aggressively confront him. “I’ve been between a rock and a hard place,” Waddell said Tuesday afternoon at a senior center in this small town about 65 miles west of Chicago.
It’s a common spot for much of the electorate, as the race appears to be very close based on a recent Chicago Tribune poll that showed Mitt Romney leading Rick Santorum, 35 to 31 percent; a full 16 percent were undecided on any of the four remaining candidates in the race, with the potential to swing the race in either direction.
This story has been updated.
TOPEKA, Kansas -- Rick Santorum wants a one-on-one battle against Mitt Romney for the GOP nod -- and he’s stepping up his attacks on the Republican frontrunner in the hopes that a two-man race is what he’ll soon have.
In an address to more than 200 supporters in the atrium of a train station here, Santorum used some of his most scathing rhetoric yet against Romney, blasting the former Massachusetts governor as a false conservative and taking aim at his record on health care, spending and other issues.
As governor, Santorum argued, Romney was “for a government-mandated health insurance program. He was for adopting Romneycare as a national model.”
But in the 2012 campaign, he continued, Romney has disavowed his previous comments on the Massachusetts law.
“You know what, ladies and gentlemen?” Santorum said. “We already have one person who doesn’t tell the truth to the American people. We don’t need another. Governor Romney reinvents himself for whatever the political occasion calls for.”
He continued: “Trust. This election is about trust. Who do you trust?”
It’s International Women’s Day, so what better day to ask the question: Was there a gender gap on Super Tuesday?
The answer: Yes and no.
When it comes to how women and men split their votes in Tuesday’s Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia primaries, there’s not that big a difference, as The Post’s polling director, Jon Cohen explains. The votes of men and women in those states tended to differ by a maximum of only about 5 percentage points.
But when you dig a little bit deeper, the exit polls show some warning signs for former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
LENEXA, Kansas -- Rick Santorum is trying to turn the tables on the Romney camp’s suggestion that it would take an “act of God” for Santorum to come out ahead in the GOP delegate race, telling reporters here at his first campaign event since Super Tuesday that Mitt Romney must now believe that he’s God’s chosen candidate in the race.
“What won’t they resort to try to bully their way through this race?” Santorum asked reporters after addressing more than 200 supporters at a graphics company. “If the governor thinks he’s now ordained by God to win, then let’s just have it out.”
Hitting a familiar theme for his underdog campaign, he cast the dynamics of his race against the former Massachusetts governor as “the man versus the machine -- they’ve got the machine and they’ve got the insiders and the big money, and we’ve got the people.”
BELLEVUE, Wash. – Buoyed by fresh polling showing him gaining in some key Super Tuesday states and opening a lead nationally, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday looked past his GOP opponents and hammered President Obama
Rallying a large and enthusiastic crowd here one day before Washington state’s Saturday caucuses, Romney trained his focus exclusively on Obama as he delivered twin stump speeches, first to his primary rally venue and later to an overflow room.
“This guy is out of ideas and he’s out of excuses, so in 2012 we’re gonna get him out of office,” Romney said. “The reason he’s got to go is that he would take America in a place we wouldn’t recognize. He wants to fundamentally transform America. I want to restore to America the principles that made this the strongest nation on earth.”
In his Michigan victory speech, Mitt Romney depicted himself as the underdog who prevailed against the odds.
“The pundits and the pollsters -- they were ready to count us out,” the former Massachusetts governor told the crowd. “We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough and that’s all that counts.” True enough.
The candidate then segued into a standard stump speech with many familiar lines, with a couple clunky jokes (“We need a recovery from this so-called recovery”) and new promises (“I’ll get us that oil from Canada that we deserve.”).
It was a solid speech, but not as memorable and passionate as some of his previous primary-night rallying cries.
It’s the final countdown.
Today is primary day in the two big states before Super Tuesday, Arizona and Michigan. They’re both states that Mitt Romney had been expected to win easily – until Rick Santorum began gaining momentum among conservative voters as the “not-Romney” alternative.
Of the two, Michigan is by far the more competitive race – the candidates have been spending the bulk of their time there in recent days, and both Romney and Santorum hold their primary-night parties there tonight.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), one of the top Senate Republicans, has endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for president.
Alexander made the announcement to reporters Friday during early-voting in Tennessee’s Blount County, according to the Romney campaign.
The move lends Romney the backing of an influential two-term senator and former GOP presidential hopeful who until last month served as the No. 3-ranking Senate Republican. (Alexander voluntarily stepped down from the post, announcing in September, “What I’m giving up is a seat at the table for more independence.”)
Addressing the Detroit Economic Club Friday afternoon, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) reprised his familiar line that “the trees are the right height” and “the streets are just right” in his home state.
But he also made another statement that could draw him some unwanted attention: he told the crowd that his wife, Ann Romney, drives “a couple of Cadillacs.”
“This feels good, being back in Michigan,” Romney said. “You know, the trees are the right height. The streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pick-up truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. And I used to have a Dodge truck. So I used to have all three covered.”
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The next 24 hours could be the most decisive of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s political career.
The four candidates for the Republican presidential nomination square off Wednesday night in a CNN debate in Mesa, Ariz., their last debate before the Feb. 28 primaries in Michigan and Arizona and the Super Tuesday contests early next month.
If Santorum’s remarks at a Phoenix town hall Tuesday night are any indication, he plans to give a strong defense of some of his more controversial campaign-trail comments, trying to use the controversy that has flared in recent days to his own advantage and casting himself as a more authentic candidate than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Ohio attorney general and former Sen. Mike DeWine endorsed former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in Columbus Friday afternoon.
DeWine had previously endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. He is the most high profile defection from Romney’s campaign so far.
“You have to give people a reason to believe that under your leadership, America will be better,” DeWine said in a statement. “Rick Santorum has done that. Sadly, Governor Romney has not.
“For some time now, it has been clear to me that Rick Santorum should be the Republican nominee for President. To be frank, I’ve had some sleepless nights. I could not, in good conscience, beon record endorsing Governor Romney when I knew in my heart that Rick Santorum was the better candidate.”
DeWine had been a supporter of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty but backed Romney in October after Pawlenty left the race.
“I think he has both the ability to unite the party and have general election appeal,” DeWine said then of Romney. “I think the issue in this campaign is going to be jobs.
“I think people are going to feel a lot more comfortable with Mitt Romney being able to deal with this than Barack Obama.”
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) makes a campaign-trail return to his home state today, holding two events this evening in the Peach State ahead of its Super Tuesday primary.
Gingrich’s main rival for the non-Romney vote, former senator Rick Santorum (R-Ga.), is planning a visit to Georgia this weekend. In the meantime, Santorum is spending his Friday in two other big states – Michigan (where polls show him in a competitive race against Romney) and Ohio (where we’ll catch up with him later today).
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) on Monday condemned the attempted attacks on Israeli diplomats in New Delhi and Tbilisi, arguing that the U.S. “can’t afford to waver in our support for our closest ally in the Middle East.”
“Today’s acts of terrorism against Israeli diplomats underscore the perilous nature of the world we live in,” Romney said in a statement. “And they underscore the need to stand by our allies in the fight against jihadism. The war against Israel is a war against all democracies, including our own. We can’t afford to let down our guard.”
ATLANTA, Ga. – Oops.
Mitt Romney made a minor slip-up at a campaign event here Wednesday afternoon when he mixed up the name of a pipeline project favored by Republicans and the name of the Obama abminsitration-backed solar firm that the GOP argues has become symbolic of the White House’s failed policies.
“My course for America is to become energy secure and to open up that Solyndra – that, that pipeline, excuse me, the Keystone pipeline,” Romney told about 400 supporters at a stone importing company in northern Atlanta. “Not Solyndra. ... The Keystone pipeline to get energy here in this country.”
EAGAN, Minn. – Mitt Romney took the stage at a boisterous rally Wednesday and got glitter bombed, veered into a stand-up riff about his hair and belted out an entire verse of “America the Beautiful.”
And he hadn’t even made it to Las Vegas yet.
Romney landed in Minnesota ready to take on the trappings of the Republican presidential front-runner. As he walked to the stage inside a warehouse here, a gay rights activist who said he was from the group “Glitterati” threw a cup of glitter on the former Massachusetts governor. The glitter poured over his hair, stuck to his face and shimmered from his navy blazer.
With his intro music, Kid Rock’s “Born Free,” still playing, Romney cried out for the activist from the stage. “Wave your hand over here, who threw the glitter?” Romney said. “There he goes. Hi there. How are you?… Hey listen, guys, I am delighted to be here with you. This is an exciting time.”
It’s in the 70s and sunny in Tampa Bay as Florida voters head to the polls for the biggest Republican primary contest so far in 2012. Here are our top five factors to watch as exit poll results start rolling in early this evening. Make sure to follow the Post’s Election 2012 blog for live updates (including exit poll analysis) throughout the night. We’ll also be tweeting the results @PostPolls.
1. Electability – Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich each says he is the best candidate to take on Obama. In each successive contest, more Republican primary voters say beating Obama is the top attribute – 31 percent in Iowa, 35 in New Hampshire, 45 percent in South Carolina. “Electability voters” overwhelmingly supported Romney in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the tables turned in South Carolina, with Gingrich winning these voters by a 51 to 37 percent margin. The exit poll results will shed a bright light on who is winning the electability vote.
2. And the debate winner is? Gingrich owes his South Carolina landslide to stellar debate performances heading into the state’s primary. Two in three voters said debates were important, and Gingrich won those voters by 50 to 23 percent over Romney.
The winner of Florida’s two debates was less clear, though Romney was widely credited for upping his game, offering a vigorous defense of his investments and tax returns. Who won the debates and did they matter? Tonight’s exit poll will help answer that question.
PENSACOLA, Fla. — Before Mitt Romney uttered a word at his campaign rally here Saturday morning, his surrogate sidekicks seemed to have stolen the headlines.
Actor Jon Voight declared that President Obama had decided to “take us to socialism.” Then Sen. John McCain turned to Voight, who played a villain on the TV counterterrorism series “24,” and said: “I was frightened the whole time. … Wasn’t [Voight] a threat to America and the world? … Jack Bauer killed him three or four times, thank God.”
McCain recalled his time in Pensacola as a mischievous young Navy pilot spending his entire paycheck at “cultural institutions here.” With that, he had a crowd of hundreds filling the balconies and waterfront deck of the Fish House in stitches. And then the 2008 GOP presidential nominee noted that following Voight and other introducers onstage made him “feel a bit like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s fifth husband — [who] on [their] wedding night said: ‘I know what I’m supposed to do. I just don’t know how to make it interesting.’ ”
Romney thought McCain was more than interesting enough. “I thought we brought only one actor and comedian here today,” the former Massachusetts governor said, following his onetime rival at the podium. “Gosh, that was quite a repartee there, Senator. That was fabulous. I don’t know how this city has survived without your paychecks coming in every week. I hear stories!”
MIAMI -- Republican Newt Gingrich said Friday that the reason he seemed less combative during Thursday’s televised debate was that he was shocked by what he described as rival Mitt Romney’s “total dishonesty” on immigration, his vote for Democrat Paul Tsongas in 1992 and whether he knew about an ad his campaign is running against Gingrich.
“I think it’s the most blatantly dishonest performance by a presidential candidate I’ve ever seen,” Gingrich said in a telephone interview. At several moments during the debate, Gingrich simply leaned away from his lectern and looked down at his feet because he was so stunned by some of Romney’s statements, he said. He didn’t engage Romney at the time, he said, because “I wanted to fact check. I wanted to make sure he was as totally dishonest as I thought he was.”
Gingrich’s remarks come at a moment when his fortunes in the Republican presidential race are falling. A new poll shows that Romney has pulled into the lead in Florida, which will hold a crucial primary on Tuesday. Gingrich has lost much of the momentum he brought to Florida after his landslide victory in South Carolina a week ago, and Romney’s strong performance in Thursday’s debate didn’t help.
A better-than-expected jobs report did not stop former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney from hammering President Obama on jobs at a campaign stop in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Friday morning.
“He has failed to put Americans back to work,” Romney told an enthusiastic crowd of a couple hundred. “This president, I don’t think, understands how the economy works. I think he believes in something called crony capitalism.”
WATCH: ROMNEY CRITICIZES OBAMA’S LEADERSHIP
Romney did not mention the new jobs numbers. According to the Labor Department, the economy added a net 200,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009. But he noted that unemployment went above 8 percent under Obama and “hasn’t been back since.”
Sen. John McCain said today that it was “foolishness, it’s stupid,” to dwell on his past criticisms of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
“We came together immediately after the campaign was over” in 2008, McCain told The Post after appearing with Romney in Charleston, S.C. He endorsed his 2008 rival Wednesday. “Thats a tradition we have. To make anything else out of it is foolishness, stupid.”
Jon M. Huntsman was supposed to be the optics guy.
On Monday morning, Huntsman gave his second big speech since announcing, this time on his foreign policy doctrine, bringing to mind the oh-so-important campaign art of stagecraft in which candidate Obama exceled in 2008.
The speech came three days after Mitt Romney, the front-runner gave his own foreign policy speech in South Carolina.
Now, compare this:
MILFORD, N.H. – Mitt Romney tried to present himself here Monday as an advocate for the middle class, saying that he is “not runni
ng for the rich people,” but to help working people struggling through the prolonged economic recession.
“Look, I’m not running for the rich people,” Romney said at a town-hall meeting in Milford. “Rich people can take care of themselves. They’re doing just fine. I’m running for middle-class Americans…. I want to help the people who’ve been hurt by the Obama economy.”
The former Massachusetts governor, who heads into Tuesday’s Washington Post-Bloomberg debate as the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, also trotted out a new line to blame the country’s economic ills on President Obama.
“In some respects, the Obama economy is the Where’s Waldo economy,” Romney said, referring to the popular children’s book series. “Finding a good paid job in this economy is harder than finding Waldo in one of his books.”
The Democratic National Committee took its shot Monday at Mitt Romney, previewing what will be a central theme of its attack on the current front-runner with a Mitt-Can’t-Seem-To-Make-Up-His-Mind video game of sorts called “Which Mitt” (bumper stickers can’t be far behind).
And now Perry is in on the action with a slick health-care themed video backed by doomsday music, an endorsment of the plan by former President Jimmy Carter, a shout-out by President Obama and the late Tim Russert wielding a pair of flip flops in an interview, as if the viewer didn’t get the point.
The DNC is out this morning with a video game of sorts hitting Mitt Romney for changing his position on key issues. With the WhichMitt web site, the DNC has put together a quiz and video links of Romney answering questions on abortion rights, Obama’s economic stimulus package and auto bailouts.
“The WhichMitt campaign will help make sure the public and the press knows when it comes to Mitt Romney, he’s like a box if chocolates - you never know what you’re gonna get,” DNC press secretary Melanie Roussell said in a statement.
For his part, in responding to the flip flopper charges, Romney has taken to saying this: