Afternoon Fix: Romney attacked over Ohio silence

at 05:16 PM ET, 10/25/2011

Mitt Romney is taking heat for his (lack of a) position on the Ohio union fight, Elizabeth Warren used to be a Republican, Newt Gingrich is Bruce Willis, and Rick Perry wishes people would stop asking him about that whole birth certificate thing.

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EARLIER ON THE FIX:

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is taking heat from some conservatives for declining to endorse two controversial referenda on a visit to Ohio — despite showing up at a phonebank for volunteers. Issue 2 would maintain legislation limiting collective bargaining for public employees; Issue 3 would bar health-care mandates. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign has piled on, saying in a statement that Romney is guilty of “finger-in-the-wind politics.” Romney’s office says that “citizens of states should be able to make decisions about important matters of policy that affect their states on their own.” What’s odd is that Romney did endorse the campaign earlier this year.

* Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren reveals in a new interview that she was a Republican until her 40s. (She’s 62 now.) “I was a Republican because I thought that those were the people who best supported markets,” Warren told the Daily Beast “I think that is not true anymore.” Warren also embraced the Occupy Wall Street protests, something Republicans quickly seized on. Warren is running against Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

* Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R), running for Senate, told a Las Vegas crowd that she felt left out by the way Republicans often refer to God. “I understand the strength of the Christian faith, but I’m telling you that it makes people feel excluded and not included,” said Lingle, who is Jewish. “They may never say anything to you, but I’ll tell you, they feel it, and when they feel it, they don’t join us.”

* At a press conference today, Perry seemed like he was no longer interested in talking about President Obama’s birth certificate. Maybe he was swayed by Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, who warned candidates to stay away from the conspiracy theory.

* Cain chief-of-staff and internet star Mark Block does not want you to smoke. “A lot of the people on the staff said ‘Just let Block be Block.’ That’s what it was all about.” he told Fox News today of his odd ad appearance. “I’m not the only one that smokes in America for God’s sake.” That said, he would advise people not to smoke.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Perry is challenging Romney to release his tax returns, on the same day Perry released a flat tax plan and called his rival a “fat cat.” Romney’s campaign says the former governor won’t even consider releasing the returns until next spring.

* Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told a crowd in Iowa yesterday that he’s like Bruce Willis’ character in the Sixth Sense, saying the “elite media” has written him off, but he will be resurrected. Not to spoil the movie, but this analogy does not inspire confidence in the Gingrich campaign.

* Romney is not attending the Iowa GOP’s Ronald Reagan dinner, on Nov. 4th in Des Moines. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Cain, Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Perry, and former Sen. Rick Santorum will all be there.

* There’s a fight brewing in Louisiana over newly-reelected Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to endorse state Sen. John Alario (R) as Senate President. Alario was a Democrat until last year, and many on the right see him as an example of old-school, corrupt politics in the state. Sen. David Vitter (R) has said he’s not crazy about the idea of Alario as senate president.

* The League of Conservation Voters has made a seven-figure television buy in Massachusetts to highlight the fact that Brown got a zero on the group’s environmental vote scorecard.  The ad will run on broadcast and cable in the Boston media market.

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