GOP pollster Whit Ayres told the Christian Science Monitor the “tone” of the immigration debate has damaged the image of the Republican party among Latino voters.
Said Ayres: “It is pretty obvious that we can’t continue to lose Latinos two to one as we did in 2008 and remain competitive as a national party. If we don’t do better among Latinos, we are not going to be talking about how to get back Florida in the presidential race, we are going to be talking about how not to lose Texas.”
A Fox News Latino poll released this week found that Latino voters favor Obama by six-to-one over any of his possible Republican presidential challengers.
“I realize it’s a bit of an away game, but I also think we’re going to pick up some support in the states that remain this month.”
– Mitt Romney, in an interview on WAPI, on the upcoming presidential contests in Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama.
The Cincinnati Enquirer profiles the winner of the Democratic nomination in Ohio’s 2nd congressional district.
“William R. Smith is the invisible candidate. No one has seen him; no one has heard him speak.. There is no evidence that Smith campaigned a lick… Federal Election Commission reports show Smith has spent no money on the campaign.”
And, of course, he was not available for an interview.
Even though William Smith (D) spent no money and did no campaigning to win the Democratic nomination in Ohio’s 2nd congressional district, the Cincinnati Enquirer found a group calling itself the “Victory Ohio Super PAC” apparently made “robo-calls” touting Smith as the “real Democrat” in the race.
However, the FEC has no record of the group so “it’s not clear who was behind the calls, or who paid for them.”
Here’s audio of the robo-call.
Donald Trump will be recording robo-calls on behalf of Mitt Romney for every state, ABC News reports.
Said Trump spokesman Michael Cohen: “Citizens of all states should expect a phone call from Mr. Trump endorsing Mitt Romney.”
Harvey Weinstein said that President Obama recently sent him a film idea — which he passed on, according to The Wrap.
Said Weinstein: “The President sent me a book the other day and said ‘Why don’t you make this into a movie?’ I can’t tell you [what it was]. It was a spy novel.”
Chuck Hassebrook (D) dropped out of the race for the U.S. Senate in Nebraska and endorsed Bob Kerrey (D) in a joint appearance, the Omaha World Herald reports.
Hassebrook jumped into the race when Kerrey initially said he would not run and then said he would remain in the race “no matter what” as Kerrey reconsidered.
Said Hassebrook at the time: “Bob Kerrey is a man of integrity. He told me as recently as a few days ago that he would assist my campaign. I gave up my seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents based on his word. I do not believe he would go back on it.”
But today, Hassebrook ceded the nomination to Kerrey.
President Obama’s re-election campaign is set to unleash Vice President Biden on the heartland next week where he “will deliver four major speeches in various battleground states, starting in oh-so-crucial Ohio. His aim, according to an anonymous campaign aide, is to lay out the issues that will define the general election,” Michelle Cottle reports.
“Whatever your politics, you’ve got to love it when Biden gets out and about. The famously unscripted, undisciplined, verbally incontinent VP tends to offer a little something for everyone.”
A Smart Politics review of presidential primary contests finds that Newt Gingrich’s 47.2% performance in Georgia was tied for the second lowest support for a major Republican presidential candidate in his home state since the 1972 cycle, and tied for the lowest number for a winning candidate.
The worst home state performance for a Republican was Pat Robertson in Virginia in 1988
The New York Times takes a good look at how PresidentObama’s re-election team “is sifting through reams of data available through the Internet or fed to it by its hundreds of staff members on the ground in all 50 states, identifying past or potential supporters and donors and testing e-mail and Web-based messages that can entice them back into the fold.”
“The president’s re-election base here looks more like a company than a campaign… Having spent $48 million already, the campaign invested heavily in its effort to find and reconnect with past donors and volunteers, as well as identify potential supporters, and to entice them all to engage, through small donations, say, or by volunteering for one of the thousands of neighborhood ‘teams’ the campaign is seeking to build across the nation.”
Jonathan Chait points outs that Republicans have “increasingly coalesced around the a defense of public services for its core constituency at the expense of others.”
“The glue holding together the contemporary Republican agenda — the fierce defense of entitlement spending on the elderly, the equally fierce opposition to welfare spending on the young, the backlash against illegal immigration, the nationalist foreign policy, the cultural traditionalism — is ethnocentrism. Republicans are defending the shared cultural prerogatives of a certain group of people. That is why I am arguing that the shifting demographic tides will require the GOP to undertake a major reorientation in order to maintain its competitiveness. There’s simply no way to transpose their sense of what is and what is not a legitimate government function onto a progressively younger, browner electorate. (Latino voters overwhelmingly support Obama’s health care reform.) Their conception of us versus them can work for a while — it worked quite well with the anomalously old, white 2010 off-year electorate — but the them is rapidly outnumbering the us.”
Joe Klein: “In 2008, Barack Obama was able to turn his primary-night victories, and even a few of his defeats, into operatic gusts of wonderment. Eventually he went too far, slouching toward pomposity: ‘We are the ones we’ve been waiting for’ was a rhetorical bridge to nowhere. But watching him win was fun. Watching Mitt Romney win is as joyous as arthritis. And like Obama, Romney now has his own election-night brand: the bummer victory. He has had nights of sheer triumph, as in Florida. But more often, it’s been like Super Tuesday: a handful of expected wins, on home turf like New England and the Mormon West; a handful of dreadful losses, in places like moderate-conservative Tennessee; and a signature squeaker, in Ohio, following similar performances in Iowa and Michigan.”
Some economists think quirks in jobless data mean the perception of a recovering economy could stall out soon, Reuters reports.
“Several Wall Street economists believe the government is mismeasuring seasonal shifts in the labor market, and suggest the jobless rate’s sharp winter drop was partly an illusion. If their research is on the mark, the unemployment rate could change little in the coming months as pay back, robbing the Obama campaign of what otherwise might have been steady progress in the lead up to the election.”
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Ken Ard (R) may soon be indicted by a grand jury for campaign finance violations, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.
“The State Ethics Commission accused Ard of 92 violations, including using campaign money for personal purposes. He paid the second-highest ethics fine in the state’s history.”
Politico: “They don’t make national policy anymore. They can’t earmark money for communities back home. The public hates them. And perks little and big, from private jet travel to a little free nosh now and then, have been locked down by ethics rules.”
“As they head for the exits this year, many leaving Congress say the prestigious job of being a congressman sucks now, and that’s why lawmakers young and old are trading in their member pins for a new life in the private sector.”
Rick Santorum’s ballot problems keep getting worse, ABC News reports.
After failing to appear on the ballot in Virginia and losing his chance at more than a quarter of the delegates in Ohio, Santorum now faces similar problems in Washington, D.C. and Illinois.
Santorum will not be on the ballot in D.C.’s primary because the campaign did not pay the $5000 fee, nor did he request a petition for signatures. In Illinois, Santorum failed to file slates of delegates in a handful of congressional districts, similar to his problem in Ohio.
First Read: “If you’re Mitt Romney, you have to feel pretty frustrated. Political observers (including your authors here) told him he had to win his native state of Michigan, and he won Michigan. They told him he had to win Ohio, and he won there, too. And they set the bar at him obtaining a majority or a near-majority of delegates on Super Tuesday, and he achieved that as well. So why isn’t this race over? One possible answer: He’s getting penalized in the media and among Republicans for the competition he’s facing. It would be one thing if Romney were eking out narrow victories against Rick Perry or Tim Pawlenty, candidates with (at the time they were running) a serious campaign infrastructure and money or the potential for it. But it’s another thing to narrowly win against candidates who don’t have a true organization, who aren’t well funded, and who don’t have a bustling campaign headquarters.”
The Obama campaign released a trailer for the 17 minute “documentary” they’ll put out next week explaining the crisis atmosphere the new administration faced in early 2009.
Greg Sargent: “There, in a nutshell, is the question that will define this presidential election. If Americans cast their vote as a referendum on the conditions of the economy on Election Day 2012 — on ‘the day’s headlines’ — Obama could be denied a second term. But if the Obama team can persuade them to take a longer view — to relive the horrific economic carnage that reigned in the wake of the meltdown, to understand how difficult and dangerous an operation it was was to pull the country out of its nose dive, and to appreciate that his policies have put us on track to better days ahead — then he is likely to be reelected.”
A new super PAC is going after incumbents — “of any ideological stripe, anywhere in the country,” the Washington Post reports.
The Campaign for Primary Accountability “is targeting longtime incumbents in House districts that are otherwise safe for their party. Group leaders say these long-term lawmakers who face scant competition have created a ‘permanent political class’ that has poisoned politics.”
A senior campaign adviser to Mitt Romney to ABC News:
“As you can tell all we have to do is keep doing what we’re doing and we can get to the nomination. For those guys it’s going to take some sort of act of God to get to where they need to be on the nomination front.”
After already conceding the Kansas caucuses this coming weekend, Newt Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told the Wall Street Journal that Alabama and Mississippi, which vote March 13, are must-wins if Gingrich is to remain credible as a presidential candidate.
When pressed if Gingrich “has to win” those states, Hammond responded, “Yes.”
Andrew Sullivan: “There doesn’t seem much wriggle room in the quote. So if Santorum wins those states, as he well might, we’re into a three-man race. And it could be an even worse month for Romney than he imagined.”
Sunland Park Mayor-elect Daniel Salinas said “he plans to seek changes to his conditions of release in a pending felony extortion case so that he can carry out official duties after he is sworn in,” the Albuquerque Journal reports.
Salinas is “prohibited from stepping foot in city hall or talking to city employees” after being arrested on charges related to the alleged attempt to force his chief rival, Gerardo Hernandez, from the mayoral race by threatening to release a video showing Hernandezgetting a lap dance from a topless woman.
Salinas won the race by 84 votes.