POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/13
Ron Paul and his supporters say he was “robbed of victory Saturday night when Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the Maine Republican Party’s presidential caucuses,” the Kennebec Journal reports.
“The Paul campaign says a local caucus meeting in Washington County that was canceled Saturday afternoon because of a snowstorm would have provided the margin of victory over Romney. But Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster is standing behind the results showing that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, won the nonbinding presidential straw poll by 194 votes.”
Said Santorum: “I don’t try to rig straw polls.”
He added: “You have to talk to the Romney campaign and how many tickets they bought. We’ve heard all sorts of things.”
The Hotline: “This week, 49 state attorneys general reached a mortgage lawsuit settlement with banks that will result in billions of dollars of payment to about 1.8 million borrowers. We’re sure to hear a lot about this in coming years as these attorneys general run for higher offices. ‘I fought the big banks and got you a check’ will be a powerful message to voters, whether you’re conservative Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who’s running for governor, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat pegged for bigger things.”
Thomas Friedman: “Watching the Republican Party struggling to agree on a presidential candidate, one wonders whether the G.O.P. shouldn’t just sit this election out — just give 2012 a pass.”
“You know how in Scrabble sometimes you look at your seven letters and you’ve got only vowels that spell nothing? What do you do? You go back to the pile. You throw your letters back and hope to pick up better ones to work with. That’s what Republican primary voters seem to be doing. They just keep going back to the pile but still coming up with only vowels that spell nothing.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Rick Santorum has pulled ahead of Mitt Romney among Republican voters nationally, 38% to 23%. They are followed by Newt Gingrich at 17% and Ron Paul at 13%.
A key reason for Santorum’s surge is his own high level of popularity: 64% of voters see him favorably to only 22% with a negative one. But the other, and maybe more important, reason is that Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich. Romney’s favorability is barely above water at 44% to 43% while Gingrich is upside down at 42% to 44%.
Most interesting: “If Gingrich dropped out 58% of his supporters say they would move to Santorum, while 22% would go to Romney and 17% to Paul. Santorum gets to 50% in the Newt free field to 28% for Romney and 15% for Paul.”