POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/21

Which Candidate is Most Charitable?

Washington Post: “President Obama and his wife, Michelle, despite having the second-lowest income of the four candidate/spouse combos, gave the highest percentage of their $1.8 million income to charity in 2010. He and Michelle gave 14.2% of their AGI, while the Romneys gave 13.8%.”

“Santorum and Newt Gingrich, by comparison, gave very little of their income to charity. Gingrich and his wife, Callista, gave 2.6% of their $3.2 million income in 2010. Santorum and wife Karen, who made the least in 2010 (less than $1 million), also gave the lowest percentage of their income to charity, at 1.8%.”

Paul Caron has charts detailing their charitable contributions,

 

Santorum Way Ahead in Oklahoma

A new Tulsa World poll in Oklahoma finds Rick Santorum leading the GOP presidential race with 39%, followed by Mitt Romney at 23%, Newt Gingrich at 18% and Ron Paul at 13%.

The Oklahoma primary is on March 6.

 

Romney Holds Small Lead in Arizona

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Arizona finds Mitt Romney leading Rick Santorum, 36% to 33%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 16% and Ron Paul at 9%.

Key finding: “One thing to keep an eye on over the next week is whether Newt Gingrich can hold his support. 16% is pretty good for him compared to what we’re finding other places right now, but only 46% of his voters say they’re solidly committed to him. 40% of his supporters say that Santorum is their second choice, compared to only 25% for Romney. If Gingrich’s supporters see he’s not viable and decide to jump ship the race could get even closer.”

 

Dead Heat in Michigan

A new We Ask America poll in Michigan finds Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum tied in the GOP presidential race at 29% each. They are followed by Ron Paul at 12% and Newt Gingrich at 10%.

 

Santorum’s Social Issues Box

The Hill notes that Rick Santorum has been “unable or unwilling to escape controversies over social issues” amid his rising prospects in the Republican presidential nomination race.

“Santorum’s response – welcoming the line of questions – reveals a side of the senator’s personality that is unwilling to shy away from topics that other national politicians fear would alienate centrist swing voters… There’s logic to Santorum’s penchant for delving into such controversies. Doing so has established his bona fides with conservative voters, signaling that he is willing to stand up for core beliefs and principles even when they’re unpopular. Relative to Mitt Romney – who has struggled to shed the image of an opportunist willing to shift his positions to suit the popular mood – that sort of conviction has proven attractive to GOP primary voters.”

 

Same Old Redistricting Game

John Avlon looks at the latest round of gerrymandering and notes “the weasel-y-ness is worse than ever, with outrages and embarrassments covered mostly by local media.”

“Legislators from both parties will continue to get away with the maximum amount of self-dealing and self-interest they can get away with – unless they feel it is no longer in their self-interest because of citizen pressure. That’s why these local tales of rigging the system of redistricting should matter to you, no matter what state you live in.”

 

Obama’s Hard Edge

The New York Times profiles White House political adviser David Plouffe.

“Fiercely data-driven, Mr. Plouffe revels in the company of spreadsheets, lists, maps and the Baseball Almanac. Fiercely competitive, he once decked a colleague in a friendly touch football game for taunting him. Fiercely unsentimental, he expends zero amazement over his career climb from selling knives door to door to a first-among-equals status in the White House’s closed circle.”

“People inside Mr. Obama’s political apparatus say Mr. Plouffe is most in tune with the President’s thinking in terms of his unsparing focus on the middle class and his abandonment of the bipartisan bridge-building efforts that have mostly failed through his first term… Mr. Plouffe approaches campaigns with a tribal sense of good-vs.-evil, rarely seeing much humanity in opponents.”

Romney’s Last Argument

Walter Shapiro: “The Mitt Romney crisis transcends the seven straight national polls showing Rick Santorum in the lead. It goes beyond the embarrassing reality that the son of an auto executive and two-term governor has been behind in every Michigan poll conducted since Groundhog’s Day. Even more devastating for Romney is that elite Republicans have begun to conclude that he cannot, if nominated, beat Barack Obama. About the only argument that still works for Romney among GOP insiders is that he would be less of a drag on the ticket than the strident Santorum or the mercurial Newt Gingrich.”

“With the exception of Mike Dukakis (what is it about governors of Massachusetts?), it is impossible to recall a top-tier presidential contender who aroused such little passion among the voters.”

 

Santorum Holds Huge Lead in Texas

A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows Rick Santorum has a commanding lead in the Republican presidential race with 45%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 18%, Mitt Romney at 16% and Ron Paul at 14%.

Texas still doesn’t have all of its congressional and legislative maps in place so May 29 appears to be the earliest possible primary date.

 

Michigan Primary Tightens

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan shows Rick Santorum leading Mitt Romney by just four points in the GOP presidential race, 37% to 33%, followed by Ron Paul at 15% and Newt Gingrich at 10%.

Key finding: “The tightening over the last week is much more a function of Romney gaining than Santorum falling. Santorum’s favorability spread of 67/23 has seen no change since our last poll, and his share of the vote has dropped only 2 points from 39% to 37%. Romney meanwhile has seen his net favorability improve 10 points from +10 (49/39) to +20 (55/35) and his vote share go from 24% to 33%.”

 

Trump Hits Airwaves for Romney

With just over a week to go before the Michigan primary, ABC News reports Mitt Romney “is enlisting the help of one of his highest-wattage surrogates: Donald Trump.”

“The real estate mogul is preparing to spread his pro-Romney, anti-Rick Santorum message in a series of radio interviews this week on local stations from Traverse City to Detroit.”

 

Gingrich Admits He Must Win Georgia

Newt Gingrich conceded that losing his home state of Georgia in the Super Tuesday primaries on March 6 would “badly” weaken his candidacy, CNN reports.

However, Gingrich stopped short of saying he would drop out if he fails to win Georgia.

Said Gingrich: “Given the chaos of this race, I’m not willing to say anything. I think it’s extraordinarily important to win your home state.”

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