“Every time I hear Mr. Romney talk about this, I think his daddy must be turning over in his grave.”
— Bill Clinton, quoted by NBC News, condemning Mitt Romney for opposing the auto bailout. Romney’s father was governor of Michigan and a chief executive at American Motors.
The Republican presidential campaign has been one of the sloppiest in memory.
Mitt Romney was declared the winner in Iowa until several days later miscounted votes were “found” which put Rick Santorum ahead. Romney was named the victor in Maine without all caucus votes counted because they were “lost” in someone’s email. Now, the Michigan delegate count was changed two days after the primary either due to sloppiness, ambiguity in the rules or a backroom power play.
Todd Purdum: “Throughout this entire campaign season, the only Republican who has ever seemed remotely presidential is Romney himself — and he is ‘presidential’ almost on a technicality, or by default. Ron Paul is a quirky outlier; Gingrich a bungle of brainy notions and bristling ego; Santorum a dark scold well outside what’s left of the mainstream in his party and a frightening apparition to the swing voters who will help choose the next president. Rick Perry and Herman Cain have already passed into the records books as punch lines. And yet every time Romney has been forced to brush up against this motley field, he looks tinier than the last time, his jaw just a bit more brittle and his mien more frantic, not more self-assured.”
“The good news for Romney is that he has a good long time to find his presidential voice. The bad news is that, unlike ads and advisers, it’s something that money can’t buy.”
Michigan Republicans voted to award two at-large delegates to Mitt Romney “despite the party’s rules that the two at-large delegates are supposed to be awarded on a proportional basis based on the statewide popular vote,” the Detroit Free Press reports.
Romney won the statewide vote by a 41% to 38% margin over Rick Santorum.
“The rest of the state’s delegates will be split evenly between Romney and Santorum because each won seven congressional districts across the state. As a result, Romney gets 16 delegates and Santorum 14.”
First Read has more on the delegate drama.
A new Rasmussen survey in Massachusetts finds Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) running ahead of challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) in their U.S. Senate race, 49% to 44%.
Andrew Sullivan looks at the latest polling in New Jersey on same-sex marriage and suggests Gov. Chris Christie (R) may have “played this thing rather shrewdly” by vetoing a gay marriage bill but encouraging it to be decided by referendum instead.
“If marriage equality wins, he can say democracy worked, while touting his veto to the fundamentalist base should he run for president one day (as I hope he does). He could also use the vote to embrace marriage equality himself and tell his own party to get over their increasingly anachronistic obsession with keeping the gays in their second-class place. But I may be letting my hopes overwhelm reality here.”
Newt Gingrich, campaigning ahead of the Georgia primary on March 6, made clear he has to win the state he represented in Congress, CNN reports.
Said Gingrich: “I have to win Georgia, I think, to be credible in the race.”
In his first on camera interview after announcing he’s running for the U.S. Senate, Bob Kerrey (D) told Nebraska Watchdog that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has made several promises to Kerrey to get him to run but to declined to identify them.
Said Kerrey: “They were important to me, and I asked for them, and he’s agreed… I would only ask of things that would be beneficial to Nebraska.”
Later this morning, the U.S. Senate will vote on Blunt amendment, which would allow employers — if they have religious objections — to not provide contraception coverage under the federal health-care law.
First Read: “This is one of those rare situations where BOTH parties are licking their political chops and are excited about creating a wedge issue. Democrats are eager to bring this legislation to the floor because they see it as infringing on women’s rights. And for that reason, Democrats believe today’s vote could hurt incumbent GOP senators up for re-election, like Scott Brown and Dean Heller. On the other hand, Republicans are eager to vote for this amendment because they see it as protecting religious liberty. And so they think the measure puts incumbent Democrats, such as Claire McCaskill, Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey, in a bind. And all of this is taking place over something that is hardly the top issue to American voters. It’s really Washington at its cynically worst.”
Meanwhile, The Note points out Mitt Romney took both sides of the issue within just a few hours.
“This won’t be the last time we hear the Democrats attack Romney on the issue, but Romney may have done even more immediate damage to himself among some pockets within the conservative community who have more reason to question Romney’s commitment to issues they care about.”
In a great interview, Bill Simmons asked President Obama how he has time to follow sports “when you have the busiest job on the planet?”
Said Obama: “Well, first of all, I don’t watch network news or cable news. So in the morning, when I’m working out with Michelle, it’s on SportsCenter. This is the one thing that she allows me to control is SportsCenter. So that pretty much keeps up the family on whatever has happened the night before. And I tend to be a night guy. Michelle and the girls will go to bed around 9:30 p.m. or so. And so I usually have to stay up until midnight or 1 a.m. reading stuff. And every once in a while I’ll sneak in a ball game as I’m reading my briefings.”
President Obama will hold his 100th campaign fundraiser today, CBS News reports.
“He reaches the century mark by doing four money-raising events for his re-election campaign during a seven-hour swing through New York City… It has taken Mr. Obama less than a year to do a hundred re-election fund-raisers since he officially filed his candidacy for a second term with the Federal Election Commission on April 4, 2011.”
At this same point in his presidency, George W. Bush had done 49 fundraisers.
Despite a messy Republican primary, David Graham says it’s too early to write off the GOP candidate.
“President Obama probably has the edge for re-election, but that’s not news: incumbents always have an advantage, and the president’s formidable fundraising and strategy teams would be the envy of any candidate. But the fundamental reasons why he is vulnerable haven’t changed much from three, four, or five months ago, when Wall Street Journalcolumnists were confidently predicting he was headed for a one-term presidency.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ripped into the New York Police Department for spying on New Jersey Muslims, saying he doesn’t know if the actions were “born out of arrogance, or out of paranoia, or out of both,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.
Said Christie: “I hope that almost 11 years past 9/11, we are not going to go back to those days because no one is omniscient. No one knows everything in this world in law enforcement.”
A new Gallup poll shows that by a 53% to 45% margin Republicans, including independents who lean Republican, are slightly more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say they are “more enthusiastic than usual about voting” this year.
“We’re not working out issues anymore. We’re working in a parallel universe with competing proposals.”
— Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), quoted by Politico, on the “political paralysis” that reigns in Washington.
Mitt Romney has won the Wyoming caucuses, the Washington Post reports.
“The final results from the caucuses, which were held at various points over the last three weeks, show Romney winning the presidential preference straw poll portion with 39% of the vote, compared to 32% for Rick Santorum, 21% for Ron Paul and 8% for Newt Gingrich.”
That said, Jeremy Pelzer explains the delegate selection process in Wyoming is a complex process that plays out in three steps.
A new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey shows support for same-sex marriage climbing to a new high, 57% to 37%.
When given three options, 47% support same-sex marriage, 34% support same-sex civil unions and 13% say there should be no legal recognition.