POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES

Gingrich Concedes Kansas

Newt Gingrich has canceled a series of appearances in Kansas leading up to the state’s Saturday caucus, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

The Los Angeles Times reports the move is “a gamble that victories next week in Alabama and Mississippi can salvage his quest for the Republican presidential nomination… Gingrich’s abrupt switch of travel plans reflected the grim political map that he faces in the weeks ahead.”

 

Lawmaker Accused of Bribing Opponent to Step Aside

James Jett (R) said the FBI is looking into Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) “for what Jett said is a plot to buy him out of this fall’s congressional primary,” the Florida Times Union reports.

Jett is challenging Stearns in Florida’s newly-drawn 3rd congressional district and said he was offered “a job on Stearns’ campaign staff or cash to cover the approximately $25,000 Jett has personally spent on his congressional run… He also said he was told there could be a job heading the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or a U.S. marshal position once there are vacancies.””

 

Obama Releasing Documentary

President Obama’s campaign announced that they are planning to release a 17-minute documentary about his first term in office next week, the Washington Post reports.

Davis Guggenheim, the filmmaker behind the Oscar-winning Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth, is directing the movie.

 

It Ain’t Over

Bill Kristol: “So it’s not over. And here’s why D.C. GOP teeth are gnashing so fiercely and loudly: It won’t be over for a while.”

“Mitt Romney of course remains the clear favorite. But the schedule over the next few weeks does him few favors… Rick Santorum will probably hold his own — maybe more than hold his own — against Romney in these contests… Then there are three weeks off in April, so the get-the-race-over-crowd will have lots of free time to stew and gnash until the Northeast weighs in big on April 24, with Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Which, however, probably won’t provide an unambiguous verdict either. So then we’ll be on to the merry month of May.”

 

Majority Now Supports Gay Marriage in Maine

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Maine finds voters are likely to reverse their 2009 decision and legalize gay marriage in the state this fall: 54% think that gay marriage should be legal to only 41% who think it should be illegal.

Using exact Maine ballot language proposed, 47% of voters say they’ll vote to legalize gay marriage, while 32% are opposed.

Key findings: “Republicans’ opinions are pretty much the same as they were in 2009. But Democrats’ support for gay marriage has increased slightly, from 71% to 78%. And more importantly independents have gone from voting against gay marriage 52/46 three years ago to now supporting it by a 57/36 margin.”

 

Not So Viral

Los Angeles Times: “An unlikely Internet sensation has struck it big on YouTube: Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich. Two polished videos promoting his run for district attorney last month show Trutanich driving the gritty streets of Los Angeles telling war stories from his days as a prosecutor: being shot at by a street gang and sending a killer to death row.”

“Within days, the videos amassed 725,000 views on YouTube, with the most popular clip leaping past any campaign video from GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.”

But there’s one problem with this story: The campaign now admits it paid for many of those YouTube views.

 

Quote of the Day

“There will be that zip-a-dee-doo-dah after the nominee is chosen. I guarantee there will be that enthusiasm. But to be brutally honest, with all due respect to governor Romney, who is obviously the frontrunner… he’s not garnering a lot of that enthusiasm right now.”

— Sarah Palin, in an interview on Fox Business, admitting she voted for Newt Gingrich in Alaska’s caucuses.

See more…

 

Pingree Will Not Make Senate Bid

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) said she won’t run for the U.S. Senate, a decision that could boost the independent Senate bid of former Gov. Angus King (I), the Portland Press Heraldreports.

Said Pingree: “This isn’t the right time for me to run for the U.S. Senate.”

“Pingree’s decision was not unexpected. After King said Monday night that he would run as an independent, Pingree acknowledged that she shared widely discussed concerns that she and King might divide the Democratic base, thus paving the way for victory by a Republican contender.”

 

“Joe the Plumber” Ekes Out Primary Win

The Associated Press reports that Samuel Wurzelbacher (R), better known as “Joe the Plumber” from his role in the 2008 presidential campaign, won a narrow victory in his primary race and will now face off against Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District.

Politico: “Wurzelbacher hasn’t exactly been embraced by the Republican establishment, largely because GOP officials regard the northeastern Ohio-based 9th District as tilting heavily Democratic and an unlikely November pickup.”

 

What’s Next?

The Republican presidential race now moves to Kansas on March 10, Alabama, Hawaii, and Mississippi on March 13, Illinois on March 20 and Louisiana on March 24.

First Read: “Based on past races, the only safe ground for Romney might be Illinois (and maybe Hawaii, too). Then again, Romney continues to have the ad-spending advantage in all of these states, except for Hawaii and Kansas.”

 

Santorum’s Big Decision

John Ellis: “There comes a point in a presidential campaign — and in the lore, it’s always 3 a.m. when this happens — where the candidate finds himself staring at the ceiling, contemplating financial ruin. Rick Santorum has arrived at his 3 a.m. moment and now must decide what to do next.”

“He isn’t going to win the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. That required a knockout blow last week, which he failed to deliver in Michigan, or this week, which he failed to deliver in Ohio. It doesn’t matter how agonizingly close he came in both states. He didn’t get it done.”

David Meadvin: “There will be no 3 a.m. contemplation of financial ruin for Rick Santorum.  If anything is keeping the former Pennsylvania Senator up at nights these days, it’s the giddy expectation of multi-million dollar television contracts and speaking tours once his improbable bid for the Republican nomination finally ends.”

 

Why Can’t Romney Pull Away?

First Read: “The answer to that question continues to come down to ideology. According to the exit polls in Ohio, Santorum easily won among very conservatives (48%-30%) and overall conservatives (41%-35%), while Romney won the other ideological subgroups (somewhat conservatives, moderates/liberals). Santorum won Tea Party supporters (39%-36%), while Romney won Tea Party detractors (45%-30%). And Santorum ran up the score with evangelicals (47%-30%). Given that kind of very conservative resistance we’ve seen in other contests — Iowa, South Carolina, Michigan, and Ohio — it’s a tribute to Romney that he remains on track to winning the GOP presidential nomination. But it also explains why he’s unable to pull away from his under-funded and less-organized opposition.”

 

How Romney Still Might Not Win

John Avlon notes that if Mitt Romney “only musters 40% of the proportional delegates going forward — equivalent to his average share of the popular vote total to date — it would mean the first Republican race undecided when the convention opened in a generation.”

“In a press briefing later today, the Romney camp is expected to argue that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have no chance of claiming the nomination. This is true, but it purposefully misses the point. Santorum, Gingrich and Paul individually have no real path to winning the delegate fight — but collectively they are positioned to deny the nomination to Romney and kick the contest to the convention in Tampa, where all delegates are released after the first ballot.”

 

Wealthy Voters Come Out for Romney

The Fix: “Exit polls in both Michigan and Ohio show voters making more than $100,000 per year turning out in much higher numbers this year than they did in 2008. And in both cases, they might well have provided the difference for Romney.”

“In 2008, 22 percent of GOP primary voters in Michigan made at least $100,000, and that group made up 21 percent of the electorate in Ohio, according to exit polls. This year, 33 percent of voters in Michigan made that much money, while 30 percent of Ohio voters did. In both cases, the number of wealthy voters grew by about 50 percent — a pretty stunning increase in that demographic over just a four-year span.”

 

Obama Loses 12 Counties in Oklahoma

In the Oklahoma Democratic presidential primary, President Obama won 57% of the vote but four other candidates combined for 43% of the vote, including anti-abortion activist Randall Terry who received 18%, the AP reports.

“According to Democratic Party rules, Terry is eligible for a delegate since he won more than 15% of the statewide vote. Terry beat Obama in 12 counties, mostly in western Oklahoma. Terry acknowledges he can’t win the presidency but says he hopes to cause Obama’s defeat in the fall.”

 

Romney Wins Super Tuesday Split Decision

New York Times: “Mitt Romney appeared to pull off a narrow victory in Ohio on Super Tuesday but lost several other states to Rick Santorum, a split verdict that overshadowed Mr. Romney’s claim of collecting the most delegates and all but ensured another round of intense infighting on the road to the Republican presidential nomination. The result came at the end of a long night that put Mr. Romney that much farther ahead in the race for the nomination, but dashed any hopes he had of using the day to assert himself as the inevitable nominee.”

Politico: “Mitt Romney’s weaknesses show no sign of going away. He struggles in the South and with evangelical voters. He’s not conservative enough. He loses among rural voters and with voters down the economic scale. All of his flaws were on full display Tuesday as he failed to wrap up the GOP nomination on an evening when it was within his grasp.”

Wall Street Journal: “Mitt Romney eked out a narrow win in Ohio and extended his delegate lead on Super Tuesday, but voters failed to deliver a decisive victory that could have brought a swift end to the Republican nominating contest.”

 

Super Tuesday Takeaways

Maggie Haberman: “Romney, as we’ve written before, is likely heading into another bounce-free news cycle. The former Massachusetts governor’s s campaign and its backers had hoped to use a strong night to start making the case that it’s time to wind this down, and his election night speech, delivered from Boston, was supposed to convey the aura of a nominee-in-waiting. But in the end, he underperformed. He does not head into Wednesday with the spin on his side, and his campaign has done little to finesse expectations throughout this race.”

Larry Sabato: “While satisfying in one sense, the reality of the ‘expected’ means that the race goes on. There are no upsets because the GOP base is still not ready to let go of the battle. It is obvious to almost every observer that Mitt Romney is likely to be the Republican nominee for president. But could it be that Republican activists want Romney put through his paces week after week, if only to drum into him the conservative principles they suspect he does not fully embrace?”

Andrew Sullivan: “If Newt bowed out, we might have a real contest. But he won’t. So we have, perhaps, the worst of all possible worlds for the GOP: a front-runner who cannot be stopped, but who is losing altitude against Obama with every vote, and being slimed by Republican rivals for at least another month. Even his stump speech has deteriorated. And his unfavorables continue a relentless rise.”

Howard Kurtz: “The outcome raised fresh doubts about Romney’s ability to win in the South, with Santorum’s Tennessee triumph fueled by evangelical voters. And in a more fundamental sense, the stylistic contrast between the two made Romney seem scripted and Santorum scrappy.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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