POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/12
Sources close to Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign tell Fox News that there are preliminary discussions to name Texas Gov. Rick Perry as his running mate in an effort to unite conservatives.
Perry endorsed Gingrich when he dropped his own presidential bid earlier this year.
However, at least two senior aides to Perry were apparently dismissive of the idea. One noted that in the past, Perry has likened the Vice Presidency to a bucket of warm spit.
Rick Klein: “If and when Romney locks down the GOP nod, this weekend’s voting will mark a case in point as to how. Romney was decimated in the biggest contest held Saturday, in Kansas, with Rick Santorum securing an outright majority in a four-way field, and Romney struggling to hit 20 percent.”
“But Romney appears likely to walk away from the weekend with about as many delegates in his column, and possibly even more. Romney won overwhelmingly in the U.S. territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands; add that to the final set of caucus contests in Wyoming, and Romney got to wash out his big loss in Kansas.”
“That means a handful of contests where turnout is rivaled by class presidency elections in midsize high schools may end up being responsible for selecting the party’s nominee… Wins like this weekend’s did not happen by accident. Romney’s was the only campaign to prepare for the long haul of the race with detailed legal and structural plans for how to win delegates in every obscure corner.”
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 60% of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has not been not worth fighting and just 30% believe the Afghan public supports the U.S. mission there — “marking the sour state of attitudes on the war even before the shooting rampage allegedly by a U.S. soldier this weekend.”
Indeed 54% say the United States should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan without completing its current effort to train Afghan forces to become self-sufficient.
The Chicago Tribune interviews billionaire investor Ken Griffin:
Q. What do you think in general about the influence of people with your means on the political process? You said shame on the politicians for listening to the CEOs. Do you think the ultrawealthy have an inordinate or inappropriate amount of influence on the political process?
A. I think they actually have an insufficient influence. Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our system more than ever now owe a duty to protect the system that has created the greatest nation on this planet. And so I hope that other individuals who have really enjoyed growing up in a country that believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and economic freedom is part of the pursuit of happiness — (I hope they realize) they have a duty now to step up and protect that.”
A new Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll in Illinois shows Mitt Romney leading the GOP presidential field with 35%, followed by Rick Santorum at 31%, Newt Gingrich at 12% and Ron Paul at 7%.
However, 46% of voters said they could still change their minds before the March 20 primary.
Mitt Romney “won the presidential delegate vote at Wyoming’s county conventions, picking up seven of 12 delegates after local party meetings that also delivered at least two delegates to Rick Santorum,” the Casper Tribune reports.
Wyoming will send a total of 29 delegates this year to the Republican National Convention — “more than such larger states as Connecticut, Oregon and Nevada. Under Republican National Committee rules, Wyoming gets additional delegates for having a Republican governor, Republican congressional delegation and Republican majorities in its state Legislature.”
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Rep. John Larson (D-CT) have introduced legislation that would let Americans vote on the first full weekend in November instead of the first Tuesday, ABC News reports.
“Tuesday was chosen as Election Day in 1845, when Congress decreed it the most convenient day for farmers — they needed three days to travel to their voting place without interfering with three days of religious worship. Reformers say the law is outdated and now interferes with workers’ plans, particularly people working more than one job or single parents who have responsibilities that might eclipse voting.”
California’s filing deadline passed for November elections and Richard Winger reports “there are only fifteen minor party candidates running for U.S. House of Representatives and state legislature. This is the lowest number of California minor party candidates for those offices since 1966, when there were no parties on the ballot in California except for the Democratic and Republican Parties.”
Alan Colmes has an interesting interview with Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, who commented on the viral video of Derrick Bell and Barack Obama, saying, “Of course we hid this throughout the 2008 campaign. I don’t care if they find it now.”
He says he was joking, but it’s lost on those who insist the tape is a smoking gun that will help torpedo Obama’s re-election chances.
Despite previous indications that Newt Gingrich might quit the presidential race if he does not win in Alabama and Mississippi this Tuesday, Gingrich put that speculation to rest and committed to staying in the race to the convention, according to ABC News.
Said Gingrich: “We’ll clearly do well enough to move on and I think there’s a fair chance we’ll win. But I just want to set this to rest once and for all, we’re going to Tampa.”
A new Alabama State University poll shows Newt Gingrich surging into the lead in Alabama’s GOP presidential race with 21%, followed by Mitt Romney at 20% and Rick Santorum at 17%.
Said pollster Thomas Vocino: “According to our poll results that ended last evening, Gingrich is coming on strong in Alabama and his numbers are still rising. His support was declining five weeks earlier and now Gingrich appears to be the comeback candidate at the expense of Santorum and Romney.”
The New York Times looks at Mitt Romney’s “sometimes awkward style and aloof manner” which as governor affected his relationship with lawmakers he needed to pass legislation.
“For officials used to the glad-handing and alcohol-lubricated culture of local politics, Mr. Romney was an unfamiliar breed: a data-driven chief executive used to delivering unquestioned orders, a political newcomer who cast the legislature as a foe, a delegator who preferred working with just the leadership and an emotionally remote figure who tended not to socialize — and because of his Mormon religion did not drink. Even though he worked just a few hundred feet from them for four years, Mr. Romney displayed little interest in getting to know lawmakers and never developed real relationships with most members of the Democratic-dominated body.”
Interestingly, President Obama is also frequently criticized for his equally aloof governing style.