Santorum Meets with Perry

Rick Santorum met with former opponent Rick Perry earlier this week, CNN reports.

Said a spokesman: “We viewed it was a courtesy visit,” adding that Perry remains a Gingrich backer.

Big Money Upends the Presidential Campaign

“As the general election for president unofficially begins, its funding will be marked by two firsts: For the first time in the post-Watergate era, neither candidate will use public funds, and the super PACs created as a result of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling will have their first chance to wield their unlimited contributions from wealthy individuals, corporations, and labor unions as the nation selects a president,” the Boston Globe reports.

“The vast majority of seven-figure checks is gushing into Republican coffers, making some Democrats nervous. On the plus side for the Democrats, their expenditures have been a fraction of what Republicans have shelled out during the contentious primary season.”

Quote of the Day

“It never occurred to me — and this is one of the lessons I’m contemplating for some future memoir — it never occurred to me the scale of the Romney fundraising capability. I was fully prepared to be outspent 2-to-1, even 3-to-1. But when you’re up to 5- or 6-to-1, you’re being drowned. You’re not going to be able to match it.”

— Newt Gingrich, in an interview with the Washington Post.

What if No One Wants to be Romney’s Running Mate?

Jamelle Bouie: “Remember, in the modern era, it’s rare for a losing Republican vice presidential nominee to become the nominee in a later election. Dan Quayle, for example, is a punchline, not a presidential candidate, and the same goes for the most recent member of the club, Sarah Palin. Which is to say that, in a world where Republicans don’t see a future for Romney, we should expect the vice presidential ‘race’ to become a microcosm of the nomination contest, ambitious Republicans keep themselves out of the running, and leave the field to second and third string politicians who have nothing to lose from a defeat in November.”

Grassley Calls Obama “Stupid” on Twitter

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a harshly worded message on Twitter that “intentionally slighted” President Obama, NBC News reports.

His tweet: “Constituents askd why i am not outraged at PresO attack on supreme court independence. Bcause Am ppl r not stupid as this x prof of con law.”

Aides confirmed Grassley wrote the offending tweet.

Hatch Leads But May Still Face Primary

NSON Opinion Strategies survey of Utah Republican convention delegates shows Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) taking just 50% of the vote to Dan Liljenquist’s (R) 19% with another 23% undecided.

Number to watch: Hatch needs 60% to bypass a primary campaign.

King Holds Huge Lead in Maine

A new Maine’s People Resource Center poll finds Angus King (I) leading the U.S. Senate race with 56%, followed by Charlie Summers (R) at 22% and Matt Dunlap (D) at 12%.

Santorum Moves Fuel Speculation He’ll Exit Race

Rick Santorum’s campaign insisted he is still in the GOP presidential race “despite mounting pressure even from voters in his home state that he pull out before the Keystone State’s primary April 24,” the Boston Globe reports.

Nonetheless, the campaign trail “is rife with rumors that Santorum, famously stubborn, will soon … leave the race. A GOP political consultant in Pennsylvania found it noteworthy that the Santorum campaign had yet to make a major ad buy.”

Clinton Will Skip Democratic Convention

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not be attending the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Charlotte Observer reports.

“This year, she’s secretary of State. And as the country’s chief diplomat, she’s expected to stay above all things partisan” as “various federal statutes and the State Department’s ethical guidelines will keep Secretary Clinton in Washington.”

Is the End Near?

Just published: The Last Myth: What the Rise of Apocalyptic Thinking Tells Us About America by Mathew Barrett Gross and Mel Gilles.

“Today, nearly 60% of Americans believe that the events foretold in the book of Revelation will come true. But it’s not just the Christian Right that is obsessed with the end of the world; secular readers hungry for catastrophe have propelled fiction and nonfiction books about peak oil, global warming, and the end of civilization into best-sellers, while Doomsday Preppers has become one of the most talked-about new reality TV shows on television. How did we come to live in a culture obsessed by the belief that the end is nearly here?”

Giuliani Close to Endorsing Romney

The Washington Post reports that Rudy Giuliani (R), who ran in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, is about to endorse his former opponent Mitt Romney, according to the Romney campaign’s New York state director Guy Molinari.

Said Molinari, “He’s about to… He wants to do it for the sake of the country, so he is willing to put his own feelings aside.”

Liz Benjamin points out that Giuliani is the last “high-profile holdout” in New York and “hasn’t been terribly kind to his erstwhile opponent, calling the former Massachusetts governor a flip-flopperon national TV back in February.”

Are Michigan Republicans Violating the State’s Constitution?

Rachel Maddow has an must-see report showing how the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature has used voice votes to declare the constitutionally-mandated two-thirds majority needed for laws to take “immediate effect.”

Maddow calls the practice “the most radical thing Republicans have done anywhere in the country.”

See more…

Christie Increasingly Seen in Negative Terms

While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) favorability rating show little change, 46% to 42%, a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll finds voters are more likely to describe him as “stubborn, arrogant and self-centered than they were six months ago.”

Key findings: In the last six months, those who describe him as “arrogant” are up 15 points. The terms “self-centered” and “bully” each gained 11 points, “stubborn” is up 12 points and “angry” is up 11 points.

Unzipping Romney

Ann Romney unzips her husband in a new campaign video to show his more personal side.

“Those were the five boys. I hate to say it, but often I had more than five sons. I had six sons, and he would be as mischievous and as naughty as the other boys.”

See more…

Obama “Cannot Wait” for the Campaign

President Obama named Mitt Romney for the second time this week as his likely opponent in the fall election and said he “cannot wait” to put up his vision for America against the Republicans in this year’s election, Reuters reports.

Said Obama: “We are going to have a big and important debate in this country, and I cannot wait. This is going to be a big debate and it’s going to be a fun debate. It’s always good to have the truth on your side.”

Romney’s Pop-Up Campaign Team

BuzzFeed notes that towards the end of each GOP primary, Mitt Romney has had a small SWAT team roll in: “For more than two months, the same half-dozen mid-level staffers have arrived, bedraggled, from the last major contest to take over the state’s field and press operations.”

“But the decision to run what are effectively pop-up campaigns in the primary states has the downside… they leave little behind. Romney never built the sort of large volunteer operation Obama’s 2008 primary race assembled in important swing states like Florida and Ohio, and as the general election approaches, he’s likely to be starting from scratch. Some local Obama offices, by contrast, have remained open continuously for over four years. And Obama’s well-funded effort is already building for November. When Romney’s staff moved out of its office in Iowa after a virtual tie in the caucuses in January, the Obama campaign opened an office in Romney’s vacant headquarters.”

Independent Women Pull Away from Romney

The Washington Post digs into the latest USA Today-Gallup poll of a dozen battleground states and notes that “among independent women — a key group of swing voters — Obama had been trailing Romney by five points in a series of surveys late last year. But that number shifted dramatically in polling conducted in February and March, and the president took a 14-point lead over the former Massachusetts governor, marking a net gain of 19 points.”

Santorum Came Very Close

Walter Shapiro: “What is already partially lost in the press coverage is how close Santorum came to stopping Romney — or, at least, sending the GOP race into overtime. After a miscount deprived Santorum of bragging rights as the winner of the Iowa caucuses, the former Pennsylvania senator blundered into New Hampshire (his first event was held in a nursing home) without a strategy for competing in a state with a negligible evangelical vote. Maybe if he had gone directly to South Carolina (65 percent of GOP primary voters said they were ‘born again’ Christians), Santorum, rather than Newt Gingrich, would have been the beneficiary of the anti-Romney surge.”

“But still Santorum, fueled by his February caucus victories, came tantalizingly close to humiliating Romney in Michigan, the state where his father had been governor. Ohio was even closer. Just 42,000 votes — Romney’s victory margin in Michigan and Ohio combined — were all that Santorum needed for a plausible path to the nomination. But press coverage dwindled (unfairly in my book) after Romney swept Illinois–and Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary was the final straw.”

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

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