Romney News Round Up
You Gotta' Have Faith, Mitt (March 7th, Boston Globe): The Globe ran a faux piece on Mitt last week that can at best be described as a pretty pathetic attempt at humor last week. "It was a conversion experience on the road to Des Moines. 'We were driving along in a blizzard and there came a bright beam out of the swirling snow, and then this booming voice,' Mitt Romney says in an imaginary - ah, extraordinary - webcast describing the event. Then, as the former Massachusetts governor recounts things, an authoritative voice intoned: 'You've lost your way. You'd better turn back before it's too late. Follow my light and I'll lead you to the right road.' And so, in that webcast, entitled ''Mitt's First Video Letter to the South Carolinians,' Romney, a Mormon, announces that he is leaving his longtime religion in search of a new faith...."
The Presidential Money Race Is On (March 8th, McClatchy): "[T]he top three Republicans -- Giuliani of New York, McCain and Romney of Massachusetts-- could raise about $25 million this quarter."
Romney Bets On Tax Cuts To Win (March 8th, Washington Times): The Wash Times notes that "After his well-received speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference here last week, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met with two key leaders in the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s. Mr. Romney's dinner guests were Jack Kemp, the architect of the Reagan tax cuts that lifted the economy out of a deep recession, and former Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota, a key leader in the Opportunity Society band of House warriors who fought for lower tax rates to spur economic growth and entrepreneurial expansion." Speaking of the emphasis that Romney has put on conservative economic policies, the paper says "You can tell a lot about politicians by the people around them, and that is especially true in presidential politics. Mr. Romney has already put together a stellar team of economic heavyweights...."
W. Va.'s Coal Part Of Romney's Vision For America (March 9th, Charleston Daily): "Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney included West Virginia coal in his vision of an energy-independent U.S., during the Mountain State's first taste of an already busy 2008 campaign season. Romney advocated coal-to-liquid and coal-to-gas efforts along with other energy sources such as biodiesel fuel and wind, solar and nuclear power." Coinciding with his visit to West Virginia, Romney also released a policy briefing on supporting cleaner coal technologies.
Oops! I'm Where? (March 9th, Cabinet Press): On a recent trip to New Hampshire, Romney seemed to forget where he was mistakenly referring to the town he was in as Hollis, Massachusetts. The local paper reported that the crowd "laughed and forgave him." Romney ended up winning over many in the crowd, even one liberal leaning attendee who said he thought Romney was “honest, intelligent and moral.”
History May Repeat Itself With Romney (March 9th, Deseret News): Columnist Lee Benson discusses the recent Romney-JFK comparisons and concludes that a religion barrier may again be broken.
Mitt Stirs Up Old Caffeine Controversy (March 9th, SL Trib): SL Trib humorist Robert Kirby writes on what concerns him about Romney's run for president... the inevitable focus on caffeine. "For example, several weeks ago the Boston Globe reported that Mitt is strictly prohibited by Mormonism from drinking alcohol, coffee, tea and soft drinks containing caffeine. I winced when I read this. Not for Mitt's sake, but rather my own. It's been a while since the last big (and pointless) caffeine-and-Mormons debate."
Miami Cool To Romney's Stance (March 9th, Miami Herald): The Miami Herald is reporting that Romney's position on immigration might be a problem in Florida. "After the speech, when reporters asked him about his immigration policy, Romney said he advocates tighter border control and ''employment identification cards'' so businesses don't hire illegal immigrants. Some Republican leaders at the event said his positions could alienate Miami-Dade's influential Hispanic population. 'He's going to have problems in South Florida,' said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe'' Diaz, who was part of a group of elected officials that met with Romney before the event." On the 8th, Republican consultant Ann Navarro wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald declaring Romney to be "wrong on immigration."
Can You Translate A Flip-Flop (March 9th, Boston Herald): The Boston Herald takes aim at Romney for running ads in Spanish just a week after saying "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America. We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada."
Right Jabs Floors Mitt: Mass. Repubs. Rip Flip-Flopping Mitt (March 9th, Boston Herald): "A Web-based “truth” squad is poised to chase Mitt Romney in an effort to trip him up on the presidential campaign trail - and its members are Republicans from his very own Bay State. Founded by GOP consultants Holly Robichaud and Ron Vining, the Mass Republicans for Truth plans to launch a nationwide attack on the former governor’s record - including radio and TV ads. he group will post “The Romney Report” on its website on Monday, vowing to expose his flip-flops on a host of key issues, from abortion to taxes to gay rights. Calling its mission “educational,” the group is one of the controversial political action committees labeled “527s” named after the federal tax exemption that allows them to exist primarily as vehicles to influence elections."
Mitt Romney Courts South Florida Voters (March 10th, AP): "Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney courted South Florida voters Friday, calling Cuban leaders Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, 'Cuban monsters.'" He went on to say "I look forward to the day when the stain of Castro is finally washed from the soil of Cuba...."
Florida Is Key In Romney Campaign (March 10th, AP): "Regardless of whether Florida moves up its primary, the state will remain critical in the presidential election, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told reporters after delivering a speech to Republican activists on Saturday.... Romney knows the state is important, and the professor went so far as to call Florida 'the cornerstone to his campaign.' If Romney can pull ahead in Florida, other southern, more fundamental states may follow...."
Romney Launches Early Florida Push (March 10th, Palm Beach Post): The Post's Crowley describes how a push for a Florida straw poll in October might have been scuttled by Florida Governor Charlie Crist largely because Romney was in a position to win. "Romney built an organization in Florida so quickly that his top Republican rivals, U.S. Sen. McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor Giuliani, have been forced to step up their efforts in the Sunshine State.... Romney strategists were carefully laying out plans for recruiting delegates, organizing rallies and using the convention vote, which would be eagerly watched by the national media, to demonstrate that Romney would be a better party nominee than McCain or Giuliani. 'It is a very big deal that he lost having the straw ballot,' said a McCain adviser who has worked on several presidential campaigns. 'If anyone doesn't think so, they are not seeing the forest for the trees.'"
Mitt Camp Fires Back At Critics; Romney Foes Claim Threat By GOP Brass (March 10th, Boston Herald): "Mitt Romney’s campaign blasted a pair of Massachusetts Republicans bent on "exposing" the ex-governor’s record in his race for the White House, while the duo said they were threatened by a top Bay State GOP official. Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden lashed out at the founders of MassRepublicans for Truth - GOP strategists Holly Robichaud and Ron Vining - calling them "disgruntled political operatives.'"
In Romney's Bid, His Wallet Opens To The Right (March 11th, NY Times): "In the months before announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts contributed tens of thousands of dollars of his personal fortune to several conservative groups in a position to influence his image on the right."
Romney Birthday Shows GOP Age Spread (March 11th, AP): "Mitt Romney turns 60 on Monday, a personal milestone but also a line of demarcation in the unfolding race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. While the birthday moves the former Massachusetts governor closer to the senior set, it leaves him a relative fountain of youth compared to another leading contender for the GOP nomination [... the 70-year-old John McCain]."
Romney Says Government Wrong in Schaivo Case (March 11th, St. Petersburg Times): In a move possibly calculated to show some independence on Romney's part, he says he opposed government intervention in the Terri Schaivo case: "He's campaigning hard for support from Republican social conservatives, but presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Saturday he disagreed with the government's intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. 'I think it's probably best to leave these kinds of matters in the hands of the courts,' Romney said in a television interview airing today." A day after Romney's comments, Terri Schaivo's brother Bobby Schindler endorsed Sam Brownback and some conservative bloggers claimed it cut against Romney's pro-life creds.
Romney Places Focus On Family (March 11th, Boston Globe): "At major recent appearances, Romney has gone out of his way to showcase his wife, Ann, their 38-year marriage, and the Rockwell-esque family -- five sons, five daughters-in-law, 10 grandchildren -- it has produced. 'I came in with my sweetheart, who's here in the front row, I think, somewhere,' he said at last weekend's Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington. 'Ann, would you come on up and just say hi? Here comes my sweetheart, Ann Romney.' She laid it on thick, too, expressing excitement at their 38th anniversary this month. ('Glad you reminded me!' Romney rejoined.) Such displays of marital bliss may appear warm and spontaneous, but underneath lies a shrewd political calculation. The couple's message is unmistakable: Romney is the lone leading GOP presidential candidate or prospective candidate still on his first marriage. More important , perhaps, he's the only one who isn't an admitted adulterer. With 'family values' a defining principle for many primary voters and competitors' past foibles making headlines, Romney is clearly trumpeting an aspect of his candidacy that none of his top-tier rivals can match, observers say.
Romney's Faith Divides GOP (March 12th, Greenville News): Dan Hoover examines how Romney's is dividing religious conservatives in South Carolina. Some have been won over, others don't seem like they ever could be. Hoover quotes the clairvoyant Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, saying "When this eternal campaign began, I thought that Romney could overcome the Mormonism problem with a JFK-like speech about religious tolerance... Now I am not so sure. The polls have stunned me. People seem to have little hesitation about voting for a black, a woman, a Jew, a twice-divorced person -- everyone except a Mormon. The polygamy angle is hurting Romney. Ironically, he's one of the few top candidates in the family values GOP who has only had one wife."
Romney's Right On Second Amendment (March 12th, Idaho State Journal): US Senator Larry Craig pens an op-ed defending Romney's position on gun rights: "Fact is, if Romney just talked about his support for the Second Amendment and the rights of gun owners, that would be welcome. But Romney has been doing more than talking — he has been taking action for several years, and his approach would be a welcome addition to the gun debates in Washington, D.C."
Blogger Spotlight: Evangelicals For Mitt (March 12th, Hotline): Hotline inteviewed blogger Nancy French. One soundbite: "We started EvangelicalsforMitt in June of 2006, after we saw first hand the excitement that many Southern Christian voters had about Gov. Romney. He placed second at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference’s straw poll held in Memphis (after only Tennessee’s own son Bill Frist, meaning he beat every current candidate). We thought it’d be interesting to explore his candidacy through the lens of our faith."
Intermittent Republican With A Loose Grip On His Ideology (March 13th, Indianapolis Star): Conservative Fellow Deroy Murdock takes a critical look at Romney's past donations to and support of Democratic candidates: "By itself, Romney's spell as a Democratic donor shouldn't panic Republicans. But given his multifarious inconsistencies elsewhere, this news reinforces concerns that Romney is an ideological construction site, constantly growing into a structure still unseen and perhaps unenvisioned."
"Pink Taco" Publicist Is Romney's Arizona Director (March 13th, Arizona Republic): The Arizona Republic's political reporter highlights the fact that Romney's Arizona Director has some ties with some questionable ties: "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate who will visit Arizona today, has tapped Jason Rose as his state director here. Rose is the local public relations consultant who last year helped generate national buzz for the provocative Pink Taco restaurant in Scottsdale."
Will Mormon Faith Hurt Bid For White House? (March 13th, USA Today): USA Today explores Romney's faith and the question of whether it will hurt his bid for the White House. I think it's a fair article that has some interesting soundbites: "[BYU Professor David] Magleby and [Boston College Professor Alan] Wolfe say Romney should heed Arizona Sen. John McCain's experience in South Carolina's 2000 primary. McCain was accused, among other things, of having illegitimate children, betraying veterans and being brainwashed while a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Magleby predicts polygamy will be "a major attack point below the radar and maybe above." Wolfe says such attacks will start "the minute you get into the Republican primaries and somebody gets desperate."
And Lastly, Some Endorsements and Campaign Additions:
- Last Wednesday, March 7th, US Congressman Mike Conaway from Texas endorsed Romney. Conaway is the 24th Representative to endorse Romney.
- Last Thursday, Romney announced his women's leadership team in South Carolina.
- Last Friday, Romney announced that Alicia Gonzalez, President of Media Relations Group, would serve as Romney's Florida Hispanic Media Adviser.
- This weekend, former Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn endorsed Romney. Romney also announced his Nevada Steering Committee.
- Yesterday, Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri announced his support for Romney.