Entries in Mississippi (17)


Mississippi Bill Would Close Sole Abortion Clinic

Esme E. Deprez/Bloomberg/Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) -- A controversial measure that would essentially shut down the only abortion clinic in Mississippi has passed both houses of the state legislature.

The bill does not target, but directly impacts the state's only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

The bill, House Bill 1390, would require doctors working at abortion clinics to be OB-GYN certified and have admitting privileges to a local hospital.

All across the country a number of measures challenging what opponents call the right to choose have popped up. Just last month in Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law a bill which mandates women to undergo an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.

Mississippi has aggressively targeted abortion since November's election put Republicans in charge of both chambers of the House.

Anti-abortion advocates saw an opportunity to pass legislation like the “Heartbeat Bill,” that had long stalled.

The abortion restriction bill known as the "Heartbeat Bill" would have required doctors to look for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion and would have outlawed the procedure if a heartbeat could be detected.

While the bill passed the Mississippi House, it was pending in a Senate committee and was not brought up for a vote before a Tuesday deadline.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Wins Alabama, Mississippi; Pledges to ‘Compete Everywhere’

Sean Gardner/Getty Images(LAFAYETTE, La.) -- Rick Santorum won both Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday night, sweeping the Super Tuesday of the South and cementing the notion that this is truly a two-man battle with Mitt Romney.

The former Pennsylvania senator walked out on stage in Lafayette, La., to cheers after the polls closed and said, “We did it again!”

Flanked by his wife Karen and three of his children, Santorum immediately took a jab at Romney, who earlier in the day said Santorum was at the “desperate end” of his campaign.

“People are saying you’ve been outspent and you know, everybody’s talking about all the math and all the things in this race is inevitable,” Santorum said.  “Well, for someone who thinks this race is inevitable, he spent a whole lot of money against me for a race that was inevitable.”

Vastly outspent by Romney in Mississippi and Alabama, Santorum was still able to take them both.  He told supporters at a hotel Tuesday evening that his is a “grassroots campaign.”

“We will compete everywhere, we will compete everywhere,” Santorum said.  “The time is now for conservatives to pull together.  The time is now to make sure, make sure that we have the best chance to win this election and the best chance to win this election is to nominate a conservative to go up against Barack Obama who can take him on in every issue.”

The candidate runs his campaign like none of his current competitors or even like the campaigns he ran previously: There is no bus, no headquarters and his staff is scaled down.

“Who would have ever thought in the age of media that we have in this country today that ordinary folks across this country can defy the odds day in and day out,” Santorum said.

Santorum chose to give his speech in neither Mississippi or Alabama and instead went to Louisiana, which votes on March 24.  He looked directly into the camera and pledged to Louisiana voters he would end the “extreme environmental policies of this administration.”

“We wanted to be here in Lafayette,” Santorum said.  “We will put this town back to work so you can have a better quality of life.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich Says Romney’s Inevitability ‘Collapsed’

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich lost both Alabama and Mississippi to Rick Santorum on Tuesday.  But while Gingrich campaign advisers had called the two states “must-win” just last week, more recently he said that no matter what the outcome Tuesday, he would still soldier on to other primaries and all the way to the convention in Tampa, Fla.

“Because this is proportional representation we are going to leave Alabama and Mississippi with a substantial number of delegates, increasing our total going toward Tampa,” Gingrich said, noting that delegates will ultimately decide the GOP nominee.

Romney has a large delegate lead, but Gingrich said Tuesday night’s third place finishes will hurt the former Massachusetts governor.

“I emphasize going to Tampa, because one of the things tonight proved is that the elite media’s effort to convince the nation that Mitt Romney is inevitable just collapsed,” he said.

Gingrich said that conservative candidates -- he and Santorum -- got more than 70 percent of the vote.  Romney, Gingrich said, is a “Massachusetts moderate.”

“If you’re a front-runner and coming in third, you are not much of a front-runner,” Gingrich said.

He said he didn’t believe Romney had the ability to beat President Obama in the fall, which is “part of the reason I have insisted on staying in this race.”

Gingrich heads to Illinois on Wednesday and will campaign in Louisiana later in the week.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Candidates Get Ready to Face Off in Alabama, Mississippi

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The long slog that the Republican presidential primary has become will swing through the Deep South on Tuesday when voters in Alabama and Mississippi head to the polls, but a decisive result of any kind seems unlikely.

For front-runner Mitt Romney, who appears all but certain to secure the nomination eventually, a victory in either state would be a massive boost, giving him sorely needed southern success.  For Rick Santorum, a win would bolster his argument that the race is far from over.  And Newt Gingrich may need victories in Alabama and Mississippi more than either of his rivals, but his campaign has refused the notion that both states are must-wins.

A series of primaries over the weekend provided a preview of the race to come.  Santorum romped to a commanding win in Kansas, the weekend’s single biggest prize, but Romney captured the bulk of delegates in Guam, the Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands, giving the former Massachusetts governor more delegates from the four contests than Santorum.

The race, it seems, has become a battle of math versus momentum.  Even if Santorum manages to put together a winning streak in the upcoming states, Romney, with his superior campaign organization, will likely continue to amass so many delegates that the nomination will ultimately be his.

The math argument is one that the Romney campaign has been making since Super Tuesday.

“The nomination is an impossibility for Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich,” a Romney campaign strategist said last Wednesday, claiming that it would take “an act of God” for one of their two rivals to win.

If Romney has math on his side -- to date Romney has secured 454 delegates, more than double the 217 that Santorum has.  The former Pennsylvania senator leads Romney 34 percent to 30 percent in a new national CBS/New York Times poll and he stands to do well in a series of upcoming states, including Alabama and Mississippi, where even Romney aides acknowledge that their candidate may not have that much support, despite the endorsement of the governors of both states and comic Jeff Foxworthy.

“When we have our nominee going out there and trying to sell the American public to vote for him because of mathematics, we are in very, very tough shape,” Santorum said at a campaign stop over the weekend.  “This isn’t about math.  This is about vision.  It’s about leadership.  It’s about taking this country in a direction that is critical because big things are at stake in this country.”

For Santorum to keep making his momentum argument, success in Alabama and Mississippi is imperative.  Recent polls show a close race in both states.

It is entirely possible for Santorum to win both states, but still come out as the loser in terms of delegates.  Both Alabama and Mississippi award delegates proportionally, so Romney is likely to do well enough to gain at least some delegates there.

In addition, caucuses will also be held in Hawaii and American Samoa, where -- as evidenced by his success in Guam, the Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands -- Romney is considered likely to win.

Gingrich, meanwhile, lags far behind both Romney and Santorum, making the contests in Alabama and Mississippi potentially more important for him than for his rivals.  The former House speaker has only won two states -- South Carolina and Georgia -- and a total of 109 delegates to date.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Tells Alabama Voters He’s the "True Red Conservative"

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- Just hours after Mitt Romney accused Rick Santorum of being to the left of him, the former Pennsylvania senator hit back, telling a crowd in Montgomery, Ala., that his victories show just how conservative he is.

“You have candidates who do not have a conservative record, but who are now -- because they are in a primary, they are out there trying to run to the right and say, ‘Oh, we’re the most conservative,’” Santorum said Monday evening.  “But if you look at the state that just voted on Saturday, Kansas, there’s no more rock rib solid conservative state in the country than the state of Kansas, it’s about as red as they get.  Oklahoma, about as red as they get.  And who won Kansas and Oklahoma?”

He told the audience of about 200 that if the voters of Alabama and Mississippi, who go to the polls on Tuesday, “have any doubt who the true blue conservative is -- or the true red conservative is, there is no question.”

Earlier Monday on Fox News, Romney told Neil Cavuto that he “find(s) it interesting that he (Santorum) continues to describe himself as the real conservative” before listing reasons he believes his opponent is not, adding Santorum’s “record does not suggest he has the fiscal conservative chops that I have.”

Santorum again said if he’s the victor on Tuesday it will become a “two-person race,” suggesting the loss for Newt Gingrich would push him out of contention.

According to several polls, Santorum, Romney and Gingrich are locked in a three-way tie in both states.

Santorum made a final push Monday evening for the audience members’ votes, telling them their primaries are not usually this important.

“This is the first time your vote in a Republican primary is going to make a difference.  And it’s going to make a huge difference,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum: If Campaign's About Math 'We Are In Very, Very Tough Shape' 

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(GULFPORT, Miss.) -- Two days before Mississippians vote, Rick Santorum admitted he has made a few mistakes on the campaign trail, saying he has had some “lowlights” on his quest to the nomination.

“Now I’ve had my highlights and my lowlights during the campaign,” Santorum said on Sunday, telling the boisterous crowd he’s only had five days off since announcing in June.

“You know we get fired up sometimes and say some things that I wish I had a mulligan on if you will, but if you’re not scripted that’s going to happen,” he said.  “Well, all of us in our own life say, ‘Well, I wish I hadn’t said it quite like that.’”

Last week on CNN, Santorum admitted that his wife Karen has tried to reel him in when he’s said some of his more eyebrow-raising comments, like calling President Obama a “snob.”

On Sunday, he asked the crowd of about 300 at the Lookout Steakhouse in Gulfport, Miss., to embrace their “key role” in the next few days.  The former Pennsylvania senator again hit back against the Romney campaign’s claim that their delegate advantage is insurmountable for Santorum.

“You have Gov. Romney now saying, ‘Oh this race is over, that mathematically it can’t work,'” Santorum said.  “When we have our nominee going out there and trying to sell the American public to vote for him because of mathematics, we are in very, very tough shape.  This isn’t about math.  This is about vision, it’s about leadership, it’s about taking this country in a direction that is critical because big things are at stake in this country.”

Santorum touted his campaign work ethic saying since this started he has been the hardest working candidate on the trail, throwing a jabbed veil at Romney and trying to contrast his opponent’s campaign as “going out, raising money and just trying to run negative ads.”

“In every state, we’ve been campaigning and campaigning hard,” Santorum said.  “We haven’t blown off any state, we’ve gone to every state.  Well, I didn’t go to Alaska, but there was a reason for that.  It was just a little too far to get out there, but every other state that has been a primary, we’ve gone out and visited and we’ve talked to folks, and that’s not been a case with other campaigns.  The other campaigns have been going out, raising money and just trying to run negative ads, and I’m trying to get out and talk to people.”

Of course, Santorum did not compete in every state choosing not to campaign in Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Wyoming as well as Alaska.  He did not campaign in Virginia, but he -- along with Newt Gingrich -- was not on the ballot in that state.

Santorum is scheduled to campaign next in both Mississippi and Alabama on Monday, ahead of their primaries Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Dubs Romney ‘Weakest’ GOP Front-Runner in 90 Years

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Newt Gingrich may be the most authentic, grits-eating Southerner in the GOP primary race, but don’t expect any Southern hospitality from the Georgia native.

As the Republican race heads south for the Alabama and Mississippi primaries this week -- two primaries that could be make-or-break contests for Gingrich -- the former House speaker is spitting fire at his top GOP rival, saying on Sunday that Mitt Romney was the “weakest” front-runner in nearly a century.

“The fact is, Romney is probably weakest Republican front runner since Leonard Wood in 1920, and Wood lost on the 10th ballot,” Gingrich said on Fox News Sunday.

Wood was the early Republican favorite in the 1920 election, having secured the endorsement from former President Teddy Roosevelt.  But despite Wood’s monetary advantage, he entered the Republican National Convention without enough delegates to secure the nomination.

After 10 rounds of voting, Republicans dropped Wood and nominated Warren G. Harding, who entered the convention in fourth place in the delegate count.

Gingrich predicted a similar swap could happen this primary cycle.  In a brokered convention like that, Gingrich said he thinks “there is a space” for him.

“I think we are likely to see after the last primary in June, we’re likely to see a 60-day conversation about what’s going to happen as we already see Romney dominating,” Gingrich said.  “And in that context … remembering that I was in first place both in December and again in mid-January in terms of the Gallup poll and the Rasmussen, I think there is a space for a visionary conservative with big solutions.”

Later on CBS’ Face the Nation, Gingrich said he was “committed to going all the way to Tampa,” where the Republican National Convention will be held in August.

Gingrich has won only two of the 25 primaries and caucuses so far and is trailing Romney by more than 300 delegates.  The pro-Santorum Super PAC, The Red White and Blue Fund, called for Gingrich to drop out so the anti-Romney voting bloc could coalesce around one candidate, Santorum.

But Santorum has not followed in his Super PAC's shoes.  The candidate said Sunday that “Gingrich can stay in as long as he wants.”

“I’m not going to tell people to get out,” Santorum said on NBC’s Meet the Press.  “I didn’t ask Speaker Gingrich to get in.  I’m not going to ask him to get out.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Team Braces for Possible Last Stand

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Nobody knows what Newt Gingrich is thinking, but as calls for him to quit the race begin to pile up, his campaign is preparing for a strong fight in two primaries on Tuesday.

The primaries are in Alabama and Mississippi, key states that Gingrich's campaign hopes will reward the former House speaker who has boasted of his southern appeal.

On Super Tuesday this week, Gingrich won only one contest -- his home state of Georgia.  He lost a nearby vote in Tennessee to Rick Santorum.

People working for Gingrich's campaign underscore the crucial importance of next Tuesday's votes in Alabama and Mississippi, where wins could lift the candidate not only in the South, but in bigger primary states to come.

"For Newt, these two primaries are going to be extremely important," said a Republican strategist who asked not to be named.

Gingrich is feeling the heat to win, DeLinda Ridings, the former director of his campaign in South Carolina, where Gingrich won a resounding early primary victory, said.  "Now is the time to start manning up and making those concrete decisions" about ending his bid for the nomination.

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who has endorsed Santorum, said Thursday, after unveiling a poll of 200,000 conservatives, that "there is great admiration for Newt Gingrich's contributions to conservatism, as well as his debating abilities.  But the overwhelming sentiment was that he could most help the conservative cause by standing with Santorum so that voters have a clear choice in the remaining primaries."

Stuart Roy, an adviser to the super PAC supporting Santorum, said in a statement after Super Tuesday that "it is time for Newt Gingrich to exit the Republican nominating process."  He argued that Santorum would have won the primaries in Ohio and Michigan without Gingrich siphoning off conservative voters.

But people on Gingrich's campaign say there's no talk of him stepping down.  In fact, Gingrich's campaign staff in Arlington, Va., have started working on strategies to leverage the delegates Gingrich wins on the floor of the Republican convention in August.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pro-Romney Super PAC Spends Big in Ill., La., Miss. and Ala.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- If you’re a voter in an upcoming primary state, chances are you’ll see a lot of pro-Romney super PAC ads.

On Wednesday, the Romney-backing super PAC Restore Our Future reported big purchases of TV time in Tuesday’s primary states of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as Illinois and Louisiana, which hold primaries on March 20 and March 24, respectively.

It was once unthinkable, according to conventional wisdom, that the Republican primary would stay competitive long enough for a heated battle over the heavily Democratic Illinois. However, Restore Our Future is spending more money there than in any other upcoming state -- likely because ads in the Chicago media market are expensive.

Restore Our Future reported new spending of $901,438 in Illinois, $425,165 in Louisiana, $680,385 in Alabama, and $581,183 in Mississippi.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum: Romney Not Being ‘Truthful’ With American People

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) -- ”Are we going to win here?” Rick Santorum asked an excited crowd in Mississippi Wednesday evening at a rally ahead of the state's primary next week.

The candidate touted his Super Tuesday wins and tried to define Mitt Romney as a candidate willing to mislead the American public.

“I never supported a government mandate unlike two other candidates in this race who will be coming here,” Santorum said referring to Romney and Newt Gingrich, before singling out Romney.  “One of them went as far as to impose it upon his people in Massachusetts.  And then bragged about how it should be adopted in Washington and worse yet, repeatedly in every single debate told the American public something that was simply not true.”

As he has since a 2009 op-ed came to light where Romney recommended part of his signature health care law as a national model, Santorum tried to define the former Massachusetts governor as someone who can’t be trusted, and compared him to President Obama.

“He told the American public repeatedly, ‘Oh no, I never did that.  I never recommended that Romneycare be used as a national model for Obamacare just parts of it.'  We find now in the last two weeks that’s wrong,” Santorum said to cheers from a crowd of about 300 at a local museum.  “There’s a final thing: when you don’t have the courage to stand up and tell the truth about what you did.  Ladies and gentleman, we already have someone in office who is not being truthful with the American public on a variety of different things.  We don’t want to run somebody who has the same problem.”

Santorum also responded to the Romney campaign’s charge earlier Wednesday at a delegate briefing they held for reporters that only an “act of God” could bring Santorum or Gingrich the Republican nomination.

“Well I don’t know about you Gov. Romney, but I think it was a blessing and an act of God for us to even be on this stage tonight and I thank God for that.  I feel very blessed I really do,” Santorum said.  “This campaign hasn’t been about negative advertising and carpet bombing, trying to tear down your opponents.  It’s one of the reasons we continue to just hang in there, it’s because we are connecting, not because everyone agrees with what I’m saying, but people know what I’m saying is what I truly believe is right for this country.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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