Entries in MMitt Romney (7)


Huntsman Uninvited from GOP Gathering Following Remarks

Win McNamee/Getty Images(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Jon Huntsman couldn’t win the Republican nomination, and now he can’t even get into Republican events.

The long-shot presidential candidate won’t be allowed at a gathering of donors in Palm Beach this weekend, sponsored by the Republican National Committee, because he called for a third-party candidate last week.

Huntsman’s daughter Abby confirmed to ABC News that her dad has been uninvited. He was supposed to be a speaker at the event.

The snub was first reported by the social meme and political news website BuzzFeed.

Huntsman dropped out of the race after he did poorly in the New Hampshire primary and quickly endorsed the front-runner establishment candidate, Mitt Romney. But last week, Huntsman said on MSNBC that “I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some voice out there that can put forth new ideas.”

“Someone’s going to step up at some point and say we’ve had enough of this,” he said. “The real issues are not being addressed and it’s time that we put forward an alternative vision, a bold thinking. We might not win, but we can certainly influence the debate.”

The former China ambassador and Utah governor had played down speculation that he might run for president in a third party, and his endorsement of Romney appeared to put that idea to rest — while raising the notion that he could mount another bid in 2016 or 2020.

BuzzFeed reported that an RNC staff member told a former member of Huntsman’s campaign staff that his invitation had been revoked.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Turns Focus on Trade Policies with China

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BELLEVUE, Wash.) -- Trade policies were at the center at Mitt Romney’s events in a suburb outside Seattle, where he continued to assail China for being a “currency manipulator" and accused President Obama of being too easy on the country.

“When this president ran for office, he said he was concerned about how China was not playing fair, not playing by the rules, and he said he’d take them to the mat,” said Romney, speaking to a crowd of hundreds at the Highland Community Center in a suburb just outside Bellevue. “Well, since then, they’ve walked all over him. What China does is cheat when it comes to trade policy.”

“And you can’t blame them for trying; you have to blame us for letting it go on,” he said.

Romney, who has spoken extensively about how he would deal with China differently from the current administration, focused largely on preserving American innovation.

“And then, wait, Boeing, get ready, all right — China wants to start making big aircraft,” said Romney.
“Guess whose designs and technologies they’re going to try to steal? They hacked into the computers in corporate America and the computers in our governmental sites.”

“In addition to all those other things, they also artificially hold down the value of their currency. Why? So their prices are artificially low, so they can take jobs and get business,” he said. “By the way, what does a country do after they’ve wiped out their competitors? Why then of course, they rise it right back up.”

Washington State voters will caucus Saturday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney's Arizona Co-Chair Quits Amid Allegations

ABC News Radio(PHOENIX) -- A sheriff who gained notoriety as an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration stepped down from his post as the Romney campaign’s Arizona co-chair after allegations surfaced that he threatened his ex-boyfriend with deportation.

Paul Babeu, 43, who serves as sheriff in Pinal County in Southern Arizona, rose to prominence when the then-first term sheriff appeared in campaign advertisements with John McCain in 2008. The pair walked along a border fence, which McCain had vowed to complete.  Babeu tells him:  “Senator, you’re one of us.”

At a press conference on Saturday, Babeu responded to allegations levied against him by his former boyfriend that were first published in the Phoenix New Times. The man, who is undocumented, was only identified as Jose. He alleged Babeu threatened him with deportation after he wouldn’t agree to never disclose their relationship.

“It’s blatantly, completely false,” Babeu said. “I never believed he was less legal than I or you are.”

But texts obtained by the newspaper that were traced back to Babeu’s phone number told a different story.

“You can never have business after this and you will harm me and many others in the process . . . including yourself and your family,” Babeu allegedly wrote on Sept. 4, 2011.

Besides serving as sheriff, Babeu is currently pursuing a congressional bid.

Sen. John McCain said on Sunday that his “friend” and political supporter, Babeu should be given the the benefit of innocence until proven guilty.

“Well of course  Sheriff Babeu is a friend of mine. I do not know the details except what has been published in the media and I am sure there will be a through and complete investigation if there is any allegations of wrongdoing,” said McCain, R-Ariz., “All I can say is that he also deserves the benefit, as every citizen does, of innocence until proven guilty.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


SC Flyer Campaign Focuses on Romney's Position on Gay Rights

ABC News(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- If a Democratic-allied super PAC has its way, Mitt Romney's past statements on gay rights issues will come back to haunt him in South Carolina this week.

The group, American Bridge 21st Century, has produced an anti-Romney flyer designed to expose a series of Romney's more sympathetic comments about the gay and lesbian community.

"We thought you'd like to see how much common ground there is between Mitt Romney and some of the great voices of the LGBT rights movement," the top of the flyer reads.

What follows are four Romney quotes paired with similar comments by gay rights leaders Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, Lt. Dan Choi and the gay Massachusetts congressman, Barney Frank.

"The gay community needs more support from the Republican Party," reads one of Romney's quotes on the flyer, which is printed on pink paper.

The group began distributing the fliers on car windshields in Charleston, S.C. on Saturday outside a forum moderated by Mike Huckabee and S.C. Congressman Tim Scott. They plan to continue handing them out all week long at selected venues throughout the state, including in church parking lots on Sunday morning.

American Bridge's goal is to chip away at Romney's support among conservative voters in the state, especially evangelical Christians.

"This isn't about painting Romney as a liberal to voters in South Carolina," the group's president, Rodell Mollineau, said in an interview with ABC News. "It really is about showing voters that this man has no core and he will say anything to get elected."

Mollineau's group, which has dispatched trackers to follow the GOP candidates over the course of the primary season, plans other attacks on Romney this week ahead of the state's Jan. 21 primary. American Bridge will use video, social media and possibly newspaper ads to exploit what they see as the former Massachusetts governor's vulnerabilities in at least two other areas: his position on abortion and his evolution as a conservative.

The hand-outs are meant to mirror fliers that were reportedly distributed by Romney during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts that included a statement by Romney and his running mate, Kerry Healy that read: "All citizens deserve equal rights regardless of their sexual preference."

Romney campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom, who served as communications director for the candidate's 2002 bid, recently told the Huffington Post that he never saw or approved the decade-old fliers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


With Rick Perry in Race, Which Governor Has the Best Record?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rick Perry's entrance to the presidential field means a fourth sitting or former governor has entered the field. The nine announced GOP presidential candidates run the gamut when it comes to their political backgrounds. Three served in the U.S. House, one served in the Senate, one has never held elected office.

Governors can tout their executive experience, which voters in recent years have responded well to. Recent presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton were governors before entering the White House.

The newest addition to the ever-expanding circle of presidential contenders is Texas Gov. Perry, the longest-serving governor in state history. For Perry, who will officially announce his presidential bid on Saturday, accomplishment No. 1 is job creation.

Over the past year, Texas' job growth was twice the national average. In fact, of all the jobs created since June 2009, 30 percent—about 295,000 jobs—were created in Texas, according to a report from the Dallas Federal Reserve which analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mine Yucel, vice president and senior economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve, said much of this job growth can be attributed to Texas' low tax rate—the state has no income tax—few regulations and a law limiting tort litigation. Texas, according to Perry, is the "epicenter of growth."

But Lis Smith, spokeswoman for the Democratic Governors Association, said Texas's lower unemployment rates have less to do with Perry's policies and more to do with Texas's natural resources.

The Texas unemployment rate has been below the national average for his entire decade-long tenure. The most recent jobs report showed that at 8.2 percent the Texas unemployment rate was 1 percentage point lower than the national average.

"Someone had put a report out that the first state that's coming out of the recession is going to be the state of Texas ... I said, 'We're in one?'" Perry said in September 2009.

Still, 25 states had a lower unemployment rate in June 2011 than Texas, including Pawlenty's state of Minnesota in which 6.7 percent of the population is unemployed—dropping off from its peak of 8.3 percent in 2010.

Pawlenty took office in 2003 when the state's budget was facing a $2 billion shortfall. Within his first year as governor Moody's rating agency downgraded Minnesota from a perfect AAA credit rating to AA1, one step lower, citing short-term fixes to long-term budget woes as the reason for the downgrade.

"Pawlenty came in with a structural deficit and he basically managed that structural deficit but never solved it," said Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota.

Jacobs said a combination of lagging revenues because of the recession and Pawlenty's staunch opposition to raising taxes led to the $5 billion projected budget deficit for the next biennium that Pawlenty left to his successor when he departed office in January 2011.

Conversely, during Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's tenure from 2003 to 2007, he petitioned the S&P credit rating agency to increase his state's credit rating from AA- to AA, which they did in 2005, according to a report obtained by Politico.

"Over the last few years, Massachusetts has taken certain actions that have reduced budget uncertainty, reined in spending, and prudently managed resources during a difficult national economic slowdown," Standard & Poor's said in the March 2005 report according to Politico.

But the credit upgrade did not come without a cost. In 2002 Massachusetts raised more than $1 billion in additional tax revenue and in 2004 the state increased fees such as those for drivers' licenses, raising an additional $271 million annually, according to the report.

In Thursday night's Fox News debate, the two Minnesotans sparred over tax increases. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann attacked Pawlenty for raising cigarette taxes from 48 cents per pack to $1.50 during his tenure.

Perry has also taken heat for his tax policies. During Perry's 2010 primary battle, opponent Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison accused the governor of raising taxes on businesses by creating a 1 percent margins tax on business receipts.

Perry countered that he had, in fact, lowered business taxes by eliminating the 4.5 percent franchise tax in favor of the lower margins tax. And while at face value the tax rate did decrease, revenue increased. According to the Austin American Statesman, revenue from the franchise tax was $5.8 billion in 2006 and 2007. But in the first two years under the margin tax revenue rose to $8.7 billion.

"I think Perry's margin tax in Texas is a destructive type of tax," said Joseph Henchman, the vice president of state projects for the Tax Foundation. "You have taxes being levied on taxes based on how many levels of production a product has. It basically encourages people to form conglomerates purely for tax reasons which is economically destructive. You have these taxes pyramiding on each other so the effective rate is higher."

In his four years has the governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009, Jon Huntsman simplified the Utah tax code by swapping a six-bracket income tax system for one 5 percent flat tax.

"Huntsman's flat tax achievement is an achievement," Henchman said. "It reduced complexity and it made it a much more growth-friendly tax system."

Henchman said former Romney is the only GOP candidate who saw income taxes decrease while he was in office, albeit slightly, from 5.6 percent when he took office in 2003 to 5.3 percent by the time he left in 2007.

Massachusetts residents have historically had a one of the highest tax burdens in the country, consistently ranking in the top 10 states, Henchman said. When Romney was in office the state dropped out of the top 10, falling from having the eighth-highest tax burden in 2005 to the 13th in 2006.

At the Iowa State Fair Thursday, Romney took questions from a rather heated audience. In response to a question about whether he would close corporate tax loopholes, Romney reiterated that he absolutely would not raise taxes.

But, then again, all of his GOP opponents say they will not raise taxes either.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney Camp Calls Obama Re-Election Strategy 'Disgraceful'

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Romney campaign issued a fiery response to a Politico article published Tuesday morning that reported President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign will work to “destroy” Romney in “a ferocious personal assault” on Romney’s “character and business background.”

“It is disgraceful that President Obama’s campaign has launched his re-election with the stated goal to ‘kill’ his opponent with an onslaught of negative and personal attacks,” said Romney’s campaign manager Matt Rhoades in a written statement.

“President Obama will say and do desperate things to hold onto power because he knows he has failed. Neither despicable threats, nor President Obama’s billion dollar negative campaign, will put Americans back to work, save their homes, or restore their hopes. On November 6, 2012, this will change,” Rhoades said.

The Politico article quotes “aides and advisors” to President Obama who say their strategy is “grounded in the early state expectation that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee.”

“The onslaught would have two aspects,” reports Politico. “The first is personal: Obama’s re-elect will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, ‘weird.’”

And one source described by Politico as a “prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House,” says in the article, “Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney.”

In addition to Rhoades' statement, Romney’s senior campaign advisor Eric Ferhnstrom tweeted a link to the Politico article with the comment, “Obama sees Romney as biggest threat, goes from 'hope and change’ to ‘kill and destroy.’”

Romney has refrained from engaging his GOP counterparts in negative campaigning so far, instead focusing all of his web videos and slams at President Obama.  In the past few days alone, Romney has remarked that Obama is “out of his depth when it comes to understanding how the private economy works” and, in commenting on the S&P downgrade said, “The president’s failure to put the nation’s fiscal and economic house in order has caused a massive loss of coincidence that resulted in an embarrassing downgrade.”

“In the Carter era, it was called ‘malaise,’” said Romney in the statement. “Under President Obama, it’s called meltdown.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney Criticizes Obama's SOTU for Lack of Direction

Photo Courtesy - TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One potential 2012 presidential contender, Mitt Romney, is criticizing President Obama’s State of the Union address and the lack of direction he’s providing for the country.

“President Obama knows where he wants to go, but he has no idea how to get there,” Romney said in a blog post in response to the State of the Union address.

“Under President Obama's economic leadership, more Americans have lost their jobs than any time in modern history. The on-the-job economic education of the president has cost American families almost a trillion dollars in failed stimulus schemes and, unfortunately, he's still failing the course. Rhetoric, however soaring, does not put pay checks in pay envelopes at the end of the week. You can't build a high speed rail system fast enough to outrun the president's misguided regulations, higher taxes or lack of focus on jobs. Hopefully he is learning. American families are depending on him."

Just this weekend, Mitt Romney won a straw poll of New Hampshire Republican Party committee members sponsored by ABC News and WMUR, taking 35 percent of the 276 valid ballots cast.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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