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Entries in Primaries (82)

Tuesday
Apr242012

Gingrich Calls Romney’s Planned Speech ‘Presumptuous’ and ‘Insulting’

Ethan Miller/Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(CONCORD, N.C.) -- Hinging his troubled and indebted campaign on a hoped for win in Delaware Tuesday night, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told reporters following him in North Carolina that he “will have something to say this evening once we see some results from today.”

Mitt Romney is already the projected winner in the Republican primaries in Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Gingrich hit the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, for giving a speech titled, “A Better America Begins Tonight,” which a senior Romney adviser said will show Romney in a “new light.” The senior adviser added that the general election campaign has begun.

“I think it’s a very substantial mistake for Gov. Romney to be pretending these primaries aren’t occurring and for him to be having, quote, ‘a general election’ speech tonight in New Hampshire,” Gingrich said. “He’s the frontrunner but he’s not the nominee and I think it’s a little insulting to the people of these states.”

Gingrich said the people in future primary states “deserve some respect.”

“I think it’s a little bit presumptuous. There’s a big difference between being the frontrunner and being inevitable and I think he is mistaking the two,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich would not take any questions at his campaign stop in Charlotte, but said he would answer the looming questions about the state of his campaign at his election watch party Tuesday night in Concord, N.C.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Northeast Primary Day: What to Watch After Santorum’s Exit

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Five Northeastern states -- Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island -- will hold their primaries on Tuesday, and a total of 231 delegates are at stake.

Before Rick Santorum dropped out of the race, polling had indicated that Mitt Romney was the strong favorite in these contests -- the only truly close contest was Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania.

After Santorum dropped out of the race, all of these primaries ceased to be contested.  Romney is likely to walk away with at least a strong majority of the delegates, possibly all of them.  Still, there are several important things to watch in Tuesday’s battles:

1. How many delegates will Romney win?

Although Romney is his party’s presumptive nominee, he is still several hundred delegates shy of the 1,144 he needs to officially clinch his party's nomination.  Romney has amassed 697 delegates so far, according to ABC News’ projections.

In Tuesday’s contest, the most delegate-rich state is New York with 95.  There are 72 delegates at stake in Pennsylvania, 28 in Connecticut, 19 in Rhode Island and 17 in Delaware.  Delaware awards their delegates on a winner-take-all scheme, but the other states are proportional, meaning there is an opportunity for Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul to pick up a couple of delegates here or there.

2. Will Gingrich pick up a bounce after Santorum’s exit?

Back in January, Gingrich encouraged Santorum to drop out of the race and endorse him.  The logic behind the encouragement, aside from wanting to narrow down the field, was that Santorum supporters would be more likely to back Gingrich over Romney -- that Gingrich and Santorum were splitting the more conservative base of the party. 

This theory has been floated throughout the primary season: If either candidate were to drop out and endorse the other, it would benefit the remaining candidate.  There are no hard numbers to back it up the suspicion, however.

Santorum hasn’t endorsed anyone in the race, and the talk of his endorsement so far has been centered on a possible Romney endorsement, not a Gingrich endorsement.  But Tuesday’s primary offers a chance to see whether Gingrich can in fact benefit from Santorum’s departure in any way.

3. Will Santorum still get a percentage of the vote?

Although he suspended his campaign weeks ago, Santorum’s name remains on the ballot in all five of these primaries, so technically speaking there’s nothing to stop dedicated supporters from checking his name.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr042012

Romney Returns to Pa. Nearly a Year After First-Ever Campaign Appearance

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(BROOMALL, Pa.) -- Mitt Romney stormed into former senator Rick Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania Wednesday to the welcome of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 500 people. He spoke for more than 20 minutes about what he called failures of the Obama administration in handling the economy, repeating nearly an identical message to one he delivered in the state nearly a year ago.

“I think he’s so out of touch with the American people that he doesn’t see how many people are struggling because of his policies,” said Romney, who spoke on the floor of a spiral staircase manufacturer.

“We want dreams and dreamers to come to this country. But instead, with this president, regulation upon regulation, bureaucrat upon bureaucrat, tax upon tax. He’s crushing the dreams, he’s crushing the dreamers, he’s crushing the middle class,” said Romney. “It’s time to bring back economic strength in the middle class by encouraging the dreamers, encouraging the dreams.”

While Romney has fundraised in Pennsylvania over the past year, he has not held a public campaign event in the state since June 30, 2011, weeks after he officially launched his presidential campaign. Then, speaking outside an abandoned factory in Allentown, Pa., the failure of which he blamed on the president’s economic plan, Romney took questions from the media in what would be one of the first campaign events of the primary season.

Then, Romney was asked by a reporter if he believed he could win Pennsylvania, to which he responded, “Can I win Pennsylvania? Pennsylvanians want good jobs and they want a president that will focus on getting Pennsylvania back to work."

“If I’m president, I’ll do just that,” he said. “My intent is to use a career of work in the private sector and my understanding of how jobs come and go to try and help America become the most attractive place in the world for investors, innovators, for creators, for laborers,” said Romney. “I want America to go back to work.”

Romney’s message Wednesday was nearly identical, with the candidate touting his economic resume and bashing the president’s.

Despite a speech focused entirely on President Obama, Romney did still make a plea for votes in Pennsylvania’s primary, which isn’t for another few weeks. Romney’s campaign has organizational weight in the state, a campaign headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., and at least four paid staffers in the state, with more coming in later this week.

“On April 24, I need you to take the next step, the next step in taking back America and restoring opportunity and freedom,” he said, “and putting people back to work, and strengthening our middle-class, growing America, allowing us to maintain a strong military -- second to none in the world -- keeping America the shining light on a hill. And I will do that, with your help. Let’s get out and vote. Let’s get the job done. Thanks, you guys!”

Romney will continue campaigning in Pennsylvania on Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Mitt Romney Sweeps, Pegs President Obama as Out of Touch

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- After sweeping wins in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C.’s primaries, Mitt Romney took to the stage Tuesday to deliver a pounding critique of President Obama, fully ignoring his GOP rivals and instead painting the president as “out of touch.”

“It’s enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of True Believers telling you that you’re great and you’re doing a great job, it’s enough to make you think that you might become a little out of touch with that, and that’s what’s happened,” Romney said of the president.

Romney skipped the perfunctory congratulations to his fellow GOP candidates. In fact, over the past few days of campaigning in Wisconsin, Romney has steered clear of mentioning his primary competitors, signaling a shift to the general election. Romney went straight after Obama Tuesday evening, saying another four years of his administration would ensure a “government-centered society.”

“This campaign is going to deal with many complicated issues but there’s a basic choice we’re going to face,” Romney said in the ballroom of an event space known as the Grain Exchange in downtown Milwaukee. “The president has pledged to transform America and he spent the last four years laying the groundwork for a government-centered society. I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of an opportunity society led by free people and free enterprise.”

Romney looked ahead to the next set of primaries, the April 24 contests in five states in the Northeast.

“Tonight, I’m asking the good people of Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut to join me,” he said. “Join me in the next step toward that destination of Nov. 6, when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know that the promise of America has been kept.”

Romney, who for the first time on a primary night appeared on stage without any of his family members, was accompanied by Rep. Paul Ryan, who endorsed Romney late last week and buoyed the candidate during his tour of the Badger State.

Stuart Stevens, a senior strategist for Romney’s campaign, waved off rumors that Ryan may have been “auditioning” for the vice presidential slot, saying he’s “terrific” but declined to speculate on any potential role for Ryan in the campaign going forward.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Rick Santorum Shakes Off Losses; Ready to ‘Kick Off the Second Half’

AFP/Getty Images(MARS, Pa.) -- Miles away from his defeat in Wisconsin, Rick Santorum rallied a crowd in his home state, telling them he came to “kick off the second half” in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“We have now reached the point where its halftime. Half the delegates in this process have been selected. And who is ready to charge down the field of Pennsylvania for a strong second half?” Santorum asked the crowd gathered in a ballroom at the Four Points Sheraton.

“Pennsylvania and half the other people in this country have yet to be heard and we’re going to go out and campaign here and across this nation to make sure their voices are heard,” Santorum later added.

Earlier in the week, Santorum admitted for the first time that Pennsylvania’s primary on April 24 is a must-win for his campaign. Over the next three weeks, Santorum plans to campaign heavily in the state, which Santorum said gained the nickname the “Keystone State” for a reason.

“We’re the place upon which our country was built and great things continue to happen here,” Santorum said.

Santorum stressed the need to nominate a candidate who can present a contrast to Obama, saying, “If we’re going to win this race we can’t have little differences between our nominee and President Obama. We have to have clear contrasting colors.”

Without naming Romney by name, Santorum continued to hammer away at the Republican front-runner, establishing himself as a candidate whose convictions are made of steel while Romney’s are of the “Etch-a-Sketch” variety.

Looking beyond Pennsylvania, Santorum said he has “every intention” of winning in Texas, a state the campaign believes will be just as crucial to paving a way forward to the nomination as Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania’s pivotal to our campaign, but it’s pivotal to Romney’s as well,” Hogan Gidley, national communications director for Santorum, told reporters. “If we head into May with that win, then we have momentum going into the states that swing back our direction, and that’s his worst nightmare because he wanted this thing to be over a long time ago, and it hasn’t worked out that way, and so, you know, we think Pennsylvania and Texas are going to be pivotal to this nominating process."

“I ask you over the next three weeks. This isn’t halftime. No marching bands. We are hitting the field. The clock starts tonight. We have three weeks to go out in Pennsylvania and win this state. And after winning this state, the field looks different in May,” Santorum said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Wisconsin Ballot Problems? Not So, Say State Officials

Comstock/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- Wisconsin state officials have dismissed reports of widespread ballot problems as voters make their decision in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

An aide to Mitt Romney said Tuesday morning that the campaign had heard rumors of  ballot glitches across the state, including in some municipal races, that resembled those reported in the Illinois primary two weeks ago: Ballots were incorrectly sized and could not fit into the scanners.

The Romney campaign attributed Tuesday’s reports to the Wisconsin Republican Party.

The Government Accountability Board, which oversees election proceedings in Wisconsin, told ABC News that these reports were wrong.

When state officials tested the voting equipment 10 days ago, they did uncover ballot problems in three counties: Milwaukee, Dane and Portage.  But a spokesman for the accountability board said the problems had been fixed, and that voting was expected to run smoothly.

The board has not yet heard any reports of problems.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, which is running several candidates in municipal elections, told ABC News it had not heard about any ballot difficulties either.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Primary Primer: Wisconsin, Maryland and DC

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The short break in the 2012 Republican primary calendar has come and gone; Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia hold their primaries on Tuesday.

The three contests fall at a pivotal moment in the campaign, as Romney gathers up establishment support and begins to look more and more like the inevitable nominee.  A clean sweep on Tuesday night would further solidify this perception.  A Santorum upset, on the other hand, would give a jolt to Santorum’s campaign and perhaps make Romney’s “inevitable nominee” status look, well, not quite so inevitable.

Here are five important things to note about the three contests.

1.) The delegate math will strongly favor the winner.

A total of 98 delegates are at stake on Tuesday: 42 in Wisconsin, 19 in D.C., and 37 in Maryland.  The District of Columbia’s primary is winner-take-all, meaning that whoever receives the highest percentage of the vote gets all of the delegates.

Maryland and Wisconsin are both winner-take-all by congressional district.  The allotment scheme in Maryland and Wisconsin allows the second-place finisher potentially to score a couple of delegates here or there if he is able to carry any congressional districts, but for the most part the winner of the state will get a big majority of the state’s delegates.

2.) Wisconsin is the big prize.

Although Wisconsin does not have a lot more delegates than Maryland, it’s the primary on Tuesday that matters the most as far as perception is concerned.  Just look at the candidates’ schedules over the past 10 days since the Illinois primary, and this becomes very clear.  Candidates have spent far more time in Wisconsin than in Maryland or D.C.

Why?

Maryland and D.C. are both blue states.  In the general election they will be virtually ignored because they are easily assumed to be Obama wins.  Their victories bring no trump cards.  Wisconsin is viewed as a swing state.  Obama carried it in 2008, but the state has one Republican senator, a Republican governor and a mixed congressional delegation.

3.) Money, Money, Money.

Candidates and their allies have poured serious change into the Wisconsin airwaves.  Romney and his allies have spent upwards of $3.1 million on TV ad buys, according to a source tracking GOP ad buys.  For comparison, Santorum and his allies have spent roughly $717,000 on TV ad buys, a margin of about 4:1.

Romney and Santorum aren’t alone on the airwaves. The Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich -- Winning Our Future -- made a small ad buy in the Badger state -- $120,381, according to their Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

Though it’s much smaller than the amount spent in Wisconsin, the pro-Romney Restore Our Future Super PAC has also spent money in Maryland.  The group has spent $436,204 on ad buys in the state, according to their FEC filings.

4) All signs point to Romney.

Polling indicates that Romney is ripe to sweep Wisconsin and Maryland.  There has been no polling in Washington, D.C., though the assumption is that he’ll carry the district as well.  Plus, Santorum failed to qualify for the ballot in the District of Columbia, so his name will not appear as an option for voters.

5) But don’t look for the rest of the field to bow out Wednesday.

Santorum has pledged to fight on until his home state of Pennsylvania holds its primary on April 24.  Newt Gingrich appears to be committed to staying in the race until Romney reaches 1,144 delegates -- the number needed to secure the nomination.  And then there’s Ron Paul, who shows no signs of slowing down.

If the current polling holds and Romney is able to sweep all three primaries, he would increase his already strong delegate lead, making it almost impossible, mathematically speaking, for the other candidates to catch up to him.  However, just as likely, he’ll continue to share the field for the foreseeable future.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr022012

Mitt Romney Goes on Offensive on Immigration in Wisconsin

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE, Wis.) -- Mitt Romney Monday flatly accused President Obama of reneging on his campaign promise to enact sweeping immigration reform, despite enjoying a Democrat-controlled Congress for his first two years in office.

“This has always been a priority for the president he chooses to do nothing about,” Romney said. “Let the immigrant community not forget that while he uses this as a political weapon, he has not taken responsibility for fixing the problems we have.”

The GOP front-runner’s comments came at a town hall meeting at the Moore Oil Company in Milwaukee after an audience member, noting that his girlfriend would have to return to Spain soon when her visa runs out, asked about immigration reform.

“My own view is our immigration policies are upside down,” he continued. “We make it very hard for people who have skills that we need -- education and English-speaking and workplace skills -- make it very hard for those people to come here and to stay here. On the other hand, those that don’t have any of those things are oftentimes able to come either across the border or overstay their visas and remain in this country indefinitely. So we’ve got it backwards.”

As to the audience member’s predicament, Romney stated his opinion that if someone has a masters degree or a Ph.D. from an institution of higher learning in this country, then the government should “staple a green card to their diploma.”

“Welcome them here to the United States of America. We want those people in our country,” he noted. “At the same time we want to make sure that we stop illegal immigration so we can protect legal immigration. Legal immigration is something we conservatives like. We love people coming here legally, particularly that speak English, that can work in jobs here, that can create new industries, that are innovative. The immigrant population that comes here doesn’t come here for a check. They come here for opportunity. These are our voters. So I want to work on an immigration policy that secures the border and that also simplifies the legal immigration process so that we bring in people here that can help build our economy and build our future.

“That is something that I will not just talk about in this campaign. This will be a priority of mine if I become president to make sure we finally reform our immigration laws step by step, secure the border, improve our legal immigration system, so we can keep people here and welcome people here who will make America a stronger nation,” he said.

Romney has faced stinging criticism from the Obama campaign for the past few months as the president’s surrogates have repeatedly dubbed him “the most extreme candidate” on issues affecting Latinos. Despite the criticism, Romney has enjoyed success in primaries with a strong Latino presence, winning in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Puerto Rico.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr022012

Santorum Urges Pregnant Woman to ‘Hang in There’ for Him

Jay LaPrete/Getty Images(OSHKOSH, Wis.) -- Ahead of Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, Rick Santorum is scrambling to gather votes, even urging a pregnant woman not to go into labor before she can vote for him.

“Don’t go into labor before election, before tomorrow. OK? Hang in there for me,” Santorum said to the woman after a rally here.

“Will do,” she said to him.

In his speech to a crowd of under one hundred people, Santorum credited voter turnout as the key to his 11 wins so far in the 2012 campaign.  He said Mitt Romney has won in states where turnout was low.

“That’s what I’m asking all of the folks, all of you here in Wisconsin to do. Go out and work hard over the last 24 hours. Give us a chance,” Santorum said. “We’re not going to win this election because we can spend more money. We’ve never won any state because we’ve spent more money than the other side. We have been outspent in every single state, in some cases badly. But here’s how we won. In every state we won, in every state we won, turnout was up over the previous four years because folks in small town and rural America, conservatives, Tea Party activists, came out and understood how important this race was and they went out and voted in bigger numbers.

“In every state Governor Romney’s won, turnout has been down because of the overwhelming number of negative ads driving down turnout. And by driving down turnout and beating the other opponents up, whether it was me or Perry or Gingrich or Bachmann, and I don’t know who it was, driving down turnout. That’s how he’s been able to win. You think that’s a winning formula for the fall? Think we’ll be able to outspend our opponent 5, 10, 20 to one? No. So that’s why small town and rural America have been out there working for us.”

Santorum said officials are predicting low voter turnout across the state, so he encouraged the crowd to “Take the day off tomorrow. It’s on me. And spend some time getting folks to the polls.”

After the event, Santorum was approached by a man who said a super PAC supporting him has bombarded his household with robocalls, which has made him reconsider whether he will vote for Santorum. Santorum insisted it was not his campaign that made those calls.

“You haven’t gotten any calls from Romney?” Santorum asked

“Two,” the man said.

“Really? Because I’ve heard just the opposite. People are telling me that they are getting robocalls more from Romney and none from us,” Santorum said.

“You must have some unusual vortex that you end up on my list for a lot of ways,” Santorum later said. “Well I’d appreciate your help irrespective of the robocalls.”

“Well, if you could do something about it. I’m not the only one who feels that way. It’s getting insane,” the man said. “I’m right on the fence between the two of you and I’m going to have to reconsider. I mean, you seem like a nice guy. I like your conservative values and all, but, jeez, it’s difficult.”

“Well, don’t answer your phone!” Santorum said with a smile.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar302012

Rick Santorum Tells Voters ‘Don’t Settle’ Like in 2008

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(EAU CLAIRE, Wis.) -- Rick Santorum warned Republican voters not to “settle” on a nominee like they did four years ago and pointed to the Democrats prolonged battle in 2008 as a party fighting for their principles -- something Republicans should aspire to do in this primary.

“I ask each and everyone of you. You’re all being asked to settle for something less. We need to get this over, some are suggesting. Well we got it over four years ago. We were the first to get it over because they said, 'oh let’s just end this, and oh and let’s settle on a nominee,'” Santorum told a crowd of about 100 gathered at the Eau Claire Republican Victory Center.

“The Democrats didn’t. They continue to fight. They fought into the summer. They didn’t see this as something that unfortunately too many establishment Republicans see. They don’t see fighting for principle as something that damages the party. They see fighting for principle and hopefully you do, as something that sharpens steel on steel and that makes us stronger in the general election,” Santorum continued to applause from the crowd. “So I’m asking you on Tuesday not to do what you criticize folks who go to Washington for doing. And that is don’t settle. Don’t compromise. Don’t sell out to win. You know in your heart that the conservative principles you believe in is best for the country. Vote that way.”

In 2008, Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney, who he is now fighting against for the Republican nomination, over Sen. John McCain, that year’s Republican nominee.

Santorum, who was accompanied by his wife Karen, daughter Sarah Maria, and son John, dropped by the victory center to make phone calls on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker, who faces a recall vote this June. Santorum reached only one voter by phone, who agreed to support Walker. Asked if she recognized that it was him calling her, Santorum told reporters she seemed “non-plussed” by it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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