Entries in Primaries (82)


Exclusive: Ron Paul Defends Romney, Lashes Out at His Critics

ABC News(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- In an exclusive ABC News interview outside a Manchester polling place, Ron Paul lashed out at fellow Republicans for making unfair and ignorant attacks on Mitt Romney’s business record.

“I think they’re wrong. I think they’re totally misunderstanding the way the market works,” Paul told me. “They are either just demagoguing or they don’t have the vaguest idea how the market works.”

Paul also came to Romney’s defense for saying, “I like to be able to fire people.”

“I think they’re unfairly attacking him on that issue because he never really literally said that,” Paul said.  “They’ve taken him way out of context. …He wants to fire companies.”

In Paul’s view, Romney is right to say that he created jobs by restructuring companies.

“I think they’re way overboard on saying that he wants to fire people, he doesn’t care,” Paul said.  “You save companies, you save jobs when you reorganize companies that are going to go bankrupt. And they don’t understand that.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Hampshire Voting Starts Slow, but Record Turnout Predicted

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Election officials predicted record turnout in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, but early indications from across the Granite State showed that voter turnout was low. That, of course, could change by the time the last ballots are cast by the 8 p.m. ET closing.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner on Tuesday morning predicted 250,000 residents would vote in the Republican primary, which allows undeclared voters to participate by registering as Republicans at the polls. That would break New Hampshire’s GOP-primary turnout record of just under 240,000, set in 2008.

In 2004, the last year in which only one party held a contested presidential primary in the Granite State, just under 220,000 voted in the Democratic contest -- and 95,000 of them were registered as undeclared on primary day.

Anecdotes from Twitter on Tuesday morning reflected low turnout across the state. Several New Hampshire residents tweeted about sparse attendance at polling places, and WMUR political analyst James Pindell noted that a source driving around the state rated turnout as “SLOW, SLOW, SLOW.”

Gardner cautioned against reading too much into early anecdotal reports, given that they don’t necessarily reflect historical comparisons. Gardner told ABC News he does not yet have hard numbers on voter turnout across the state, though he expects strong turnout of GOP votes in the town of Bedford, in Hillsborough County in southern New Hampshire. Hillsborough is New Hampshire’s largest county; Mitt Romney carried it in 2008 with 35 percent of the vote.

Things picked up a bit heading into the afternoon of voting, as WMUR reported a steady stream of voters filing unto polling places. At Webster Street School in Manchester, N.H., poll workers told WMUR that about 1,230 had voted there by noon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Media Circus at New Hampshire Polling Site

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Newt Gingrich was engulfed by an army of cameras and reporters as he visited a polling place in New Hampshire on Tuesday morning to kick off the primaries.

Two reporters were pushed to the ground in what can best be described as a mob scene at the Webster school in Manchester.

Security barricaded the press because voters on their way to the polls were getting pummeled. A wall of mostly Mitt Romney’s supporters chanted, “We Want Mitt” as voters entered the polling site.

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Gov. Mitt Romney also visited the polling site Tuesday morning. His security team put a tight perimeter around him and his wife, Ann, amid concern about the crush. The former Massachusetts governor arrived in his campaign bus and walked up to the supporters near the door, shook hands, and turned back around. Romney said he hopes that he does well and that if he gets, “double the number of vote margins that we had in Iowa, I’d feel terrific.”

“I hope the people of New Hampshire turn out,” he added. “The entire nation is watching.”

Rick Santorum was also scheduled to attend but his campaign said they changed plans when they saw “the mob.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Perry Likens Romney’s Bain Capital to ‘Vultures’

ABC News(FORT MILL, S.C.) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry categorized venture capital firms like the one once headed by Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, as “vultures” who prey upon sick companies and, “leave the skeleton” behind.

“Allowing these companies to come in and loot the, loot people’s jobs, loot their pensions, loot their ability to take care of their families and I will suggest they’re just vultures,” Perry said during a townhall at a retirement community in Fort Mill, S.C. “They’re vultures that sitting out there on the tree limb waiting for the company to get sick and then they swoop in, they eat the carcass. They leave with that and they leave the skeleton.”

Asked by reporters to clarify whether he was directly referencing Bain with that comment, Perry answered, “Sure that’s exactly what I was making. They sit there, and they wait until they see a distressed company, and then they swoop in and you know pick the carcass clean and fly away.”

The Texas governor upped his attacks against Romney, arguing that voters in the Palmetto State will not want to elect a candidate who “gutted” and “looted” companies in South Carolina.

“I don’t think they want someone who has killed jobs in South Carolina on the altar of making more money for themselves and their company,” Perry said of Romney. “His other remark is elect me president because I’ve been in the private sector and I’ve created jobs. Well that’s we’re starting to see maybe not a honest assessment of what he did. He was also involved in the destruction of a lot of jobs in South Carolina.”

“I’ll put my record up against Governor Romney’s any day happily,” Perry continued.

Perry predicted an “honest assessment” of Romney’s record at Bain Capital will be conducted over the course of the next week.

Perry, who has campaigned there over the past three days while the rest of the Republican field has focused on New Hampshire, said his campaign is looking for a “second wind” in the late January primary and even compared the outcome he needs in South Carolina to the battle of Jacinto, which served as the decisive victory in the Texas Revolution.

“This isn’t our Alamo. This is our San Jacinto,” Perry said at the townhall.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul, Santorum and Romney in Three-Way Race in Iowa

ABC News(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- As the Iowa caucuses began, estimates from early entrance poll results showed a three-way race between Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Romney made a last-minute push to lure undecided voters, logging more miles in Iowa in the last seven days than in the entire primary season.

Romney had been leading in the polls, but as recently as Saturday a Des Moines Register poll concluded that nearly four out of 10 Iowa Republican voters were undecided, driving the candidates to campaign late into the evening Tuesday.

Romney Tuesday focused his campaign on attacking President Obama.

"This has been a failed presidency," Romney said at an event in Des Moines. "I will go to work to get Americans back to work."

At the Romney campaign headquarters in Iowa, volunteers armed with scripts made phone call after phone call urging supporters and undecided Republicans to head to the caucuses and deliver a victory for him.

Santorum, who some have dubbed an honorary Iowan because of his strong presence in the state, also campaigned aggressively Tuesday. The former Pennsylvania congressman surged in the Iowa polls just days before the election, and is expected to attract a sizeable chunk of the influential evangelical vote in Iowa.

"This is the first step, this is the first step," Santorum told ABC News after his last Iowa campaign stop in Urbandale. "A win here is a start, but it's a start. It's not the culmination, it's a start. It's not the culmination, it's the beginning."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iowa Social Conservatives Group Around a Non-Romney Candidate

James Devaney/WireImage(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Iowa social conservatives originally came together on Monday to pray and to try to choose one candidate to support in the Jan. 3 caucuses. But the meeting turned into a discussion about getting behind one candidate with the goal of preventing Mitt Romney from winning the caucuses and going on to win the GOP nomination.

Originally reported by CNN, the meeting was confirmed by attendees who said 20 to 25 social conservatives did come together in Des Moines on Monday.

Kerry Jech, the senior minister of the New Hope Christian Church in Marshalltown, described the meeting’s initial premise as “an effort to pray and seek the Lord’s will, because there are a lot of people who are confused and not sure who to support.

“The original intention was just to come around and see if there was a common person that we could support. That was the original intention, and it became obvious that we share some of the views in some areas. We didn’t come up with a common person that we would support just yet, but it felt like there had been some areas of agreement,” Jech said.

Jech said the group had narrowed down the decision to Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Jech said trying to make sure Romney was not the victor on Jan. 3 was not the “primary goal,” but it was discussed and became part of the meeting’s conversation.

“We were looking for some agreement that we needed to find some commonality …  so that individuals who don’t share our values on some of these key primary areas … are not the ones nominated,” Jech said. "As the discussion went along that was something we all agreed upon.”

Romney campaign’s spokesman Ryan Williams responded by saying “Gov. Romney is running a 50-state campaign."

“He’s going to be competitive in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and in all other nominating contests. He’s reaching out to each and every voter to build the support needed to win the Republican nomination,” Williams said.

Jech said that Romney’s Mormon faith was not part of the decision.

“There may be some for whom that is a huge factor, but I can tell you in the meeting we had we talked about it, and that wasn’t an issue,” Jech said. “Adamantly, every person there agreed it wasn’t the religion aspect of it. It was the viewpoint on issues, specifically his definition of marriage and pro-life."

“Now that doesn’t mean Mitt Romney hasn’t agreed [with us] on those topics from time to time, but what’s bothering is he’s also been in the camp as governor of Massachusetts where he’s signed into legislation or been on record as supporting it,” Jech said, referring to same-sex marriage. “The idea that he has waffled on this issue … for me, and I know for a lot of people, these are core issues where there can’t be compromise. Whenever their viewpoint seems to shift it seems like their core values aren’t the same.”

Romney has repeatedly said he is against same-sex marriage, and that he tried to prevent Massachusetts from passing that legislation when he was in office.

Jech said the group may meet again on Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Will Romney's Mormon Faith Hurt His Chances at Election?

James Devaney/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- “Cult” is the word most Americans used when asked in a new poll to describe how they view Mormons, a view that could hurt GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the primaries.

In a new survey by the Pew Research Center, about a third of Americans -- and the same proportion of Republican voters -- say they don’t believe Mormons are Christians.  That number expands even further when specific religious groups are questioned.  More than half of white evangelical Protestants say Mormons aren’t part of the Christian faith.

That viewpoint could hurt Mitt Romney in the Republican primary, but it is likely to come into play in the general election, according to Pew.  The voters most likely to see Romney’s faith as a negative might still vote for him regardless of religion because they staunchly oppose President Obama.  In the general election, Romney does better in a head-to-head matchup with Obama than any of the other top-tier Republican candidates.

“Republicans who say Mormonism is not a Christian religion are less likely to support Romney for the GOP nomination and offer a less favorable assessment of him generally,” the report states.  “But they seem prepared to overwhelmingly back him in a run against Obama in the general election.”

Americans’ views of Mormons have been virtually unchanged over the past four years.  Just 49 percent say they know a little or a great deal about the Mormon religion.  But their views are heavily shaped by the media.  When asked for a word to describe their impression of Mormons, ”cult,” “polygamy,” “restrictive,” “strange,” or “misguided” topped the list.

Romney’s faith has often come into the spotlight, which is why half of all voters know he is a Mormon, according to Pew.  But it doesn’t reflect his political standing.  Of those polled by Pew, 44 percent of Republican voters said his religion does not make a difference.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Hampshire Considers Moving Primary to Before Christmas

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(CONCORD, N.H.) -- While New Hampshirites are out Christmas shopping this December, they might also take a minute to duck into a voting booth to make their choice for the Republican presidential nomination.

It could happen, judging by the way Secretary of State Bill Gardner has been talking.

Furious about Nevada's determination to move up the date for the state caucus since Florida and South Carolina bumped up their primaries to January, Gardner wrote in a statement Wednesday that unless Nevada accepts Jan. 17 or later, New Hampshire might consider holding its primary on Tuesday, Dec. 13 or even Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Party officials say such a move would be disastrous because it would put the New Hampshire primary ahead of the Iowa caucuses and potentially giving Mitt Romney, who already has a conformable lead in the state, an unfair advantage when January rolls around.

According to New Hampshire law, the primary has to be at least seven days earlier than the Nevada caucuses, which are now tentatively scheduled for Jan. 14, thus killing New Hampshire's bid for a Jan. 10 primary.

Adding to the confusion is Gardner's refusal to communicate via cellphones or e-mails, making any negotiations with him extremely difficult.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Iowa Sets Tentative Jan. 3 Date For Presidential Caucuses

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(DES MOINES) -- A committee of Iowa Republican Party leaders have zeroed in on Jan. 3, 2012 as the date for their state’s caucuses, but the Iowa GOP’s central committee will still have to vote to formally approve the date.

This puts pressure on New Hampshire to pick a date in between Iowa and Nevada’s Jan. 14 Caucuses. But New Hampshire’s secretary of state, Bill Gardner, will not be rushed. He said this week that he’s unlikely to set the date of the Granite State primary until Oct. 17 at the earliest.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Santorum: Early Primaries, Caucuses 'a Travesty'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum called the front loading of the primary schedule a “travesty” and placed blame for it on Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in an interview with ABC News.

“If we are looking at Christmas Eve or Christmas Day caucuses or the day after Christmas Day caucuses this is a, this is really a travesty for the election nomination process of the president,” Santorum told ABC News.  “Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and we can shift it back.  It doesn’t have to go back to the original schedule but at least shift it back until it is out of the holiday period."

A series of steps by Florida, South Carolina and most recently Nevada which just set its primary on Jan. 14 has raised the possibility that either New Hampshire or Iowa could move their contests to the month of December, a move that Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn just Thursday said his state at least would work to avoid.

Santorum suggested that the leading candidates, especially Romney, are trying to “disrupt” the process to have the primaries so early that other candidates simply won’t have the time to build enough momentum to take on the front runners.

“Well this is clearly Mitt Romney and Rick Perry [who] I am sure are very interested in running the clock out,” Santorum told ABC News.  “They are in a position where they have resources and name recognition.  The shorter the time frame, the less opportunity for other candidates to come up and catch them from behind.”  

Santorum suggested that the candidates should come together and urge the states to all move their dates back to avoid the need to campaign anywhere over the holiday.

“Look, I am sad that we may have a caucus the day after Christmas,” Santorum said. "It is going to absolutely affect the holiday season and for people in Iowa and for the country that should be focusing on a very important thing which is the birth of our savior instead, because of someone’s games to shorten the time frame.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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