Entries in Republican Candidates (4)


Are Republican Hopefuls Swinging Too Far Right?

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum ratcheting up the rhetoric in the Republican nomination, questions are being raised about whether they are swinging too far to the right for the eventual GOP candidate to succeed in the general election.

On Saturday, Santorum and Romney were among several speakers before a sold-out crowd for the Michigan Prosperity Forum. Santorum, calling his rival out, said Romney was an elitist.

“I don’t come from the elite,” Santorum said. “I’m not going to let the elites come up with phony ideologies and phony ideas to rob you of your freedom and impose government control of your life.”

Santorum took more stabs at Romney, suggesting that was really a moderate, not a conservative.

“Every time we’ve run a moderate, we’ve lost,” he said. “Every time we’ve run a conservative— a complete conservative on all the issues, I might add, national security, culture and economy—we’ve won.”

Romney, who is still trying to prove his conservative bona fides in his own backyard, savaged his opponent and criticized Santorum. He said the former Pennsylvania senator supported his views and has even voted in favor of issues he says he doesn’t support.

“I can attest for my conservative credentials by quoting someone who endorsed me in my 2008 campaign,” Romney said in reference to Santorum’s endorsement four years ago, when he said Romney was “hitting his stride” and that it was exactly what conservatives wanted to hear at that time.

Although running to the right is part of Republican primary politics, some are starting to worry.  Santorum, who leads some national polls, has spent a week speaking about social issues, from abortion to pre-natal testing and contraception.

In the past 24 hours, The Wall Street Journal, considered a barometer of the Republican establishment, ran two opinion pieces on Santorum asking if he is a “Moralizer in Chief?” and proclaiming “Democrats Are Praying for a Santorum Nomination.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassell said in an article that voters in general elections are “not thrilled by the recent trend in the social-conservative movement toward using government to impose a particular morality—a trend that Mr. Santorum would seem to highlight.”

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh disagrees.

“The Republican establishment is essentially saying that the conservatives are screwing everything up, making a mess of this,” he said.

With Santorum’s surge, Romney has been forced to move to the right, too, taking positions his supporters admit may make it harder to win the votes of independents in the fall if he is the nominee.

The move to the right apparently isn’t helping either of the two candidates with independents.  The most recent ABC News poll found Romney with at a 14-point disadvantage (33-47 percent) among independents. Santorum’s got challenges in this key group too, with a 33-38 percent favorability rating, according to the poll.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Enthusiastic SC Crowd Greets Romney

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(GREENVILLE, S.C.) -- In one of the liveliest rallies of his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney on Friday night spoke to a raucous crowd who could barely hold back their cheers of support as the candidate vied for votes in the final hours of primary day eve.

The rally, which packed at least 300 people into the room, came after a week of some less impressive events, including a rally in Florence, S.C., earlier this week when photographers captured a half-empty ballroom waiting for Romney’s speech. But earlier on Friday it seemed that the momentum, despite the shrinking gap in the polls between Romney and Gingrich, was picking up again for the former Massachusetts governor, when a crowd of a few hundred stood in the rain at a tree farm to attend an outdoor rally.

When the crowd broke into chants of, "We need Mitt! We need Mitt! We need Mitt!" Romney responded frankly, "Do you know what? You’re going to get me." That sent the crowd into further convulsions.

"I simply don’t think that the people of America will choose a lifelong politician who has spent their entire career in Washington to replace the lifelong politician who spends his time in Washington," said Romney. "I think they have to have someone who has had experience in the private sector, who knows how the economy works, and who can bring that experience to post up to Barack Obama."

As Romney hit on some of his standard stump speech lines, one man in the crowd blurted out, "We love you!" to which Romney responded, "I like Ann to say that!"

Romney, himself surprised at the high-energy crowd who had filed into a catering hall in the pouring rain, told the crowd, "This is the best audience I've visited in a while!"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


5 GOP Candidates Make Their Pitches Ahead of Iowa Caucuses

Scott Olson/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Two months before voters will cast the first votes in Iowa for the Republican primary season, five presidential candidates sought to appeal to Iowans, who could give one of them a critical boost on Jan.3, 2012.

They carried a vehemently anti-Washington message to nearly 1,000 Republican elected officials, operatives and activists who gathered at a fundraising dinner organized by the Iowa Republican Party on Friday night.

"It's like we're in a canoe coming up to the very edge of Niagara Falls, and it's like the river is moving faster right now," said presidential candidate Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, describing the situation in Washington.  "We’re living in a theater of the absurd."

Bachmann, whose hopes of winning the Republican presidential nomination are likely to turn on her performance at the caucuses, was one of several candidates who lashed out at President Obama for presiding over a ballooning national debt.

"We are tripping the wire," she said. "It looks like right at $15 trillion – breathtaking, stunning."

Bachmann's rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also spoke at Friday night's dinner, took the opportunity to acknowledge the quality of his opponents.

"Every one of them would do a heck of a lot better job than what we've got in the White House right now," he said, joking that even though they are running against each other, they'e all involved in "a project called Operation Occupy the White House."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised his fellow candidates.

"This is a great group," Gingrich said, adding that on Jan. 3, Iowa voters could help launch "the most substantive candidacy in modern times." (He, of course, meant his own.)

A recent Des Moines Register poll suggested that businessman Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are the top contenders to win the Iowa caucuses, but neither of the two candidates showed up at the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa.

Romney plans to return to the Hawkeye State on Monday for two public events in Dubuque, Iowa, and Davenport, Iowa.

His son, Josh Romney, was in the audience on Friday night. The younger Romney campaigned in Eastern Iowa earlier in the day.

Top Iowa officials with Cain's campaign handed out bumper stickers, buttons and campaign literature to potential supporters.

"Sixty days from right now, we start the process of choosing Barack Obama's Republican successor and it starts here in Iowa," Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn told the gathering.

"Sixty days folks, 60 days," he said. "Every minute counts."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Waiting ‘Til ‘Everybody’s Voted Off the Island’ to Watch GOP Field

Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- President Obama said Tuesday that he’s not paying attention to the Republican presidential debates, joking that he is “going to wait until everybody’s voted off the island.”

“Once they narrow it down to one or two, I’ll start paying attention,” the president said of his Republican rivals in an interview with Jay Leno set to air Tuesday on NBC’s Tonight Show.

Obama taped the interview, his fourth appearance on the show, Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, Calif., where the president attended campaign events on Monday. The president is also fundraising in San Francisco, Denver and Las Vegas during his West Coast swing.

Obama covered a range of topics during his sitdown with Leno, including the end of the war in Iraq and the president’s waning approval ratings.

When asked about the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Obama said it “sends a strong message” to other dictators around the world.

“This is somebody who for 40 years had terrorized his country and supported terrorism. He had an opportunity during the Arab Spring to finally let loose of his grip on power and to peacefully transition to democracy. We gave him ample opportunity and he wouldn’t do it,” he said.

“Obviously you never like to see anybody come to the kind of end that he did, but I think it obviously sends a strong message around the world to dictators that people want to be free,” Obama said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio