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Entries in Super Tuesday (22)

Thursday
Mar082012

Santorum Breaks Twitter Record on Super Tuesday

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney may have won the most states in Super Tuesday’s 10 primaries, but Rick Santorum stole the show online.

As Santorum took the stage for his election night speech, Twitter exploded with chatter about him.

More than 40,000 tweets -- or about 8 percent of all the Super Tuesday related tweets sent out from 6 a.m. Tuesday through 6 a.m. Wednesday -- mentioned Santorum and were fired off between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET during his speech, setting a 2012 election record for the highest spike in Twitter mentions of any GOP candidate, according to analyses by Twitter and the media analytics company Blue Fin Labs.

Santorum also topped the charts as the most-searched candidate on Yahoo! Tuesday.

“You consider that politics, particularly in the primary race, tends to be a game of buzz and momentum,” said Twitter spokesman Adam Sharp.  “To win an election you want the conversation to be about you.”

But that online buzz was not necessarily a good thing for the candidate.  An analysis of Yahoo! searches during Santorum’s speech, and corresponding Twitter spike, showed that the majority of the buzz was actually negative.

William Powers, director of the election project for Blue Fin Labs, said Santorum’s Twitter spike was the “highest percentage of clearly negative sentiment than any other candidate got all day.”

Yahoo! News Senior Editor Phoebe Connelly, who analyzed the search engine’s Super Tuesday data, said even though Santorum’s campaign has traveled the country for the past eight months, the majority of Yahoo! searchers were still trying to find out basic information about the candidate.  Most searches were for things like “Rick Santorum bio.”

“It’s like they don’t know who he is and are now struggling to figure out who he is,” Connelly said.

Santorum’s social media spike on Tuesday was dramatic, but has been dwarfed by Romney’s sustained and substantial online presence.  Romney has 10 times as many Facebook fans as Santorum and 1.2 million more fans than Newt Gingrich, who won only his home state of Georgia on Tuesday.

Colin Delany, the founder and editor of epolitics.com, which analyzes how politicians can best use social media, cautioned that this support online does not necessarily translate into support at the polls.

“It’s about like trying to predict an election based on how many yard signs someone has,” Delany said.  “Sometimes it’s a good reflection but certainly not a definite correlation.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar082012

Obama Campaign: ‘Super Tuesday Became Super Glue’ for Romney

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s top re-election strategists said Wednesday that Super Tuesday’s results won’t shift a methodical focus on Mitt Romney as their top Republican target heading into the spring campaign.

“Nothing happened yesterday to change our plan,” senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said of the strategy on a conference call with reporters.

“Romney wanted to put it away.  Instead Super Tuesday became Super Glue day for them,” he added.  “They’re still stuck with Gingrich and Santorum.”

Team Obama still expects a drawn out primary campaign.

Axelrod said exit polls from across 10 states revealed “super-sized” shortcomings in the GOP presidential field, with voter turnout down from four years ago in many places and frontrunner Romney failing to win over independents in every state except Massachusetts.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul called Axelrod’s comments an attempt to distract from the president’s economic record and a comparatively low turn out in Democratic primaries Tuesday.

“Obama was on the ballot in Oklahoma and received just 57 percent of the vote in the Democrat primary and, even in Boston, fully 10 percent of voters who cast Democrat ballots left it blank for president and refused to vote for President Obama,” Saul charged.

Meanwhile, Obama’s national grassroots organizing operation continues to focus on states that will matter most in November, said campaign manager Jim Messina on the call.

“What you saw in Ohio was Barack Obama getting more votes than any candidate on the ballot,” he pointed out.

Obama for America now has outposts with paid staff in every state and new offices opening weekly, aides say.  Supporters are reportedly registering volunteers by the thousands, with a particularly strong effort in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Vice President Joe Biden will kick off a series of visits to those battleground states, where he will present the “issues that are going to define the election,” Messina said.

The campaign also plans to premier at 17-minute documentary on Obama’s first term produced by David Guggenheim next week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar072012

Santorum Says ‘We Are in This Thing’; Campaign to Stay 'Lean and Mean'

ABC News(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- Although Mitt Romney came out as the apparent winner in Ohio's primary Tuesday night, GOP contender Rick Santorum proclaimed earlier to a boisterous crowd gathered in the gym of Steubenville High School, “We are in this thing!”

“It is clear.  We have run races all over this country, against the odds.  When they thought ok he is finally finished, we keep coming back,” Santorum said to cheers.

“This was a big night tonight,” Santorum said.  “We're going to win a few, we're going to lose a few.  But as it looks right now, we are going to get at least a couple of gold medals and a whole passel full of silver medals,” using the Olympics language usually used by Romney.

“We can add to Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, now Oklahoma and Tennessee.  We have won in the West, the Midwest and the South, and we’re ready to win across this country,” Santorum said.

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It was clearly a good night for Santorum, who not only won at least three states -- North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee -- but will continue his underdog battle for the nomination.

Hogan Gidley, Santorum’s national communications director, called a head-to-head match up with Santorum Romney’s “worst nightmare.”  He added that no matter how much money Santorum raises the campaign will stay “lean and mean.”

“That’s the way he likes it,” Gidley said, referring to Santorum.  “We will continue to staff up…but we will never be the beaureaucratic behemoth the Romney campaign is.”

As the Super Tuesday results came in overnight, Romney appeared to be the winner in Ohio.  The former Massachusetts governor also won in Massachusetts, Virginia, Vermont, Idaho and Alaska.  Newt Gingrich took his home state of Georgia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar062012

Santorum Wins in Tenn., Okla., N.D.; Ohio Still Too Tight to Call

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- While Mitt Romney has won four Super Tuesday contests and Rick Santorum has won three so far, all eyes are fixed on a close race in Ohio, where the two are locked in a tight race.

The contest in Ohio, where polls closed at 7:30 p.m. ET, was too close to predict a winner based on exit polls.

Romney won handily in Virginia, where he was the only candidate on the ballot aside from Ron Paul; in Massachusetts, the state he governed; and in Vermont, which neighbors the Bay State. He also won the Idaho caucuses.

Santorum triumphed in Tennessee, a southern state in which his conservative message has resonated, and in Oklahoma, the reddest state in the union. In both states, voters who called themselves religious and very conservative lifted Santorum over Romney, who has struggled for months to persuade the right wing of the party that he's right for them. He also won the caucuses in North Dakota.

"We have won in the West, the Midwest and the South, and we're ready to win across this country," Santorum told enthusiastic supporters in Ohio as the vote there was being counted.

The former Pennsylvania senator added, excitedly: "In every case, we overcame the odds. Here in Ohio, still too close to call."

ABC News also projects that, as expected, Newt Gingrich will win the only Super Tuesday state to which he gave attention -- his home state of Georgia, which he represented as a member of Congress.

In a victory speech in Atlanta, Gingrich called himself the "tortoise" who will win the nomination and mocked the attention given to Santorum after the ex-senator won three primaries in states that the other candidates had mostly ignored.

"The news media, once again, desperate to prove Gingrich was wrong, suddenly said, 'Ah, now we have the person who's going to be the non-Romney,' " Gingrich said.

Making his pitch to his supporters, Gingrich called himself "the one candidate who can debate Barack Obama," drawing on one of his noteworthy strengths that has been evident in the nearly two dozen GOP primary debates.

The most contested and watched vote is in the swing state of Ohio, where Santorum led in the polls until just a few days ago. Now the race is as good as a tie, and the winner there will most likely be deemed the winner of Super Tuesday expectations.

Exit polls found that more than half of voters said Romney was the candidate most fit to beat President Obama. But when asked which candidate "best understands the problems of average Americans," fewer than one-quarter of voters picked Romney. About one-third chose Santorum in that category.

The candidates are fighting for 437 delegates just Tuesday, more than all the delegates that have been won already. Romney is in the lead with 203, and Santorum is in a solid second place with 92. The race ends once a candidate gets 1,144.

Georgia offers the most delegates in Tuesday's voting with 76. Other big states are Ohio (66), Tennessee (58), Virginia (49) and Oklahoma (43). Three other states voting in caucuses Tuesday award fewer -- Idaho, North Dakota and Alaska.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar062012

Mitt Romney Wins Va., Mass., Vt., Idaho; Tight Race in Ohio

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Mitt Romney has won four Super Tuesday contests so far, but all eyes are fixed on a close race in Ohio, where Romney was locked in a tight race with his main rival, Rick Santorum.

The race in Ohio, where polls closed at 7:30 p.m. ET, was too tight to predict a winner based on exit polls.

Romney won handily in Virginia, where he was the only candidate on the ballot aside from Ron Paul; in Massachusetts, the state he governed; and in Vermont, which neighbors the Bay State. He also won the Idaho caucuses.

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Santorum triumphed in Tennessee, a southern state in which his conservative message has resonated, and in Oklahoma, the reddest state in the union. In both states, voters who called themselves religious and very conservative lifted Santorum over Romney, who has struggled for months to persuade the right wing of the party that he's right for them. He also won the caucuses in North Dakota.

ABC News also projects that, as expected, Newt Gingrich will win the only Super Tuesday state to which he gave attention -- his home state of Georgia, which he represented as a member of Congress.

As voters in 10 states made their picks for the Republican nomination, Romney was working to write the final chapter of the primary season on the biggest single day of contests in the race.

Romney, wearing the crown of official front-runner after recent wins in Michigan, Arizona and Washington, has been battling for the nomination for longer than it once seemed he would be. His main rival, Rick Santorum, emerged from nowhere first in Iowa and then in a string of states last month as the "conservative alternative" to Romney.

The speech that Romney plans to give to supporters in Boston focuses not on his Republican opponents but on President Obama, at least according to the prepared text obtained by ABC News. He will say that his Super Tuesday successes are "one more step toward restoring the promise of America" and that the contest will go on "day by day, step by step, door to door, heart to heart."

"To the millions of Americans who look around and can only see jobs they can't get and bills they can't pay, I have a message: You have not failed. This president has failed you," Romney plans to say.

Paul was the first candidate of the night to speak. He told his supporters in Fargo, N.D., hours before polls closed that "the rest of the candidates represent the status quo."

Hundreds of miles away, Santorum led Romney in polls in Tennessee, a southern state in which his conservative message has resonated.

While Santorum has been successful in riding occasional crests of momentum, "Super Tuesday" is more about the number of delegates who will be awarded to the candidates, and Romney appeared poised to be in the best position after the dust settles.

The most contested and watched vote is in the swing state of Ohio, where Santorum led in the polls until just a few days ago. Now the race is as good as a tie, and the winner there will most likely be deemed the winner of Super Tuesday expectations.

Exit polls showed that more than half of voters said Romney was the candidate most fit to beat President Obama. But when asked which candidate "best understands the problems of average Americans," fewer than one-quarter of voters picked Romney. About one-third chose Santorum in that category.

The candidates are fighting for 437 delegates just Tuesday, more than all the delegates that have been won already. Romney is in the lead with 203, and Santorum is in a solid second place with 92. The race ends once a candidate gets 1,144.

Georgia offers the most delegates in Tuesday's voting with 76. Other big states are Ohio (66), Tennessee (58), Virginia (49) and Oklahoma (43). Three other states voting in caucuses Tuesday award fewer -- Idaho, North Dakota and Alaska.

Making a rare cameo on the Super Tuesday stage was President Obama, who called his first press conference of the year Tuesday afternoon, perhaps not by coincidence.

Asked vaguely to opine on Romney and the happenings within the GOP Tuesday, Obama gave his shortest answer: "Good luck tonight."

He added: "Really."

The nomination battle is unlikely to actually end after the votes are all counted by Wednesday morning, but Romney is expected to be in better position with a comfortable lead in delegates.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar062012

Obama Expands Ohio Campaign in Primary Shadow

Shahar Azran/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- As important as Ohio is for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum on Super Tuesday, it’s doubly critical for President Obama come November -- a fact underscored by Democrats’ quiet, but aggressive Buckeye State shadow campaign.

Eight months before Election Day, Obama for America is operating at full tilt in Ohio, with a dozen paid staffers overseeing nine field offices across the state, with several more expected to open in the next few months, a campaign official said.  The 10th Obama office opens Thursday in Youngstown.

When Republican primary voters cast ballots on Tuesday, Democrats will be manning phone banks and recruiting volunteers for  “neighborhood teams,” according to postings on the Obama-Biden website.

Obama volunteers have already held more than 5,000 organizing events in Ohio since April, engaging more than 650,000 voters, the campaign said.

They’re using the primary “as a way to sort of oil the machinery for Obama in the general election, which is really smart,” said former Michigan Gov. and Obama surrogate Jennifer Granholm.  “They have people on the ground everywhere in every state.”

The president’s campaign has also been on the air in Ohio, running a positive 30-second TV spot touting Obama’s record on ethics and energy, while campaign staff have held conference calls and published memos attacking Romney on the auto bailout, tax cuts and manufacturing and trade policy.

“Mitt Romney has not been honest about his record on the campaign trail, and it’s certainly our responsibility to point out the inconsistencies,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, explaining the offensive.

As for whether the efforts include an attempt to meddle in the semi-open Ohio GOP primary -- encouraging Democrats to vote for Santorum, who’s seen as a weaker general election candidate -- Democrats insist that’s not part of the plan.

“In states across the country, there are Democratic candidates on the ballot and those are the folks we’re encouraging our supporters to support,” LaBolt said.

From Alaska, where voters caucus on Tuesday, to Massachusetts and Georgia, all holding primary votes, Democrats are exercising the same plan in something of a dry run for November.  But none of the 10 Super Tuesday states is more important than Ohio.

No candidate for president since 1960 has won the White House without carrying Ohio.  And while Obama carried the state with 52 percent of the vote in 2008, polls show him now locked in a dead heat with likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar062012

Obama Campaign Makes Anti-Romney Case with Memo

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With bullet points and infographics, the Obama campaign is making a primary-eve case against Mitt Romney, using his stint as Massachusetts governor as “Exhibit A.”

“Today, Romney is hitting the ‘repeat’ button,” deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter wrote in a memo hours before Massachusetts primary voters head to the polls.

Massachusetts is one of 10 states holding GOP primaries or caucuses on Tuesday.

“He is making the same case to America that he made to Massachusetts a decade ago.  He is promising to grow jobs and shrink deficits, even though his past record fails to support his ability to do so,” she said.  “What’s worse is that his current policy promises run counter to these goals.”

Cutter points out that under Romney’s tenure between 2002 and 2006, Massachusetts was the 47th state out of 50 in job growth; manufacturing output dropped by twice the national average; state debt rose by 16.4 percent; and state government -- as measured by jobs created -- grew six times as quickly as the private sector.

The memo also warns of the impact of Romney’s proposed tax and spending cuts, which would “disproportionately favor the wealthiest Americans,” according to analysis from the independent Tax Policy Center and Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

[CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL MEMO]

The Obama campaign has focused almost exclusively on Romney in the days before Super Tuesday, seeking to undermine his candidacy as the most likely and formidable challenger to President Obama this fall.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said the latest Obama attack is an attempt to distract from the president’s economic record.

“As governor, Mitt Romney grew the economy, helped create thousands of jobs, balanced budgets and cut taxes,” she said.  ”President Obama and his campaign obsessively continue on in their ‘kill Romney’ strategy with distortions and false negative attacks.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar062012

WATCH LIVE: Super Tuesday Coverage from ABC News & Yahoo!

(NEW YORK) -- Voters in 10 states are making their picks for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, the biggest single day of contests in the race.

Below, watch live streaming video coverage of Super Tuesday, featuring the political teams of ABC News and Yahoo! This coverage will be anchored by ABC News political director Amy Walter and Yahoo!'s David Chalian. They will be joined throughout the night by Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos, and others. ABC News Radio’s coverage, anchored by Aaron Katersky from ABC News headquarters in New York, will be a part of this special digital coverage.

NOTE: Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Eastern and is expected to run until at least 11 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar062012

Super Tuesday: The 10-State Voting Extravaganza

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney is in a solid position heading into Super Tuesday, poised to win at least four states by wide margins.

In Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia, Romney is expected to gather large swaths of the vote, setting up high expectations in the 10 Super Tuesday contests, leaving Ohio as the battleground that could make or break his evening.

But how will Romney fare in the logistical battle for delegates, the "real" measure of which candidate has edged closer to the nomination?

In theory, Romney should be able to win between 215 and 250 delegates on Tuesday -- about half of the 437 at stake, and more than any other single candidate.  But that's more of a guess than a hard prediction.

The Republican Party's tangled delegate system allows each state to devise its own rules, and all those rules differ from one another in subtle or radical ways.  To accurately predict who will win which delegates where, one has to know how each congressional district will vote, whether certain candidates will meet 15 percent or 20 percent thresholds in districts and states, and whether some states will become winner-take-all if enough votes go to the leader.

Not all of the 437 Super Tuesday delegates will be "awarded," as most states will send three party officials to the national convention as unbound delegates.

A candidate will need 1,144 delegates to win the nomination.  Romney currently leads with 184 delegates, according to the latest ABC News delegate estimate.  Rick Santorum (91), Newt Gingrich (30) and Ron Paul (23) follow.

Those numbers include ABC's projections of how unbound and not-yet-selected caucus-state delegates will vote.  Strictly in terms of delegates who have already been awarded, Romney (118) still leads, with Gingrich (29), Santorum (17) and Paul (8) following.

If no candidate reaches 1,144 delegates by August, Republicans will decide their nominee on the floor of their national convention in Tampa, Fla. 

Here are the delegates at stake in the 10 contests being held on Super Tuesday:

1. Georgia (Primary), 76 delegates
2. Ohio (Primary), 66 delegates
3. Tennessee (Primary), 58 delegates
4. Virginia (Primary), 49 delegates
5. Oklahoma (Primary), 43 delegates
6. Massachusetts (Primary), 41 delegates
7. Idaho (Caucus), 32 delegates
8. North Dakota (Caucus), 28 delegates
9. Alaska (Caucus), 27 delegates
10. Vermont (Primary), 17 delegates

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar052012

Gingrich Says Romney Won’t Be the Nominee If He Can’t Win the South

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) -- On the eve of Super Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spent the day flying around Tennessee hoping for a victory in the state as well as in his home state of Georgia.

At the last event of the day, Gingrich was asked about Mitt Romney’s ability to win southern states.

“Either he’ll figure out how to win the South or he won’t be the nominee,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich said he sees the margin narrowing in Tennessee and believes in Georgia he’ll win by an even larger margin than Romney won his home state.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News that the Republican primary is finally traveling to the “heart and soul of our party,” where he believes the negative ads don’t have the same effect.

Gingrich hit Romney throughout the day for suggesting he was pandering to voters for pushing a $2.50 gas price promise. In several interviews, Gingrich suggested Romney could not relate to the issue of high gas prices because of his wealth.

“One of my competitors, Gov. Romney, yesterday said I was pandering. He said nobody can -- nobody knows you’d be at $2.50,” Gingrich said. “Well let me say up front, of course nobody knows you’d be at $2.50, but there’s this thing called setting goals. It’s called -- it’s not called pandering, it’s called leadership.”

Usually willing to comment on the news of the day from Washington, D.C., Gingrich was critical of Sen. John McCain’s call in the Senate for U.S. intervention in Syria.

“We shouldn’t further over extend our military in the Middle East,” Gingrich told ABC News.

Gingrich plans to spend Super Tuesday campaigning in Georgia and Huntsville, Ala., and expects to finish the night as results come in at his watch party in Atlanta.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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