Mitt Romney pulled out a win today in the Puerto Rican Republican Presidential primary. This victory added 20 delegates to his total. As of today, he has a total of 521 delegates. Rick Santorum is in second place with around 253 delegates. With 61 percent of precincts reporting, Romney hauled in 83% of the votes in Puerto Rico. This win is definitely not a surprise, given the endorsement of Republican Governor Luis Fortuno. Romney was also boosted by the statements Rick Santorum made about Puerto Rican’s learning English. The former Massachusetts Governor also came out in opposition to changing the official language in Puerto Rico as a requirement for statehood. This win puts him a little closer to the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Next up is the Illinois Primary, and Romney is hoping for a strong showing there as well. It seems as if the Romney camp is attempting to push the message that it is now time for Republicans to rally around him, and give up their support for other candidates. We will see what happens as the primary contest continues.
The Romney camp came away with more wins than losses on Super Tuesday, but the Rick Santorum campaign is anything but dead in the water, as far as they are concerned. Of the ten primary contests that were held today, Mitt Romney won 6 states, Gingrich came away with a win in is home state of Georgia, and Santorum walked away with 3 victories.
In my opinion, most of the states that held primary voting today are ones that happen to be fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Most of the states that Romney or Santorum won are states that happen to be solidly Republican as it is, which means they will vote for whoever the nominee is in November. One state that was in focus happened to be Ohio(my home state).
Ohio has been, and always will be a crucial swing state in a presidential election. It is especially important to Republicans, because no Republican has been successful in a White House bid without winning the Buckeye State. Things were not looking as great for the former Massachusetts Governor about a week ago. Many polls had him in a dead heat with Rick Santorum. Despite the fact that Romney’s Super PAC’s outspent Santorum 4 to 1, he was only able to beat Santorum 38% to 37%, and barely snatch a victory away from the former Pennsylvania Senator. With support in Ohio this tepid, winning the state in November looks like it is going to be an uphill battle, just as it was in his home state of Michigan.
Rick Santorum won the primary contests in traditionally conservative places like North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. This is no surprise, and will possibly give the campaign a shot of adrenaline to get them to the convention, and assist with fundraising.
Click here for a detailed summary of the states involved in Super Tuesday, and the specific results.
The South Carolina debate on Monday was very interesting to say the least. Newt Gingrich was by far the best debater, and solidified his standing as the most viable alternative to Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney was asked a question from someone on Twitter about why they should support him if he has had so many changing positions on some of the most important issues of the day. Despite the fact that Romney’s position while running for the Senate in Massachusetts was that a woman should have the right to choose, he stated that he was a “Pro-life governor”. He then proceeded to shift the subject to attacks on President Obama. He stated that the President “wants us to be an entitlement society, and one that is similar to a European society and welfare state”. The fact that Romney didn’t adequately answer a question about his flip flops only ensures that it will continue to be a drag on his campaign and his candidacy. Many Americans are rightly concerned with an individual who seems to have no core, and who changes positions as it suits him.
The issue of South Carolina voting laws came up during the debate as well. Rick Perry had the most boisterous response to the question. He described the fight that states like South Carolina and Texas are having with the federal government as a war. He claims that states are under “assault” from the federal government. He also attacked the NLRB controversy that has been playing out in South Carolina. The NLRB filed a labor complaint against Boeing Inc, after they decided to move part of its production operation from Washington to “right to work” South Carolina.
Releasing tax returns
One issue that has been dogging Romney is the fact that he has yet to release his tax returns. Gingrich and Perry have both urged Romney to release his tax returns, but he has yet to do so. When asked a question by one of the moderators about releasing his tax returns, his answer left much to be desired. His awkward response to that question is shown in the link below:
I found it interesting that when asked what he would do specifically to appeal/get Hispanic Americans vote, Romney spoke in general terms. He made sure to say “Hispanics, and all Americans”. I think that he didn’t give a specific answer for a specific question because he doesn’t have one. Now that he has chosen to embrace a hard line view on immigration, his appeal to Hispanics is fading fast, and he knows it.
Romney stated that he wanted to follow the rule of law as it currently relates to immigration policy. He stressed the fact that he “loves legal immigration”, but would not approve of any illegal immigration. He mostly stuck to the “protect our borders, and think nothing of individuals already in the county” view that many on the far right have.
The debate really took a dramatic turn when some of the questions brought up race. Rick Santorum advocated marriage counseling and abstinence classes being inserted back in schools. His view was that this would stem the tide of single mothers, poverty, and other issues impacting the African American community.
The debate really got interesting when Juan Williams began his questioning of Newt Gingrich on some of the inflammatory statements he has made in the last few weeks. Gingrich repeated his often criticized term “The food stamp President”. Gingrich knows that this kind of sly and discreet racial politics will play very well in a state like South Carolina. He drew wild applause from the audience with a few of his responses to Williams:
Ron Paul normally gets either applauded or soundly booed by audiences when he discusses this topic at debates. I can say with 100% percent honesty that the latter occurred. When Paul suggested that America shouldn’t do things in other countries that we wouldn’t want done here, he sparked round displeasure from the crowd. Paul also expressed support and confidence in civilian courts prosecuting terrorists. He felt that our judicial system has been doing a great job of prosecuting terrorists such as those in Al Qaeda. He commented that 162 of the 260 individuals in Al Qaeda have been convicted and sent to prison.
Rick Perry went completely off topic when asked a question about what policies he would propose to fix the housing market and assist many struggling homeowners. He began to discuss the flat tax, ending regulation, lowering taxes, and getting people working. It is a strategy often used by Perry to mask the fact that he’s utterly clueless when tasked with explaining his position on policy. This only hurts him further, giving the specific impression that he has no ideas or solutions for many of the pressing policy issues that a President would face.
I think that Newt Gingrich was the clear winner of the debate. He was very strong and assertive in his responses to all of the questions posed to him at the debate. He was specific when he needed to be, while at the same time throwing some red meat to the crowd. Mitt Romney’s performance was average at best, but it more than likely won’t hurt him enough to allow a Gingrich surprise victory on Saturday in South Carolina.
Republican candidate Jon Huntsman stepped aside today in his quest for the Republican Presidential nomination. He plans on endorsing front runner Mitt Romney at an event in Myrtle Beach,SC tomorrow. This is an end to a campaign that started with so much promise. His kickoff was set against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty in New York City. It was reminiscent of the way that Ronald Reagan began his campaign in 1980. Huntsman had a solid conservative, pro-growth record as Governor of Utah, which appealed to the right wing of the Republican Party. He also served as the Ambassador to China under the current Obama administration, and had some moderate stances on energy and some other issues. This was supposed to also help him in appealing to moderate Republicans and Independents. The Washington Post even piled on the initial Huntsman bandwagon(as did I)….stating that Huntsman was, “the biggest wild card in the 2012 field, and one who could either surge or go belly up”. We now see that the later occurred, and the Huntsman campaign is no more.
How will the exit of Jon Huntsman from the race affect the overall outcome? The former Governor of Utah was only polling at around 5% in South Carolina, so whomever picks up his supporters will get a modest bump at best. I feel that most of his supporters will grudgingly do as their former candidate is expecting to do…which is to support Romney. The departure of Jon Huntsman may be the beginning of an attempt by some in the party to coalesce around Romney, and end the primary as soon as possible. A recent Insider Advantage SC primary poll has Romney up 32%, with Gingrich in second place at 21%. Whats interesting is that Ron Paul is polling at 14%, with Rick Santorum slightly behind with 13%. Republican voters who are supporting a Paul or Santorum are still not comfortable with the prospect of a Mitt Romney candidacy. It is a possibility that if those two candidates exit the race as Huntsman has, that they might throw their support for Newt Gingrich. If this were to occur, this would push the former Speaker of the House to 48%, and a possible victory in South Carolina. This scenario is a reach, if only because of the fact that both Paul and Santorum will stay in the race, at least through the SC primary. If they drop out soon after, this could give the Gingrich campaign an added boost as he moves on to other primary contests. With two more candidates out of the race along with consolidating that support, Gingrich could portray himself as the true alternative to Mitt Romney.
It is not at all uncommon for a candidate who drops out of the race to endorse the front runner. I would only say that it’s quite interesting in this case, given the way that Huntsman bashed Romney up to this point. When speaking on Romney’s time as Governor of Massachusetts, he said that Romney, “Didn’t deliver any big bold economic proposals”. When asked about Romney’s habit of flip flopping on issues, he stated that Romney was “a perfectly lubricated weather vane on the important issues of the day,” who “has been missing in action in terms of showing any kind of leadership”. Below are a few clips and ads in which Jon Huntsman unloads on Mitt Romey:
I may be a Democrat, but Jon Huntsman came off to me as a reasonable conservative. He seemed to be an individual with a solid conservative record, but one that refused to venture too far to the right, and pander to extremists and ideologues. He also was a breath of fresh air at the Republican debates, and always seemed to have a great grasp on economic and foreign policy issues. At the end of the day, he wasn’t conservative enough for the Republican electorate. They may regret not supporting him in the end.
When I think of Mitt Romney, a robot comes to mind. A robot can be programmed to do whatever you ask, though the threat of malfunction is always a possibility. Mitt Romney was programmed initially to have significant moderate stances on issues such as healthcare, abortion, and many others while serving as Governor of Massachusetts. The citizens of Massachusetts were his initial owners, and programmed him this way. A moderate Republican is the only acceptable Republican in a state like Massachusetts. It worked then, because someone of no convictions or stances at all suited the liberal state of Massachusetts.
Mitt Romney has a new owner now, better known as the Teaparty. Ever since their huge victory in the 2012 middterm elections, the tilt of the GOP has taken a rightward turn. I’ll give them credit where it is due, regarding picking up 63 House seats. That was the largest seat change since 1948. The Teaparty has now programmed Romney to be a “strong Conservative with convictions” all of a sudden. This only fools people who have not studied his record, though.
In 1994, he supported Roe v.Wade, but now suddenly is a pro-life Republican. He supported national healthcare in 2008, and created a healthcare plan while Governor of Massachusetts that is very similar to the Affordable Care Act. Now he is adamantly against President Obama’s healthcare plan, along with the mandates in it(even though mandates existed in the plan he passed). Romney is a robot though, and is only acting in a manner that his current owners approve of.
Don’t forget though, that the threat of a malfunction is always a possibility with a robot. I predict that once Romney gets the nomination, he will run with the quickness back to the middle. A Romney Administration would act in the same manner as was the custom when he ran the state of Massachusetts. When he came to office in Massachusetts Democrats controlled 85% of the seats in the state legislature. Only a very moderate Republican can operate successfully in that environment, and Romney was one of them. I’m sorry to break it to the Teaparty, but moderation and Mitt Romney go hand in hand. Always have been, and always will be. This robot is sure to malfunction….just watch.