Latest from The Spokesman-Review
How much of an impact will culture-warrior and anti-gay obsessive Bryan Fischer, pictured, have on the election? Plenty, if you take the resignation today of Richard Grenell, Mitt Romney’s openly gay foreign policy spokesman, to be a casualty of the American Family Radio host’s crusade against him. “I was kind of pleasantly surprised,” Fischer says of Grenell’s resignation, adding, “I think Governor Romney is going to be far more careful now.” Grenell, a former Bush aide, had just last month criticized the Obama administration in the Washington Blade for not doing enough for gays and lesbians. (Grenell also came under fire from liberals for a spate of sexist tweets.) On April 20, Fischer was the first to condemn Grenell, tweeting: “Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead”/Irin Carmon, Salon. More here. (AP file photo)
Richard Grenell, an openly gay and longtime Republican foreign policy spokesman hired last month by Mitt Romney’s campaign, resigned abruptly on Tuesday after his appointment came under attack by antigay activists in the party. “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons,” Matt Rhoades, the Romney campaign manager, said in a statement. “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.” Mr. Grenell served four American ambassadors to the United Nations during the presidency of George W. Bush/Richard A. Oppel Jr., New York Times blog. More here.(2006 AP file photo: John Bolton, then United States Ambassador to the United Nations, center, confers with his spokesman Richard Grenell)
“The Idaho State GOP enthusiastically welcomes Governor Mitt Romney as our Party’s presumptive nominee. Starting on March 6 when Idaho Republicans selected Governor Romney as their nominee through Idaho’s first Republican Caucus, and running through the November elections, we look forward to playing a leading role in working with Governor Romney, the Republican National Committee and other state parties around the country to secure his election. Barack Obama has taken our country and Idaho down the wrong direction and Governor Romney is the only candidate to get us back on track. Americans and Idahoans deserve a president who is serious about creating jobs and turning around the economy. They don’t have that right now – but they will when Mitt Romney is President”/Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko, from news release.
Former President Jimmy Carter said he expects President Obama to win reelection, but Mitt Romney would be his top choice on the Republican side. “I think of all the Republican candidates who are prominent, I think Romney would be the one I would rather see have a slight possibility to be president,” on MSNBC's “Jansing & Co” in an interview that aired Wednesday. When pressed on whether he would be “comfortable” with a Romney presidency, Carter responded, “I would rather have a Democrat, but I would be comfortable.” “I think Romney has shown in his past, in his previous years as a moderate, a progressive that he was fairly competent as a governor and also running the Olympics. As you know, he has a good solid family,” Carter said/The Hill. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Are you ready for the cage match between President Barack Obama & Mitt Romney? Who wins?
OK, so the argument over whether Mitt Romney is less dog friendly for strapping a canine cage to his car roof than Barack Obama is for eating dog meat when he was a child in Indonesia is admittedly the stupidest conversation of the Presidential campaign thus far.
But this video is still pretty funny.
Mitt Romney will make a high-profile pitch to wary gun owners today when he speaks to the National Rifle Association. The likely GOP presidential nominee has said he will protect the Second Amendment but is viewed with some skepticism among gun owners, in part because of his record as Massachusetts governor and some of his previous comments about gun ownership. In 1994, when Romney ran against Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Republican said “I don't line up with the NRA.” During his 2002 gubernatorial bid, Romney proclaimed: “We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won't chip away at them.” Gun-licensing fees went up during Romney's tenure/USA Today. More here. (AP photo)
Question: Are you a member of the NRA?
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gets a hug from his wife Karen after announcing he is suspending his candidacy for the presidency today in Gettysburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Rick Santorum is suspending his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, clearing a path for Mitt Romney to become the nominee. A campaign spokesman says the former Pennsylvania senator was to make the announcement Tuesday in his home state of Pennsylvania, two weeks before the GOP presidential primary there. Santorum faced a tough fight in his home state against Romney/AP.
Question: Are you ready for Barack versus Mitt?
First District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador told a national TV audience Sunday that likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney shouldn't attempt to mediate concerns about Mormon theology. Appearing on NBC's “Meet the Press” Sunday as part of a panel on religion and politics, Labrador suggested Romney talk about his work as a missionary and as a bishop and stake president. Moderator David Gregory asked Labrador, who also is LDS, whether Romney should squarely address “discomfort” with theological concerns. Some evangelicals question Mormonism, even labeling it a cult/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo of Mitt Romney)
Question: What do you want to know re: Mitt Romney's approach to faith?
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum hugs a boy during his visit to Bob's Diner in Carnegie, Pa., Wednesday. Santorum's main opponent, Mitt Romney, won Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Story here. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Question: Is it time for Santorum to bow out — and let Romney focus on President Barack Obama?
Rick Santorum desperately needs a win in Wisconsin Tuesday to slow Mitt Romney's momentum, but the Red White & Blue Fund says in a 39-page memo that Idaho is among 12 states where challenges could trim Romney's delegate count. The March 22 memo was published last week by the Huffington Post and argues that 638 unbound delegates and potential challenges at the convention in August mean it is “nearly impossible” for Romney to capture the 1,144 necessary to lock up the nomination in advance. In Idaho, the memo argues that Romney deserves only 20 of the 32 delegates, though state party rules call for him to receive all 32. The memo says Santorum deserves six delegates. It also mistakenly says Newt Gingrich should also get six delegates, confusing Gingrich with Ron Paul/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo: Santorum in Coeur d'Alene in February)
Question: Any thoughts re: the winner-take-all caucus rules that Idaho GOP followed?
Gov. Butch Otter on Friday offered begrudging praise for President Barack Obama's 2009 economic stimulus fund, saying it has helped complete highway projects in Idaho, create jobs and reduce the need for state gas tax hikes, reports AP reporter John Miller. Those comments appeared to put him at odds with Mitt Romney, who has the Idaho governor's backing for president and who says Obama's $814 million stimulus “didn't create private-sector jobs,” Miller reports. The apparent difference is notable because Otter is the Romney's Idaho campaign chairman; he introduced the former Massachusetts governor at Idaho's March 6 “Super Tuesday” caucus, where Romney beat Rick Santorum. Click below for Miller's full report.
On Thursday, former President George H.W. Bush will formalize his support of Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential at an event in Houston, Romney officials said Wednesday. Bush, who in December told the Houston Chronicle that “I think Romney is the best choice for us” met with Romney shortly before Christmas, but has not made any public campaign appearances with the former Massachusetts governor. The 87-year-old former president joins his son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in offering Romney formal support, though Jeb Bush has not campaigned with Romney. Former President George W. Bush has yet to make an endorsement or speak publicly about the field of GOP presidential candidates/Reid J. Epstein, Politico. More here.
Question: Is Mitt Romney better prepared to take on President Obama as a result of his grueling GOPrimary race?
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich displays an etch-a-sketch during a Tea Party Presidential forum and straw poll hosted by the LSU College Republicans Thursday at Dotson Auditorium on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Tim Mueller)
Question: Don't you think most presidential candidates take an etch-a-sketch approach to their candidacy, running to appeal to the extreme in the primary and then to the center for the general election?
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum holds an Etch A Sketch during a rally in Mandeville, La., Wednesday. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Ohio Art Co., maker of the classic baby boomer toy, is sending a big box of Etch A Sketches to the presidential campaigns to say thanks for the publicity and a boost in sales. It all started when Mitt Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom was asked Wednesday about the candidate's politics now versus next fall, and he likened the campaign to an Etch A Sketch: “You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again”/CBS Money Watch. More here.
Question: Did you ever play with an Etch A Sketch?
Typically in politics the most painful wounds are self-inflicted. Candidates shoot themselves in the foot and hobble around for days trying to change the subject, while the political media, the opposition and YouTube repeat the gaffe over and over again. Rick Santorum had his shoot the foot moment with ill-considered remarks on college and contraception. Newt Gingrich went into the high weeds with his colony on the moon moment. Barack Obama had his “cling to God and guns” diversion in 2008. GOP front runner – and I say again, almost certain nominee – Mitt Romney’s gaffes have been so numerous it can be difficult to keep them straight. He likes to fire people, the wife has two (2) Cadillacs, he isn’t a NASCAR fan, but knows rich guys who own racing teams, etc. Romney has a strange – and I’m sure to him mind boggling – ability to step on his own good news/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (Photo: A Nov. 5, 2008, AP file photo shows an Etch A Sketch portrait of President Elect Barack Obama, that was unveiled as the results of the presidential election were announced. Etch A Sketch is suddenly drawing lots of attention, thanks to a gaffe that has shaken up Mitt Romney's campaign)
Question: Do you have a favorite presidential candidate gaffe?
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reacts while greeting supporters at a rally in Schaumburg, Ill., after winning the Illinois Republican primary Tuesday. (AP photo)
Mitt Romney prepared for another Southern showdown in Saturday's Louisiana primary after a convincing victory in Illinois padded his delegate lead and he received the highly prized endorsement Wednesday of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. “Now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Gov. Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall,” Bush, the brother of one former GOP president and son of another, said in a statement/Tom Cohen, CNN. More here.
Question (for Republicans who supported Ron Paul or another candidate): Are you planning to vote for Mitt Romney if he wins the GOPresidential nomination as it now appears he will?
Rick Santorum took his re-energized Republican presidential campaign to Puerto Rico Wednesday after key primary victories in the South that raised questions about conservative rival Newt Gingrich's viability as a candidate and portended a long battle with front-runner Mitt Romney. Romney, rejected again by Southern conservatives in the Tuesday primaries in Mississippi and Alabama, won caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa to claim about a third of the total delegates available and maintain his lead. However, Santorum's twin primary triumphs — while narrow — reframed the GOP race as a one-on-one battle between the socially conservative former Pennsylvania senator and the more moderate Romney, with Gingrich's chances fading fast/CNN Politics. More here. (AP photo: Rick Santorum gives a thumbs up at his election night party in Lafayette, Ala.)
Question: Time for Paul & Gingrich to step to the sidelines?
THE LAND: As Will Rodgers put it, “They ain't making it no more.”
In his PBS documentary, National Parks: America's Best Idea, filmmaker Ken Burns vividly pointed out how a certain number of high-level naysayers have condemned the concept of preserving virtually every spread of now wildly popular public land from Arcadia to Yosemite.
And the naysayers are still around, emerging most recently and noticeably in the Republic presidential campaign.
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have tried to pander to a certain anti-government crowd by scorning the concept of public land — apparently oblivious to the public outrage that doused the Sagebrush Rebellion led by the Reagan Administration's short-lived Interior Secretary James Watt.
Last month, Romney said told a gathering in Nevada, “I don’t know what the purpose is” of the great American public land legacy — a domain that includes 190 million acres of national forests, 52 million acres of national parks, and more than 500 million acres of open range, wildlife refuges and other turf under management of the Interior Department.
That campaign swing was largely overlooked by the national press, but not by New York Times Western correspondent Timothy Egan, who takes them on and clearly explains the value of public lands in this op-ed piece.
Check it out.
Also see this post about Political “Sportsmen” Stabbing Theodore Roosevelt In the Back.
Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, seen being greeted by campaign workers through the front doors of the diner while arriving to speak as she campaigns for her husband on his birthday at Edith Ann's Diner Monday in Huntsville, Ala. (AP Photo/The Huntsville Times,Eric Schultz)
Jeff Foxworthy is known for his “you might be a redneck” comedy routines. So we wonder how he'll work into his stand-up material his quip today comparing Mitt Romney's hunting prowess with that of former vice president Dick Cheney. Romney campaigned today with the comedian and TV quiz show host in Alabama before the primary there and in Mississippi tomorrow. The former Massachusetts governor got some laughs when he said he hoped Foxworthy “can actually show me which end of the rifle to point”/Catalina Camia, USA Today. More here. (AP photo: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy introduces Mitt Romney at a campaign stop at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mobile, Ala., earlier today)
Question: Which Jeff Foxworthy joke is your favorite?
Mitt Romney is trying to be a Southerner. “I am learning to say y'all, and I like grits and things,” he joked with a Mississippi audience last night. “Strange things are happening to me.” Romney, who campaigns today in Mississippi and Alabama before primaries there next week, has acknowledged that the next two states are an uphill climb/USA Today. More here. (Wikipedia photo of grits)
Question: Do you like grits? And/or: Do you like southern cooking?
Welcome to the unpredictable, and often protracted, world of caucuses, Idaho Republicans.
The system the Idaho GOP set up for balloting led to a long night in Kootenai County, where as many as four ballots were needed to winnow the field down to a winner.
As colleague Jonathan Brunt reported from Lakeland High School in Rathdrum, the only person knocked out in the first round of balloting was Buddy Roemer. Who? you might well ask. Roemer is a former Louisiana governor who has been shut out of the plethora of GOP debates and is now running as an independent.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich was eliminated on the second ballot. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on the third, and the fourth ballot showdown between former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul went to Santorum. Not that it mattered because by then, the statewide winner was already decided.
To see a map of who won each Idaho county, click here.
- Tuesday Poll: Ron Paul may be third in Idaho and last in the number of states won, but he's first in the hearts of Hucks Nation, winning the straw poll over Mitt Romney. Paul received 71 of 161 votes (44.1%) in a poll where respondents were asked: Who would win the Idaho GOP caucus election. Romney was second with 65 of 161 (40.37%), followed by Kootenai County winner Rick Santorum with 13 votes (8.07%), Buddy Roemer 8 votes (8.07%), and Newt Gingrich with 4 (2.48%).
- Today's Poll: Are you satisifed with the new Idaho GOP caucus system?
More Info: On the busiest night of the campaign, Romney scored a home-state win in Massachusetts to go with primary victories in Vermont and in Virginia – where neither Santorum nor Newt Gingrich was on the ballot. He added the Idaho caucuses to his column. … Santorum countered crisply, winning primaries in Oklahoma and Tennessee and the North Dakota caucuses – raising fresh doubts about Romney’s ability to corral the votes of conservatives in some of the most Republican states in the country.
Question: Time for Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich to head to the sidelines and let Romney and Santorum fight it out?
Red Cedar: These vote totals mean nothing when the method of voting is to keep voting until the caucus has picked its single “winner”. There is no way that the majority of Idahoans favored Romney, at least not outside of the Mormon flatland down south. The majority favored someone other than Romney, but the way they ran the caucuses, everyone had to keep voting in round after round with the lowest vote-getter being eliminated in each round, until the caucus had (hypothetically, and for media spin purposes) “settled” on a winner. The reality is there is no consensus around Romney amongst the rank-and-file Republicans, nor is there any around any of the other candidates. When Romney gets around 1/3 of the votes in the first round, which is about as many as he’d get in a primary, it’s hard for me to see it as a “handy” win. (Robert Bower AP Photo /Post Register: Elizabeth Kendall, 18, of Ashton, Idaho, was excited to help choose a presidential candidate)
Question: What do you make of Red Cedar's point that Idaho might not be as cuckoo for Mitt Romney as he first appears?
The Idaho Republican Party announced its Caucus results today, with Mitt Romney declared the winner of the 2012 Idaho Republican Party Presidential Caucus. By winning over 50 percent of the counties’ proportion of delegates, Mitt Romney will therefore receive all of Idaho’s 32 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Across the state, over 44,000 enthusiastic Idaho Republicans made history by participating in the first ever Idaho Republican Party Presidential Caucus. The county delegate results with 100% of counties reporting are as follows:
- Mitt Romney: 25
- Rick Santorum: 4
- Ron Paul: 3
- Newt Gingrich: 0
- Buddy Roemer: 0
Due to Article VI, Section 5 of the Rules of the Idaho Republican Party pertaining to Apportionment and Selection of Delegates to the Republican National Convention, once certified, Mitt Romney will receive all of Idaho’s 32 delegates.
Also: Romney wins 31 counties, Santorum 7, Paul 6/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
Question: In our HucksOnline poll, we predicted Paul (45%) would win over Romney (39%), followed by Santorum (8%), Buddy Roemer (5%), and Gingrich (2.5%). Pointing to our poll, Yabetcha advised us last night not to quit our day jobs. Why did we miss so badly on the final results?
95.5% precincts reporting
|Mitt Romney27,390 votes||63.3%|
|Ron Paul7,765 votes||18.0%|
|Rick Santorum7,139 votes||16.5%|
|Newt Gingrich940 votes||2.2%|
Question: Did anyone see big Romney win coming?
As results trickle in for Super Tuesday's nominating contests, CBS News projects presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (silhouetted in AP photo today in Alabama) will win the Republican primary in his home state of Georgia, clinching his first primary victory since South Carolina's January 21 primary contest. CBS News also projects Mitt Romney will win in Virginia, Massachusetts and Vermont. Polls closed at 7:30 in Ohio. Based on exit polls, CBS News estimates a close race between Romney and Santorum. With polls closed in Tennessee, CBS News projects former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has a small lead, with Romney and Gingrich trailing behind. In Oklahoma, CBS News projects Santorum is leading/CBS News. More here.
Question: Who will be the biggest winner/loser when the night is over?
The conventional wisdom holds that Paul must win somewhere – and fast – or risk running out of steam as the primary campaign grinds on. He would seem to have a far shot in three states with a GOP caucus today – North Dakota, Alaska and Idaho. The Idaho GOP establishment is aligned with Mitt Romney and the state’s sizeable Mormon population is almost certain to give him an advantage, but – a big but – the insurgent wing of the Idaho GOP, the group that has come to dominate a good deal of the party’s business, is entirely capable of sending Romney and his Idaho supporters a big message. We’ll see if they do. It may be worth noting that while Paul was drawing 1,300 up the road in Sandpoint, Gov. Butch Otter, a Romney surrogate, was speaking to a crowd of 100 in Coeur d’Alene/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Is there anything to be made of Paul attracting 1,200 in Sandpoint (and probably 2,000 in Moscow) while Butch Otter subbing for Mitt Romney attracted only 100 in Coeur d'Alene?