Latest from The Spokesman-Review
The Idaho Republican Party announced today that five Republican Presidential Candidates have qualified for the first-ever Idaho Republican Party Presidential Caucus that will take place in every county across the state on March 6, commonly known as Super Tuesday. The five candidates who have qualified for the ballot are: Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Buddy Roemer (in the order they filed with the State Party). “We are delighted to have these five Republican candidates file to participate in the Idaho Republican Party Presidential Caucus,” stated Chairman Norm Semanko. “It is becoming apparent that we are on the radar of the Republican Presidential candidates as they realize that Idaho’s 32 delegates are more delegates than Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada”/Idaho Republican Party. (AP file photo of former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer)
Question: Buddy Roemer?
Unless you're steeped in Idaho politics, you've probably never heard of Frank VanderSloot. But the wealthy Republican businessman and people like him around the country are wielding outsized influence on the 2012 presidential election. VanderSloot is part of a new breed of high-end campaign donor, who gives to and raises large sums for candidates directly, and contributes far greater amounts to super PACs established specifically to help elect their candidates. By law, candidates cannot coordinate with the amped- up political action committees. But there's nothing to stop donors from giving to both. As a result, caps on presidential campaign contributions which date back to Watergate-era reforms, have been rendered meaningless. VanderSloot's candidate is Mitt Romney/Dan Morain, Sacramento Bee. More here.
Question: Have you ever heard of Frank VanderSloot?
Because the faith of presidential candidate Mitt Romney is an issue, The Press has devoted many column inches to debate and discussion of his faith, particularly compared to other beliefs. And we're prepared to devote a little more, although readers are increasingly telling us this topic has run its course and it's about time to turn back to issues rather than theological arguments. While some of you have very strong feelings about whether or not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are actually Christians, our view is, why does that matter? When it comes to a presidential election, we're far less concerned with where a candidate spends his Sundays than what he does with the other six days of the week/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here. (AP photo: Mitt Romney greets supporters in Nevada Saturday)
Question: What's your biggest concern about Mitt Romney — his faith, his wealth, his Republicanism, his stand on the issues? Or are you happy with his candidacy?
Why can't Mitt Romney (pictured) connect with voters, let alone inspire them? Some observers blame his problem on Mormon theology, others on his wealth and how he got it. Quite obviously, Romney’s church departs fundamentally from mainstream Christianity — both in regards to narrative and theology. For example, Mormons believe that Jesus Christ literally came to America following the resurrection (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi, 11). As for his wealth, most aren’t so concerned about how much he has; rather, it’s about how he got it, and even more so, his obliviousness to the lives of those who have less. Doing right by doing well: Mitt Romney’s idea of virtuous living. Still, I suggest there’s something more to the story. Mitt Romney is in and of what some Mormon historians refer to as the “Modern Era”/Robert Herold, Inlander. More here.
Question: Why does or doesn't Mitt Romney inspire you?
Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in Las Vegas Thursday to endorse Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, center, accompanied by Romney's wife Ann. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Question: How important to Mitt Romney is Donald Trump's endorsement?
Mitt Romney won a commanding victory in the Florida primary Tuesday night, rebounding from defeat and taking a significant step toward the Republican presidential nomination. Despite the setback, Newt Gingrich vowed to press on. Returns from 38 percent of Florida's precincts showed Romney with 48 percent of the vote, to 31 percent for Gingrich. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had 13 percent, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul 7 percent. Neither mounted a substantial effort in the state/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: A workman mounts a sign to the podium before Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's Florida Republican presidential primary night rally in Orlando, Fla.)
Question: Will zombie warrior Gingrich be able to shamble on?
Good morning, Netizens…
If you haven't been watching the debates between the Republican front-runners in the various primaries back East, you may have missed one of the truly great moments in political history. Apparently, Newt Gingrich's win in South Carolina over Mitt Romney has a lot of Republicans rattling in their cages, according to David Horsey's cartoon this morning.
Several high-ranking Republicans have already made statements to the media that they are very nervous about what would happen if Newt Gingrich should take the Florida primary. Some Republicans have suggested Gingrich cannot win the nomination at any cost. He will destroy the party. He will reelect Barack Obama and they’ll be ruined.”
If you can believe some of the Florida polls, Gingrich has edged ahead of Mitt Romney, although by a slim margin. Thus this morning's cartoon may have strong implications in the near-future. We may have to put up with Gingrich's attitude.
This could be interesting. Of course, your results may differ.
In a followup to his blast days before the Iowa caucus, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is pressing Newt Gingrich to say whether he had a client when he urged Otter and other Republican congressmen to vote for a $400 billion Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003. Otter is co-chairman of the Idaho presidential campaign of Mitt Romney's, Gingrich's chief opponent for the GOP presidential nomination. Politico reported Thursday night that an unnamed spokesman for Otter said of Gingrich, “If he was under contract then he should release that information.” Jon Hanian, Otter's press secretary, said Friday morning that he spoke with Politico/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Sure, Otter is a Romney supporter. But why do you think he's embedding himself in this controversy?
In 2010, it would have taken Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney 21 hours, 1 minute, and 44 seconds to earn what I did last year. In contrast, I would have to work 416 years 6 months 23 days 11 hours 20 minutes & 7 seconds to earn what Mitt did in 2010. His total income for the year was listed as $21.6 million, more than one-half of which came from capital gains. Slate magazine has a nifty income calculator that compares your salary with Mitt Romney's 2010 income. You can find the calculator here.
Question: How does your income stack up against Mitt's?
Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate for 2011 showing he is likely to pay $6.2 million on income of $42.5 million over the two-year period. Romney's tax information — covering more than 500 pages — can be found on his website. The tax records show Romney and his wife, Ann, paid an effective tax rate of 13.9% on their adjusted gross income in 2010. The estimate is 15.4% for 2011. How does Romney's effective tax rate compare with other Americans? The average effective tax rate of American taxpayers is 11% on adjusted gross income, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Tax Foundation. Millionaires pay about about 25%, the foundation says/USA Today. More here. (AP photo)
Question: Is Mitt Romney paying his fair share of taxes?
Mitt Romney’s stunning loss in South Carolina was as broad-based as his win in the previous primary in New Hampshire, according to exit polls, raising new questions about his ability to reach a wide assortment of voters. And perhaps most troubling for Romney’s campaign is that Newt Gingrich, who came from behind to swamp Romney in the Palmetto State by more than 10 percentage points, received the most support from voters worried about the economy. Romney has built his message around his talents as a turnaround specialist. South Carolina is viewed as an extremely conservative state—and the conventional wisdom before Romney’s easy win in New Hampshire was that he would struggle there. But Gingrich, surprisingly, also won among independents Saturday/James Oliphant, Los Angeles Times. More here. (AP photo)
Question: Why didn't the revelations of Newt Gingrich's ex-wife affect the South Carolina GOP results?
I overlooked this late last week, but the survey Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life is well worth review. The survey of over 1,000 Mormons is the first of its kind published by a non-LDS research organization. “The survey finds a mixed picture: Many Mormons feel they are misunderstood, discriminated against and not accepted by other Americans as part of mainstream society,” Pew said in a news release Thursday. “Yet, at the same time, a majority of Mormons think that acceptance of Mormonism is rising. Overwhelmingly, they are satisfied with their lives and content with their communities. And most say they think the country is ready to elect a Mormon president”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman.
Question: Is the United States ready for a Mormon president?
More Info: In the non-binding poll, Paul came in first with 173 of the 399 votes cast. Mitt Romney followed with 135 votes, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came in third, with 47 votes. The following day, nearly 160 Republicans attended the state committee meeting. In the smaller, purely Republican test-run caucus, Romney received 59 votes, Paul received 34, and Rick Santorum came in third, with 33 votes.
Question: Which weekend vote truly represents Idaho Republicans — the straw poll that picked Ron Paul or the test-run caucus that picked Mitt Romney?
With two wins in a row in the hip pocket of his blue jeans, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney heads to South Carolina today to try and wrap up the GOP contest. Gauging by the most recent information from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Romney already has won the Republican money race in the Pacific Northwest. The Republican nominee-in-waiting far outpaces his GOP rivals when it comes to raising money in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Idaho is clearly Romney country. As of the end of September last year, Romney had raised more than $336,000 in Idaho with more than a third of that total coming from heavily Mormon eastern Idaho. Romney, who hails from a pioneer LDS family in Utah, has raised about $130,000 in the Idaho Falls and Pocatello media markets and nearly $60,000 more in south central Idaho’s Magic Valley/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Why is the Republican establishment in Idaho so head over heels for Mitt Romney?
Item: Romney wins in New Hampshire, Paul in 2nd, Huntsman 3rd/USA Today
JohnA: How can we call ourselves a democracry when one party has no opposition and the other is decided by two of the smallest states in the Union. How ridiculous to think that just because someone wins, like, 11 electoral voters, that we adorn them as the nominee. That’s silly, it is contra-intuitive and it should be just plain wrong. I remember when George W. went to South Carolina in 2000 and somehow made John McCain go away. We all saw what happended over the next eight years. How sad that the rest of us didn’t have a reasonable vote in who our party nominee would be. The system is broken. I hope at some time in my life a real candidate selection system will evolve. I’m not counting on it.
Question: John makes a good point. Why have we allowed to relatively insignificant states like Iowa and New Hampshire to decide which presidential candidates are best?
Good morning, Netizens…
Try as I might, I admit to being terribly unknowing when it comes to what the hell Mom Jeans are. When cartoonist David Horsey poked fun at candidate Mitt Romney for wearing Mom Jeans, I had no idea what he was talking about, but thank the Internet for setting me to rights. Ewww! Those jeans are truly hard on my eyes, especially when Romney is attempting to portray himself as a man of the people.
Okay, so what the hell are mom jeans and why is Mitt Romney wearing them? David Horsey defines mom jeans as high-waisted denims cut wide to accommodate the ample hips, thighs and posteriors of American mothers too busy driving their kids to soccer games to find time for a personal trainer. As I quickly found out, there are a couple of online photo galleries devoted to images of Romney in mom jeans. There are videos, too, several of which were pretty funny. And it has become a topic on Twitter. Egods, those jeans are truly hard on the eyes, but I said that already.
So just why is Mitt Romney putting on this costume? Perhaps he is simply trying to portray himself as more the man of the people rather than a multi-millionaire Mormon. He is perhaps doing his part to help the American public forget who he once was.
If so, American voters would do well to remember Mitt Romney for who he really is, especially in light of his recent comments about how he loves to fire people that work for him. I don't know which is more troublesome: Mitt Romney in mom jeans or Mitt Romney who loves firing people.
I guess until we get to the bottom line of who Mitt Romney is, I will simply pass on him as a serious political candidate. Of course, your choices may differ.
- Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire primary, Fox News projects, notching back-to-back victories in the first two contests of the presidential nominating season. Fox News also projects that Ron Paul will finish second and Jon Huntsman will finish third. Rick Perry is projected to finish in sixth place. Unclear is what Romney's margin of victory will be, though Fox News projects he will win by double digits. With just 14 percent of precincts reporting, Romney is leading with 36 percent of the vote. Paul has 24 percent and Huntsman has 18 percent/Fox News. More here. (AP photo: Mitt Romney waves to supporters in Manchester, N.H., this evening)
Question: Who drops out of the race Wednesday?
On his blog, Dennis Mansfield points to the who's who of Idaho politics who support GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney — and then declares something unusual happened Friday — an anti-establishment candidate won the GOP straw poll. Ron Paul. Quoth Dennis: “Some might argue that the Straw Poll was merely a 'fundraiser' for the state GOP (paying $30 to vote in it could give that impression) — but it was a POLL that Ron Paul will gladly celebrate nationally…and Romney will attempt to deflect intentionally. But, a win over Santorum by 8 votes in Iowa… and a loss to Ron Paul in Idaho? If I were Romney's staff, I'd wonder why this 'fundraiser'/straw poll was not invested in by Mitt supporters. After all, they HAVE the money to spend … So, until March's Super Tuesday the nation will believe that Idaho is owned by Ron Paul.” More here. (In this April 2008 file IPT/AP file photo by Mike Vogt, Ron Paul prepares to sign his book, “The Revolution,” during a visit to Caldwell)
Question: Does Ron Paul “own” Idaho?
Mitt Romney awoke Tuesday to fresh evidence that he is still a heavy favorite to win New Hampshire’s primary even as a late surge in the polls by Jon M. Huntsman Jr. raised questions about how large Mr. Romney’s margin of victory in the state might be. In the latest release of the 7 News/Suffolk University tracking poll, released as people began turning out to vote Tuesday morning, Mr. Romney leads with 37 percent. Ron Paul is backed by 18 percent and Jon Huntsman is backed by 16 percent — essentially tied for second place. For Mr. Romney, the size of his margin over his rivals could be a crucial question as he heads into South Carolina — a conservative state that he lost to Senator John McCain four years ago/Michael D. Sheer, New York Times. More here. (AP photo: Romney & John McCain campaigning in New Hampshire)
Question: Who do you think will finish second in New Hampshire?
Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman sez the nonbinding straw poll being conducted by the Idaho GOP Friday has a purpose: “Sure, it’s (the straw poll) gimmicky; with voters paying $30 for the privilege of casting a ballot, this isn’t exactly representative politics. But the straw poll could give us a sense of which faction of the Idaho GOP is more motivated: the Romney wing, or the Paul wing. Romney has long since secured backing from many of Idaho’s big-name Republicans, including Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson. Factor in Romney’s 2008 run, and the support base built along the way, and Romney’s Utah/Mormon Church connections, and you have an establishment candidate. Paul has secured endorsements from a few of the Legislature’s conservative hardliners, including Sen. Shirley McKague, R-Meridian; Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home; Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, a darling of the fed-bashing nullification movement; and Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, the House’s resident tax scofflaw.” More here.
Question: Which followers do you think are more committed in Idaho — Ron Paul's or Mitt Romney's?
Washington Republicans held a “straw poll” over the last week of December to test the strength of the presidential candidate field. It pretty well mirrored Iowa and the nation…at that time.
Here's the breakdown, released yesterday by the Washington State Republican Party:
In that least week of 2011, Gingrich was starting to fade and Rick Santorum was just beginning an uptick in Iowa, and that can be read in to the Washington numbers. Swap those two results, and the top four look quite a bit like Iowa caucus results.
Remember: Washington is also a caucus state this year…as opposed to some strange hybrid of a caucus and a presidential primary, as it has been for the last couple of cycles.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., joined by husband Marcus, left, family and friends, announces that she will end her campaign for president Wednesday in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
A squeaker of an Iowa victory in hand, Mitt Romney headed into the New Hampshire primary insisting that staying power sets him apart from runners-up Rick Santorum and Ron Paul and the rest of the GOP presidential field. Two rivals already looked shaky — last-place finisher Michele Bachmann canceled a campaign trip Wednesday and Rick Perry was heading home to Texas to think things over. … The former Massachusetts governor was declared the winner in the wee hours Wednesday — by just eight votes — bringing down the curtain on an improbable first act in the campaign to pick a candidate to challenge Obama in the fall/Steve Peoples & Kasey Hunt, AP. More here.
Question: What do you make of the Iowa results?
A relaxed Mitt Romney quoted from “America the Beautiful” and projected confidence Tuesday in one of his final appearances before tonight’s Iowa caucuses. Leaving no stone unturned in his appeal to the patriotism of Iowan voters, Romney quoting from three verses of “America the Beautiful,” which he described as “one of the hymns that I love.” Romney has been dogged by suggestions that his Mormonism is off-putting to conservatives among the Republican base. But a victory in Tuesday evening's caucuses could deflate some air from that theory and go a long way to delivering the Republican presidential nomination/Niall Stanage, The Hill. More here. (AP photo)
Question: Predict how the candidates will do tonight?
Supporters listen to Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as he speaks during a campaign stop at Homer's Deli and Bakery in Clinton, Iowa, today. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Mitt Romney edged out Ron Paul for first place in a new poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers, but it was Rick Santorum who made a huge jump, coming in third. Romney earned 25 percent while Paul took 22 percent in the poll, which was conducted by ORC International for CNN and Time magazine, released Wednesday. In an unexpected shake-up, Santorum jumped ahead of Newt Gingrich to third place, taking 16 percent. Gingrich came in fourth with 14 percent, followed by Rick Perry with 11 percent, Michele Bachmann with 9 percent and Jon Huntsman with 1 percent/Alicia M. Cohen, The Hill. More here.
Question: Who would have a better chance at beating President Obama next fall — Mitt Romney or Ron Paul.
Facing off against the rest of the Republican field in the final debate before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, Newt Gingrich defended his work for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and didn’t back off from a number of his more contentious stances, including abolishing federal courts he finds too activist. He also proposed cutting off all federal funding for sanctuary cities who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement, and said he would drop lawsuits against states that have passed their own immigration crackdown laws. But he took fire from the other candidates, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota in particular, who questioned his pro-life record and said he was working for the two mortgage giants at a time when other conservatives were trying to close them down/Stephen Dinan, Washington Times. More here. (AP photo: Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul arriving at debate Thursday)
Question: Will it be Obama vs. Newt in 2012?
The campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has won the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, Romney's campaign announced today.
McMorris Rodgers will serve as Romney's chairwoman in Washington, his campaign said in a news release.
With his poll numbers rising and riding the buzz from his recent Manchester, N.H., Union Leader endorsement, Newt Gingrich set his sights on GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney on Monday, attacking him as a flip-flopper and pitching himself as the “conservative alternative.” “I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate, I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney,” Gingrich told WSC Radio in Charleston, S.C./Jonathan Easley, Blog Briefing Room, The Hill. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Could it be Newt?
While white, evangelical Protestants are more likely than the general public to view Mormonism as a non-Christian faith — and less likely to support Mitt Romney — a majority of those voters are willing to back Romney in a general election run against President Obama, a new survey by the Pew Research Center finds. In Pew's survey, they find Romney trailing Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain among white, evangelical Protestants, over half of whom believe Mormonism is not a Christian faith. The former Massachusetts governor does lead the rest of the Republican field by double digits among mainline Protestants, and edges out Cain and Gingrich among white Catholics/Justin Sink, The Hill. More here. (AP photo)
Question: Do you expect Mitt Romney will face President Barack Obama in 2012 presidential election?
- RE: SPLC Report: The Propandists: Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association & the Demonization of LGBT People/Jody May-Chang and Jill Kuraitis
Former Idaho Values Alliance leader Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association (AFA) are the subject of a 21-page report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The report quotes former Cole Community Church Pastor Roper on Fischer's departure from the church. It also features Idaho Family Forum founder Dennis Mansfield on why he left the church Fischer subsequently founded, Community Church of the Valley, and how Fischer overtook him as the leading evangelist-politician in Idaho. Fischer left Idaho in 2009 and now hosts a radio show for the Mississippi-based AFA. On Saturday, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney criticized Fischer for using “poisonous language.” Fischer retorted that Romney's comments were “tasteless and tawdry” and that Romney allowed the SPLC, New York Times and People for the American Way to dictate his remarks at the Values Voters Summit where both men spoke/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What do you make of the SPLC report?