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Tags: Rick Santorum

Santorum: ‘Protecting the Second Amendment While All Our Other Freedoms Falter Is Not a Winning Strategy.’



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Former Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum began with a bit of humor in his speech at the NRA Convention Friday afternoon, but shifted to urging the audience to become more active in protecting all of the Bill of Rights, not just their right to own firearms.

Santorum began by pointing out that every member of his family is a member of the NRA, and noted with a smile, “My wife actually owns more guns than I do. The default gift for most men is flowers. For me, it’s ammo.”

He then segued to the various ways that Americans other liberties – of speech, of religion, of privacy – were under attack by the Obama administration and “elites.”

 “Freedom of worship is what you do inside the four walls of that church. Freedom of religion is what you do outside that church.”

“No one has been more successful in fighting the secular left, big government agenda than the National Rifle Association,” Santorum said “You have stood up to the hundreds of millions of dollars of the elite. In good times and bad, when it’s been hard to stand up, you’ve stood tall.

“I’m coming to you to say thank you first… but it’s not enough. Our rights are being assailed everywhere. Just protecting the Second Amendment while all our other freedoms falter is not a winning strategy. We need you to engage.”

Tags: Rick Santorum , NRA Convention 2014

Welcome to Obamaville...



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Rick Santorum’s campaign may be well behind in the delegate race, but his ad team is still coming up with vivid and original images (think of the mudslinging-Uzi Romney). Their latest? “Welcome to Obamaville,” which looks and sounds like a horror movie trailer.

I take it “Obamaville” is one of those small towns where the locals cling bitterly.

Of course, this ad still isn’t quite as disturbing as the new Herman Cain ad featuring the bunny.

Makes you yearn for the easygoing, reassuring days when campaign ads featured the happy, cheery image of, say, Demonsheep.

Tags: Barack Obama , Rick Santorum

Enough Complaining, Candidates and Advisers!



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On almost any given day in a presidential campaign, you can count on some surrogate for a candidate saying something problematic for the candidate.

One of the milder ones today:

Mr. Santorum’s campaign rejected Mr. Gingrich’s analysis, voicing the prevailing view that Mr. Gingrich would succeed only in dividing the anti-Romney vote.

“If he were out of this race, we wouldn’t just be beating Mitt Romney, we’d be crushing him,” Hogan Gidley, a senior adviser to the Santorum campaign, said Wednesday. “We wouldn’t have won every state that Romney won, but we sure would have won a lot more of them.”

Well, Gingrich isn’t out of this race. So deal with it. Stop describing how your candidate could be so much further ahead if the circumstances were different. The circumstances are the circumstances. Every candidate and every campaign has to deal with factors that are not ideal. Almost every candidate runs better in a one-on-one race because the vote is split into fewer groups. If Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich dropped out, yes, some, perhaps most, of their support would go to Santorum. But some would go to Romney. And some would express disinterest in the remaining candidates.

Right now, you’re in a four-way race and there’s a good chance you’ll be in a four-way race all the way to the convention. So go out and try to win the four-way race. Dislodge those supporters of those other candidates, win them over. This is what a campaign is supposed to do.

In Wednesday’s Morning Jolt, I looked at Rick Santorum’s complaint that Fox News is “in the tank” for Romney. I’m sure every candidate has days when they feel they’re not getting the kind of media coverage they deserve, when they start to see all of the reporters covering them as a bunch of rabid jackals, but… at some point, you have to hold that urge to complain in check.

On Tuesday’s “Kilmeade & Friends” radio show on Fox News Radio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, accused Fox News of being in the tank for his competitor, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Santorum made that claim as part of a larger point, that despite having a lot of things in his favor Romney has been unable to seal the deal.

“The man has had a 10-to-1 money advantage,” Santorum said. “He’s had all the organizational advantage. He’s had Fox News shilling for him every day, no offense Brian but I see it. And yet, he can’t close — he can’t seal the deal because he just doesn’t have the goods to be able to motivate the Republican base and win this election.”

Host Brian Kilmeade rejected Santorum’s charge and said that Santorum has been given the opportunity to appear on FNC as much as Romney.

“On Fox News shilling for Mitt Romney, I totally disagree with that,” Kilmeade said. “You can feel the way you want. I’m just telling you there’s no way I agree with that and you’ve been on as much as anyone.”

At Hot Air, Allahpundit examines the complaint and concludes, “Three possibilities. One: Fox is spending an undue amount of time on the delegate count, emphasizing that mathematically it’s almost impossible for Santorum to win. I haven’t watched much cable news lately but is that the sense our resident Fox-watchers get? If so, how much time is an undue amount of time? We’re more than two months past Iowa and a week removed from Super Tuesday. Time to start counting delegates, folks. Two: Maybe Santorum’s just a whiner. He’s complained before about Drudge being in the tank for Romney too, but in that case there’s at least circumstantial evidence to support it. In the case of Fox, what’s the smoking gun? Santorum was on “Hannity” just last night to dump on Bill Maher. Palin, the network’s most high profile contributor, is a Gingrich fan. Aside from the occasional Ann Coulter guest appearance, who’s supposedly shilling for Romney on FNC? Three: Maybe he’s saying this for strategic reasons, using Fox’s “course correction” back towards the center last year to cast Romney as the choice of the Republican establishment’s favorite news network.”

At GOP12, Christian Heinze reminds us, “Rupert Murdoch famously made shows of support for Santorum twice this cycle. Just before the  Iowa caucuses, he tweeted that Santorum was the “only candidate with genuine big vision.” Then, one week before Michigan’s primary, he tweeted that if Santorum won Michigan, the nomination fight would be over. ‘From distance, Santorum doing great. Values really do count in America, and not sneered at as in parts of Europe. Win Michigan game over.’ That’s more forceful an endorsement than you’d ever expect from the head of a news organization, particularly for an underdog.”

Don Surber writes, “Let’s see, the Republican Establishment is against him, Matt Drudge is against him and now Fox News is against him. Maybe the problem is not that they are shilling for Mitt but rather that they are chilling to Rick.”

Kevin Eder: “I’m so old I remember when @RickSantorum worked for Fox News. Now? He just whines about them.”

Tags: Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum

A Pair of Grit-ty Wins for Santorum in the South



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The Jolt looks at what’s behind Obama’s slide in the polls, a candidate’s complaint that Fox News is in the tank for one of his rivals, and of course, primary night:

The Deep-Fried Primary Night

I think Jeff Foxworthy had once said that you didn’t have to be from the South to be a redneck. Perhaps Rick Santorum has a bit of redneck in him.

Erin McPike and Carl M. Cannon set the stage:

With his two-state sweep of the Dixie Primary, Rick Santorum ensured that the Republican Party’s long campaign of attrition in 2012 will continue. Mitt Romney had conceded last week that Mississippi and Alabama were “away games” for him, but they were far from Santorum’s Pennsylvania home, too — and he won both.

The biggest loser of the night was Newt Gingrich, who had predicted success in Tuesday’s primaries but couldn’t follow up his lone Super Tuesday victory — in his home state of Georgia — with a win even in the neighboring state of Alabama. Gingrich finished second in both Alabama and Mississippi, with Romney a close third. Ron Paul ran a distant fourth in both states.

Gingrich’s miscalculation was coupled by his decision — alone among the four candidates — to remain here in Alabama through the voting. When he and his wife came out to face the cameras and their disappointed followers, both attempted to make the most of it. Callista Gingrich warmed up the crowd by proclaiming, “Our only opponent is Barack Obama and we are committed to removing him from the White House.” She then introduced her husband as “the next president of the United States.”

So now Gingrich is recalculating his goals, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Still, Mr. Gingrich and his advisers say he isn’t going anywhere. In a concession speech, Mr. Gingrich was gracious to Mr. Santorum, while calling the results an indictment of Mr. Romney, widely seen as the front-runner. “I believe that after the primaries are over it will be obvious the so-called front-runner in fact didn’t get there, and from that point we will be in a whole different conversation,” Mr. Gingrich said.

As those remarks suggest, Mr. Gingrich and his campaign have embraced a new goal, which is to block Mr. Romney. “He believes the long haul is to get enough delegates to stop Romney from getting the nomination before the convention,” said campaign chairman Bob Walker, a former congressman. “If Romney is stopped, I don’t think he gets the nomination at the convention.”

Joe Scarborough: “Last night’s headline is not about Newt. It is about a guy with all the money and organization coming in 3rd behind Newt and Rick.”

Except that once you throw in Hawaii and American Samoa, Romney had a better night in terms of delegates. I know, I know. “As goes American Samoa, so goes America.”

Chuck Todd: “Looks like with HI (and assuming an America Samoa sweep for Romney) the Santorum delegate net gain could be as small as 3 from last night.”

The American Spectator’s Jim Antle studied the early exit poll numbers… and noticed some results that seem, at least at first glance, to not make sense: “Mitt Romney won plurality of MS voters who thought Paul’s positions ‘just right.’ Paul came in second. In Alabama, 25 percent say Paul’s positions are ‘just right.’ Santorum beats Paul among this group by 10 points.”

Tags: Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum

ABC/WashPost Poll: Unstoppable Incumbent Now Trails Romney Again



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Good morning, Mr. President!

Disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the president “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama’s performance on the economy — and on the federal budget deficit — come despite a steadily brightening employment picture and other signs of economic improvement, and they highlight the political sensitivity of rising gas prices.

Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. Most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high.

The negative movement has also stalled what had been a gradual increase since the fall in the president’s overall approval rating. In the new poll, 46 percent approve of the way Obama is handling his job; 50 percent disapprove. That’s a mirror image of his 50 to 46 positive split in early February. The downshift is particularly notable among independents — 57 percent of whom now disapprove — and among white people without college degrees, with disapproval among this group now topping approval by a ratio of more than 2 to 1, at 66 versus 28 percent.

These groups are also the ones whose shifting support has re-shuffled prospective general-election matchups. Among registered voters, Obama is now on par with Romney (47 percent for the president, 49 percent for Romney) and Santorum (49 to 46 percent). Previously, Obama held significant advantages over both.

The sample for this poll splits 31 percent Democrat, 27 percent Republican, 36 percent Independent.

The Post’s last poll, February 12, split 34 percent Democrat, 23 percent Republican, 37 percent Independent.

They asked, “Do you think there’s anything the Obama administration reasonably can do to reduce gasoline prices, or do you think gas prices have risen because of factors beyond the administration’s control?” They found 50 percent responded the administration can do something; 45 percent said “beyond their control.”

Back in May 2006, 62 percent thought that the Bush administration could do something about the price of gas, and only 35 percent thought it was beyond their control.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey had wondered why the Post stopped revealing the partisan breakdown of their poll samples. Now we know why!

Tags: Barack Obama , Gas Prices , Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Mitt’s Got Trouble. Right Here in River City.



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From the . . . Super Wednesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

A Super Tuesday Stupor?

It didn’t take much — just my vote! — to jinx Mitt Romney.

This was not such a super Tuesday for Romney. Sure, he won Virginia — but he was supposed to, it was a head-to-head matchup with Ron Paul. Sure, he won his home state, Massachusetts, and a 17-delegate New England state in Vermont. Ohio was his big win, and he needed it . . . but he won by one percent, about 12,000 votes, at this hour.

The losses in Georgia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma themselves aren’t bad, but Romney’s share of the vote is pretty disappointing: 26 percent in Georgia, 28 percent in Oklahoma, 28 percent in Tennessee. Throw in 24 percent in North Dakota.

I suppose he and his team can boast that they won Idaho (62 percent, even more than in Virginia) and Alaska (32 percent, 3 percentage points over Santorum).

But after last week’s big wins in Michigan and Arizona, we were supposed to see signs of the party starting to unify around Romney. Instead, the frontrunner has a problem with the Midwest and South that is keeping him at less than 3 in 10 right now. That was good enough for second place in most of these states, but that’s still setting a low bar — beat out Ron Paul and, in most cases, Newt, who is becoming an afterthought. (More on this below.) Sure, Romney had a great night in terms of delegates. I stand by my assessment that his road to the nomination is the hardest, except for all of the others. But he’s still got glaring weaknesses in connecting with people. Maybe it’s the Mormon issue. Maybe it’s his background. But I think the “brokered convention yields a surprise nominee” talk just got a new jolt of energy this morning.

As for Newt, I received this message from his campaign at 8:49 last night:

This is Herman Cain and I am writing to tell you that my good friend Newt Gingrich is back! So many times in this presidential campaign, the elites in the liberal media and the establishment have written off Newt Gingrich. But thank to support of conservatives like you, Newt won an impressive victory tonight. He won Georgia, the state with the most delegates on Super Tuesday. He’s got the momentum right now. Now Newt needs our help to keep it rolling. Will you join us?

Er . . . he won his home state. That’s kind of a given for most candidates. Based upon that, he’s back?

Newt’s total votes in North Dakota, as of this hour, with 76 percent of caucus precincts reporting: 962. Astoundingly, he’ll get 2 delegates out of that, based on CNN’s projection.

Permit me to share a series of thoughts offered by Patrick Ruffini on his Twitter feed:

We have created this thing where there is money in speaking to the conservative subculture that conservatives can’t speak to the country. When you can make a decent living off Fox appearances and book contracts, you aren’t going to change when you run for President. There is strikingly little thought given to applying conservative principles to the median voter. That doesn’t mean compromise. Compromise is unnecessary because voters don’t care about ideology. Rather its selling yourself as one of them. Success lies in selling whatever ideology you have as moderate, sensible and normal. That is the essence of politics. Reagan was a conservative. You know what he also was? A salesman.

Tags: Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum

O-High Tension in O-hio’s Primary!



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The first Morning Jolt of Super Primary Week . . .

Ohio Republicans Want You to Stay Up Late Tuesday Night

Want drama? Ohio’s got drama.

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has pulled into a statistical dead heat with rival Rick Santorum in Ohio, two new polls find.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday shows Romney and Santorum tied with 32 percent support from likely GOP voters in Ohio, two days ahead of that state’s crucial Republican primary. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich follows with 17 percent support, trailed by Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) at 6 percent.

Santorum still holds an edge in the NBC News/Marist poll, but within that survey’s margin of error. That poll finds Santorum has the support of 34 percent of likely GOP voters in the state, ahead of Romney at 32 percent. NBC/Marist finds House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 15 percent support, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 13 percent.

Ohio is one of 10 states voting on “Super Tuesday.”

“This race could really go either way between now and Tuesday,” Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson said in a report from Reuters. “If Mitt Romney is able to close this out and win this race, that gives him a leg up in going all the way to the convention and winning the Republican nomination.”

“I just think it’s going to very close,” said Marist College Institute for Public Opinion Director Lee Miringoff, in a statement.

The downside for Santorum: There are certain delegates he can’t win in Ohio. “Santorum failed to submit the required paperwork in three of the state’s congressional districts to be eligible to win any delegates and only partial paperwork in six other districts. And it’s in those six where things start to get complicated.”

The upside for Santorum: I guess he doesn’t have to spend a dime in those three districts, huh?

Still, the talk from Team Sweater Vest sounded a little cautious Sunday:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is hedging his bets on Super Tuesday votes in Ohio, saying that the delegate-heavy Buckeye State presents a challenge, “only because of the fact of the money disadvantage.” But the former Pennsylvania senator also delivered an upbeat note about the state during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re running a grass-roots campaign, we’re hanging in there, and we’re going to do very, very well,” he said. “We have the anti-Romney vote, if you will.”

Oh, and if you want some giggles, keep an eye on a down-ballot Ohio fight:

Two labor favorites in Congress face each other in Ohio’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, putting the politically active United Auto Workers union in an unhappy position in the middle.

Dennis Kucinich, a political icon for a generation in Cleveland, and Marcy Kaptur, a popular figure in Toledo, were drawn into a single district by GOP district map-makers.

Each has been repeatedly re-elected in neighboring congressional districts populated by auto plants and thousands of union workers. But their historic political bases, Cleveland and Toledo, are shrinking, and suddenly UAW members must choose between two candidates with 95 percent ratings on votes important to labor.

Are we ready for an America where we can’t laugh at Kucinich in Congress?

Also out this morning:

The Ohio Republican presidential primary remains too close to call, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has the momentum, and 34 percent of likely Republican primary voters, to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 31 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This is a 10-point shift from a February 27 Ohio survey by the independent Quinnipiac University showing Santorum with a 36 – 29 percent lead.

The entire “class warfare” argument continues to be refuted by the Quinnipiac numbers. The rich guy, Romney, is winning voters making less than $30,000 per year, 31 percent to 24 percent; working-class populist Santorum is winning those making between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, 36 percent to 33 percent. Among those making more than $100,000 per year, Romney leads, 43 percent to 30 percent.

Tags: Dennis Kucinich , Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Ohio: Santorum Still Ahead, But Romney Gaining



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This morning Quinnipiac finds Ohio’s Republican presidential primary tightening, but Rick Santorum still leads:

The Republican presidential face-off in Ohio is too close to call as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has 35 percent of likely Republican primary voters to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s 31 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 36 – 29 percent Santorum lead in a February 27 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University poll, the day before the hotly-contested Michigan primary.

In today’s survey, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 17 percent, with 12 percent for Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.  Among voters who name a candidate, 34 percent say they still might change their mind by Tuesday.

The gender gap might have hurt Santorum in Michigan, but it’s not cropping up in the Buckeye State, or at least not yet.

Santorum leads Romney 34 – 28 percent among men and 37 – 33 percent among women, 40 – 27 percent among self-described conservatives and 42 – 25 percent among Tea Party members.  Romney leads Santorum 46 – 26 percent among self-described moderates.

“At this point, the Buckeye State is too close to call and is clearly a two-man race between Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Mitt Romney,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “A third of the electorate say they still might change their mind.  With five days until Super Tuesday, they certainly will be exposed to enough negative television ads to provide fodder for those who might want to switch – or switch off.”

From February 29 – March 1, Quinnipiac University surveyed 517 Ohio likely Republican primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points. 

Another fascinating wrinkle: working-class populist Rick Santorum is winning among those making more than $100,000 per year, 42 percent to 33 percent for Romney.

Meanwhile, among those making $30,000 per year or less… Romney narrowly leads Santorum, 33 percent to 32 percent.

Narratives. Who needs ‘em?

Tags: Mitt Romney , Ohio , Rick Santorum

Romney’s Victory: Imported... From Detroit.



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The post-Michigan edition of the Morning Jolt features the parable of Newt and the tree removal, the news of Olympia Snowe’s retirement, and of course, the big night for Romney:

Did Mitt Romney Turn a Corner Last Night?

Mike Memoli lays out the score:

Mitt Romney’s tentative hold on the status of GOP frontrunner received a significant boost with victory in Michigan, where he won his native state and fought off a spirited challenge from Rick Santorum.

Combined with a resounding triumph in the winner-take-all state of Arizona, Romney extended his lead in the delegate race and assuaged concerns of party leaders that the GOP race was on track for a prolonged and bitter battle.

Romney, the early favorite, had seen his lead evaporate as Santorum rode the momentum of a trio of wins earlier this month in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri that exposed the degree to which conservatives remained suspicious of the former Massachusetts governor.

But the Santorum campaign’s efforts to push a message tailored toward working-class voters was sidetracked by the candidate’s repeated comments on social issues.

Santorum addressed supporters at his headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich., shortly after he called Romney to congratulate him on his victory.

“We came to the backyard of one of my opponents,” Santorum said. “And the people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates. And all I have to say is, ‘I love you back.’”

The percentages, with 99 percent of precincts reporting: Romney 41.1 percent, Santorum 37.9 percent, Paul 11.6 percent, Gingrich 6.5 percent, other 2.9 percent. Turnout looks like it’s just under one million. 2008 turnout: About 869,000.

Our Dan Foster provides the highlights:

Of his Michigan win, Romney told an excited crowd in Novi that “We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough, and that’s all that matters.”

Romney made little mention of his Republican opponents, and instead focused all his fire on Barack Obama, saying that America couldn’t afford five more years of President Obama “with nothing to answer to.” Criticizing the president’s stewardship of the economy, despite having two years of complete legislative control, Romney quipped: “We need a recovery from this so-called recovery.”

Exurban Jon: “Satan 2, Santo 0.”

Mike Murphy: “Mitt did very well in counties where they actually make cars. Rick didn’t. Media class warfare conventional wisdom was dead wrong.”

The first few minutes of Romney’s victory speech sounded pretty cookie-cutter… but then he seemed to come alive… or, you know, lifelike.

Stephen Hayes: “That staccato Obama contrast riff from Romney was very strong. This is an effective speech – maybe best election-night speech he’s given.”

Bob Costa: “Romney has genuine energy tonight. Not stiff. Conversational. Rare. Good for his campaign. Welcome shift from robot mode.”

Guy Benson: “Romney: Obama forgets to mention he also inherited a Democrat Congress, and could have done “anything he pleased.” Very important reminder.”

Josh Kraushaar: “The new line about Obama being unrestrained politically in a second term a new one for Mitt. Tested very well w CNN focus group.”

John Podhoretz: “Don’t underestimate the rhythms of this speech. This is something new from him.”

Patrick Ruffini: “The Romney camp is effective when it puts lead on the target.”

Kevin Eder: “Every panelist on MSNBC trashed Mitt. Yep, he’s our guy!”

Quite a few pundits saw a particular theme in Santorum’s speech last night:

Jeff Greenfield: “NOW Rick praises the working woman…a bit late, no?”

Our Katrina Trinko: “I’m getting the vibe that Santorums trying to tell us he’s fine w/ working moms.”

Sean Trende: “Shorter Santorum: Don’t be scared of me, working women.”

Jonathan Martin: “And now cometh Santo’s play to close that gender gap…”

Mickey Kaus: “Santorum speech opening: Did he do *that* badly among women?”

Laura Ingraham: “Rick S speech undisciplined and meandering. Started by pandering re women.”

Keep in mind, the delegate vote is going to end up close. So Romney’s statewide win got him 16 or so delegates, Santorum 14.

Oh, and keep an eye on Romney’s television interviews this morning, as they have proven to get… complicated for him in the past.

If you’re wondering how the delegates shake out, here’s how it looks – a decent night for Santorum on this score:

The only district that hadn’t been determined as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday was the 13th district, which encompasses Detroit and portions of western Wayne County.

As a result, Romney wins 21 delegates from the congressional district results, according to results posted by the Michigan Republican Party, but only 14 of those delegates will be allowed to vote at the national convention because the state broke national GOP rules by moving its primary before the Super Tuesday contests next week.

Santorum wins 18 delegates from the congressional districts, but only 12 of those people will be able to vote at the national convention.

The statewide popular vote will be distributed between Romney and Santorum on a proportional basis with 14 at large delegates at stake, but only two of those delegates will have voting privileges. How those will be divvied up hasn’t been determined.

Tags: Michigan , Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

53% of Self-Identified Democrats Voted for Santorum



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CBS News’ Exit Poll finds that 9 percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrats. Among that group, 3 percent voted for New Gingrich, 17 percent each for Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, and 53 percent for Rick Santorum.

So did the pro-Santorum robocalls, hitting Romney for opposing the auto industry bailout (a position Santorum held as well), end up influencing about 4.5 percent of the total turnout in a Republican primary?

Tags: Michigan , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum , Ron Paul

Romney’s Allegedly Dispiriting Night, Where He’ll Win More Delegates



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Mitt Romney is the projected winner of Arizona. So he’ll get 29 delegates in that winner-take-all state.

In Michigan, he’ll probably win about half of the state’s 14 congressional districts; he gets two delegates from each of those. Rick Santorum will win the other half. The statewide winner will get two additional delegates.

So, while the storyline may very well be a tough defeat or too-close-for-comfort win for Mitt Romney – at this moment, he leads, 41 percent to 39 percent with 19 percent of precincts reporting – he will end the night with about 43 delegates, and Santorum will probably get, best case scenario, 16 delegates.

Tags: Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Exit Poll: Romney 39%, Santorum 38%



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Could be a long night: “Conservative Intel and JMC Polling & Analytics have just gotten the results of our exclusive exit polling of likely voters in the Michigan Republican primary. At this moment, Michigan is too close to call with Romney at 39% and Santorum at 38%, with a 5% margin of error.”

I am told the sample for this poll is Michiganders who have voted early, have voted today, or who told the pollster they will be voting by the end of the day.

UPDATE: A regional breakdown and other data:

Upper Peninsula: Romney/Santorum 38% each

Northern Michigan: 43-35% Romney

Flint Saginaw Midland: 42-27% Romney

Metro Detroit: 43-34% Romney

South Central Michigan: 38-34% Santorum

Western Michigan: 48-34% Santorum

Those who voted absentee: Romney 42-39%, Rep 66, Ind 25, Dem 9

Those who have yet to vote: Santorum 38-30%, Rep 43, Ind 38, Dem 19

Tags: Michigan , Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Will Today’s Crossovers Be Getting Direct Mail from the Right?



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The buzz this morning is about Democrats crossing over to vote in today’s GOP primary.

Of course, by doing so, those Democrats will automatically change their party registration to the GOP. The sense is that this won’t change much; most of these folks are Democrats, through and through, despite the fact that they chose to cast a ballot in a GOP primary.

Except that the choice becomes public information. So any GOP-leaning group (say, one of the SuperPACs!) could take that information and the mailing addresses and add all of today’s voters to their mailing lists.

So suppose you wanted to dissuade a Michigan Democrat from voting for Obama again… you could point out his opposition to job-creating domestic energy production like the Keystone Pipeline. You could point out how his permitting and leasing policies have slowed domestic oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, even as gas approaches $5 per gallon. You could point out how he eliminated funding for a scholarship program that allowed low-income children attend the same private school his daughter attend. You could point out how his staunchly anti-gun attorney general let guns get into the hands of the Mexican cartels, and who uses that scandal as an excuse to call for more gun control. You could point out how despite the promises, only 5 percent of the stimulus ended up being spent on repairing roads and bridges, billions of dollars were given to tax cheats and millions of dollars were spent in fictitious congressional districts like a $156,000 project in “Michigan’s 83rd Congressional District.”

Today’s crossover voters might end up hearing a lot of messages the Obama campaign doesn’t want them to hear in the coming months.

Tags: Michigan , Rick Santorum

Who Leads by a Point in Michigan? Take Your Pick.



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Take your pick this morning: Public Policy Polling puts Rick Santorum ahead by one percentage point in Michigan, while, Mitchell/Rosetta Stone puts Romney ahead by one percentage point.

Nate Silver, break the tie! What are you projecting?

Santorum 38.7, Romney 38.0?

Tags: Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Mitt’s a Cowboy, Baby, With the Top Let Down & the Sunshine Shinin’



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Tuesday’s edition of the Morning Jolt looks at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s latest effort to silence dissent, our newly aggressive neighbors to the north, and then this most unlikely of Michigan team-ups…

Mitt Rock!

I’ll admit, I did not see this team-up coming:

There’s still a day left to campaign, but Michigan native Mitt Romney put an exclamation point on his campaign tonight with an appearance by Detroit rock legend Kid Rock at a rally in Royal Oak.

Romney said the Detroit music legend agreed after getting an promise that Romney would help Michigan and Detroit.

“He loves Michigan and Detroit and so do I,” Romney said before Kid Rock came out and sang what has become one of Romney’s main campaign songs, “Born Free.”

The final rally of the campaign attracted nearly a thousand people, almost all of them Romney supporters, who responded enthusiastically to Romney’s message of lower taxes, less regulation and more jobs.

When Romney jumped on the Harley with the bikers and reenacted the entire “American Bad [Tush]” video with the keg-throwing, fireworks and the women mud-wrestling, I knew we were seeing an entirely different side of the former Massachusetts Governor.

Okay, not really. The entire not-really-that-safe for work video can be found here.

I shouldn’t give Romney too much grief for appearing with Kid Rock, as it seems… er, “Mr. Rock” has matured a lot from his bikinis and “who knew I’d blow up like Oklahoma” days of 2000. While the Veterans of Foreign Wars criticized him for wearing the American flag as a poncho at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, it seemed pretty clear that his sartorial choice was driven by patriotism, not a desire to mock or desecrate the flag. He’s performed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Kosovo, and his preferred charity is Operation Homefront. And one of his most recent big hits, “All Summer Long” has a nostalgic tone that seems kind of sweet in today’s culture. It’s a reminder that Kid Rock is 40. His next gig? Performing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He contains multitudes.

Then again, maybe Romney needs a Kid Rock effect. Nate Silver wrote Monday afternoon:

Since we ran the Michigan numbers early Monday morning, three new polls are out that make the state look more like a true toss-up and less like one that favors Mr. Romney.

Two of the surveys, from Mitchell Research and American Research Group, in fact give Rick Santorum a nominal lead in Michigan, by 2 and 1 percentage points respectively. The third, from Rasmussen Reports, gives Mr. Romney a 2-point advantage.

We also added a hard-to-track down survey from Baydoun Consulting, which gave Mr. Romney an 8-point advantage. However, it is less recent than the others, having been conducted on Thursday night rather than over the weekend.

Among the five polls that were conducted over the weekend — including those that had been included with the previous update — three give Mr. Romney a small lead while two show an edge for Mr. Santorum.

And of course, there’s the crossover vote:

Michigan Democratic strategist Joe DiSano has taken it upon himself to become a leading mischief maker.

DiSano says he targeted nearly 50,000 Democratic voters in Michigan through email and a robo call to their homes, asking them to go to the polls Tuesday to vote for Rick Santorum in attempt to hurt Romney.

“Democrats can get in there and cause havoc for Romney all the way to the Republican convention,” DiSano told CNN.

“If we can help set that fire in Michigan, we have a responsibility to do so,” he said.

I suppose after Operation Chaos, Republicans can’t complain. Although I don’t recall Rush approvingly using arson metaphors for his actions. (Let me guess, he’s one of those guys who really enjoys Devil’s Night in Detroit, huh?) This is, of course, just one more argument for closed primaries.

But hey, at least it’s only Democratic strategists who are doing this sort of thing, and that the Santorum campaign is discouraging these shenanigans. Right? Right?

Santorum’s campaign, meanwhile, confirmed it was also using a robo call urging Michigan Democrats to cross over and vote for Santorum on Tuesday.

As they say on ESPN, “Oh, come on, man!”

Tags: Michigan , Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Unstoppable Obama Trails GOP In Swing States



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Lately it feels like USA Today is on a one-paper mission to refute the conventional wisdom that President Obama is an ironclad lock for reelection:

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a clear majority of registered voters call the bill’s passage “a bad thing” and support its repeal if a Republican wins the White House in November. Two years after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— and as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about its constitutionality next month — the president has failed to convince most Americans that it was the right thing to do

In the poll, Obama lags the two leading Republican rivals in the 12 states likely to determine the outcome of a close race in November:

•Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum tops Obama 50%-45% in the swing states. Nationwide, Santorum’s lead narrows to 49%-46%.

•Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney edges Obama 48%-46% in the swing states. Nationwide, they are tied at 47% each.

Romney also has a health care problem: Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in the battleground states, 27% say they are less likely to support him because he signed a Massachusetts law that required residents to have coverage. Just 7% say it makes them more likely to back him.

Just a random thought… what would happen if, say, Romney is nominated, and in his convention speech, he says, “I have thought long and hard about whether government should require citizens to purchase health insurance, and heard many voices discussing the mandates enacted on my watch in Massachusetts and nationally under President Obama… While I believe that states have the right under their constitutions to enact individual mandates, and the “free-rider” problem they aim to address is a serious one, my review and analysis in the past year has driven me to conclude that they are a bad idea, because they fundamentally change the relationship between the government and the people – from free citizens to obedient subjects. The best of intentions can drive us to make bad decisions. The mark of a leader is reevaluating your decisions based on their results. I’m a man who can do that; the man in the Oval Office is not. As president, I’ll repeal Obamacare – and urge every governor to avoid the same mistake.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Ohio Poll Numbers Frozen in Place? Blame Winter.



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Quinnipiac finds the Ohio GOP presidential primary frozen in place: “With strong support from men and conservatives, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum leads the Ohio GOP presidential field with 36 percent of likely Republican primary voters, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 29 points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.  But 45 percent of voters say they might change their mind. This is unchanged from the results of a February 15 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University. Today’s results show former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 17 percent and Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul with 11 percent of likely Republican primary voters.”

Despite the point that a big lead among men is putting Santorum ahead, note that he actually leads Romney among women in this survey, 34 percent to 33 percent.

Note that only 16 percent of Ohio Republicans have an unfavorable impression of Santorum; that number is 32 percent for Romney, 36 percent for Gingrich, and 43 percent for Paul.

Tags: Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Romney: The Weakest Candidate, Except for All the Others



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In the first Morning Jolt of the week, a look at John Hinckley Jr.’s desire to be seen as more than just a would-be assassin; a zany, but supremely unlikely choice for the Republican presidential candidate in 2012, and then the latest state of play…

Hope You Didn’t Have Plans for Spring: Our Long Haul Gets Longer

I’m actually going to express a bit of skepticism of the theme of the big New York Times story this Sunday:

Whether Mitt Romney wins or loses the Michigan and Arizona primaries on Tuesday, his advisers are warning donors and other supporters to prepare for a longer, more bruising and more expensive fight for the Republican presidential nomination that may not be settled until at least May.

That is prompting a new round of intensified fund-raising by his financial team, which had hoped by this point to be collecting money for a general election match with President Obama. The campaign is increasingly trying to quell anxiety among Republican leaders, while intently focusing on the mechanics of accumulating delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Mr. Romney’s aides said they were confident their sustained attacks portraying Rick Santorum as a Washington insider, and Mr. Santorum’s shaky debate performance in Arizona on Wednesday, had slowed their rival’s recent surge here in Michigan.

Yes, losing Michigan would be disastrous for Romney. But here are the last four polls: Santorum by 3, Romney by 2, Romney by 3, Romney by 6. He’s solidly ahead in Arizona, which is winner-take-all.  So Romney is probably coming out of Tuesday with all 29 of Arizona’s delegates and about 16 out of Michigan’s 30. His strongest challenger of the moment, Rick Santorum, will probably finally break double digits and have about 18-20 total delegates; Romney will have about 118.

Then it’s into Super Tuesday, where Romney will probably be the lone candidate capable of being on-air in every state. He doesn’t need to win Georgia; Gingrich can and should win there. He’ll have a one-on-one fight with Ron Paul in Virginia. He’s got his home state of Massachusetts. He should be at least competitive in the caucus states of Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota because of his campaign’s organizational skills. (He won the only binding caucus so far in Nevada and nearly won Iowa.) Ohio will be the big showdown. He should be competitive or a winner in Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Vermont.

In other words, he’s not likely to land a bunch of knockout punches, but he’s going to finish with the biggest pile of delegates, week after week. Santorum, Gingrich, and Ron Paul can declare that they’re in until the convention, and they’ll continue to get delegates in dribs and drabs (keep in mind, quite a few states have minimum thresholds to receive any delegates, and in some states, if a candidate wins more than 50 percent, they’re automatically given all delegates, a sort-of super-bonus threshold). But how far back can a candidate fall and remain competitive? Keep in mind, at this point, semi-frontrunner Santorum was won 15.9 percent of all votes and is last in terms of delegates. Ron Paul, who was supposedly pursuing this shrewd, delegate-based strategy, has 9 delegates and 11.4 percent of the votes cast so far. Newt Gingrich, who has the second-highest total of votes and delegates (29), has won only one state.

Mitt Romney’s position as frontrunner looks weak, until you look at the path and obstacles facing all of his rivals.

Oh, and one other point to note widely: Mark it: “Prices rise above $5 for a gallon of premium gas at a Shell station at Olympic Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California February 21, 2012.”

Tags: Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum , Ron Paul

Only Flaw in Media’s Narrative of Race:
Voters Don’t Agree.



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The latest Gallup poll among registered voters, not likely voters, has Unstoppable Shoo-in Incumbent President Obama 49 percent, Hopelessly Unelectable Challenger Rick Santorum 48 percent.

They also find No, Really, Call Off the Election Now President Obama 46 percent, Uninspiring Boring Out of Touch Rich Guy Mitt Romney 50 percent.

Somebody send those voters a memo detailing the media narrative.

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum

Too Many Cliffhangers in the Debate Show’s Season Finale



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The Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt features Chris Christie on a tear, the great Mark Edward Taylor, author of Branding Obamessiah and National Review cruiser, analyzing the “monster lighting” on Rick Santorum at a recent event, and, of course, a big debate wrap-up:

And Now, the Dramatic Season Finale of . . . ‘The Republican Debates’

Bobby Ewing in the shower on “Dallas.” Agent Cooper staring into the mirror and seeing BOB in “Twin Peaks.” Fringe’s dramatic introduction to a world where recent history played out quite differently. Locutus.

The bar is set high for shocking season finales, but the year’s breakout prime-time ratings hit, the Republican Presidential Primary Debates, aimed to offer a grand finale.

The Debates have been one of television’s longest-running series (or at least it feels that way) and they have delivered on programmers’ promises of a thrill ride of twists and turns: Tim Pawlenty’s hesitation on using the “Obamneycare” attack in the second episode. Rick Perry’s sudden amnesia. The revelation that Jon Huntsman had been briefly replaced by a lookalike that only spoke Chinese. The back-to-back episodes where Newt Gingrich went rogue and pursued his own vendetta of vengeance against moderators Juan Williams and John King. The series took a positively David Lynchian-twist when George Stephanopolous revealed a bizarre obsession with the candidates’ alleged secret plans to ban contraception, and Diane Sawyer’s loopy, nonsensical night driven senseless by cold medicine.

Occasionally the writers would phone it in, like two episodes ago with a Brian Williams-centered episode that droned on and on and was completely devoid of action. And a lot of viewers have argued that the series should shift away from the protagonist of Mitt Romney, suggesting he’s too bland, uninteresting, and doesn’t pack enough punch to be the series hero that viewers are demanding.

Wednesday night didn’t quite offer the game changer some viewers hoped for. And the mysterious “Brokered Convention”/“Mysterious Figure in the Wings” plotline was left frustratingly unresolved. We should have figured they would end on a cliffhanger.

Having beaten the debates-as-television-series metaphor into the ground, on to the assessment. Romney is, bit by bit, proving to be a better debater than people thought. Yes, he’s pretty shameless about going after opponents’ inconsistencies and unpopular positions that he himself held earlier in his career – but the audaciousness of it tends to leave the opposition flustered and infuriated.

Last night, he jabbed at Santorum, “When I was fighting to save the Olympics, you were fighting to save the Bridge to Nowhere.” Really, after lines like that, people doubt Romney’s willingness to go after Obama? If nominated, Romney will probably lacerate Obama on the individual mandate, not cutting spending, insufficient support for drilling, demonizing the wealthy, and so on. Obama may coolly point out Romney’s past support for those positions . . . and I suspect Romney will just ignore it and point out that those positions are the wrong ones, and the American public opposes them. Would voters prefer the consistent man who stands for ideas they oppose? Or will they prefer a flip-flopper who currently holds the positions they support?

You and I, who have watched Romney as a passionately pro-choice candidate, bragging that he would be better for Massachusetts gays than Ted Kennedy in 1994, look at his current emphatic table pointing during these debates, and think, ‘He might just be saying what he needs to get the nomination. I don’t know if I trust him. He sounds sincere now, but Massachusetts liberals probably thought he agreed with them in 2002, too.’ But I suspect casual voters ignore anything before, say, last weekend. I suspect they put a whole lot more into a candidate’s nonverbal communication, and whether that conveys sincerity and constancy, than anything that would require them to, you know, read something. If you doubt me . . . look at Obama’s election.

Santorum’s a fighter, no doubt about it. Rip-snorting, you might say. Of course, he has two terms in the Senate full of difficult votes to explain, and during the debate he had to express contrition for No Child Left Behind, to insist the earmark process wasn’t that bad until a couple of lawmakers starting abusing it, that backing Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in 2004 was the right call (fighting words, from where I sit), and that bailing out the steel industry was good economic policy. Oh, and his one-word description of himself was “courage.”

Newt Gingrich had a good night. I think his answer on women in combat was fantastic. But unless something very dramatic happens, he’s going to have a bad Tuesday, and finish with no delegates. South Carolina gets further and further into the rear view mirror. As Greg Gutfeld put it, “Newt came off as the irrelevant ex-boyfriend. Still shows up at Monday bowling night, but there’s a new boyfriend, and he’s there. Awkward.”

Jeff Greenfield: “First big debate reaction: “Holy smoke! I missed the Knick blowout of Atlanta for THIS?”

Michael Graham remained unimpressed with the topic selection: “How’d ya like CNN’s excellent questions on gas prices, economy, jobs, energy, and Obama’s new $250 billion tax hike . . .oh, wait.”

Mollie Hemingway noticed, “CNN, which couldn’t find a woman to ask a question, says ‘there are a lot of women on Twitter who think these candidates are living in the past.’ Specifically, it was David Gergen who offered that assessment.”

Howard Kurtz: “A somewhat muted debate that did nothing to shake up the race. Which is good for Santorum. Romney didn’t hurt himself.”

Josh Trevino: “Tough to figure a winner this evening, but the loser was America, so there’s that.” I’ll bet it hurt to catch that glimpse of Rick Perry in the audience.

Among those who saw a Romney win, and/or a tough night for Rick Santorum:

Bob McDonnell: “Great story from Mitt Romney tonight at the GOP debate about my daughter Jeanine, the Iraq veteran. Thanks for telling the story!”

Gerry Dales detects political gravity: “Every time someone in the GOP rises to the top, they have their worst debate performance shortly after.”

John Tabin: “Not a great night for anyone, but an especially bad night for Santorum, I think.”

Kevin Eder has a suspicious mind: “Did anyone else notice that Newt and Mitt really didn’t attack each other tonight?”

“David Axelrod sent more than a dozen tweets during the debate, nearly all against Romney. I wonder why,” observes Brit Hume.

Andy Levy of Red Eye was pretty happy: “Debate grades: Romney A+, Santorum A+, Gingrich A+, Paul A+. (Note: I didn’t see it.)”

Still, some saw a reversal as the night went on. Gabe Malor: “Santorum had a really rough night, but a good finish. Romney had a good night, but his final answer was awful.”

Tags: Debates , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum , Ron Paul

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