January, 2012

Florida Primary Results

As expected, the television networks called the race for Mitt Romney at 8 pm ET, when all polls were closed.

Exit polls show electability and experience were the most important factors in choosing a candidate.

Top line exit poll results posted by the Drudge Report show Mitt Romney with 52%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 26%, Rick Santorum at 12% and Ron Paul at 8%. If those numbers hold up, it would be a crushing defeat for Gingrich.

Obama Bundlers Raised $74 Million

iWatch News reports that President Obama’s 445 bundlers raised at least $74.4 million last year.

“More than 60 bundlers have now gathered contributions totaling at least $500,000 for the president, a sharp contrast to the campaign’s claims of reliance on small-figure donors. And as with previous bundler disclosures, the list includes a number of individuals who have received appointments and invitations to the White House.”

Economic Recovery in Midwest May Boost Obama

“From northern Michigan’s iron mines to Pennsylvania’s natural-gas fields, the industrial heartland of America is humming with jobs again as a region once left for dead recovers faster than the rest of the U.S.,” Bloomberg reports.

“The turnaround may shape this year’s race for the White House as President Barack Obama seeks to reverse Republican gains in the Midwest… The economies of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania — all states Obama won in 2008 — have improved faster than that of the U.S. since the recession’s depth in April 2009, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve. Michigan is expected to lead all 50 states during the next six months.”

Obama’s Dog Whistle

When David Axelrod tweeted a photo of President Obama and his dog in a car with the caption, “How loving dog owners transport their dogs,” it was clearly shot a Mitt Romney who once put his dog in a crate on top of his car for a family vacation road trip.

But, as Michael Scherer points out, it’s part of a broader strategy of using a dog whistle to paint Romney as uncaring and out of touch.

“Over the weekend, the campaign rolled out the Pet Lovers For Obama Facebook page, which among other things promotes all the Obama dog swag for sale from the campaign. There is the Bo ‘I Bark For Barack’ car magnet, the Obama leash, the Obama dog collar, the Obama dog bowl… It goes on.”

Romney Claims He Was Outspent in South Carolina

Mitt Romney now says he was “vastly outspent” in South Carolina and that’s why he lost to Newt Gingrich.

Said Romney: “You know, in South Carolina we were vastly outspent with negative ads attacking me and we stood back and spoke about President Obama and suffered the consequence of that.”

But Politico notes independent analyses show that Romney’s campaign and associated Super PACs “spent nearly double what Gingrich’s forces did in the state.”

Crist Could Run as a Democrat

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) — who left the Republican Party during his unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate bid — told Chuck Todd that he’d consider voting for President Obama in November.

Said Crist: “Consider? Sure, I would consider that. I really think he’s sincere and genuine. I think we have a lot time, a lot of issues to talk about, but I think, in his heart, he’s trying to do what’s right for the country overall.”

Crist also said he wouldn’t rule out running for office as a Democrat himself in the future.

What If Florida Isn’t Winner-Take-All?

“Republican leaders in Florida, determined to give the state a big say in picking the nominee, decided having their delegation slashed from 99 to 50 was worth it and set Florida’s primary for Jan. 31. The RNC has said Florida will be a winner-take-all primary, but that decision is still subject to challenge,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The challenge could come this summer.

Jim Geraghty notes that if the results “are in line with recent polls, Mitt Romney will win 50 delegates and everyone else will win none. (Thus, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul spent a limited amount of time and resources in Florida.) But if it were proportional, Romney would win about 20-25, Gingrich would win about 14-16, Santorum would win about 5-7, and Paul would win 5-6. In other words, Newt Gingrich may have enormous incentive to file protests and perhaps even legal challenges to the RNC to make Florida allocate its delegates proportionally.”

Iowa GOP Chairman Steps Down

Embattled Iowa Republican chairman Matt Strawn will leave his post at the end of next week, the Des Moines Register reports.

“Strawn has come under heavy fire recently from presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s backers who think he deliberately refused to acknowledge Santorum’s victory in the caucuses… In his resignation announcement this morning, he doesn’t mention the controversy over Iowa’s excruciatingly close caucus count — an omission that could further irritate Santorum’s backers.”

Burton Will Retire In Face of Tough Primary

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) announced in Indiana that he is retiring at the end of his current term, the Indianapolis Star reports.

National Journal: “Burton was first elected in 1982 but was facing another serious primary challenge: A poll earlier this month showed Burton narrowly leading a GOP primary field, but only pulling 29% support. Burton won a five-way primary in 2010 with just 30% of the vote.”

Quote of the Day

“You mean those who said I was dead in June? Those who said I was dead in December? They are about as accurate as they were the last two times they were wrong.”

— Newt Gingrich, quoted by ABC News, refuting predictions the presidential race would be effectively over if he lost in Florida.

He said the race would go on for “six or eight months” and then added: “unless Romney drops out earlier.”

Paul Focuses on Caucus States

“While his GOP rivals duke it out in a bloody Florida primary on Tuesday, Ron Paul will continue stumping for votes in the caucus states that dominate the political calendar over the next week,” ABC News reports.

“Paul does well in caucus states, where superior organization and passionate supporters play to his strengths and could allow the Texas congressman to pick up more delegates than Gingrich and Santorum combined this week.”

CNN: “Although Paul is charting an unconventional path to capture his party’s nomination, the Texas congressman and champion of libertarian ideals, said he intends to stay in the race through the fall convention.”