A new Rasmussen survey in Maryland finds Mitt Romney crushing the GOP presidential field with 45%, followed by Rick Santorum at 28%, Newt Gingrich at 12% and Ron Paul at 7%.
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“In terms of me, I’ll be much more ready four years from now.”
— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, on whether he’ll run for president in 2016.
Newt Gingrich sank to a new low in the latest Gallup poll: He has just 10% support among registered Republicans.
Gingrich reached a high of 37% in mid-December in a similar survey.
Jose Hernandez (D) “flew in space, but his astronaut identity is now under political fire” in his race to unseat Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), the Fresno Bee reports.
A Sacramento law firm is asking a judge to block Hernandez from describing himself as an “astronaut/scientist/engineer” on the June ballot because he has left NASA.
Hernandez offered a brilliant video response.
Steve Benen: “It’s tempting to think every major-party frontrunner emerges from a primary process with weakened favorability numbers — intra-party contests are often bruising — but that’s just not the case. Four years ago, Obama became better liked as voters got to know him, but this year, Romney isn’t just disliked, he’s also more disliked at this point in the process than any candidate in nearly three decades.”
Two legal experts have independently told Palmetto Public Record they expect the U.S. Department of Justice to issue an indictment against South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on charges of tax fraud as early as this week.
Rick Santorum’s eerie new ad “Welcome to Obamaville” isn’t the first time a candidate to tried to scare Americans into voting for him.
As Dave Weigel notes, “There’s a history here, a rich tradition of ads from candidates who predict doom if they don’t win. These candidates, being desperate, usually lose. America endures. But the ads keep coming anyway.”
Most books by political talk show hosts are nothing more than marketing tools, but this book “is much more. It is an argument — a sustained, lucid case in which points are made logically and backed by evidence and reason. What’s more, it follows one main idea through nearly a half-century… Ms. Maddow’s point is that the way we go to war has changed: that there has been an expansion of presidential power, a corresponding collapse of Congressional backbone and a diminution of public attention. She does not see this in conspiratorial terms, but she has an explanation for the step-by-step way it evolved.”
I have an author signed copy of Drift to give away to a reader. To be eligible, recommend Political Wire to your friends on Facebook (like our Facebook page) or Twitter (include @politicalwire in your tweet). I’ll pick a winner later today.
Though reports on the size of Mitt Romney’s California vacation home are frustrating for his presidential campaign, Romney made fun of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for the same thing in a 2004 speech.
Said Romney: “There’s a Senator from my state who wants to get elected President. I don’t know why he would want to do that, because he would have to move into a smaller house.”
John Harris, a former chief of staff for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich who provided crucial assistance to investigators, was sentenced “to a mere 10 days in prison by a federal judge who reserved his harshest comments instead for the former governor, suggesting he was an impossible boss and pointing out some had even questioned his mental stability,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
“The sentence for John Harris was in stunning contrast to the crushing 14-year term Blagojevich began serving earlier this month in a federal prison in Colorado. In fact, Blagojevich has already spent more time in prison than Harris will.”
Alan Abramowitz presents a House forecasting model which predicts “a very small Democratic seat gain (2-3 seats) in the House but not nearly the 25 seats Democrats would need to take back control of the House.”
Meanwhile, the Senate forecasting model “gives Republicans a good chance to regain control of the Senate with an expected pickup of 6-7 seats. That is due almost entirely to the fact that Republicans are defending only 10 Senate seats this year while Democrats are defending 23 seats.”
First Read: “With Mitt Romney holding a sizable delegate lead and with more prominent Republicans (George H.W. Bush and Marco Rubio) formally endorsing the former Massachusetts governor, Tuesday’s GOP primary in Wisconsin is shaping up to be Rick Santorum’s last chance — in math and perception. If Romney wins Wisconsin, Santorum can’t stop him from getting to the magic number of 1,114 delegates, according to our math.”
“When we crunched the numbers showing that Romney would fall about 50 delegates short of the magic number, that ASSUMED Santorum would win Wisconsin, as well as pick up more delegates than he did in Louisiana. When it comes to perception, Wisconsin is Santorum’s final opportunity to convince Republicans that this race isn’t over, and a win in the Badger State would do the trick.”
However, Santorum’s campaign tells Byron York the media’s delegate counts are wrong.
President Obama’s re-election campaign has spent more than $135 million so far, the AP reports.
That’s about $3 million more than all his Republican challengers combined.
While Mitt Romney regularly bashes Harvard in an attempt to paint President Obama “as an ivory tower theorist out of his depth in the presidency,” Bloomberg notes Romney “owes his chief White House credential — his business career — to the school.”
“That Ivy League pedigree undercuts Romney’s appeal to many Republicans who already doubt that he shares their values. So as he heads for his party’s nomination, Romney lacerates his alma mater on the campaign trail, seeking to channel the resentments of voters soured on elite institutions… Yet by all accounts, Romney thrived at Harvard, reveling in the intellectual challenge and impressing classmates with his drive and discipline.”
Ken Herman: “You might recall that Texas Gov. Rick Perry had some trouble getting people to vote for him when he was running for president. And now that he’s not running, he is having some trouble getting people to stop voting for him for president.”
The tally: Perry got 14,321 votes before he dropped out January 19, two days before the South Carolina primary. Since bailing out, Perry’s picked up another 39,435 votes.
Newt Gingrich met secretly with Mitt Romney on Saturday but the former House speaker says he has made no deal to end his bid for the GOP nomination, the Washington Times reports.
Gingrich “did not deny the meeting, but explicitly said he hasn’t been offered a position in a potential Romney administration in exchange for dropping out. Nor, he said, is there a deal to have Mr. Romney’s big donors help retire Mr. Gingrich’s campaign debt of more than $1 million.”
Said Gingrich: “There is no agreement of any kind, and I plan to go all the way to Tampa.”
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