It’s not that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about poor people, or even very poor people.
He proposed, for instance, in 2005 to use public funds to purchase laptops for every Massachusetts middle- and high-school student, an idea Gingrichian in its grandiosity. That bill, not near the top of recent Romney campaign literature, would have added 1,000 new teachers and focused money on underperforming schools.
It’s that Romney’s twin contretemps today are so indicative of his twofold problem: in the primary, he must contort himself unnaturally to appease the Right, and in the general election, for which he seems headed, some de-pretzeling would likely need to occur.
His remark earlier today that he was “not concerned about the very poor” because “we have a safety net there” is a gaffe bothersome to both Democrats and Republicans. And reports that Romney’s camp was wooing Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for an endorsement, followed by a Bachmann denial, are just the sort of message-stomping complications that make dealing with spoken gaffes that much more difficult.
Two developments about which Romney allies are concerned.
NATIONAL JOURNAL'S PRIMARY REPORT
Romney: 'I'm Not Concerned About the Very Poor, We Have a Safety Net' NEW!
In a clear attempt to curry favor with his target demographic, the middle class, Romney said on CNN that he's not worried about the poor because "we have a safety net there," which he said he will fix if it needs repairs.
Will Florida Victory Finally Give Romney Some Momentum?
Romney won a huge victory in Florida, beating Newt Gingrich by nearly 15 points, and, with 46 percent of the vote, came close to an outright majority in the biggest, most diverse primary yet. But will he get a bounce out of it?
How Romney Came Back in Florida
Romney consolidated and widened his advantage among the groups that have consistently leaned toward him, while narrowing Gingrich's edge among the constituencies at the core of his competing coalition—which is exactly what Gingrich did to Romney in South Carolina, as National Journal's Ronald Brownstein reports.
An Election Between Unelectables
Romney is now down to his lowest favorability rating ever among the key voting group of independents, and President Obama is also facing bleak poll approval ratings. What happens in a race when two unelectable candidates run against each other?
Threading the Needle: What Romney Must Do to Win in November
So now that Romney has won two primaries, it’s time to start talking about November. The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf examines what Romney has to do to beat Obama in the general election. The general election, he writes, will be much more difficult than defeating his Republican opponents.
Gingrich Can’t Count on Dixie to Rescue Him
The results from the Florida primary suggest that, as he tries to resurrect his campaign on friendlier turf in his native South, Gingrich will face an uphill battle.
Pro-Romney Super PAC War Chest Signals Rough Road Ahead for Gingrich
If the financial state of the pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future is any indication, Gingrich is in danger of running out of gas long before the summer.
The Rich Fantasy Life of Newt Gingrich
Gingrich exhibits bouts of grandiosity that go beyond the normal dose of narcissism that most politicians exhibit—which suggests that Gingrich’s enduring fantasy of himself as a great figure in history may drag out the race.
Santorum Spares Romney, Focuses Fire on Gingrich NEW!
It seems as though Santorum still believes he can be the anti-Romney candidate, as a new attack ad his campaign released in Nevada and Colorado targets Gingrich rather than Romney.
Will Obama’s Fundraising Numbers Give Him the Advantage in 2012?
The Obama campaign announced that it raised $68 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, while Romney raised just $24 million. But the margin may not be enough to carry Obama to victory.
Obama Fundraising Advantage Disappearing
The Republicans' adept and aggressive use of super PACs to even the financial playing field and blunt the money advantages that an incumbent president has at his disposal could be a game-changer this campaign season, NJ’s Josh Kraushaar writes.
GOP Women in Florida Spurn Gingrich
Exit polls of Florida's Republican primary voters exposed a distinct gender gap between supporters of front-runner Romney and second-place Gingrich, writes NJ’s Jackie Koszczuk.
Your Favorite Vice
Hotline takes a look at the possible vice presidential candidates: On paper, Rubio is a no-brainer, but Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell might give the freshman senator from Florida a run for his money.
Bachmann Denies Report of Romney Endorsement
The Boston Globe reported that Romney's trip to Minnesota could coincide with a possible endorsement from Bachmann. But she has since denied the two are discussing an endorsement, and has called for The Globe to retract the article.
Singling Out Islam: Gingrich’s Pandering Attacks
Gingrich’s bigotry throughout this campaign cycle has gone largely ignored by both the mainstream press and the movement—conservative organs that were most vocal in condemning Paul’s newsletters—in part because with Gingrich, Muslims are the target.
Santorum Finally Finds the Right Message?
The Sunshine State's third-place winner argued on Tuesday that Gingrich can't claim to be the strongest alternative to front-runner Romney after such a crushing loss. Disaffected conservatives, he said, have only one last place to turn.
Romney to Get Secret Service Protection
Romney will get Secret Service protection as early as Thursday, NJ and CBS News have confirmed, due to growing crowds at his events.
Romney Glitter-Bombed at Minn. Rally
Prior to today's incident, Romney was the only GOP candidate who hadn't yet been showered with glitter by a protestor. He brushed it off as "confetti" celebrating his win in Florida.
Paul Tells Hispanic Crowd He Opposes DREAM Act NEW!
Always one to stir up controversy, Ron Paul says that while he doesn't support the DREAM Act, he's also not ready to militarize the border.
PRESIDENTIAL RACE NEWS SUMMARY
Romney, Paul Hold the Cards in Nevada
[The Wall Street Journal, 2/1/12] Romney and Paul were the top two finishers in Nevada in 2008, and both have maintained their ties to the state. This can be seen as an advantage in a state where the caucus format gives an edge to candidates with a superior organization.
Romney, Eye Still on GOP Foes, Turns to Face Obama
[The New York Times, 1/31/12] For a brief period, Romney took the gloves off to fight rival Newt Gingrich and regain his position at the top of the pack. Now that he's succeeded, he's turned his focus to defeating Obama.
Romney Is Kerry. Or Maybe Gore. NEW!
[Slate, 2/01/12] Romney's many similarities to the two failed Democratic candidates for president — including his wealth and his clueless arrogance on the trail — may reveal that he's fated for the same dissapointment that Kerry and Gore experienced.
For Romney Campaign, Race Unfolding Almost Precisely as Predicted
[The Washington Post, 2/1/12] Even before the race warmed up, the Romney campaign knew what they were getting themselves into, and had planned for a rough road in Iowa and South Carolina but smooth sailing in New Hampshire and Florida.
Romney Says GOP Fight strengthens Him For Fall NEW!
[Associated Press, 2/1/12] He said on morning television today that the attacks he's receiving right now will "innoculate" him against the attacks he expects to receive during the general election.
Outside Groups Outspend Candidates
[The Wall Street Journal, 2/1/12] Super PACs have spent more money on television ads than the candidates themselves, according to WSJ.
Romney's Florida Win Won't Seal the Race
[Los Angeles Times, 2/1/12] Romney may have won a significant victory in the Sunshine State, but a revolution in campaign financing, widespread voter dissatisfaction, and delegate math make it practically impossible for Romney—or anyone else—to secure the race until mid-April at the earliest.
What Mitt Romney's Victories Have in Common: A Low Republican Turnout. NEW!
[The Telegraph, 2/1/12] In every state except for South Carolina, primary turnout among self-identified Republicans was down, which doesn't bode well for Romney in the general election.
Gingrich Pins Hopes on Super Tuesday
[The New York Times, 1/31/12] Gingrich's loss in Florida was a profound rejection of his candidacy by voters in one of the biggest, most important swing states. But if he can hold on until Super Tuesday, Gingrich could still get a jolt of energy from Georgia.
Who's Financing the Super PACs?
[The New York Times, 2/1/12] As super PACs filed reports on Tuesday detailing their activities in the final three months of 2011, The Times tracked donors to these independent groups. Here’s a deeper look at the individuals who gave big.
Gingrich Lagging in Nevada Air Time Purchases
[Las Vegas Sun, 1/30/12] Romney, Paul, and the pro-Romney PAC Restore Our Future have already started spending big on air time in Nevada, but the Gingrich machine has yet to purchase time on the state's airwaves.
Florida Primary Shows Rubio's Influence
[Roll Call, 2/1/12] Gingrich and Romney tried to woo the rising GOP star all the way up until the last poll closed in the Sunshine State.
Pro-Romney Super PAC Raises $17.9 Million
[The Washington Post, 2/1/12] Restore Our Future released the names of its mega donors in a federal filing Tuesday night after the polls closed in Florida. The group raised $17.9 million in the last half of 2011.
Florida Fight Rattles GOP Leaders
[Politico, 2/1/12] Judging by the tone of Gingrich's speech last night, the Republican presidential race isn't close to being over. The turn to negativity in campaign rhetoric has Republican leaders worried.
Mitt Romney Misquoted Thomas Paine in Victory Speech
[BuzzFeed, 2/1/12] In his victory speech last night, Romney misattributed to Thomas Paine when he repeated the phrase, "Lead, follow or get out of the way." Paine never said or wrote those words.
Column: Romney's Ideas Are Wrong for Nevada
[Las Vegas Sun, 2/1/12] As Romney shifts his focus, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and two influential state Democrats greeted the former Massachusetts governor with a strongly worded column in one of the state's largest newspapers.
Candidate Code Names: Fun With Anagrams and the 2012 Republican Field
[University of Minnesota, 1/31/12] Mitt Romney, or "Memory Tint." Rick Santorum, or "Iran Must Rock." Here is a list of hilarious anagrams derived from candidates' names. And speaking of nonsensical words mixed with the Republican field, Bad Lip Reading did a new video featuring Santorum.
Santorum Allies Give Him Air Support in Missouri
[The Wall Street Journal, 2/1/12] The Red, White and Blue fund, a super PAC supporting Santorum, released a new ad today in Missouri in advance of the state's primary this upcoming Tuesday.
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