DERRY, N.H. - Mitt Romney returned to Mary Ann's Diner here on Broadway shaking hands for one last time with diners here, a day before the New Hampshire Primary.
Romney is currently in a fight with John McCain for the top spot here. McCain and Romney are largely campaigning in different areas today. Romney is firmly in Southern New Hampshire while McCain isn't touching any areas below Manchester. (McCain did have a huge town hall yesterday in Salem.)
If Romney is to do well in tomorrow's primary he is going to need to do well in a town like Derry. Derry is chock full of independents and Republicans and a lot of commuters to Massachusetts. He has good local support from some in the establishment like state Senator Bob Letourneau and former Derry Republican Chair Chris Wolfe.
New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg said Mitt Romney does not have to win the New Hampshire Primary to capture the Republican nomination.
In an interview Gregg, who is backing Romney, repeated that while he believes Iowa and New Hampshire are more important than before the fluid nature of the Republican race means a winner will be decided later in the month.
"[Romney] does have to do well here and I think he will do well," Gregg said. "But he doesn't have to win to get the nomination."
Gregg acknowledged that Romney rival John McCain has a solid campaign in the state and joked about the how pro-McCain the Union Leader newspaper has been.
"They are on like DEFCON 5 for McCain," Gregg said.
Watch McCain here
And Romney here
CONCORD, N.H. -- The Concord Monitor has not endorsed any candidate for president, but in an editorial for tomorrow's paper it is clear they are far from undecided about Mitt Romney.
Their tough editorial, with the headline "Romney should not be the next president", was posted online this afternoon and ends with these words:
"When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it.
Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no. "
UPDATE: The Romney campaign responds with this statement:
"The Concord Monitor supports driver's licenses for illegals, wants to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance and is opposed to school choice. Mitt Romney disagrees with them on all those issues. No wonder they want to stop him."
CONCORD, N.H. -- A high profile Republican state lawmaker endorsed Mitt Romney's candidacy today arguing that Romney "is a problem solver", the Globe has learned.
State representative Michael Whalley, of Alton, is the House Minority Leader.
In an interview Whalley said took his time analyzing and meeting all of the Republican presidential candidates and waited to make a decision so as not to influence other lawmakers in their endorsements until they had a chance to meet all the candidates.
"I think now is this time because the primary is coming up soon and if I waited any longer we would be in Christmas time it may not have the same effect," Whalley said.
On the issues he was concerned with illegal immigration.
"We have to protect our borders and Romney has the most reasonable plan," he said.
New Hampshire US Senator Judd Gregg said today the candidate he backs for president, Mitt Romney, doesn't have to win the two earliest states -- Iowa and New Hampshire -- to capture the Republican nomination.
The Romney campaign has pursued very aggressive strategy in both Iowa and New Hampshire, but in recent weeks Mike Huckabee has taken the lead in Iowa.
Gregg attributed Huckabee's rise in Iowa to the backing of Christian conservatives there, something he says has little effect in the more secular Granite State.
"It is a whole different election in Iowa than it is in New Hampshire and I am confident he will do quite well," Gregg said in response to a question during a conference call with local reporters.
He said that considering only two non-incumbent candidates have won both Iowa and New Hampshire -- Jimmy Carter and John Kerry -- history suggests that Romney doesn't have to win both.
He went on to describe this particular presidential primary as "the most wide open in my life if not the most wide open ever".
"This whole process is very fluid," Gregg said. "The only predictable thing about New Hampshire voters is how unpredictable they are."
RAYMOND, N.H. -- Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said he is looking forward to a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, particularly over the subject of healthcare.
Romney, who was meeting with employees at a factory here, was asked which Democrat he would like to face in the general election.
Romney then immediately handed the microphone to former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who is campaigning with Romney today, and told him to answer it.
Weld said the question was "above his pay grade".
Romney then explained he believed all of the Democratic front-runners would raise taxes and offered healthcare plans that were the "wrong way to get it done".
He then said he was looking forward to debating Clinton because while there were several differences in their healtcare plans the biggest difference was "mine got passed and hers didn't".
A tale from the trail from Primary Source assistant Brian Lawson, a Saint Anselm College senior. His blog on the New Hampshire Primary is here.
Speaking in Keene, Mitt Romney said he does not believe Rudy Giuliani could beat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Asked whether he thinks Giuliani could beat Clinton, Romney said, "I don't think he can and I think I can".
"I think to beat Hillary you have to be different from Hillary on all three basis: on social conservatism, on foreign policy conservatism and on social conservatism. By that I mean you have to be pro-life, and you have to be anti-illegal immigration, and you have to be pro-family, and you have to have high ethical standards in the history of your administration," Romney added.
Speaking to the audience of over 200 Romney said it was very hard for any Republican to win New York.
"I think it will be real hard for a Republican to win New York. I think it comes down to how well we do in purple states," Romney said.
Giuliani often states he is the best general election candidate because he could carry states like New York and New Jersey.
In Cheshire County, one the liberal bastions of New Hampshire, Romney was greeted with some skepticism.
A man wearing flip-flop titled "Flip for Mitt" stood outside the event venue. While inside, a gentleman wearing a "Kucinich 2008" button was spotted.
After the event, the former Bay State Governor exchanged in a lengthy discussion with a local community developer.
Jaime Contois, a Keene resident, asked Romney about the economic situation of middle-class workers.
Romney at one point snapped "how do you think salaries are determined? Supply-and-demand."
Afterword, Contois said she was disappointed with Romney's answer and said that the presidential candidates "aren't looking at reality," when discussing economic issues.
One of the more influential New Hampshire Republicans endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential campaign today, the Globe has learned.
Rich Ashooh, a former staffer for US Senator Warren Rudman, is now the vice president of government relations for BAE, the British defense contractor and the largest employer in New Hampshire.
Ashooh has deep contacts in the state and is respected by those in both political parties. He serves on the boards of the University System of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce University and the New Hampshire Political Library.
It is another good pick-up for Romney after picking up the endorsement of US Senator Judd Gregg last week.
In the same week that US Senator Judd Gregg and his wife Kathy endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential campaign they were given official roles in the campaign.
This morning Kathy was named a New Hampshire campaign co-chair. On Wednesday Judd was named a national co-chair with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.
CONCORD, N.H. -- In his own handwriting, Mitt Romney filled out paperwork and submitted a check placing his name on the New Hampshire presidential primary ballot, a time-honored tradition candidates for decades, including his father.
Romney said told reporters he was "thrilled to be sitting in the my father sat in some 40 odd years ago."
"I intend to follow his footsteps to a point," said Romney. "And the point is that I planning on winning the campaign."
Sitting next to him was US Senator Judd Gregg, who officially endorsed him just minutes before.
Gregg kept repeating phrases like Romney's "conservative philosophy" and his "can-do" spirit.
Romney also used the setting in the office of the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office to pledge his support for the state's traditional first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
"If I am the nominee I will do everything in my power to to make sure Iowa and New Hampshire are first," he said.
CONCORD, N.H. -- The most successful politician in New Hampshire history endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential campaign at a time when Romney's Republican opponents appear to be catching up.
US Senator Judd Gregg is the son of a beloved former governor who himself has never lost an election. Since the 1980s, Judd Gregg has been an executive councilor, US representative, and governor, and is now in his third term in the US Senate.
"If you would have said that I would endorse a former governor of Massachusetts I wouldn't believe you," said Gregg to an audience of over a 100 on the steps of the state library. "But then again I wouldn't believe that the Red Sox would ever win two World Series in my lifetime either."
After the rally Romney was to file papers placing his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot.
Mitt Romney will have a big name by his side today at a rally before he officially files for the New Hampshire primary.
US Senator Judd Gregg, who is in his third term representing the Granite State, is endorsing Romney, his campaign announced this morning.
"Mitt Romney embodies New Hampshire's values -- values that stress government living within its means, lower taxes, a stronger military, and stronger families," Gregg said in a statement issued by the Romney campaign. "Governor Romney is the strong leader we need to lead America forward."
Romney plans a rally on the steps of the State Library in Concord before going to the Secretary of State's office to file his papers. He is leading in the polls, though Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have been closing the gap lately.
-- by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor
Next week Mitt Romney is scheduled to have the heaviest rotation of television ads that New Hampshire has seen this presidential primary year.
Dante Scala, a University of New Hampshire political science professor, visited the WMUR studios this morning and noticed in the public file that Romney will run over $100,000 worth of ads next week on the dominate Granite State station. The total buy, according to Scala is $128,000 and this is on top of the $80,000 in ads he is running on the station this week.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Mitt Romney picked up the endorsement from New Hampshire anti-tax advocate Tom Thompson today.
Thompson, the son of conservative former governor Mel Thompson, has been a person that many Republican presidential candidates have wooed by visiting his farm in Orford.
His father was known for his "Ax the Tax" campaign. Most recently Tom has fought against a "view tax" in which some local communities charge more property taxes for properties with a nice view.
A new Mitt Romney television ad that begins airing today in New Hampshire, Romney says Republicans have to put their "house in order".
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A waitress who had a well-documented confrontation with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently said news coverage has gotten her and her boss at the Red Arrow Diner a lot of criticism.
"I don't really want to talk about it other than to say I shouldn't have done it there when I was working," Michele Griffin said in an interview.
During a stop at the Manchester diner earlier in the month, Griffin asked Romney what he could do for her, a mother struggling to provide healthcare for children who all require medication.
Griffin asked Romney what his co-pay was for his own health insurance and there was a back and forth. The video was captured by the Washington Post and then promoted on the Drudge Report.
This week she was invited to meet personally with Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who said he wanted to keep in touch after hearing her story.
Griffin wouldn't say if her job was threatened, but said "it wasn't a good situation".
"I am not the crazy woman the Washington Post made me out to be," she said. "But I shouldn't have asked the question while on the job."
AMHERST, N.H. -- Mitt Romney called the Hurricane Katrina cleanup effort in New Orleans "a disappointing process," especially after the federal government has spent "one heck of a lot of money".
"You have you ask yourself, have we managed [the money] as well as we could have," Romney said in response to an audience member's question at a general store here.
Romney said he thought that the recovery effort next door in Mississippi was "going well and being effectively managed," citing Republican Governor Haley Barbour as possibly the reason. But he said he wasn't sure who to blame in New Orleans.
"Is it the mayor? Is it the governor? Is it FEMA? Is it the federal guys? I don't know where the problem lies, but $70 billion is an awful a lot of money and I would have hoped to see more progress," Romney said.
Both the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana are Democrats.
Romney said later to reporters that he was not trying to make a partisan statement, just report what he saw.
If he were elected president, Romney told the audience of 75 that he would work to restore the region.
"At this stage, we would continue to invest to return New Orleans and a major portion of our country to economic viability and livability," Romney said.
MILFORD, N.H. -- Mitt Romney says he wants to encourage a "surge of support" for the troop surge in Iraq this summer.
To that end, Romney announced at a business here that he is contributing $25,000 of his own money to seven organizations aiding the troops and their families. He also placed the names and contact information for the organizations on his campaign's website to encourage supporters to give.
"I would like to show a surge of public support that can communicate to our troops over there that we care, we appreciate what you are doing, we want you to come home as soon as you can safe and sound," said Romney.
The campaign said the idea came from a conversation Romney had in Colorado with the father of solider in Iraq who told him that all the criticism of the surge is demoralizing to the troops. Later, Romney's nephew, Doug Robinson, came up with the idea of a "surge of support."
The organizations that Romney is contributing to are USO Care Packages, The Fisher House, A Soldier’s Wish List, Packages from Home,
Operation Thank You, Operation Shoebox, and America Supports You.
Mitt Romney got an important endorsement today from Chuck Morse, who until January was a New Hampshire state Senator from a heavily Republican district.
Morse left the Senate for an unsuccessful run for Executive Council. He said he likes Romney for his fiscal conservatism. Morse's campaign consultant last fall is also a consultant to Romney.
As a Senator, Morse represented Atkinson, Pelham, Plaistow and Salem, which are some of the biggest Republican towns in the state.
The seat is now held by fellow Republican Mike Downing, a McCain supporter.
DURHAM, N.H. -- For the first time, New Hampshire's most credible poll shows Mitt Romney alone in first place ahead his of his rivals John McCain and Rudy Giuliani by eight points.
The CNN/WMUR poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center gives Romney 28 percent support. McCain and Giuliani were tied with 20 percent and Fred Thompson had 11 percent. All other candidates were under five percent.
The last UNH poll in March had McCain and Giuliani in a mathmatical tie with Romney trailing in third.
BEDFORD, N.H. -- Mitt Romney told reporters in New Hampshire this morning that last night’s debate showed a “stark contrast” between himself and John McCain on immigration.
“I consider him a friend and he is a great Senator,” Romney said. “He has been wrong on this key issue.”
When pressed more about what exactly he would do with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country, Romney said he would work to enforce current immigration laws and have verifiable legal papers that would make it hard for illegals to find work and eventually go back their countries.
It would take time for this to work, he said, but it was compassionate.
McCain has said that Romney's stance amounts to allowing the status quo to continue, and thus is itself a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
ROCHESTER, N.H. – As a possible sign that Mitt Romney’s surge in Iowa and New Hampshire might be legit, high-profile reporters from major news organizations were spotted at one of his events in New Hampshire today.
Matt Lauer from NBC’s Today show drifted in and out of a Chamber of Commerce luncheon at which Romney spoke. Also there was Joe Klein from Time Magazine and Mark Leibovich of The New York Times. (The Globe had two reporters and an editor present.)
In a new ad that will begin airing in New Hampshire and Iowa tomorrow, an announcer begins: "In the most liberal state in the country, one Republican stood up and cut spending, instead of raising taxes.”
The Romney campaign would not say whether or not the ad would be purchased on Boston channels reaching the New Hampshire media market.
For the second week in a row, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is leading in a poll of New Hampshire Republicans.
Romney leads the new Zogby poll with 35 percent, solidly ahead of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, who were tied at 19 percent.
The poll sampled 500 likely voters and had a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
A poll last week by Survey USA had showed a similar lead for Romney in New Hampshire.
In the Zogby poll, Romney's 35 percent is up from his 25 percent standing in April. McCain’s support has dropped from 25 percent to 19 percent, while Giuliani has held steady at 19 percent.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney picked up the endorsement of a New Hampshire state senator representing a key geographical area in the state's presidential primary next year.
State Senator Bob Letourneau, of Derry, is the first New Hampshire state senator to endorse Romney.
On Tuesday Letourneau hosted a Romney debate watch party.
Derry is on Interstate 93, just a few miles above the Massachusetts border. The population in Derry, as in much of Southern New Hampshire, has swelled in recent years. Historically statewide campaigns look to Derry on Election Night as a gauge to see how results are turning out. The voting population there is mainly a mix of Republicans and independents.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has not been criticized as heavily for his past support for public funding of abortion as fellow Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has in recent weeks. But Romney's speech in front of a pro-life group tomorrow night may bring new focus on Romney’s own struggle with the issue.
On the issue of using public funds to help low income women obtain an abortion, Romney critics say he has committed a flip-flop-flip: he was against it his 1994 US Senate race, for it during his 2002 run for governor, and saying just two weeks ago he was against it if he were president.
This is in conjunction with the Romney campaign's confirmation today that his wife, Ann, gave the pro-choice group Planned Parenthood a $150 donation in 1994.
Romney will be the keynote speaker Thursday night at the Massachusetts Citizens for Life Mother's Day Pioneer Valley Dinner in Agawam. The speech comes at a time when Romney has been aggressively courting the conservative wing of the Republican Party as he runs for president.
While running for the US Senate in 1994 he told the Globe: “I am not in favor of government funding of abortion,” he said. “I don’t think government should either promote or prevent abortion.”
Yet, Romney's rivals in the campaign have pointed out that in a Planned Parenthood questionnaire in 2002, he was asked: “Do you support state funding of abortion services through Medicaid for low-income women?” He responded, “yes.”
In the same questionnaire he said also support sex education in public schools and said he would support increased access to so-called “morning after pill.”
Romney has said that he became pro-life after hearing the debate over stem-cells.
On a recent trip to New Hampshire when he was asked if he favored public funding of abortions now, he said he opposed it.
“There should not be public funding for abortion in my view. We have the Hyde Amendment which prevents federal funding. In my view abortion should not be funded by the federal government or by taxpayers. Each state can make a different choice, of course,” he said.
Through a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state does pay for abortions for low-income women. Because of the ruling, Romney’s health care law does offer an option to pay for abortion with public funds.
Giuliani has been the targeted for his pro-choice stance his position that low-income women or victims of rape and incest have access to taxpayer funded abortions.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- At a Portsmouth Rotary luncheon this afternoon, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was asked point blank "Where do you get your hair cut and how much does it cost?"
Romney said, as he has before, that he pays $50 for a hair cut including the tip.
Then he quipped: "You know I think John Edwards was right. There are two Americas. There is the America where people pay $400 for a haircut and then there is everybody else."
Edwards became the topic of many stories last week for the fact he had his campaign pick up the tab for two $400 haircuts according to campaign finance records. He has since said he will reimburse the campaign.FULL ENTRY
Manchester lawyer and former New Hampshire Republican gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential campaign today.
Lamontagne, who lost his race for governor to Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in 1996, currently serves as the state Republican Party's legal counsel.
Lamontagne is a shareholder in the same law firm where Romney state director Jim Merrill is taking a leave of absence.
Mitt Romney's political foes are seeking to remind voters that during the height of the 1996 presidential primary campaign Romney spoke out against Steve Forbes's flat tax idea calling it a "tax cut for fat cats."
On Wednesday two rival campaigns were handing the Hotline and the Globe ads Romney purchased in New Hampshire newspapers and The Boston Globe against the flat tax.
One campaign even pointed out that the language in the ad was similar to that of Senator John Kerry, who told the Worcester Sunday Telegram that year that the flax tax would only help "Steve Forbes and rich people with trust funds".
All the effort from the rival campaigns was in advance of a speech Romney is set to give Thursday in Florida before the fiscally conservative Club for Growth.
Asked if Romney holds the same position today, his campaign put out this statement: "Governor Romney believes we need a simpler tax code that encourages growth and innovation."
All Republican presidential candidates are speaking at the event, except Senator John McCain, who rejected the invitation.
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign will officially open its New Hampshire campaign headquarters Saturday with an appearance by Romney’s son, Tagg.
The virtually wall-less 5,800-square-foot office space is in a building on Elm Street south of downtown Manchester that once housed a restaurant equipment store.
Romney’s New Hampshire campaign director described it as “gritty” in a fun, aggressive way. Another way of putting it is that the big blue line painted around the top of the wall doesn’t exactly compliment Romney’s perfect hair.
But on the upside, there is plenty of parking for volunteers and the initial paid staff of nine people, as well as chocolate shop next door that serves Starbucks coffee.
CONCORD, N.H. -- Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said he is unsure whether or not to give a major speech regarding his Mormon faith, but that if he did it would happen later in the campaign.
With some polls showing that 30 percent of voters would not vote for a Mormon to be president, Romney’s wife, Ann, said in a recent interview she wants her husband to give a speech about his faith, similar to one John Kennedy did in 1960 when he campaigned for president.
When asked by a reporter if he would give that speech, Romney said he wasn’t sure, but his sense is that the American people aren’t paying enough attention to the campaign to give that speech now.
“I really haven’t decided whether there is a special speech that has to be given about my belief that a person running for office is not running for pastor-in-chief, but instead is running to make America a safer place and more prosperous place for our families,” said Romney. “So as to what the campaign tactics will be, I am going to let the strategists worry about that. I frankly don’t give a lot of thought to that.”
“I don’t think a lot of people are listening yet to my campaign,” he said. “They will a year from now. At that time, people will get to know me and what I stand for, where I will take America, and perhaps at that time we can have a bigger discussion about religion -- although I think by that time the religion issue will have pretty much faded away.”
Ahead of a Republican presidential straw poll in Spartanburg, S.C., tonight a number of voters there received a six-page negative mail piece attacking former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney about his Mormon faith and his changing positions on abortion, gay rights and gun control.
The Columbia, S.C. paper The State reports the mailing and a follow up e-mail were sent anonymously.
The campaign tactic was similar to the nasty campaigning in 2000 where Arizona Senator John McCain was the victim.
Part of the email read “Those dark suspicions you hide deep inside yourself about Mormonism are trying to tell you something. Trust your instincts!"
In a different story, Romney told a conservative website that he believes the media are out to get him and that that is a sign he is the conservative candidate.
"I think it proves that the media has determined who the conservative candidate is, because they're going after me with hammer and tong and that's the way you would expect to go after the conservative candidate," said Romney to CBNNews.com. "I'm proud of the fact that the mainstream media isn't wild about my candidacy and that's why I'm going to win."
CONCORD, N.H. -- As he visits New Hampshire today, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney released his leadership team in the state, including the state and county chairs.
Former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Keough will be the state chair. Last year Keough chaired Romney's New Hampshire political action committee.
Serving as co-chairs are former House Speaker Donna Sytek and Gordon McDonald, the chief of staff to former US Senator Gordon Humphrey.
His county by county leaders are as follows:
Sheriff Dan Collis
State Representative Betsey Patten
County Attorney Peter Heed
Berlin City Councilor Tim Donovan
County Commissioner Bing Judd
Colebrook Selectman Benoit Lamontagne
County Commissioner Toni Pappas
Franklin City Councilor Ken Merrifield
Sheriff Dan Linehan
County Attorney Jim Reams
State Representative Beverly Rodeschin
Over 350 people bought tickets to quickly sell out a local Republican fund-raiser in New Hampshire this week featuring former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, organizers say.
Romney will be the keynote speaker at a Lincoln Day Dinner Thursday night sponsored by the New Hampshire Republican committees of Derry, Hampton, and Portsmouth.
Last year, former U.S. Senator Bill Frist addressed a less-than-sellout crowd at the event.
MERRIMACK, N.H. – Saying it is bad for the country’s economy and foreign policy to buy energy from foreign countries, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney hinted at an energy plan that would make the United States energy self-sufficient.
Speaking at GT Solar, a New Hampshire company that produces components for solar panels, Romney said he will unveil an energy policy that would have the US produce as much energy as it currently uses.
“It doesn’t make sense for a lot of people for our nation to send hundreds of billions of dollars to nations that don’t like us,” said Romney.
Romney suggested harnessing all energy possibilities -- from wind and solar power, to bioenergy, to drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska.
Achieving energy self-sufficiency could take 20 or 30 years, he said.
Romney said he favored giving incentives to industry rather than relying on the “heavy hand of government” to impose mandates.
His full energy plan will be released later this year.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is about to run his first television campaign ads in Iowa, the first top-tier presidential to do so.
The ad shows Romney on the stump and at the beginning is narrated by his wife, Ann. It is heavily biographical and aimed at increasing his name recognition.
You can watch the ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTiOLGtiEPQ
Last month Congressman Duncan Hunter, also a Republican presidential candidate, began airing ads in Iowa and New Hampshire.
During the 2004 cycle, Howard Dean was the first candidate put a commercial on television. That was in June, far later than Romney’s beginning in February.
Former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift endorsed Arizona Senator John McCain for president over Mitt Romney, in an apparent case of political payback.
In 2002, Swift, who had taken over as governor when Paul Cellucci left to become ambassador to Canada, was preparing a run for a full term. But with sagging poll numbers and lagging fundraising, Romney big-footed her out of the race, even though he had said that Swift should run because she was the Republican party's "standard bearer".
In a statement provided by McCain's presidential exploratory committee, Swift called McCain a "principled leader" with "unwavering determination," the last phrase a possible dig at Romney's shifting views on social issues.
Prior to Governor Deval Patrick's swearing-in last month, Massachusetts had four consecutive Republican governors, including Romney. But only one -- William Weld -- has endorsed Romney. Cellucci recently said he was supporting former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been named the keynote speaker for a Lincoln Day dinner jointly sponsored by the Merrimack County (N.H.) and Sullivan County (N.H.) Republican Committees, the Globe has learned.
The dinner will be held on the traditional day federal income taxes are due, April 15. Because of the Patriots Day holiday, New Hampshire taxpayers do not have to file until April 17, since their taxes are processed in a regional IRS facility in Massachusetts, where Patriots Day is a state holiday.
LEBANON, N.H. – Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney told a medical school audience this morning that his signature health care reform plan for the Bay State may have flaws, but warned that if the Legislature makes too many changes, the plan may not work at all.
Romney is in New Hampshire today campaigning in the state’s North Country. At his first stop, Romney spoke to a room of about 200 at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
His remarks were largely about how his plan to have universal health insurance for all Massachusetts residents works. He said that like constructing a building there will likely be elements of the plan that need to be adjusted.
“I cannot guarantee that my state will get it right on every single step, but one state will, and that model can be used nationally,” Romney said.
He also said he was afraid the Massachusetts Legislature will tinker with the existing plan by placing more mandates on insurance companies.
“It works as a system, so if you put too many mandates on insurance companies, the premiums won't be affordable,'' he said.
For the most part the audience seemed interested in the Massachusetts plan, but skeptical.
Casey Olm-Shipman, a Dartmouth medical student holding on to her textbook “Understanding Health Policy,” said she found Romney’s approach “interesting.”
“He certainly understands the economics of our health care system,” said Olm-Shipman.
Even more encouraging for Romney is the fact Olm-Shipman is a Democrat and a Kansas native who said she would never vote for Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, but would consider voting for Romney.
Brownback, like Romney, is running for the Republican nomination for president.
Talking with the press afterwards, Romney said he will use his health care plan in the campaign to demonstrate he can solve problems.
“I think people in America want to see leadership that is can-do leadership,” he said.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney picked up the endorsement of a key pro-life activist and lawyer on Tuesday.
The campaign announced James Bopp, Jr., a lawyer from Indiana, will serve as a “special advisor on life issues” to Romney.
The endorsement comes at a critical time for Romney as he tries to convince conservatives that he is one of them despite becoming anti-abortion just a few years ago.
After former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney spoke to a conference sponsored by the National Review, the editor of that magazine did not give Romney a thumbs-up.
In a blog entry, Rich Lowry said Romney's lack of discussion about Iraq was "bizarre and just wrong and almost offensive in my view." He also accused Romney of pandering to the conservative audience when he discussed signing a "no new taxes" pledge.
On Romney's explanation as to how he became pro-life, Lowry said, "His account of how he came to change his view on abortion —-through the issue of stem-cell research —- isn't very compelling and he would probably be better off not talking about it at all."
You can read the entire blog here.
Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert, of Illinois announced his support for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a continued sign that Romney is building credibility in Washington.
Hastert is probably the most prominent current member of Congress to announce his support for Romney.
Also on Tuesday the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported that US House Republican Leader John Boehner is leaning to support Romney.
On MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" Tuesday night, Senator Edward Kennedy was asked about Mitt Romney's position on abortion.
"He was a pro-choice, he's anti-choice, he's multiple choice, and he’s going to have to probably respond to that as he gets closer to the countryside," Kennedy said.
Kennedy faced Romney in his 1994 re-election campaign.
On MSNBC, Kennedy also said that fellow Bay State Senator John Kerry knows he will have to make a decision to run for president "earlier rather than later, and I expect he will".
The full transcript is here.
Former governor Mitt Romney picked up one a key endorsement in the Republican presidential primary process on Tuesday.
US Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, reportedly has sent a letter to Republicans in his state in which he backs Romney.
In 2000, a win in the South Carolina primary helped solidify George W. Bush as the Republican nominee. The state is expected to hold a similarily important role in 2008.
In his endorsement of Romney, DeMint breaks away from his Republican colleagues in the state. South Carolina’s other US Senator, Lindsey Graham, and Governor Mark Sanford are both expected to formally endorse US Senator John McCain.
In Iowa and New Hampshire, no governor or US senator has announced their support for any candidate.
In today’s Boston Globe, reporter Scott Helman reports that Mitt Romney became the first potential Republican presidential candidate to sign a no tax increase pledge.
Grover Norquist, the powerful head of Americans for Tax Reform, which administers the pledge, said an interview with the Globe that while he was pleased that Romney signed it this year he was “disappointed” Romney did not sign the same pledge when he ran for Massachusetts Governor in 2002.
“I am not exactly sure why he didn’t sign it, but the fact is he didn’t sign it and that is disappointing,” said Norquist, a native of Weston.
Signing the no tax pledge has been a staple part of running for the Republican nomination since the pledge was introduced in 1986. When Bob Dole refused to sign in 1988 it became an issue during a New Hampshire debate. In 1996, he did sign the pledge, as had every Republican presidential nominee since it began.
Shortly after Romney signed the pledge, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican also eyeing a presidential run, followed suit. Brownback, however, has always signed the pledge.
Interestingly, Norquist said Romney would not be free from criticism if conservatives learn that while Romney did not increase taxes he did increase fees.
“Fees are the same as tax increases in my book,” said Norquist.
Also in Romney news, the Laconia (N.H.) Citizen reports that Romney is getting good reviews among Republicans who live near Romney’s summer home in Wolfeboro.
The login page for members on his national finance team goes to a page that suggests it is paid for by his former Commonwealth PAC, a big no-no when it comes to campaign finance law. All presidential exploration money has to be given to his presidential exploration committee not his political action committee.
Outgoing Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney launched a new website along with filing papers today with the Federal Elections Committee forming a presidential exploratory committee.
MittRomney.com has professionally shot biographical videos and, of course, the ability to contribute money to his exploratory efforts.
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has told the Associated Press that he plans to file papers today setting up a presidential exploratory committee.
In doing so, he becomes the sixth Republican to file the paperwork allowing them to raise and spend money in pursuit of the presidency. Forming committees before Romney were Senator John McCain, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Congressman Duncan Hunter, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, and Chicago businessman John Cox.
The Concord Monitor deftly combed though state campaign finance records to find that three New Hampshire Republican political consulting firms were already made significant money two years before the presidential election takes place.
Former New Hampshire Attorney General Tom Rath’s law firm collected $105,000 from Mitt Romney’s political action committee. Rath, who signed on with Romney over the summer, is resigning his position as National Republican Committeeman for the state.
Also making out was Michael Dennehy, who ran Senator John McCain’s New Hampshire campaign in 2000 and is set to become his national political director this time around. Dennehy’s firm was paid $75,000 last year. Lastly, start-up firm Meridian Communications received a little over $30,000 in its contract with Governor George Pataki’s political action committee.
Interestingly, no potential Democratic presidential candidate has yet hired a major New Hampshire consultant.
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will form a presidential exploratory committee in a few weeks and hold an announcement event shortly afterwards, the Associated Press reports.
The Globe has not indepedently confirmed these dates.
Romney could file papers as early as Jan. 2 according to the report. Forming an exploratory committee allows a candidate to raise money and is legally no different than a formal presidential committee.
He visited both early primary voting states Iowa and New Hampshire this week.
Although not publicized or even confirmed by his staff, Governor Mitt Romney continues to meet with small private groups of New Hampshire Republicans as he pursues a potential presidential campaign.
Republican activists in the state say Romney is scheduled to be in New Hampshire on Thursday in Manchester.
Some Romney supporters have long worried the Massachusetts governor would because so familiar to neighboring New Hampshire audiences that there would be less excitement about his visits. Because of this concern, they put together smaller events that attract less attention.
This concern of being overexposed did not bother Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry or former Vermont governor Howard Dean in 2004 even though they made the same short drive into the Granite State while running for president. They held several events in the state, and while some were private most were not.
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has apparently made his choice for who will be his campaign manager if he runs for president, the Washington-based Hotline reports.
He is expected to select Beth Myers, currently the executive director of Romney's political action committee.
Myers, a Texas native, has been with Romney's Commonwealth PAC since last summer. Previously she was the chief of staff to Massachusetts Treasurer Joe Malone.