(Providence, Rhode Island) – Things are starting to slow down on the Presidential primary trail. Here are a few nuggets from the past week, with a look at the week ahead:
“Clean Sweep” – It was really no surprise that Mitt Romney won four primaries last Tuesday in New York, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island, but his margin of victory in Pennsylvania was surprising. Romney won with 58 percent of the vote to 18 percent for home-state favorite Rick Santorum. Just three weeks before the primary, Santorum was up by 2 percentage points, but then dropped out of the race. Still, I would have thought many of his fellow Pennsylvanians would have cast ballots for him anyway as a “favorite son” candidate. A strong showing would have kept Santorum in the running-mate sweepstakes, but now I think he’s out of that.
“Voter ID” – Rhode Island made national headlines this week, when – for the first time - it required voters to show identification at the polls. Those who could not produce an ID card got to vote with a provisional ballot. Once the law is fully implemented in 2014, everyone must show a photo ID to vote. Despite all the controversy and clamor when the bill was being debated, no problems or complaints were noted on Tuesday.
“VP Link” – Romney will be the Republican nominee, so the favorite political parlor game of picking the Vice Presidential running mate is now underway. The "Washington Post" has a fun, interactive link that lets you choose, based on a number of assumptions. Click the following link and see whom you pick. I wound up with Governor Susanna Martinez (R) New Mexico. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/pick-vice-presiden...
“A Dog-Eat-Dog World” – Saturday night marked the 98th Annual White House Correspondents Dinner, where much of official Washington gathers to make fun of - official Washington. I am so glad this is now televised live! Four years ago on the campaign trail, Sarah Palin used to describe her life as a hockey mom with the following joke: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!” Last night President Obama made fun of his own recent admission that his family ate dog meat when he was a child. “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Pit bulls are delicious,” said the President, in what was arguably the funniest line of the night!
“Newtered” – This week will mark the end of Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the White House. Various reports have Gingrich making his departure announcement Tuesday or Wednesday in Washington, DC. I, for one, will miss his presence in the race, because he was one of the people who made it so interesting. He was often pronounced dead in the press, only to rise again! By mid-December he had a double-digit lead in the polls, mostly on the strength of his superior debate performances. But his opponents got wise and quit participating in the debates, and Gingrich’s best (and most inexpensive) advantage was taken away. He’ll be back in some capacity because he simply loves the national stage. Secretary of Defense if Romney wins? Stay tuned!
“Poll Stroll” – I know it’s early, but I like to peek at the statewide polling every now and then. The latest Rasmussen Poll has Romney up in Florida, 46 to Obama's 45 percent. Romney is also up by one point in Virginia. Needless to say, he probably needs to win both states to become President. More troubling for Romney right now: He is losing in Arizona by two percentage points. That is a Republican state he absolutely needs to win. But, as I said, it’s early; and there is a long campaign ahead!
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