By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Friday September 21, 2012
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Friday September 21, 2012
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Thursday August 30, 2012
Howling wind, driving rain and potential damage in New Orleans from Hurricane Isaac hasn’t yet dampened U.S. Republican convention media coverage, but early TV ratings proved only so-so while many people instead “tuned in” to social networks.
Republican fears that Isaac’s battering of the US Gulf Coast would steal the spotlight eased on Wednesday, a day after a key speech by Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, stole the show from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
But the biggest problem for the Republicans was less the hurricane and more dwindling interest in convention-watching by the general public, experts said.
“Isaac is sucking out a lot of the oxygen but that’s because there wasn’t much oxygen in the first place,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy. “Voters and certainly the media are aware these conventions have become hour-long infomercials. There is very little suspense.”
Ahead of Tuesday, news of Isaac’s path toward the US Gulf Coast revived memories of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction seven years ago and threw a spotlight on something the Republican Party would rather forget in its convention week — the botched relief efforts under George W. Bush, the last Republican president.
But even as some networks moved their anchors from the convention in Tampa to Isaac’s landfall in New Orleans to cover both events, those interested in politics tuned in to hear Ann Romney personalize her husband and Christie tackle the Obama White House — whether on TV or the Internet. (Source: Christian Science Monitor)
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday July 17, 2012
If Team Romney’s leak that the candidate is considering Condoleezza Rice as a running mate was an effort to change the subject after a tough week on the campaign trail, it wasn’t very successful.
Mitt Romney spent last week being booed by the NAACP when he wasn’t being hounded by the Obama campaign over his tenure at Bain Capital and his refusal to release more tax returns. On Thursday night, the Drudge Report said that the former secretary of state was on Mr. Romney’s short list of VP choices.
Several Republican women like the idea of Ms. Rice joining the ticket. “Condoleezza Rice is an incredible choice, incredibly qualified with her foreign policy experience,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, expressing a sentiment echoed by Sarah Palin and others. But social conservatives and pundits were skeptical, noting that Ms. Rice is pro-choice and not popular among foreign policy hawks.
A Romney-Rice ticket “would deactivate the base,” Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention told The Wall Street Journal. “It will turn some serious contributors and activists into just voters, and some voters into fishermen.” Commentator George Will was even more direct. Mr. Romney “would lose 40 states,” he said Sunday on “This Week.”
Moreover, the VP talk has not stopped the political press from focusing primarily on Bain and Mr. Romney’s tax records. The Obama campaign believes that attacking Mr. Romney’s private equity background can lure white working class voters in politically important Rust Belt states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, even though people like Cory Booker and Steve Rattner have taken exception to the tactic. (Source: Wall Street Journal)
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Wednesday March 7, 2012
Mitt Romney is angling to solidify his front-runner status and Rick Santorum to keep it a two-man race as voters in 10 states put Super Tuesday’s imprint on the Republican presidential contest. Newt Gingrich just hopes to keep his struggling campaign alive with a strong showing in Georgia.
With Ohio looming large in the Super Tuesday lineup, textbook editor Heather Froelich outside Columbus gave her vote to Romney, saying: “He understands the economy.”
Enthusiasm was in short supply among some of those casting ballots.
Mr. Gingrich got a reluctant vote from Tricia Tetrault, in Edmond, Okla., where she explained her decision this way: “Ronald Reagan wasn’t available any more. What can I say?”
Mr. Santorum got the support of contractor Matt Howells in suburban Cleveland, but Mr. Howells didn’t expect his ballot would count for much.
With 419 delegates at stake around the country, Tuesday’s voting represents a sizable slice of the 1,144 needed to nail down the GOP nomination.
Mr. Romney, who turned back Mr. Santorum in a close contest in Michigan last week, hoped to continue his winning trend. He has won four consecutive contests, including Saturday’s Washington caucuses.
The GOP front-runner, trying to keep his focus on President Barack Obama, used a speech Tuesday before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to argue he’d be more effective at containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich, too, addressed the committee and faulted the president’s record on Iran and the Mideast. (Source: Globe & Mail)
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Friday February 10, 2012
If Rick Santorum was ever going to reemerge as a serious presidential contender, it had to be Tuesday. And he delivered, with stunning victories in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.
Now comes the hard part: raising enough money and building enough organization to compete effectively in the coming contests – two on Feb. 28 and 10 on Super Tuesday, March 6.
The Internet makes the first task remotely possible. Overnight, Mr. Santorum says, he raised a quarter of a million dollars.
“So we’re doing really well and we feel like going forward, we’re going to have the money we need to make the case we want to make,” the former Pennsylvania senator said on CNN Wednesday morning.
But the reality is that the wounded Mitt Romney still has a formidable war chest, outside groups raising big money to support him with ads, and a vast organization. He raised 25 times more money than Santorum in the fourth quarter of 2011. All last year, Mr. Romney raised $56 million to Santorum’s $2.1 million.
After Santorum was declared the winner of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, more than two weeks after the fact, his fundraising picked up. In January alone, he brought in $4.2 million, according to his campaign.
Another challenge before Santorum is the continued presence of Newt Gingrich in the race. If Mr. Gingrich were to drop out, Santorum suggests that he would have a clean shot at Romney, as the sole mainstream conservative in the race.
Indeed, Gingrich was not on the ballot in Missouri’s nonbinding primary, and Santorum won a whopping 55 percent, versus 25 percent for Romney and 12 percent for Ron Paul. (Source: Alaska Dispatch News)