UPDATE: Romney leading in Maine, supposedly McCain was a lock on the northeast. (Guess who trails Ron Paul) More on Maine here. UPDATE: Despite a sleet storm, Maine Republicans pack caucuses--not seen since the early days of Ronald Reagan's run! UDPATE: ROMNEY WINS MAINE, 53% to 22 McCAin, Paul 19, tho some headlines say Paul came in 2nd) WaPo. [RCP header was Romney wins Maine--so maybe it is projected. The party hasn't called it yet here.]
Conservatives are rallying to Romney. Rasmussen:
In the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination, it’s John McCain at 30%, Mitt Romney at 30%, and Mike Huckabee at 21%. Ron Paul is supported by 5% of Likely Republican Primary Voters (see recent daily numbers). Romney leads by sixteen percentage points among conservatives while McCain has a two-to-one advantage among moderate Primary Voters.State polls still look tough, but Missouri and Tennessee are in flux, (and I think maybe even Illinois, as Romney won the straw poll in August, evidencing support on the ground, and the number of undecided voters is high even in the Tribune poll at 17%, while in the Rasmussen poll over half of Illinois voters were open to changing their minds. Romney may benefit from voters who realize a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain.)
As Hugh Hewitt points out, the race could turn on a dime--the MSM had Obama in a walk in New Hampshire and Hillary's grassroots won the day. Mitt had a strong debate performance and that reset the race.
UPDATE: Public Policy Polling in Georgia shows McCain and Romney in a dead heat. PPP was the closest to predicting the surge in Obama's victory in South Carolina. Romney's stand on the economy, the number one issue for voters, is so strong the race is tightening.
UPDATE: Alaska supports ANWR...and Mitt.
UPDATE: Karl Rove--not so fast on the conservative crackup.
UPDATE: Huckabee accuses Romney of buying Sean Hannity's endorsement. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard? Sean Hannity can be bought?!! Huck illustrates once again he thinks how Democrats do--that some goofy conspiratorial evil corporate genius controls people like puppets! What a smear--on Romney and Hannity. Of course Sean Hannity could work anywhere--and he understands the concept of freedom and free markets, unlike shoot from the lip Huckabee.
UPDATE: AP: Romney Expects to Fight on Past Tuesday:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Despite John McCain's building political momentum, Mitt Romney said Saturday he does not expect the Republican presidential nomination to be settled during the coming week and he is planning to continue campaigning beyond Super Tuesday.Huckabee attacking McCain for the first time as well as Romney (perhaps his Southern strategy is eroding as people get to know him better:). AP: South, West - Candidates Make Final Push
The former Massachusetts governor said the number of states up for grabs, his prospects of succeeding in some of the 20-plus GOP contests that day, as well as a growing concern within the Republican Party about conferring the nomination on McCain give him reason to fight on.
Romney said he plans to speak Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference convention in Washington, although he conceded he may pare his staff after Tuesday's elections surpass the halfway point in the nomination battle.
"I'm planning on doing well on Tuesday, planning on getting the kind of delegates and support that shows that my effort is succeeding, and taking that across the nation
Huckabee campaigned across Alabama, taking thinly veiled swipes at McCain and Romney.
"You really would like to get a president to agree with himself on some issues," he said in a reference to Romney, who has switched positions on key issues since he ran against Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy in Massachusetts in 1994. As for McCain and the need to control federal spending, he said, "It doesn't make sense that someone would be sent to the White House who has a Washington address."
UPDATE: NY Times The Caucus:
The Times’s Michael Luo, who is traveling with Mitt Romney’s campaign, reports that that former Massachusetts governor will hold a kick-off party at a Dave & Busters in Maryland Heights, Mo., before going to Nashville, where he’ll try to catch the end.UPDATE: Campaign Carl on the trail with the latest.
Ironically, Senator John McCain will be in Mr. Romney’s adopted hometown, Boston, to watch the game in his hotel, according to Jill Hazelbaker, a campaign spokeswoman. She plead ignorance when asked if Mr. McCain will be supporting the local team, the New England Patriots. The game itself actually takes place in Mr. McCain’s home state of Arizona.
UPDATE: USA Today:
MINNEAPOLIS — Republican hopeful Mitt Romney said Saturday that despite polls showing rival John McCain far ahead in most of next week's key contests, an emerging groundswell of discontent from party conservatives has buoyed his determination to "go the distance" after Tuesday.
"I expect to win some. I expect to lose some," Romney told reporters on his campaign plane as he flew here from Salt Lake City. "I don't think it's going to be over as of Tuesday night. … I intend to keep on battling."
Romney said that since losing last week's Florida primary and after an often raucous debate in California in which McCain forcefully accused Romney of favoring a timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq, his campaign saw a surge in contributions. In one day this week, Romney raised $374,000 online. A week ago, he said, a typical one-day take would have been $50,000.
reminds me of someone.
Romney, who gave a speech about faith in December to defuse the issue, said he didn't think his religion was an issue anymore.
"People are settled one way or another," he said, adding with a smile, "Most people have moved on to my other weaknesses."
The candidate spoke hours after attending the funeral of Gordon Hinckley, president of the Mormon Church. The gathering of church faithful took Romney off the campaign trail at a critical time and rekindled the issue of whether a Mormon could win the White House. Polls show many evangelicals uneasy about voting for a Mormon.
UPDATE: Chicago Tribune:
Among all Republican voters, 56 percent said they believed McCain had the best chance to keep the White House in GOP hands, while only 16 percent chose Romney and 4 percent selected Huckabee. In December, only 6 percent of Republicans thought McCain had the best chance of winning in November, far behind Giuliani, Huckabee and Romney.
Still, 36 percent of Republicans who expressed a choice for a nominee said they could yet change their mind before Tuesday. That includes 41 percent of those backing Huckabee, 38 percent supporting McCain and 31 percent for Romney.
If the state's Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing, it's that a majority of them believe that jobs and the economy are the most important issue. Asked their top two issues of concern, 62 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans listed the economy and its effect on employment.UPDATE: WaPo: The Washington Post was in ...
Democrats cited affordable health care and the Iraq war as their second and third top concerns. Republicans made illegal immigration the issue of next highest concern behind the economy, with the Iraq war also reflected third.
CHICAGO, Feb. 1 -- In the final days before Tuesday's coast-to-coast presidential voting, the two leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are laying bare the ideological struggle inside their party over shaping a post-George W. Bush era.Emphasis mine. Yes. Who really cares? WaPo in the tank for McCain "A Cold War-era soldier with little regard for partisanship" read: caves to Democrats. More:
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) offers rock-solid fealty to President Bush's Iraq war policy but more than hints at creating a new spirit of cooperation with Democrats on global warming, health-care reform, illegal immigration, ethics and lobbying reform.
Stuart Stevens, one of Romney's media consultants, said the change Republicans seek is a renewed ability of the party's leaders to implement fundamentally conservative beliefs. Those include less spending, lower taxes, tough immigration enforcement and market-based economic reforms.
"When the party does well and at its best is when we are able to combine an effectiveness of government, which involves change, with conservative principles that haven't changed," Stevens said.
Yes. Still more:
McCain seems distinctly uninterested when asked questions concerning abortion and gay rights. While campaigning in South Carolina, he told reporters riding with him on his Straight Talk Express that he was comfortable pledging to appoint judges who would strictly interpret the Constitution in part because it would reassure conservatives who might otherwise distrust him.
"It's not social issues I care about," he explained.
Yes. We know. You never talk about them. You never champion them. You come from a conservative state, where you've never had to take a stand.
UPDATE: Mark Levin, NRO on the latest Huckster abomination (see above, on smearing Sean Hannity and Mitt). Mike Huckabee. Disgraceful.
Vote against this total slimeball. FoxNews poll: Should Mike Huckabee stay in the race? Giving Republicans and people of integrity anytime, everywhere a bad name.
UPDATE: Mitt wins. Despite this:
ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today announced its Maine leadership team. U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will serve as co-chairs, former Governor John McKernan as Honorary Chair, and State Representative Josh Tardy as Vice-Chair of John McCain's growing grassroots organization in the Pine Tree state. In addition to the statewide leadership team, 22 state legislators have endorsed John McCain.UPDATE: Barack Obama--the most liberal Senator--his position on immigration is in sync with Senator John McCain's. Gateway Pundit.
UPDATE: Mark Levin:
Painting Reagan as a tax-and-spend Republican, who basically went along with Washington and appointed a bunch of moderates to the Supreme Court, in an apparent attempt to build up McCain's conservative and leadership credentials and mollify his critics, has the opposite effect mostly because it is inaccurate. It reminds me of Bill Clinton's supporters using Thomas Jefferson's alleged adultery to explain the Monica Lewinsky scandal.There you go.