Romney: CNBC Squawk Box Interview / Gingrich, Santorum, Paul: Futile Delegate Chase? / Unify!

Governor Mitt Romney (Photo Getty Images / Eric Thayer)


Because Super Tuesday is now in the rear view mirror, Mitt Romney supporters are breathing a little easier and enjoying a super Wednesday.

With Romney’s solid victories from Alaska to Vermont, we can see the path to the GOP nomination clearly (more on that in a moment). No rest for Governor Romney, however. He was up bright and early in Newton, MA to be interviewed on CNBC’s Squawk Box. He spoke about election results, Obama’s failed policies, jobs, economy, entitlements, and more:


Romney on uniting different factions of the party if he’s the nominee:

“. . . When we we have a nominee, we will come together because Barack Obama has organized a conservative community. … The community organizer has organized us in a big way. We’re going to come together because we really believe he needs to be replaced – that he’s over his head, that the debt he’s amassed, the jobs he has not created – suggest that this is a guy whose time has come for early retirement.”

Sidenote: Several days ago, when Sarah Palin stated on FOX News that the candidate who really focuses on gasoline prices would be the one to support, one didn’t have to rub a crystal ball to know that Newt Gingrich would somehow, out of thin air, come up with a gas plan real quick. Sure enough, the very next day, Gingrich announced his $2.50 per gallon meme. Now, he thinks he OWNS the issue. Wrong. Romney has been strongly advocating for energy independence since 2007, wrote extensively about it in his book No Apology (published spring 2010), and, at every opportunity, continues to stress the importance of using our own energy resources. (It’s no secret Palin voted yesterday for Gingrich.)

During today’s interview, Romney spoke again on gasoline prices:

Are you happy with high gasoline prices in part because this administration has not been willing to take in energy from other places across America? . . . I think people recognize that the president can’t precisely set the price at the pump, but he can decide how much of the money that’s being paid for oil and gas is going to other nations. And, to get that money staying here and to create jobs here and to stabilize prices here, he ought to be taking advantage of all of our offshore and ANWAR and North Dakota and Oklahoma and Texas oil and gas resources instead of trying to hold them off. Natural gas is a huge win for us. And, through the EPA, he’s been trying to hold that off. Coal is, of course, a major source of our electric power. He’s made it more difficult to get the coal, more difficult to use the coal. And, of course, the Keystone Pipeline bringing energy in from Canada, that was a no-brainer. He failed that test. If we want to get America energy secure, you have to take advantage of the energy resources we have. And, fortunately, with recent discoveries from Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, there’s a lot of energy in this country. Let’s take advantage of it.

Entire transcript may be found here.

Among the varied post-Super Tuesday analysis, we read ‘Romney is a frail frontrunner’. Uh huh. He’s so frail he has more than double the delegates Santorum has and Gingrich and Paul have been left in the campaign dust. No, talking heads. Romney is a formidable frontrunner. Today, Hugh Hewitt pointed out a fact the mainstream media is missing (and gave MRC a nod, as well):

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Floodgates Open: Support for Romney from Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Alaska


Floodgates of support are really opening now for Mitt Romney…

Today, social and fiscal conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn penned a strong op-ed supporting Romney. GOP Representatives (32 of them!) in Massachusetts and Alaska Lt. Gov Mead Treadwell also issued well-muscled letters of support. Eric Cantor also stepped up to the plate for Romney.

It’s clear.

They all believe Romney’s years of private sector work and leadership skills seal the deal. Unquestionably, they feel Romney is ready to be wrapped in the presidential mantle.

UPDATE - Add former First Lady Barbara Bush’s name to the list. She recorded a robo call message for Mitt that is playing throughout Vermont:

Senator Coburn:

I’m proud to support Romney because he is a leader. What Romney has done in his 25 years in the private sector is precisely what we need a president to do in Washington. Romney has done hard things. He has turned businesses around, told people hard truths about what needed to be done, inspired confidence and overcome excuses.”

Mitt Romney Best Equipped To Solve Problems Facing Our Nation
By Sen. Tom Coburn
The Oklahoman
March 4, 2012

Sen Tom Coburn

America faces the greatest challenges of any in my lifetime. Our debt is now the size of our entire economy. If we don’t change course in the near future, we will face an economic catastrophe far worse than our recent recession.

At the same time, we’re facing a crisis of leadership in Washington. The problems and solutions are widely understood — and far from impossible to implement — yet our so-called leaders have shown little interest in solving problems. President Obama campaigned as a transformational leader, yet he has rejected transformational solutions such as the Simpson-Bowles plan that gave Washington a framework for averting a debt crisis.

Elections are about choices. This November, the most important choice facing the American people will be whether we will demand a solution and avert a debt crisis or whether we will continue to accept the status quo and hope for the best. I’m confident the vast majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle want a solution. The next choice, then, is deciding who is best qualified to enact a solution.

In life, and especially politics, our choices are seldom perfect and often difficult. But it is critically important to make a choice and support the person who is best equipped to solve the urgent problems before us. In my view, that person is Mitt Romney.

From my experience, Washington tends to be divided between two groups — leaders and career politicians. Leaders tend to have a wealth of real-world experience outside of politics and are in office to give rather than take something from their position. Career politicians, on the other hand, mean well but are ill-equipped to solve problems. Their greatest skill is getting re-elected.

Continue reading here.

From Romney’s Press Office – MA Republican Reps (32 signatures!):

If Mitt gets to the White House and has a chance to do for the country what he did for Massachusetts, we will see a turnaround in this country unlike any we have seen before.

Massachusetts Republican Representatives Stand with Mitt

Click on map to enlarge.

Over the course of this election season, we members of the Massachusetts Republican Legislative Caucus, have watched and listened as our former Governor’s record has been scrutinized by his rivals and by the national media. Now it is our turn to speak.

Republicans in Massachusetts never had a stronger leader, a greater defender, or a better friend in the State House than Mitt Romney.

Let’s start with the economy. When Mitt was elected Governor, Massachusetts was on the verge of financial disaster. Workers across the state were being laid off at the rate of thousands a month.

Our state budget was bleeding red ink, and Democratic politicians were proclaiming that only tax increases could fill the gap. Raising taxes, of course, was not Governor Romney’s way. Quite the opposite. With the same energy and intelligence he brings to every challenge he faces, he brought efficiency to our state government. He streamlined our budget and cut unneeded programs.

Without raising taxes—indeed, he cut taxes nineteen times—he balanced the budget every year of his term. By the end of four years, he had turned a $3 billion deficit into a $2 billion rainy-day fund. With the state government’s finances in order, the economy picked up steam. Unemployment at the end of Mitt’s term was 4.7 percent, a rate the state envies now.

But the economy was not the only realm where Mitt was a leader. He cracked down on illegal immigration by vetoing an in-state tuition bill and by authorizing state troopers to detain people who had entered the country illegally. When Democrats caved to the teachers unions and sought to impose a one-year moratorium on publicly-funded charter schools, Mitt successfully turned back their efforts.

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Romney Heads West to Strengthen Claim in Arizona

Nestled in a desert valley, the border city of Tucson, Arizona is where Governor Mitt Romney will hold a business roundtable meeting today. Sept 14, 2011


Mitt Romney will begin a full day in the southern part of the majestic Grand Canyon State today and work his way north. Here’s a look at his schedule:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tucson
Event: Mitt Romney Holds A Business Roundtable
When: 9:30 AM MST
Location: Jim Click Ford Lincoln East Dealership
6244 East 22nd Street

Sun Lakes (near Chandler)
Event: Mitt Romney Holds A Town Hall Meeting
When: 3:00 PM MST
Location: The Oakwood Clubhouse at Sun Lakes
24218 South Oakwood Boulevard

Tempe
fundraiser – Tempe Center for the Arts

Mitt Romney’s visit today officially kicks off the 2012 presidential campaign in Arizona, an important GOP battleground state that now is set to have an earlier-than-most primary.

Romney, a former Republican Massachusetts governor who is coming off a strong performance in Monday’s CNN/Tea Party Express GOP debate, is staking out ground in a state that, despite its size, is ground zero for issues that resonate on a national level and will play well in the battle for the Republican nomination.

Those include illegal immigration and border security, the economy, the mortgage meltdown and Social Security.

South Carolina GOP to leapfrog AZ primary
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday ended speculation about the date of the state’s presidential-preference election by issuing a proclamation declaring that it will be held Feb. 28, the same day as South Carolina’s Republican primary and a week before Super Tuesday, March 6. Brewer had flirted with moving the date to Jan. 31, a decision that could have upended the entire primary calendar by forcing traditional early states Iowa and New Hampshire to shift their dates into December.

South Carolina still is threatening to move up its primary, and Arizona, because it is violating party rules by holding its primary before March 6, faces the penalty of losing 50 percent of its delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Brewer also has persuaded the Republican National Committee to tentatively authorize a GOP presidential debate for Arizona, which also could raise the state’s profile during the primary season.

Arizona’s presidential-preference election is early enough to be important but late enough that some of the more minor contenders will have been “winnowed out,” said Patrick Kenney, director of Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies.

By late February, the GOP could be down to Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has been leading Romney in the polls but who came under fire in Monday’s debate from conservative rivals such as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Perry took shots over his immigration policies, which some opponents suggested were too liberal, and for a controversial 2007 executive order that required girls to receive a new vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that can be a precursor to cervical cancer.
[...]
Kenney said none of the GOP White House hopefuls can afford to forfeit and ignore Arizona early on.

“I think any state, prior to and including Super Tuesday, is considered important by all of the candidates,” he said.

Members of Tucson’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hope Romney focuses on job growth in their area:

click to enlarge


“Definitely hoping he focuses on job growth here and addresses the need for skilled workers, education and investment in our Tucson market,” said Danielle Duarte, with the Young Professionals.

Leaders of the Hispanic Chamber agree, especially since Arizona’s unemployment rate is hovering around 9.4%.

President of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Lea Marquez Peterson says job growth is a concern for many people in the area.
[...]
“As we know, just in the Tucson area over 90% of our businesses are small businesses so what can the federal government do to stimulate small business recovery.”

Romney is in Sheriff Joe Arpaio country…

In preparation for his visit, Romney phoned Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Western icon for his advocacy of tough immigration reform. Arpaio granted Romney his support over fellow Arizonan John McCain four years ago, in part over differences on immigration. He wants to give the full field a good look this time before he decides whom to back. It’s not surprising, then, that Romney aides have called Arpaio weekly recently to court him for another endorsement.

(emphasis added to articles)

Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann are also courting Sheriff Joe. Cain has met with him personally and Bachmann is meeting with him today. Arpaio says he won’t offer his support to anyone until he has been asked for it directly.

Gov Romney, ask for Arpaio’s support today!

► Jayde Wyatt

~UPDATE from Ross

Here’s a summary of Mitt’s time in Arizona.

Tuesday Elections: Super for Romney and Palin, Not So for Huckabee

A number of big elections took place yesterday, some of the candidates were endorsed by “The Big 3″ and may have some 2012 Presidential implications. I admit that the game of who-endorsed-who is not of vital importance, but neither can it be cast aside as worthless information. Either way it is unresistingly intriguing to those who are closely following the potential candidates of 2012.

Some highlights of yesterday’s GOP primaries…

WINNERS:

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley – South Carolina’s Governor race: Nikki Haley enjoyed the endorsement of both Mitt Romney (March 16) and Sarah Palin (May 14th). After both Romney and Palin (and RedState) endorsed her Nikki Haley jumped from a no-name in this race to a substantial lead going into yesterday’s primaries. What she did not enjoy were two separate accusations by men who said they had an affair with her. Haley vigorously denied the accusations and they seemed to fall flat on the voters as well as Haley continued to surge in the polls. There was also a very ugly incident of a State Rep. calling Nikki Haley a raghead, as well as accusation to the affect that she was not really Christian.

Haley lead yesterday’s primary with 49% of the vote in the four-way race. Unfortunately she did not capture a full 50% of the vote and will therefore have a run-off with second-place finisher US Rep. Gresham Barrett, who captured 22% of the votes. Barrett announced this morning that he will not concede the victory. The run-off primary election will be held June 22nd. Barring any revelations about the accusations against Haley, she should cruise to victory as she only needs to add 2% of the remaining 51% that voted for other candidates yesterday. Visit Nikki’s website here. Haley was a prominent endorser of Romney in 2008.

Terry Branstad

Terry Branstad

Terry Branstad – Iowa’s Governor race: Terry Branstad was Governor of Iowa from 1983 to 1999 He also enjoyed the support of both Mitt Romney (May 18th) and Sarah Palin (June 3rd). The Sarah Palin endorsement was quite odd I think as she never actually met with Branstad and her endorsement came from Facebook – watch the video of Branstad’s reaction here. Branstad remained neutral through the 2008 campaign but has shown in the past that he is willing to make endorsements. Chris Cillizza reports “As a state representative in 1976, he picked Ronald Reagan. He endorsed Bob Dole in 1996 and Lamar Alexander and then George W. Bush in 2000.” Terry Branstad seemed to be favored in the polls throughout the race and ended up winning by a margin of 50% to 41% over Bob Vander Plaats. Brandstad now faces the incumbent Democrat Chet Culvers for the Governors seat in November.

Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman – California’s Governor race: In the race to replace the Governator the ex-CEO of eBay cruised to a 64% to 27% victory over Steve Poizner. Meg Whitman was an intricate player in Romney’s 2008 campaign and has enjoyed his support as early as September of last year – possibly earlier, but I don’t know when her campaign officially began. Whitman and Romney’s acquaintance goes much further back than 2008 – she used to work with Mitt at Bain some time long ago. During his campaign stops with Meg in CA Mitt would recall the first time he interviewed her for Bain and how brilliant and authoritative she was. Meg Whitman credits Mitt Romney as being her inspiration for leaving the private sector and jumping into politics. On a side note, the two both testified for the Economic Recovery Working Group in January of 2009. California is economically ill and Meg Whitman is the right person to restore it to fiscal sanity. Meg faces the current Attorney General of CA, Jerry Brown, in the November general elections.

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina – California’s Senate race: There were 3 players in the race to oust incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer (shudder). Spurred on by the strong endorsement of Sarah Palin (May 6th), Fiorina enjoyed a surge late in the polls that put her over the top against Former US Congressman Tom Campbell and California State Assembly member Chuck DeVore. It seemed that women that were former CEOs were the order of the day in California as Carly Fiorina won easily with 56% compared to 22% for Campbell and 19% for DeVore. Fiorina was CEO of HP 1999 to 2005. (Romney did not involve himself in this primary as he was not well acquainted with the candidates, but he did congratulate and endorse winner Fiorina earlier today.)

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Losers:

Andre Bauer – South Carolina’s Governor race: The current Lt. Governor failed in his bid for the nomination finishing in 4th place in the race at 12%. Bauer was a strong proponent of Huckabee’s 2008 campaign in South Carolina and received Huckabee’s endorsement very early in December of 2009. Bauer’s campaign was likely damaged by the fact that one the men who claimed to have an affair with Nikki Haley worked for his campaign. That man, Larry Marchant, was fired by Bauer and Bauer passed a lie-detector test saying that he knew nothing of the alleged involvement with Haley. Marchant also took a polygraph test but it was scored inconclusive.

Bob Vander Plaats – Iowa’s Governor race: Team Huck and Chuck went in big for Bob Vander Plaats campaign, to no avail. Vander Plaats chaired Huckabee’s Iowa campaign. Way back then Huckabee was already referring to Vander Plaats as “the next Governor of Iowa”. I would call that an extremely early endorsement. Bob ran a good race and lost by a not-large margin of 9 points.

Chuck DeVore – California’s Senate race: This race saddened me the most. I met DeVore at CPAC earlier this year and took a liking to him. I felt he was certainly the most conservative candidate in this race and he had the potential to beat Boxer, but I must readily admit that Fiorina is probably more electable, or rather, has a higher likelihood to defeat Boxer. DeVore was endorsed by Huckabee alone back on April 28th. Though DeVore gave it an excellent effort his campaign failed to gain traction statewide. Hopefully we’ll see more like him in the future.

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For those keeping score for yesterday we have both Romney and Palin at 3-0, and poor Huck at 0-3. I know Huckabee supporters are disappointed on the returns of the day. Huckabee has actually issued a very respectable statement about yesterday’s elections.

Congrats to those who won. We look forward to more primaries coming up in the next few weeks and months.

~Nate Gunderson

Update 1 by Jayde: For further information on election results for Arkansas, California, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, N. Dakota, S. Carolina, S. Dakota, Virginia, and Georgia’s special election run-off click here.

For additional information on Montana’s primary election click here.

For additional information on Maine’s primary election click here.

UPDATE 2 by Jayde: The election headline that caught fire last night was: Ladies’ Night!