Sen. Mccain: Romney “Improving Dramatically” As A GOP Candidate


mccainArizona Sen. John McCain (R) defended Mitt Romney on Sunday, amid concerns the GOP frontrunner is failing to rally the party’s conservative base and may fall short of the delegates needed to win the nomination outright.

McCain, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said Romney was aware that he needed to change his approach in order to close out the GOP presidential race.

“Obviously Mitt Romney will tell you first of all he’s got to do a better job. He’s working on doing a better job,” said McCain. “He’s got to focus more on the economy.”

McCain added that Romney, who lost two key Southern primaries on Tuesday, was “improving dramatically as a candidate.”

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee, said Romney, whom McCain is backing for the presidency, had been hurt by the revamped GOP nominating process where many early contests awarded their delegates proportionally, delaying Romney’s ability to deliver a knock-out blow to his rivals.

“In any campaign before him we had winner take all, in winner take all you would assume those numbers would be significantly different.,” McCain said of Romney’s delegate totals.

Speculation has grown that neither Romney nor his rivals former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) or Texas Rep. Ron Paul will secure the delegates needed before the convention.

But McCain dismissed the chances Republican voters would see a brokered convention. “I just don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said.

McCain also pointed to the role of super-PACs, which can spend unlimited expenditures for or against political candidates, as long as candidates are not involved in their process.

“Super-PACs have played a key role, unfortunately negative in my view because they’ve driven up the unfavorables of all candidates and frankly made it more difficult to win an election in November,” McCain said.

“If you have a Las Vegas casino mogul, by the way who gets part of his money from Macau, pouring $20 million into one campaign and most of those are negative ads, obviously that drives up people’s unfavorables,” he added in reference to businessman Sheldon Adelson who has donated millions to Gingrich’s campaign and super-PAC.

“This is the nastiest fight I’ve ever seen,” the Arizona senator said of the GOP race.

“It’s gone on too long, and its gotten way, way too personal,” he added.

{The Hill/ Newscenter}


  1. EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / Getty Images

    For Ron Paul, victory is finally in sight. No, not a swearing-in ceremony next January 20, or even a single statewide win. Halfway through the primary season, Paul has won only a preference poll in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and he is running dead last in delegates among the four GOP candidates for President. He has spent a lot, if not always wisely: the $31.55 he has dropped per vote (more than even Mitt Romney) is a sum that might shock even a Democrat.

    But winning the presidency was never Paul’s foremost goal, and as he nears the end of his last presidential crusade, he has one more chance to promote his ideas. The Republican race is a muddled mess. Even after his southern losses, only Romney has a real shot at amassing the 1,144 delegates required to wrap up the nomination, and he would then face the task of unifying the GOP’s warring factions. Which is why Paul’s campaign has sent discreet signals to Camp Romney that the keys to Paul’s shop can be had for the right price.

    History suggests the two men are already in cahoots. Throughout the primary, Paul has been Romney’s secret weapon. During the 20 GOP debates, Paul attacked Romney’s rivals a total of 39 times while sparing Romney entirely, according to an analysis by the liberal group ThinkProgress. Paul leapt to Romney’s defense when his tenure at Bain Capital and his taste for firing insurance companies came under attack, and skewered a series of Romney antagonists in TV ads. “He is our deputy campaign manager,” jokes one Romney ally.

    Paul’s advisers bristle at suggestions that the libertarian icon is in league the GOP frontrunner. They say Paul still has a shot at the nomination if he can hold Romney beneath the delegate threshold until Tampa and then force a floor fight that sends delegates fleeing to Paul on a secondary ballot. This may be the company line, but the scenario is improbable enough that even Paul has conceded his “chances are slim.”

    VIDEO: 10 Questions with Ron Paul

    Even as they tamp down rumors of a pact, Paul’s advisers concede that the friendship between Paul and Romney is the initial step toward a deal. And behind the scenes, discussions between the two campaigns — as well as initial discussions with the Santorum and Gingrich camps, according to one Paul adviser — are slowly taking shape.

    An alliance could benefit both camps. Paul’s support would go a long way toward helping Romney with a bloc of young Republicans who have been turning out in huge numbers for Paul and who otherwise might stay home in November. It might also help Romney grab all of Paul’s delegates. Such an arrangement would help Paul get what a Romney ally called “an important speaking role at the convention.”

    Paul’s camp contends he will exceed the 270 delegates Romney garnered in 2008, which earned him an undercard slot on the penultimate evening in St. Paul. Josh Putnam, a political scientist at Davidson College who studies delegate allocation, notes that Paul’s campaign hasn’t furnished evidence to back up those claims. But he says there is a chance Paul could “completely exploit the system and take delegates from caucus states where there’s no written rule to how delegates are allocated.” Paul’s aides say they expect to win a plurality of delegates in a batch of blue-to-purple caucus states where it failed to win the popular vote, including Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, Nevada and Washington.

    MAGAZINE: Ron Paul, The Prophet

    Paul’s acolytes insist their man cannot be bought. “Romney wants the ring of power. He wants it so bad,” says Doug Wead, a Paul senior adviser. “Negotiating with Ron Paul is very difficult because he doesn’t want anything. If he got the ring, he would throw it into Mount Doom.”

    Maybe so, but at 76, Paul is understandably concerned about the future of his movement. Aides say if Paul can’t win the nomination, four legislative priorities would top the Texas Representative’s wish list: deep spending cuts that lead to a balanced budget; the restoration of civil liberties; a commitment to reclaim the legislative branch’s right to declare war, which it abdicated to the executive branch in recent decades; and reforms that shore up the U.S. monetary system, such an audit of the Federal Reserve or competing-currency legislation. The Texas Representative might also be enticed, says campaign chairman Jesse Benton, by the prospect of serving as a presidential adviser, a Cabinet position for someone in his orbit or “perhaps a vice presidency.”

    Not for himself, but rather his son. Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky and a Tea Party icon, is expected to launch his own White House bid in 2016. Being on the ticket now – or even being mentioned for it – would be a helpful step. Says one Paul adviser: “If you’re talking about putting Rand on the ticket, of course that would be worth delivering our people to Romney.”

  2. (Reuters) – Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney has cast himself as an outsider to Washington’s political gridlock, and his rivals as insiders who have been part of the problem in the nation’s capital.
    But when it comes to financing his campaign, Romney has courted a key symbol of Washington’s establishment: its lobbyists, the quietly powerful forces who are hired to try to influence government decisions.

    And like financial titans on New York’s Wall Street, the political insiders on Washington’s K Street are investing heavily in a potential match-up between President Barack Obama and Romney.

    Nearly 390 registered lobbyists and lobbying political action committees (PACs) have contributed more than $1.5 million to Romney’s campaign and Restore Our Future, the independent Super PAC that backs Romney, according to a Reuters analysis of filings with the Federal Election Commission and the Senate Office of Public Records.

    The tally is far more than what any other Republican candidate or his Super PAC has received.

    On the Democratic side, Obama has distanced himself from lobbyists, but his re-election effort is not free from lobbying interests, according to the filings.

    Obama’s Super PAC has received $1 million from the lobbying arm of the Service Employees International Union, which pushes labor causes in Congress just as business lobbyists promote companies’ interests.

    Many of Romney’s campaign donors represent the healthcare and financial sectors, while K Street donations to his Super PAC came from three PACs: law and lobbying firm Duane Morris and energy firms Consol Energy and Oxbow Carbon, run by Bill Koch, who is a member of a prominent Republican family.


    Romney’s three rivals for the Republican nomination all have ties to Washington, but the Reuters analysis found that, combined, their campaigns have received less than $94,000 from registered lobbyists.

    And the Super PACs supporting Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul do not appear to have received any donations from registered lobbyists, the analysis found.

    Gingrich, a former U.S. House of Representatives speaker who was a consultant to lobbyists after leaving office in 1999, received $73,000 from 42 registered lobbyists and two lobbying PACs.

    Long-time Texas Congressman Ron Paul has received just $750 in donations from two registered lobbyists.

    Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, took in less than $20,000 from 18 registered lobbyists and one lobbying organization.

    When he was the third-ranked Republican in the Senate, Santorum held meetings with Washington lobbying firms and congressional Republican leaders to try to secure a long-term Republican majority in Congress by making sure that lobbying firms and trade groups hire Republicans for top jobs.

    The Republicans’ “K Street Project” prompted ethics investigations of at least two House members, although leaders defended it as within the bounds of what Democrats did for years.

    Santorum later went to work for American Continental Group, a lobbying firm, though he was never officially a lobbyist.


    Obama has tried to stay at arm’s length from lobbyists and has returned many donations from them. Because of that, his campaign has for now retained only $22,134 from 18 registered lobbyists.

    But Priorities USA, the Super PAC that supports the president’s re-election, has taken in about $1.1 million from interest groups and individual registered lobbyists. The sum came from eight K Street donors, and of it, $1 million was given by the lobbying PAC of the Service Employees International Union.

    Although Priorities USA head Bill Burton called the comparison of union donations to corporate money “preposterous,” Bill Allison at the Sunlight Foundation open government advocacy group said unions are an influential Washington power player.

    “Labor unions lobby, they have interests in Washington,” Allison said. “They’re different from corporate interests, but I don’t know how you can say they’re not a lobbying interest.”

    Lobbyists get paid for their relationships, ability to open doors, get access and get clients’ messages to the right people.

    In the Republican nominating race, Romney in particular has cast them as a key part of a dysfunctional political system. In a Gallup poll in December, lobbyists ranked second-to-last among 21 professions in honesty and ethical standards, ahead of members of Congress.

    Lobbyists say they are an integral part of the Washington process, helping to raise issues on the national agenda and educate lawmakers.

    “The insiders approach this from a lot of different angles than a casual voter. They’ve been in town for a long time, they’ve watched this process for a long time, they can smell a winner,” said Tom Korologos, a long-time Washingtonian and a strategic adviser at law firm DLA Piper who has given $1,500 to Romney’s campaign.

    In interviews, Romney’s donors said their contributions were often triggered by his business-friendly views that also appear attuned to their taste for debates over policy rather than values, issues that are economic rather than social.

    “The establishment knows practicality when it sees it,” Korologos said.

    “People who contribute to Governor Romney’s campaign do so because they support his agenda for the country,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an e-mail.

    Individual lobbyists who donate give either because they personally support a campaign’s goals or to influence policy for their clients. But lobbying PACs exist with the sole intention of shaping government decisions.

    Prominent Republican lobbyists on Romney’s side are Charles Black Jr, who lobbies for AT&T Inc (T.N) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N); Wayne Berman, who represents Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Visa Inc (V.N); and Ed Rogers, who lobbies for defense contractor Raytheon Co (RTN.N) and drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L).

    Romney campaign donors who gave the maximum $2,500 include executives at energy, consumer and insurance trade groups as well as Bank of America (BAC.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

    Tech giants Google (GOOG.O) and IBM (IBM.N), energy heavyweights Chevron (CVX.N) and Exelon (EXC.N), retailer Home Depot (HD.N) and the largest U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE.N) were also on the list.

    Apart from the financial industry, most notable was the connection of many Romney donors to healthcare. The industry awaits drastic changes from Obama’s signature healthcare reform that is scheduled to kick into full gear in 2013. Romney has vowed to repeal the law if he becomes president.

    Several of Romney’s donors came from the drug lobby and work for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and makers of medicines and medical devices, including Medtronic (MDT.N), Merck (MRK.N), Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O) and Covidien (COV.N).

    Many of the lobbyists’ agendas are topped by concerns over fixing the U.S. budget deficit and the complex tax code, similar to the concerns of many Americans.

    But K Street power players also worry about a “sequester,” automatic across-the-board cuts in federal programs that will take effect in 2013 unless lawmakers negotiate an alternative.

  3. Mitt Romney Says Talk Of Delegate Math Is Just For ‘Insiders’ (Unless You’re Mitt Romney)

    ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:

    Delegate math? That’s a topic only “insiders” care about, Mitt Romney said on Sunday.

    His comments, however, don’t square with the message he and his campaign have been driving home recently — especially over the last week.

    “I know a lot of people will talk about delegates and strategies and math and that’s all very interesting to the insiders,” Romney said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “But I think the American people want to see someone who has the leadership, skill and experience to defeat the president, and a vision of conservatism that will get American back on track again.”

    But rewind to Tuesday when he told reporters ahead of the Alabama and Mississippi primaries: “This is all about getting delegates. If the polls are right, we’ll pick up some delegates. That’s what it’s all about.”

    Later that day, after Santorum won both states, Romney said in a written statement that he was “pleased that we will be increasing our delegate count in a very substantial way after tonight.”

    “With the delegates won tonight, we are even closer to the nomination,” he added.

    By 11 a.m. the next day, Romney’s political director Rich Beeson had fired off a memo with one central message: “Tuesday’s results actually increased Governor Romney’s delegate lead.”

    In an interview on Fox News Wednesday morning, Romney echoed his campaign’s point about the delegate math: “Oh, and by the way, last night I got more delegates than anybody else.”

    And while campaigning in Mobile, Ala. two days earlier, Romney noted in another Fox News interview, “this is all about delegates.”

    “At this stage we’re putting together as many delegates as we can. We’ve got a good solid lead,” he said. “We’re closing the deal, state-by-state, delegate-by-delegate.”

    Romney even volunteered a procedural point: “As you know delegates are awarded proportionally, so that lengthens the process, but we’re winning this.”

    On Sunday, however, his recall of party rules appeared fuzzier.

  4. Thanx John. Coming from a loser like you, that means a lot. Can we call Obama by his middle name, or are we racist’s? You really should join Uncle Joe Biden at the race track. It’s time for you to go!