Romney Wins Wisconsin, Maryland and D.C.

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romneyOn a day when victories in three presidential-primary elections pushed Mitt Romney closer to becoming the GOP nominee, President Obama on Tuesday attacked his likely rival’s embrace of Republican federal budget proposals, calling them a “radical vision” that would deepen inequality in the United States.

Romney, who won contests in Wisconsin, Maryland and D.C., responded to the president’s remarks, saying that the last thing Obama is “qualified to lecture on is responsible federal spending.”

Signaling a shift in the campaign, Obama addressed Romney by name, noting that Romney called the plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin “marvelous.”

With his victories, Romney tightened his grip on the Republican presidential nomination, taking the 95 delegates up for grabs Tuesday: 42 in Wisconsin, 37 in Maryland, and 16 in the District of Columbia. Each primary is winner take all.

The voting set the stage for a three-week break from presidential primaries starting Wednesday, although Romney is still facing a home-state stand from die-hard challenger Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator.

Returns from 80 percent of Wisconsin’s precincts showed Romney with 43 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Santorum, 12 percent for Rep. Ron Paul and 6 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Romney already had 572 delegates before Tuesday’s voting, according to an Associated Press tally – exactly half the 1,144 needed to win the nomination. Santorum had 273, Gingrich had 135 and Paul had 50.

Santorum, who failed to qualify for the District of Columbia ballot and spent almost no time campaigning in Maryland, vowed to stay in the race. All but ceding Wisconsin before the polls closed Tuesday, he headed to Mars, Pa.

“It’s halftime. Half the delegates in this process have now been selected,” Santorum told supporters there.

In a primary-day interview, Romney told Fox News that it’s important for the Republicans to “get a nominee as soon as we can and be able to focus on Barack Obama.”

On Wednesday he will address the American Society of News Editors in Washington, a day after Obama spoke to them.

During his speech, the president criticized Republicans for trying to “impose a radical vision on our country” that would reward the very rich while slashing programs that benefit the middle class.

For months, Obama and his top advisers have been laying the groundwork for a campaign that would seek to tie the eventual GOP nominee to congressional Republicans, who have become deeply unpopular with a majority of voters, according to repeated polls.

In his Tuesday speech, Obama offered a methodical defense of a strong government hand in national affairs and his own philosophy of governing, one that favors putting money into programs that, he said, would provide greater opportunities for the middle class. The election would offer an “unambiguously clear” choice, he said.

He called the Ryan budget a “Trojan horse” that, in the guise of cutting the federal deficit, would provide large new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and deep cuts in popular programs.

The House budget is so far from the political mainstream that it “makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal,” he said, referring to a 1994 campaign document that Republicans wielded on their way to winning control of Congress.

The budget plan would cut taxes for the wealthy, refashion Medicare into a voucher-style program and cut deeply into federal spending. It would provide tax cuts of an “average of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in this country – $150,000,” Obama said. House Republicans dispute that figure, saying their plan calls for unspecified changes to the tax code that make such a number impossible to determine.

Obama jabbed at Romney’s description of the budget as “marvelous,” indirectly raising another Democratic campaign theme – that Romney is out of touch with ordinary Americans.

“Marvelous” is a word that “you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget,” he joked. “It’s a word you don’t often hear generally.”

Romney hit back.

“Out-of-touch liberals like Barack Obama say they want a strong economy, but they really don’t like businesses very much,” the former Massachusetts governor told supporters gathered in the Grain Exchange in downtown Milwaukee as he celebrated the day’s wins.

“Years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you what a great job you are doing, well, that might be enough to make you a little out of touch,” he said.

Already, the early outlines of a general-election ad war are visible. Obama’s re-election campaign is airing commercials in a half-dozen battleground states that accuse Romney of siding with Big Oil “for their tax breaks, attacking higher mileage standards and renewables.”

The ads are a rapid response to $3 million in commercials aired by an outside group, American Energy Reliance, blaming the president for rising gasoline prices.

The three-week lull before contests in late April promises a flurry of behind-the-scenes general-election activity – including hiring staff and fundraising – as well as campaigning in the northeast. Pennsylvania is also a key battleground state in the fall.

“The White House is engaging more,” said Romney strategist Stuart Stevens. “They’ve already been obsessed with Mitt Romney.”

{Seattle Times/ Newscenter}


  1. The [democratic and] republican establishment and the media are all together trying to shove This candidate on the unwilling electorate
    (and then they’ll proclaim to all “DEMOCRACY”).

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