Tales from the Trail

Rick Santorum makes appeal to women, new campaign strategy?

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum hailed the influence of strong, independent women on Tuesday night, a turnaround from his past statements that critics have called sexist or anti-women.

In a concession speech given just as rival Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential primaries of Arizona and Michigan, Santorum took the chance to tell voters “a little more about who Rick Santorum is” and sang the praises of his 93-year-old grandmother, his wife Karen, a former lawyer who gave up work to raise their family, and their daughter Elizabeth who campaigns for her dad on her own.

“I grew up with a very strong mom, someone who was a professional person who taught me a lot of things about… balancing work and family, and doing it well, and doing it with a big heart and commitment,” he said.

In his excitement, Santorum also mistakenly referred to the “men and women” who signed the Declaration of Independence.

“I’ve been very, very blessed, very blessed with great role models for me, as someone who goes out and tries to do the job I’m doing right now, to balance the rigors of running a campaign and trying to maintain a good and strong family,” he said.

Why Romney’s parents are buried in Brighton, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan – Sometimes one story leads to another for Mitt Romney.

At Western Michigan University, the Republican presidential candidate told a packed house his parents, George and Lenore Romney, had campaigned in the same conference room when George ran for Michigan governor and Lenore ran for a U.S. Senate seat decades ago.

This reminded him that his campaign bus had taken him past Brighton, Michigan, where his parents are buried, on the way to Kalamazoo.

Bush makes rare public campaign fundraising appearance

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush, despite record low job approval ratings, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday to help Michigan Republicans raise money for the November campaign and he used it to mock the campaign themes of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.bush-michigan.jpg
    
Bush never mentioned Obama’s name but used the Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s name 11 times throughout his 22 minutes of remarks to about 300 supporters in Livonia, Mich.
 
Obama has repeatedly used the words “hope” and “change” as themes of his campaign and to bash the Bush administration in his bid capture the White House in November. But Bush tried to turn the tables on Obama using his own words against him.
 
“The other side talks a lot about ‘hope,’ and that sums up their Iraq policy pretty well: They want to retreat from Iraq and hope nothing bad happens,” Bush said. “But wishful thinking is no way to fight a war and to protect the American people.”
 
On change, Bush said Democrats once favored lower taxes, believed in “common sense American values” and that “America should pay any price and bear any burden in the defense of liberty — but they have changed.”
 
“This isn’t the kind of change the American people want,” Bush said. Americans want change that make their lives better, their country safer. That requires changing the party control of the Congress.”

Republicans face an uphill battle retaking control of the House of Representatives because numerous lawmakers are retiring or seeking another office, while in the Senate they must defend 23 seats and Democrats have only 12 seats to guard.

Bush has made numerous appearances on the campaign trail to help Republican candidates raise money, but almost all of them in the last few months have been behind closed doors (the White House says their policy is to keep fundraisers at private residences closed to the press). Last week Bush made a public appearance in Washington to help the Republican congressional and Senate campaign committees raise some $21.5 million.

Obama sidesteps question on Clinton as VP

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Illinois Sen. Barack Obama sidestepped the Dream Team question on Tuesday when asked whether he would make rival Hillary Clinton his running mate if he beats her for the Democratic White House nomination. 

“Sen. Clinton is still competing. We haven’t resolved this nomination. I haven’t won the nomination yet,” Obama said, after jokinginly asking the audience member who asked the question whether he was a reporter.

“It would be presumptuous of me to pretend like I’ve already won and start talking about who my vice president’s going to be. I still have some more work to do.”

Clinton heads to Michigan to press case for re-vote

WESTCHESTER, New York – Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has made a last-minute change to her campaign schedule, adding a stop in Michigan on Wednesday to push lawmakers to organize a re-do of the state’s primary election.

The New York senator’s campaign decided late on Tuesday to add a stop in Michigan so she can push for the re-run, a move that could help her presidential bid.rtr1rrob.jpg

Michigan Democratic Party leaders said earlier a proposal to redo the primary in June was stalled and unlikely to be approved before a deadline this week.