Tales from the Trail

Santorum momentum doesn’t transfer to New Hampshire

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has seen his star rise in Iowa, where polls show him moving into third place behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. But in New Hampshire he’s still mired in the fourth tier of Republican candidates. Two new polls out today show Romney with a wide lead in the Granite State and Ron Paul running second with Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich tied for fourth.

Santorum is buried at 3 percent in one of the polls, by Suffolk University, and at 4 percent in the second, by Magellan Strategies–about even with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Still, Santorum is making a push in the state with a release today claiming he has 23 endorsements from New Hampshire state legislators and the announcement yesterday that he would buy television time for a new ad making the case that he is the Republican most likely to defeat President Obama in the general election.

But some of Santorum’s policy stances may be at odds with those of many New Hampshire voters — for example, his opposition to birth control, a position that may harm his campaign in a state where Republicans are more pro-choice than the country as a whole. Here’s a 2006 video of Santorum explaining his stance: YouTube Preview Image

Roemer camp pressures networks, pollsters in search of “Roementum”

Former Louisiana governor and Republican presidential hopeful Buddy Roemer is turning up the heat on his opponents: polling companies and national television networks. Roemer, who was in Congress longer than Michele Bachmann and was a governor for as long as Mitt Romney, has yet to be invited to a single Republican debate. That’s because the national television networks determine who gets invited to their debates based on a shifting set of polling criteria, and they have yet to

Four and a half Romney men


Josh, Joe (Tagg’s son), Craig, Tagg and Matt in Manchester.

The impossibly handsome, all-American foursome that walked into the Windham Restaurant on Thursday morning might have meant that a Ralph Lauren photo shoot was getting under way. Or it could have just meant that the Romney boys were back in town.

With Papa Romney busy campaigning in Iowa, four of his five sons — Tagg, Matt, Josh and Craig — as well as his grandson, Joe, stumped for the candidate in New Hampshire, regaling voters with stories of Mitt and his various exploits as family man extraordinaire, legendary household tightwad, savior of the Salt Lake City Olympics, and so on.

In their almost-matching outfits, down to the white checked shirts often favored by their famous father, the Romney boys seemed eerily reminiscent of that other good-looking Mormon group, the Osmonds.

New Hampshire paper, Huntsman launch fresh attacks on Ron Paul

New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, the Union Leader, suspended its attacks on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday to turn its editorial fire on Texas Rep. Ron Paul.  The newspaper, which helped fuel Newt Gingrich’s rise in the polls in late November after it endorsed the former House speaker, published a front page editorial, titled “Ron Paul is truly dangerous,” criticizing Paul’s dovish views on Iran and the treatment of captured terror suspects. Paul’s views, in the words of publisher Joe McQuaid, are “warped” and “nuts.”

McQuaid writes:

Never mind Paul being the favored candidate of the lunatic fringe (see white supremacists, anti-Semites, truthers, etc.). Never mind his refusal to disavow a third-party run (which would only help President Obama’s reelection). His defenders say they admire Ron Paul’s “consistency.” It is true, Paul has been consistently spouting this nonsense. It is about time New Hampshire voters showed him the door.

Meanwhile, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who has staked his entire campaign on the Granite State but has seen Paul surge ahead of him in polls there, is out with a hard-hitting new ad highlighting some loony statements contained in Paul’s newsletters. Among them: a claim that Martin Luther King was a “pro-communist philanderer,” another claim suggesting “90 if not 95 percent of black males in [Washington, D.C.] are semi-criminal if not entirely criminal” and the suggestion of a “federal-homosexual cover-up of AIDS.” Paul has said he wasn’t the author of the controversial statements, which appeared in letters with names like  Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Investment Letter.

Ex-candidate Forbes criticizes Romney and Gingrich

When Steve Forbes endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry in October, Perry was still riding high in the polls and the magazine publisher and two-time GOP candidate appeared set to be one of the most influential economic advisers to a top White House contender. Now, with Perry buried in fourth place in national polls, Forbes could be forgiven for changing horses.

He hasn’t, and today he began a three-day swing through New Hampshire to campaign on Perry’s behalf.

Speaking at a luncheon at the Rotary Club, where previous guest speakers included a local choir and three Rotarians who had recently visited Pakistan, Forbes championed Perry’s flat-tax plan that he helped craft and took a few swipes at frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Mitt Romney, car nut

Perhaps it’s no surprise to know that Mitt Romney is a car nut.

After all, Romney grew up in Michigan, where his father, George, once ran American Motors Corporation before becoming the state’s governor and launching his own failed bid for the White House.

Romney talked about his cars at campaign stops in Lancaster and Randolph, New Hampshire – and even offered to buy a classic car.

At Lowe’s, a gas station/convenience store in Randolph, Romney gassed up his tour bus with $69.90 in diesel fuel. In the store, surrounded by photos of famous visitors to the remote North Country location, he joked with one of the owners about how he would like to buy her classic “Nash Metropolitan” car, a photo of which was pinned to the wall.

Door-knocking Romney reprises missionary days

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney could be excused for having flashbacks to the 1960s when he went door to door in Berlin, New Hampshire, on Thursday.

The former Massachusetts governor worked in France as a Mormon missionary from 1966 to 1968, one of the church’s thousands of earnest young men (mostly) who knock on doors and proselytize. At that point Romney had plenty of doors slammed in his face, but on Thursday, not so much.

“This is a lot easier,” Romney quipped to Reuters. “People speak English. They wish you Merry Christmas. They don’t think you’re a salesman. People used to come to the door [in France] and wag their fingers: ‘No, I don’t want anything.’”

In New Hampshire, fringe candidates get their moment


Bipartisanship flourishes among fringe candidates. Democrat Vermin Supreme and Republican Hugh Cort share a laugh before Monday night’s debate at Saint Anselm College.

New Hampshire voters looking for something different got to size up some other presidential candidates on Monday night. The questions were pointed, the answers often succinct, sensible and serious. But some of the platforms were narrowly focused and, well, a bit wacky.

“I’m here to tell you about thorium, an overlooked energy alternative,” said Robert Greene, a Democrat from Mountain View, California. “If politicians are having any discussion that does not include thorium, they have not had a serious energy discussion.”

Omen for Huntsman in Brady-Tebow duel?

There was a twist on the Tim Tebow relationship with the presidential race on Sunday.

Mary Kaye Huntsman, wife of Republican White House hopeful Jon Huntsman, wore a Tom Brady New England Patriots jersey to her husband’s “town hall” meeting in Plaistow, NH.

As for whether the Florida native really loves the Boston-area team? The wife of the former Utah governor and Chinese ambassador was diplomatic: “We’re spending so much time in New England that I’ve grown to love New England.”

Poll shows Buddy Roemer leading Perry in New Hampshire

Remember when Rick Perry was the Republican presidential frontrunner? A new poll now shows him trailing former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer in New Hampshire. Though Roemer lacks an entourage of Texas Rangers mumbling into their collars and can walk the length of a Main Street in New Hampshire unrecognized, he can, it seems, still spin with the top tier candidates.

“I am encouraged by the strong support from Granite Staters” Roemer said in a press release. “We’ve held over 200 campaign stops in New Hampshire, by far the most out of any presidential candidate, and my message is resonating very well with voters here.”

Before Roemer takes his spot at the center podium at the debates next to Mitt Romney, it’s worth looking closer at the numbers (and no, Roemer hasn’t actually been invited to a debate yet). It’s true the 7News/Suffolk University poll reported Roemer tied with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at 2 percent and ahead of Perry, who garnered just 1 percent — the same figure as former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. However, the poll of 400 likely primary voters had a margin of error of 4.9 percent — and it may be more instructive to look at the survey’s absolute figures.