On to November: Romney Earns Spot to Face President

BY Christina Bellantoni and Katelyn Polantz  May 30, 2012 at 9:30 AM EST


Mitt Romney campaigns in Las Vegas Tuesday. Photo by: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Morning Line

With little fanfare, Willard Mitt Romney crossed an important threshold Tuesday.

The 65-year-old former governor of Massachusetts clinched enough primary delegates to earn the Republican Party’s nomination to face President Obama on the Nov. 6 ballot. The magic number came as he won nearly 70 percent of the vote in Texas. Romney dispatched nine rivals during the course of a sometimes brutal and bitter primary contest, and won all but 13 states this year.

Without balloons or confetti, Romney issued a statement with his eye on the prize.

“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee,” Romney said.

“Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us,” he said. “I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us. But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity. On November 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness.”

The primary win officially put behind Romney his failed past campaigns against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts and for president in 2008. It also marked a historical moment for the candidate: an achievement he’s dreamt about for years, since his father’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 1968, says Michael Kranish of the Boston Globe, who wrote the biography “The Real Romney.”

“He really put his father on a pedestal and he said he’s the real deal and has tried to emulate him in so many ways,” Kranish told Margaret Warner on Tuesday’s NewsHour. “His father was a very successful businessman, governor of Michigan. And here we have Romney, businessperson, governor of Massachusetts, and seeking the presidency.”

Kranish also pointed out that Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital spans 15 years and can’t fairly be boiled down into a soundbite in a political ad.

“People at Bain Capital would say, after work, he would put his briefcase in the car and then he went home,” Kranish said. “And Mitt Romney has said he didn’t take the briefcase out of the car when he got home. And that tells you I think a lot about Mitt Romney. He wanted to go in, do the job, leave it behind and then go home to his family.”

Watch the segment here or below.

And Ruth Marcus devotes her column to Romney’s upbringing, writing that his parents influenced his political career.

LOSS IN TEXAS, CELEBRATION STILL PLANNED

Texas Rep. Ron Paul captured 171,830 votes — just 12 percent — in his home state, less than he’s received in other primaries across the country (see the results in our Vote 2012 Map Center.)

And though he’s no longer making an attempt to block Romney as the nominee, Paul’s presence is being felt nonetheless.

Despite the loss, Paul supporters assert the “liberty” platform movement still is underway and strong. They’ve focused their efforts for some time on negotiating how enthusiasm for Paul could influence the Republican National Convention.

(The NewsHour discussed that strategy two weeks ago.)

Now, a group of supporters plans to host a Paul-inspired pre-game of sorts for the national convention, dubbed Paul Festival 2012. The Tampa Bay Times reports they’re booking the Florida State Fairgrounds, just a few miles from the convention, for Aug. 24 to 26.

The plans don’t come from the Paul campaign — its leaders announced weeks ago that the candidate’s public appearances have ended but a strategy to amass delegates would continue. The festival is planned by a group called Liberty Unleashed.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

“The festival’s entertainment is expected to include comedy acts, celebrity appearances, book signings, showings of documentaries on various issues, kids’ activities, vendors and live music from country and classic rock to grunge, punk and hip-hop. Robinet said she couldn’t say who would be in that lineup, though it would not include singer Willie Nelson, who has spoken warmly of Paul but nonetheless sent his regrets.”

The Times also notes the arrangements in the works for many “Ronvoys,” or caravans of Paul supporters traveling to the convention in 12-to-15-seater vans.

COURTING COLORADO HISPANICS

Gwen Ifill reported from Colorado about the campaigns’ efforts to win over Hispanic voters, who warn they are far from a monolithic electorate.

She also notes that while Romney has hired a Latino outreach coordinator, his campaign still is without offices in the state, so shares the state Republican headquarters. Compare that to the 13 offices the Obama campaign has scattered across Colorado.

Watch the report here or below.

And don’t miss Gwen’s extended interview with pollster Gary Segura.

“The path for victory for the Democrats with respect to Latino voters is baiting the Republicans into saying awful things,” he told her.

2012 LINE ITEMS

  • Politico reports that “Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives – including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – plan to spend roughly $1 billion,” on the presidential race and congressional contests before Nov. 6.

  • Planned Parenthood will run ads against Romney, the New York Times reports.

  • Team Romney will attack the president Wednesday on his health care law and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform measure, saying both have hurt small businesses and impeded job creation.

  • The Romney camp keeps up its critique of Solyndra, and highlights White House spokesman Jay Carney’s struggle to answer a question about the issue in this video.

  • The Rust Belt may end up swinging the 2012 election this November and early signs point to the president facing an uphill climb with white working-class voters in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and New York. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday shows Mr. Obama trailing Romney by 14 points with blue collar workers in some of the most economically challenged parts of the country. The survey, conducted over a two month period, also offers a reflection of the nature of the economic recovery with almost 70 percent of Rust Belt respondents saying the country is heading in the wrong direction.

  • The Daily Caller assesses the value in fundraising of four possible Republican vice presidential picks.

  • Cable news was dominated Tuesday by discussions about Donald Trump and his birther push. Here he is sparring with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

  • And Reuters shows Romney’s birth certificate and reports that his father George Romney was born in Mexico, not the United States.

  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush addresses his veep prospects in an Italian newspaper, with some flawed grammar via Google Translate.

  • The president leads Romney 53 percent to 39 percent in Michigan.

  • Romney faced some technical difficulties stumping in Colorado on Tuesday. Who’s to blame? D.C. bureaucrats and the president, the candidate said. Here’s the video.

TOP TWEETS

OUTSIDE THE LINES

  • Rep. Silvestre Reyes lost his seat in a Democratic primary in Texas Tuesday.

  • In a repeat of the establishment vs. tea party theme, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz will face off in a July 31 runoff election for the Texas GOP Senate primary.

  • Jeffrey Brown (@jeffreybrown), Terence Burlij (@burlij), Allie Morris (@@dePeystah) and Steve Mort (@mobilemort) will be in the Badger State covering the recall election. Follow them!

  • We Are Wisconsin does a rap-themed video against Gov. Scott Walker.

  • Day seven. No verdict. The John Edwards case presses on. On Tuesday U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles said jurors returning from the three-day holiday weekend had informed her of some upcoming scheduling conflicts and that “[i]t appears to be high school graduation season,” Reuters reports.

  • Artur Davis, who served in Congress as an Alabama Democrat, may run again as a Virginia Republican.

  • Rep. Thad McCotter will run for re-election as a write-in after having some problems getting on the ballot, Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz reports.

  • Vice President Biden’s daughter is getting married.

  • Pennsylvania TV audiences will see new ads opposing Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s spending policies. Interesting to note: He’s not up for re-election this year.

  • The Supreme Court likely won’t take up a few cases involving Tasers in its next term. The Christian Science Monitor reports on the most talked about case the court declined Tuesday, one involving a pregnant woman’s tasing after police stopped her for speeding.

  • Neither candidate in the Arizona special election to replace Gabrielle Giffords will commit to vote for their party leader if they make it to Congress.

  • Journalist Philip Meyer defends the speech of members of Congress in USA Today. His column is a rebuttal to the Sunlight Foundation’s recent findings that few congressional members use enough SAT words to average higher than an 11th grade communication level.

  • Don’t miss NewsHour’s Saskia de Melker’s latest Coping with Climate Change story on floating buildings.

  • The NewsHour’s partners at Latino Public Broadcasting are highlighting this documentary about the Texas revolution.

Politics Desk Assistant Alex Bruns contributed to this report.

ON THE TRAIL

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama is in Washington. He signs a bill reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank at 11:40 a.m. and holds a reception for Jewish American Heritage Month at 5 p.m.

  • Vice President Biden has no public events.

  • Mitt Romney holds a series of private fundraisers in California.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:


For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan and @tiffanymullon.