Even Mitt’s Wallet Has Its Limits

The Romney campaign has been the 800-pound gorilla in the Republican primary. Throwing his money around he was able to completely saturate the Iowa, Florida, South Carolina and Michigan airwaves with attack ads that his opponents lacked the resources to respond to.

However, in order to keep up an intense offensive like that you need cash. He has been burning money faster than he has been raising it. Moreover, these charts from Talking Point Memo show that most of Romney’s money has come from big donors who have already given the maximum legal donation of $2,500. He cannot get any money from them until after the Republican National Convention, August 27-30.

Presumably Romney will have to rely more and more on his Super PAC “Restore Our Future” which accepts unlimited contributions such as $1,300,000 last month from hedge fund founder Julian Roberts and $2,000,000 from cosmetic company founder Steven Lund. After all, Romney’s staff does not want to have to give up its luxury hotels.

Mitt Romney Feels The Heat in New Hampshire Debate Marathon

If you missed last night’s ABC debate, here is a round up courtesy of TPM.”

And here is today’s NBC debate in 100 seconds.

Last night the Republicans faced off for a 2-hour debate on ABC, and this morning is round 2 as they debate on NBC. Mitt Romney, the putative winner in Iowa and the projected winner of New Hampshire, is feeling the heat as he is being attacked from all side as the Suffolk University tracking poll shows  his support dropping for the fourth day in a row.

“Taking two positions on every issue, one on the left and one of the right, doesn’t make you a centrist. It makes you a charlatan.”
— David Axelrod, in a conference call with reporters.

According to the Huffington Post, Romney’s first event in New Hampshire after the Iowa Caucus “offered a rude awakening”:

Three of the first four questioners were openly hostile to Romney, although one of them was an Occupy Manchester activist. And even the endorsement and appearance of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) failed to arouse much of a reaction from the Granite Staters in attendance… the tone of the event was a sharp break from the joyful mood that had accompanied the former Massachusetts governor onto a charter plane from Iowa earlier that morning, along with a swarm of press befitting a presidential frontrunner.

Romney’s Fast Shuffle on Tax Figures

FactCheck: In the post-debate analysis, the Annenberg Public Policy Center found Romney mangled facts in Manchester.

Romney, talking about taxes, said federal, state and local government consume 37% of the economy today compared with only 27% when John F. Kennedy was president. In fact, taxes now consume only 27.4% of GDP.

The Urban-Brooking Tax Policy Center has analyzed Mitt Romney’s tax plan. They “found that the plan constitutes a major tax cut for wealthy Americans. But compared to today’s rates, Romney proposes effective tax increases for people making less than $40,000.”

Meanwhile as April 15 approaches, Romney continues to refuse to make his tax returns public as is traditional for Presidential Candidates. Brian Beutler exposes Romney’s motivation for doing so:

One tax expert told TPM of “fairly sophisticated tax strategies” that would be “not available to ordinary tax payers.” A technique that puts you in a position that’s “like having an unlimited 401k account” sounds very attractive. But maybe not if you’re running for office, for Pete’s sake.

When Romney jokes that he’s been unemployed for years, he’s obscuring the fact that he’s still collecting millions of dollars of investment income, which is taxed at a much lower rate than it would be if he, like most taxpayers, took home a regular paycheck. He’s also obscuring the fact a great deal of that same income is only vaguely connected to his own underlying investments, and yet benefits from a key loophole in the tax code that allows him and other wealthy finance veterans to more than halve their effective tax rate.

Romney’s Dubious Jobs Claim, Again

“Mitt Romney, I think, is more of a job cremator than a job creator.”
— DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

FactCheck continued its analysis of Romney’s job creation claims:

Romney repeated the claim that he created over 100,000 jobs through his work at the private equity firm Bain Capital. That’s an unproven and questionable claim, as we wrote earlier this week.

Romney said that 100,000 jobs was a “net-net” figure that included jobs gained and lost at more than 100 businesses in which Bain invested. When moderator George Stephanopoulos questioned that, saying analysts had said Romney hadn’t subtracted jobs lost, Romney responded, “no, it’s not accurate.” He said he was “a good enough numbers guy to make sure I got both sides of that.” But this week, the Romney campaign sent us as support for the claim a thin list of jobs gained at just three companies: Staples, The Sports Authority and Domino’s. No other companies were included in the list, and no jobs lost were mentioned, either. We have asked the campaign again for the detailed count that Romney said exists.

A former employee of Mitt Romney

Trailer for documentary by pro-Gingrich PAC

Romney: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”

As for the three companies the campaign has cited, it’s true that they have added more than 100,000 jobs since Bain invested in them. But does Romney deserve credit for all of those jobs? He admitted at the debate tonight that the total includes jobs up until the present day, long after Bain’s initial involvement, and that other firms had invested in them as well. As we reported earlier, The Sports Authority was started with help from Bain, William Blair Venture Partners, Phillips-Smith and Marquette Venture Partners. William Blair and Bessemer Venture Partners invested in Staples. And both companies, of course, had founders and CEOs spearheading their launches.

Romney Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom: Romney’s claimed 100,000 job figure was undercut by his own campaign as his spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler that these were gross job creations, and not net numbers which would have to include the people Romney laid off:

Fehrnstrom says the 100,000 figure stems from the growth in jobs from three companies that Romney helped to start or grow while at Bain Capital:

  • Staples (a gain of 89,000 jobs),
  • The Sports Authority (15,000 jobs), and
  • Domino’s (7,900 jobs).

This tally obviously does not include job losses from other companies with which Bain Capital was involved — and are based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain. (Indeed, Romney made his comments in response to a former employee of American Pad & Paper Co. who says he lost his job after Bain Capital took it private.)

Contradictions about ads produced by pro-Romney PAC after the jump.

Who Actually Won The Iowa Caucus

Iowa Republican Caucuses 2012
Romney 30,015 24.55%
Santorum 30,007 24.54%
Paul 26,219 21.45%
Gingrich 16,251 13.29%
Perry 12,604 10.31%
Romney 30,015 24.55%
Bachmann 6,073 4.97%
Other 1,086 0.89%
Total 122,255 100%

Governor Mitt Romney?

Late Tuesday night I went to bed not knowing who won the 2012 Iowa Caucus. The race between Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was just too close to call.

In the end, results from the final precinct were tracked down putting Romney over the top by eight votes.

About 200 miles from Des Moines, the Republican chair of Clinton County was fast asleep as state officials waited for the final votes in the caucuses. As it turns out, the final votes were needed from the second ward, second precinct, the 2-2 in Clinton County.

With Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney in a dead heat, the votes were crucial from that precinct. So before midnight, the Romney campaign picked up the phone and called Edith Pfeffer to get those numbers. Republican leaders in Des Moines did not have those results, apparently because of some computer trouble.

This has a narrow result. Romney actually had more votes four years ago (30,021 votes or 25.19% of the caucus) when he was defeated by Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) in the 2008 Republican Iowa Caucuses.

Senantor Rick Santorum?

There was a 53-person caucus in Moulton, Iowa, which may have a 20 vote discrepancy. The state won’t certify for another week and a half, and they will look into it. Here’s the info:

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, said he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn’t.

“When Mitt Romney won Iowa by eight votes and I’ve got a 20-vote discrepancy here, that right there says Rick Santorum won Iowa,” True said. “Not Mitt Romney.”True said at his 53-person caucus at the Garrett Memorial Library, Romney received two votes. According to the Iowa Republican Party’s website, True’s precinct cast 22 votes for Romney.

The state’s response is that Edward True is not an official, and he had no right to go public with this information. However, with the race so tight, this would actually give Santorum a twelve vote lead, and bragging rights going into next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

Congressman Ron Paul?

Business Insider notes that although Ron Paul finished third in the Iowa caucuses, he may end up being the winner anyway.

That’s because Paul’s massive organizational push in Iowa focused on both winning votes, and also on making sure that Paul supporters stuck around after the vote to make sure they were selected as county delegates — the first step towards being elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

The Presidential Preferencee Straw Poll reported on the television is the first event at the caucus. However that is just for show. What matters are the delegates to the Republican National Convention (in August), and those are chosen by the delegates to the five District Conventions (in May) selected at the 99 County Conventions (in March). Each Caucus selects participants to advance and represent the caucus and their candidate at the county level.

Matt from DemConWatch says:

[The] caucuses I saw on TV … were totally deserted by the time the votes were read, meaning that anyone who stayed could have an outsized effect. And the Paul folks did this in 2008 also, so much that the GOP had to cancel the Nevada statewide convention and just award the delegates to McCain.

Ron Paul’s campaign had a better ground game than Romney and Santorum, and they actually read the rule book, they’ll probably end up winning the lion’s share of Iowa’s delegates despite coming in third in the beauty contest.

President Barack Obama?

There was a Democratic Caucus in Iowa, too!

Their caucus was much less contentious than the Republicans.

According to Sue Dvorsky, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party:

Tonight’s caucus successfully brought our supporters together, and we’re overwhelmed that more than 25,000 Iowans turned out to talk about the President’s record and vision for an economy that restores security for the middle class. We not only saw how excited Iowans are to support President Obama, but to also work for his reelection. The Iowa caucus was a great opportunity to test our campaign organization and expand our volunteer base as we move toward November. In a strong show of support, more than 7,500 Iowans tonight pledged to volunteer for the campaign over the course of the next year, underscoring their commitment to continuing the change the country has seen under President Obama’s leadership.

Well over 98% of participants voted for Obama (as opposed to “uncommitted” or a number of possible protest candidates), so perhaps with Republicans fighting amongst themselves for the soul of their party, the President can consider himself the winner of the Iowa Caucuses last Tuesday.

Voting Rights and the Iowa Caucus

This year, the GOP is working to capture key voting demographics: Students, the poor and seniorsDoc Jess writes:

As the Republicans keep up the pressure to deny suffrage to the young, the elderly, the poor and minorities, keep in mind that you don’t need ID to vote in the Iowa Republican caucuses. You just need a registered Republican to vouch for you. You can show up, declare that you want to participate, and then participate. Remember, states control voting laws for their states, and primaries and caucuses are designed by the party in each state. If you’re still wavering on the question of racism in the GOP, this should be your final impetus to understand that to be a Republican is to be a racist.