A prominent fundraiser for Mitt Romney is pitching the candidate’s “Massachusetts moderate” image as a reason to donate – not as the epithet Romney’s rivals have hurled at him.
An email sent Saturday by Christopher Jenny, president of the Boston-based Parthenon Group business consultancy, inviting potential donors to a Boston fundraiser, entreats them to help fight “social arch conservative Rick Santorum.”
“For those of you who are not offended by the idea of a ‘Massachusetts moderate’ in the White House, the opportunity to get involved is fleeting,” wrote Jenny, who has also donated to progressive Democrat Alan Khazei and was a George W. Bush bundler. National Journal obtained the email and attached invitation to the March 7 reception, which Jenny is co-hosting, from someone unaffiliated with the campaign.
Romney has emptied tremendous reserves of cash and energy for two straight presidential elections trying to convince rank-and-file Republicans he is not ideologically tainted by the liberal moonbat cesspool that Massachusetts represents in the eyes of the GOP electorate.
“I think the biggest misconception would be that I'm a guy that comes from Massachusetts and therefore I can't be conservative,” Romney said on "Fox News Sunday" this week, adding, “I'm a solid conservative – a committed conservative with the kind of principles I think America needs.”
But helping replenish those cash reserves are the very Massachusetts moderates from whom Romney has sought to distance himself. The dichotomy between where his money is coming from and where his message is going underscores the discomfort Romney has experienced trying to broaden his appeal beyond the party’s upscale, non-tea-party wing. Those receiving the email, Jenny wrote, “can certainly afford to get involved.”
“For many of us in this country, being a ‘moderate’ is still a good thing,” Jenny wrote. And, for many, including those in the Republican Party who have resisted Romney, it’s not.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Paul Draws 3,800 People at Michigan State NEW!
[National Journal, 2/27/12] Although he seems to have largely disappeared from the public sphere, Ron Paul proved he can still turn out a crowd today at Michigan State University, for what his campaign called Paul's biggest event yet.
Gingrich Looking for Way to Break Through Again NEW!
[Wall Street Journal, 2/27/12] He's largely disappeared from news reports and the public eye as he's faded in the polls, but Gingrich is banking his hopes for the nomination on finding a political opportunity in rising gas prices.
Michigan Call: Santorum in a Squeaker
[New Yorker, 2/27/12] John Cassidy weighs the Michigan numbers and finds Romney wanting. Recent polls, added to the fact that pundits usually underestimate Santorum, could mean that the former Pennsylvania Senator ekes a win out in Michigan, despite all odds.
Stress-Testing Romney's Michigan Edge
[New York Times, 2/27/12] Nate Silver has a set of 15 questions to help figure out what might happen in an election as close as Michigan's primary, when polls may not tell the whole story. Silver finds that while the polls give Romney the win, it's still plausible for Santorum to pull off an upset.
Romney Record on Retail Job Growth Shows More Low Wages Than Middle Income NEW!
[Bloomberg, 2/27/12] Though Romney touts his business background as evidence for why he'd be a good job creator and could help the middle class, the companies he helped found and grow during his time as a private equity executive haven't created jobs for the middle class as much as he'd like voters to believe.
Tennessee, Ohio Polls Show Santorum's Populist Opportunity
[National Journal, 2/27/12] New polls in Ohio and Tennessee show Santorum marshalling powerful support from key elements of the GOP's populist wing, particularly tea party supporters and evangelical Christians, but also remaining competitive with (or even leading) Romney among more-managerial voters. But can Santorum hold that coalition? National Journal's Ron Brownstein weighs in.
Romney Says He Has Friends Who Own NASCAR Teams
[National Journal, 2/26/12] In what should have been a chance to show he’s one of the guys, Romney went to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race on Sunday and in an offhand remark, reminded people once again that he’s not exactly a regular Joe. He told a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos, "I really like those fancy raincoats you bought.... Really sprung for the big bucks," according to The New York Times.
Santorum Robocall Urges Democrats to Vote in GOP Primary NEW!
[National Journal, 2/27/12] A Democratic group started a drive to get Dems out to the polls for Santorum in Michigan tomorrow, but Santorum seems to think they had a pretty good idea--his campaign launched phonecalls throughout the state urging Democrats to go vote for Santorum, too.
Paul Never Attacked Romney Once During 20 Debates
[Think Progress, 2/27/12] Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has received a lot of flak from Santorum lately for his treatment of Romney during the Republican presidential debates, Santorum charging that Paul might be pulling his punches for future favors. A new study by liberal-leaning Think Progress shows that Paul has never attacked Romney during the 20 debates. Instead, he attacked Romney’s rivals 39 times.
Michigan Race Shows Romney, Santorum Differences
[Associated Press, 2/27/12] Each candidates' campaign stops and pitches throw into stark relief the differences between the candidates themselves. While Santorum spends his time selling himself to blue-collar voters wherever he can, Romney tends to stick to small businesses and factories and economic issues.
Santorum’s Ad Man: Not 'at War With Satan' Just Wants to 'Move Numbers'
[Daily Beast, 2/27/12] John Brabender, the longtime Santorum ad man, is a former Democrat from Pennsylvania. He is praised by peers, both Democrat and Republican, for his creativity, sense of humor, and ability to explain the complicated.
Santorum to Get Secret Service Protection; Gingrich Asks for It
[National Journal, 2/27/12] This week, Santorum will become the second remaining Republican presidential candidate to receive Secret Service protection, a campaign aide said on Monday. Romney received his protection on Feb. 1. Gingrich has also requested Secret Service protection and is awaiting approval.
For the GOP, 2012 or Never
[New York Magazine, 2/26/12] This year may be the last chance the Republican Party has – at least, in its current form – to run the country, writes Jonathan Chait. He argues that 2012 marks a “Hail Mary” for a party that has shifted rightward, relies increasingly on older, whiter voters and is banking on an all-or-nothing strategy when it comes to policy during the Obama years.
Why Rick Santorum Keeps Fighting the Culture Wars
[National Journal, 2/27/12] Despite cries for him to give up the battle, Santorum has continued his fight over social issues. National Journal's Alex Roarty wonders if this might in fact be a keen political calculation on Santorum's part.
Michigan Tipping Point: Primary Becomes Referendum on Romney
[The Hill, 2/27/12] For Romney and Santorum, the stakes could not be higher in Michigan’s on Tuesday primary. If Romney wins convincingly, he will have cleared perhaps his last real hurdle. But if Santorum defeats Romney in the latter’s home state, it would shift the race in a fundamental way. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on Monday that a Romney loss in Michigan would be "a real setback."
Santorum Op-Ed: My Economic Freedom Agenda
[Wall Street Journal, 2/27/12] Santorum attacked both Obama and Romney in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, saying that their economic policies lead to class warfare. He laid out 10 of the main initiatives of his “Economic Freedom Agenda,” which addresses a wide range of current economic woes like the housing crisis and fuel prices.
Santorum Plan to Cut Aid Seen as Wrong Cure
[Bloomberg, 2/27/12] One plank of Santorum's economic plan is to overhaul welfare and unemployment aid, but a number of experts believe that, especially during a time of economic hardship, those aren't sound methods for getting the economy on the right track.
Dems May Dally in GOP Primary
[Detroit News, 2/27/12] Democratic Party leaders say crossing over at the ballot box in hopes of thwarting the outcome of the Republican primary isn't sanctioned, but it's inevitable. The Detroit Free Press reports that 2,000 Detroit residents have asked for Republican absentee ballots.
GOP Governors to GOP Candidates: Talk Economics, Please
[National Journal, 2/27/12] The GOP governors who swarmed D.C. for the National Governors Association meeting were of like mind on at least one aspect of the presidential contest: Their eventual nominee is not going to beat President Obama by talking about contraception and other social issues.
Presidential Primary Has GOP Nervous
[Roll Call, 2/27/12] Romney has been a weak front-runner, but GOP operatives worry that Santorum and Gingrich, Romney’s chief competition, have proved incapable of translating primary season successes into a national political operation.
Muslims and Arab Americans in Michigan Aren’t Getting Attention from Republican Presidential Candidates NEW!
[Yahoo News, 2/27/12] Though Michigan is home to the largest mosque in the nation, GOP candidates have largely ignored Muslim voters both in that state and during their stops throughout the primary season. Only Ron Paul has made any overtures to the untapped voting bloc, and it's unclear whether he's made any in-roads.
Mormon Voters Wary of Too Much Public Support for Romney
[Washington Post, 2/26/12] Don’t expect Arizona’s Mormons to go starting a “Mormons for Mitt” group anytime soon. Mormons, one of Romney’s most loyal voting blocs, are often quiet about their support. That might be because the church discourages political involvement, but Mormon voters also see danger in associating Romney too closely with his faith.