Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's decisive win over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Florida returned him to the front-runner's spot in the Republican presidential race. Romney emerged from that battle with his strengths, but also his weaknesses, on full display.

Sometimes hard-fought nominating contests produce a more formidable general-election candidate. That's what happened to Barack Obama in 2008. But Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist, thinks it's too soon to tell if this Republican primary battle will have the same effect.

The Republican presidential campaign has provided the first test of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens’ United” decision which allowed outside groups to spend millions on campaigns. While some decry their power, others say they represent free-and-democratic speech.  We’ll look at this issue and new information on who’s providing Super-Pac dollars.  

Guests

A busy day at the statehouse today - House lawmakers voted to send money to the  "rainy day fund," and on a raft of other bills. The State Senate, meanwhile, passed a redistricting map and unveiled what Senate President Peter Bragdon called a bipartisan education funding constitutional amendment.

NHPR's Josh Rogers joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson to discuss the day's action.

In his final address, Governor John Lynch looked back at his legacy as much as he did look forward, but Lynch did underline some key points.  He promised to veto expanded gambling, warned Northern Pass supporters to tread lightly and encouraged a constitutional amendment on education funding. We’ll talk about the speech, play back parts of it and get your thoughts as well.  

Guests

With his lopsided win in Florida, Mitt Romney displayed nearly all the skills and talents a front-runner might need.

He was able to decimate his leading opponent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, through a series of disciplined and sustained attacks, and he had the organizational capacity to press every tactical advantage.

The only thing he failed to do, some critics maintain, was present a convincing case that he's the best possible Republican candidate to take on President Obama.

As the Republican candidates were rallying their supporters in Florida on Tuesday night, their campaigns were quietly sending disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission in Washington. The big picture: Mitt Romney had more money than Newt Gingrich. President Obama had more than either of them. And a few of the new superPACs filed donor lists filled with high rollers.

Tuesday's disclosures run only through Dec. 31 but still reveal some essential truths.

With his impressive Florida win on Tuesday, Mitt Romney has re-established himself as the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. But he continues to face fervent opposition from some quarters, and a number of hurdles remain before he can claim the nomination.

Romney took just over 46 percent of the vote, while second-place finisher Newt Gingrich had nearly 32 percent.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had about 13 percent, with Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 7 percent.

Today marked Governor John Lynch's last State of the State address. And, as one might expect during a slow trudge toward recovery, the bulk of Lynch focused either directly or indirectly on the economy.

NHPR brings you live NPR coverage Tuesday night from the Florida primary.

Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish will host live coverage, which will begin at 8 p.m., when the last polls close, and run until 10 p.m.

Coverage will feature candidate speeches, interviews, and expert analysis from NPR Contributors E.J. Dionne (The Washington Post) and Matthew Continetti (The Weekly Standard), along with polling insights from The Pew Center’s Andrew Kohut.  We’ll also hear from NPR’s Mara Liasson and Ron Elving.

Gov. John Lynch gives his final state of the state address to the House and Senate. Read the transcript of the  live tweets from the Statehouse below:

 

NHPRNews NHPR News 

That's all for our live coverage! Check with NHPR and NHPR.orgthis afternoon for more coverage and analysis. #nhsots

Ryan Lessard for NHPR

Education

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch told lawmakers of the need for a constitutional amendment for education funding during his state of the state address.

He says the state needs more flexibility to direct more aid to communities and children with the greatest need.

Ryan Lessard for NHPR

State of the State Address - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Opening

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Senate President, Madam Chief Justice and members of the judiciary, honorable members of the Executive Council, House and Senate, and my fellow citizens of New Hampshire:

Cheryl Senter, NHPR

Gov. Lynch will deliver his final state of the state address to the House and Senate on Tuesday, Jan 31.  He announced in September of 2011 that he would not seek a fifth term.

NHPR and NHPR.org will carry this speech live from the Statehouse at 11 a.m.

White House Brings Manufacturing Pitch to NH

Jan 26, 2012

The White House is on the road to win public support for its economic policies.  President Obama was in Iowa and Arizona yesterday.  Today, Vice President Biden visited a manufacturing plant in Rochester. The vice president described what the administration means when it says it wants to give everyone a fair shot at the American dream.

Vice President Biden spoke at Albany Engineered Composites, a company that has been expanding on the Seacoast.  That trend fit well with one of Biden’s roles, that of cheer leader for the productivity of American workers.

As the New Hampshire legislature begins whittling down a bevy of economy-related bills, we thought it would be helpful to offer you a brief, on-going roundup of what we believe are some key economic issues the General Court will be looking at, and why. We've also included resources if you'd like to research and track these issues on your own, or get in touch with the governor or your legislator.

Biden Presses for Manufacturing Jobs

Jan 26, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden visited a Rochester manufacturing plant to tout the administration’s economic policies.  Biden was upbeat, saying America is in the best position to continue to be the dominant economic power in the 21st century.

Speaking at Albany Engineered Composites, the vice president said the country should change tax law to reward companies that bring jobs home from overseas operations.

The big story of the day is, of course, President Obama's State of the Union address last night. Since the speech wrapped, analysis from politicos, pundits, and wonks has been pretty much non-stop.

Tonight, President Obama is set to deliver the final state of the union address of his first term. Morning Edition's Renee Montagne spoke to White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe for a preview of the president's speech.

After Newt Gingrich's bravura performance in the final South Carolina debate and his drubbing of Mitt Romney on primary day, the former speaker's challenge in Monday night's debate in Tampa, Fla., was to maintain if not increase his momentum eight days before the Florida Republican presidential primary.

Meanwhile, Romney's challenge was to give his supporters who were shell-shocked by the Palmetto State results reasons to believe he had it in him to turn it around, to stand to do what needed to be done to beat Gingrich in Florida.

In releasing details of his tax burden for the past two years, Mitt Romney offered a small window into a vast wealth. The tax records show that the former Massachusetts governor made $42.6 million over the past two years and because most of it came from capital gains, he paid $6.2 million in taxes.

That means that in 2010, his tax rate was 13.9 percent, and in 2011, it's expected to be 15.4 percent, lower than many Americans who pay taxes on wages.

Photo by David Thyberg, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Sweden is trying something new these days. Each week, the Swedish government’s twitter account, “At Sweden,” is being handed over to a Swedish citizen. And for seven days, that person can say anything they want to the account’s 25,000 plus followers. The government calls it “the world’s most democratic twitter account.” J.

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the tally stands at 1-1-1. Over the weekend, former House speaker Newt Gingrich re-established himself as a presidential contender with a resounding victory in South Carolina's primary.

He beat second-place finisher former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by more than 12 points. That means Romney, Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have each won a nominating contest. Now all eyes are on Florida.

Romney Will Release Tax Records On Tuesday

Jan 23, 2012

Aiming to reset the narrative after Saturday's bruising loss in South Carolina, Mitt Romney said he would release his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday. The former Massachusetts governor made the commitment last night in an interview with Fox News.

By embracing Newt Gingrich in its primary, the South Carolina GOP has risked its remarkable record of success at picking the party's eventual nominee for president.

It's been quite a run. Beginning with its primary in 1980, when it chose Ronald Reagan, South Carolina has voted first among Southern states. And the Palmetto State's choice has gone on to dominate the other Southern states and lock up the nomination in short order. That happened eight times in a row, counting incumbent renominations.

Newt Gingrich's win in South Carolina was big enough to ensure that the Republican primary season will remain competitive for weeks to come.

But even in the immediate aftermath of the former House speaker's 12 percentage point victory over Mitt Romney, analysts were asking whether Gingrich's newfound momentum would be enough to sustain a serious challenge.

Herman Cain suspended his bid for the GOP presidential nominee back in December, but that's not stopping him from picking up votes in South Carolina's primary.

Could his mini surge of one percent of the vote be thanks to a late-breaking endorsement by Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert?

Most of the candidates in the GOP primary race have given their primary night speeches following South Carolina's primary Saturday.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won the state's primary.

PBS NewsHour will be posting video of all of the candidates' speeches here.

For the record:

As our live blog has reported, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won today's Republican presidential primary in South Carolina.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to have finished second.

In third: former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

That puts Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in fourth.

So the race continues, with Florida's Jan. 31 primary as the next major contest.

Newt Gingrich has beaten Mitt Romney in South Carolina. The question now becomes whether he can pull off that trick enough times in enough states to deny Romney the Republican presidential nomination.

It was a big win for Gingrich, the former House speaker, who took 40 percent of the vote, compared to 28 percent for Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

graphic: npr

NHPR brings you live NPR coverage Saturday night from the South Carolina Primary.

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