Politics

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

 The Stop Online Piracy Act now in front of Congress – and its Senate counterpart bill, the Protect IP Act, or PIPA, are both stirring up vigorous debates in political, media and  IT circles.

In South Carolina, the race to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney is hitting a fever pitch. The state is seen by many as the last stop before inevitability in the GOP primary.

In campaign stops Tuesday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich laid out what sounded like an ultimatum.

Scott Sanders will be eating lunch at his desk again. Sanders is the general sales manager for the NBC affiliate in Columbia — South Carolina's capital — so all his time is devoted these days to handling ad traffic ahead of Saturday's Republican primary.

"It's been crazy this week," Sanders says. "It will be hard to watch TV, because there are so many ads."

All five major GOP candidates have ads running during the station's nightly news programs. Their messages are also being amplified and augmented by supportive superPACs.

The battle for the Republican presidential nomination may or may not be decided by the end of this month. The battle for control of the Senate, on the other hand, is likely to go on all the way until the final votes are cast in November.

All of the Republican presidential hopefuls take on President Obama in their stump speeches, attacking his health care plan, his jobs record and more.

But the shorthand former House Speaker Newt Gingrich uses, calling the nation's first black president the "food stamp president," is raising questions.

It's a theme Gingrich has used since Iowa, and he returned to it during a forum in Charleston, S.C., over the weekend.

The widening gulf between the rich and everyone else is a growing source of tension in America.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds the income gap is now seen as a bigger source of conflict in the U.S. than race, age or national origin. That's why some believe the issue could matter in the presidential campaign, and others worry it could warp the national debate.

Two out of three Americans now perceive strong social conflicts over the income gap — up sharply from two years ago. Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center has an idea what's behind the increase.

In their books, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner use the tools of economics to explore real-world behavior. As boring as that may sound, what they really do is tell stories — about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama's boys. Those Freakonomics stories — and plenty of new ones — are now coming to the radio, with Dubner as host.

In Texas today, conservative Christian and evangelical leaders begin two days of meetings to discuss political strategy, and perhaps to coalesce around a Republican presidential candidate other than front-runner Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports on the search for a so-called "Jesus candidate" and the evolving influence of Christian right leaders in the Republican Party.

Mitt Romney's campaign has a new TV ad meant to counter attacks on his career at private-equity firm Bain Capital, using the same defense it has ever since his rivals for the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination started taking populist jabs at him.

Comedian Stephen Colbert's "big announcement" last night (which we previewed yesterday)?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his presidential campaign in South Carolina last August, but now his campaign may soon come to an end in the same state where it started. Ben Philpott of KUT News reports on Morning Edition that with the clock ticking down to the Jan. 21 primary, Perry is polling in single digits.

That means Perry has just over a week to convince South Carolinians to vote for him. Philpott spends some time on the campaign trail with Perry, reporting that those attending stops, like Lexington resident Glenn Gainey, know the deal.

The Economic Side of the New Hampshire Primary

Jan 11, 2012
Jon Greenberg, NHPR

The New Hampshire primary is about politics – obviously – but it’s also about economics, albeit in a much smaller way. While the rest of the state was watching vote totals and checking on the mood at campaign headquarters, reporter Amanda Loder of StateImpact New Hampshire was looking at the economic effects of the first in the nation primary. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about what she learned. 

Links:

A number of media outlets(including the Boston Globe) noted that Mitt Romney's victory speech after the New Hampshire primary felt more like a general election speech than a nomination contest speech.

How NH Counties Voted (Based Economic Demos)

Jan 11, 2012

This year, NHPR's GOP primary coverage took on a strong national flavor, broadcasting to listeners all over the country. Among the network's expanded audience were WNYC listeners in, well...NYC.

Mitt Romney Raised $24 Million Last Quarter

Jan 11, 2012

During the last quarter of 2011, Mitt Romney raised $24 million, his campaign announced today. That means the former Massachusetts governor has $19 million in cash on hand to fund his primary battle.

The Washington Post reports that in a shift from his 2008 run, when he poured $40 million of his own money into the campaign, Romney has made no personal donations.

One of our most popular New Hampshire primary posts looked at how much the months-long political circus affects Granite State tourism. (You can read that post here.)

Political tourism is definitely a niche hobby.

Tracy Lee Carroll for NHPR

 

Last night was vindication for Mitt Romney as the former Massachusetts governor claimed nearly 40 percent of the vote; Texas Congressman Ron Paul took second with 23 percent.

"Thank you New Hampshire. Tonight we made history," said Romney.

How Paul Did It

Jan 11, 2012
NHPR

Texas Congressman Ron Paul did three times better in the 2012 primary than in 2008.  NHPR's Jon Greeenberg sat down with the campaign's state director, Jared Chicoine. Chicoine has a dozen years of electoral work under his belt.  He was in Senator Bob Smith's primary battle with John E. Sununu.  Chicoine also worked with State Senator Bob O'Dell, and the congressional campaign of Sean Mahoney.

Sitting in a hotel lobby in Bow on the night of the primary, Chicoine told us a bit about the Ron Paul ground game.

Transcript available later.

A Second Place Win for Paul

Jan 11, 2012
Erik Swenson for NHPR

Texas congressman Ron Paul’s second place finish  put his supporters into celebration mode last night. 

Coming in second typically feels like a disappointment.  Not for Heather Mellem of Manchester. 

“Romney might win this election, but Ron Paul is first in ideas.  And he’s taken his cause to a level I’ve never expected he could take it to. Amazing,” she said.

NHPR Staff

 

 

 

 

Summary results | Town results

Updates from the field :

"If we don't get our act together at home, we will see the end of the American Century by 2050" - Jon Huntsman 9:34 p.m.

Marc Nozell for NHPR

Neither of them finished in the top three in New Hampshire, but Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both say their campaigns will continue.

The two of them battled for fourth place behind Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman.

Gingrich says he’ll campaign tomorrow in South Carolina.

“I’m asking each of you not to slow down, in the next couple of days, make a list of every person you know in South Carolina and every person you know in Florida cause those are the next two great contests.”

Santorum Supporters Still Hopeful

Jan 11, 2012
Kevin Flynn

Supporters of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum say they weren’t surprised by his near tie for fourth place with Newt Gingrich in New Hampshire’s presidential primary.

Rick Santorum told supporters that he knew New Hampshire would be tough to win.

He focused most of his campaign in Iowa and didn’t spend a lot of money in New Hampshire.

While supporters were disappointed in his finish, Dan Tamburello, state co-chair for Santorum’s campaign, says it wasn’t unexpected.

Marc Nozell

 

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wants to put New Hampshire in the rear view mirror.

His followers are already looking forward to South Carolina.

Gingrich supporter Warren Kindler from Epping isn’t surprised that Gingrich didn’t fare well in New Hampshire. 

Kindler: Mitt’s had a long time to campaign in New Hampshire he’s very well known, he’s fairly well liked he’s a neighboring ex-governor, former governor

Flanked by his beautiful wife and daughters, Governor Jon Huntsman emphatically confirmed that, despite coming in third with 17 percent of the vote, he had achieved his goal of exceeding expectations. Apparently this was the momentum the campaign needed in order to continue fighting. He started his speech by saying, "Third place is a ticket to ride," and "South Carolina, here we come!" 

At one point in the speech, after Huntsman said "I believe in America," a lone supporter shouted "And we believe in Jon Huntsman!" which triggered an energetic cheer.

On the air

Jan 10, 2012

NHPR's Brady Carlson is on the air with NPR Political Junkie Ken Rudin, and Dante Scala from the University of New Hampshire. 

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney used his New Hampshire primary victory speech to attack President Obama — with only a glancing nod to his Republican rivals.

Kevin Flynn for NHPR.

Speaking to a crowd of 150-300 supporters in Manchester, former PA Senator Rick Santorum says the momentum of Iowa and New Hampshire will take him into South Carolina against Mitt Romney.

Santorum thanked Granite State supporters for listening to his message of faith, family, and freedom.

Afterwards, Santorum and his family shook hands for ten minutes before leaving for a private runway at Boston/Manchester Airport. He'll spend the night in South Carolina.

Erik Swenson for NHPR

Speaking to a cheering crowd, Congressman Ron Paul hit on some key points of his campaign.  He noted the large amount of energy that his campaign found on college campuses around the country, and he charged that the Federal Reserve was "taking care" of the  "military-industrial complex" and financing more deficit spending by the government.  He said that the "liberty movement" had brought forward the issues of "funny money" and the cost of acting as the "policeman" of the world.  Paul closed his speech by saying "we will restore freedom to this country." 

The end is near...

Jan 10, 2012

Santorum campaign officials have told the crowd of 150 supporters here in Manchester that the candidate should take the stage in 10 minutes or so.

The large TV's that have been monitoring the race (which is now between him and Gingrich for 4th) have been switched off.  It will allow Santorum to take the stage without having Gingrich visibly overtake him in the results or a Gingrich speech to overshadow his.

Meantime, Santorum has a private plane waiting to take him to South Carolina as soon as he's done.

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