Politics

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

On Tuesday night, New Hampshire voters could catapult Mitt Romney securely onto the path of the Republican nomination, or they could undercut the air of inevitability surrounding his campaign.

The former Massachusetts governor is clearly expecting the catapult. One indication? On Monday morning, the candidate changed his rhetoric to reposition himself even more squarely as a general election candidate.

Can you name the candidate donning the boots pictured in the photograph?

Republican presidential candidates file in to New Hampshire in preparation for Tuesday's primary.

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Jan 9, 2012

There was a lot of talk about God and religion during last week's Republican caucuses in Iowa.

Then came the miraculous victory Sunday in the playoffs by the Denver Broncos and their quarterback, Tim Tebow.

There are no coincidences when it comes to politics, sports and religion.

A handful of new polls are out, all of which have Mitt Romney ahead in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary by varying margins.

On Morning Edition Monday, Steve Inskeep spoke with six women in Derry, N.H. who all plan to vote in Tuesday's first presidential primary.

Inskeep dropped by the home of Elaine Sweeney, where the women gathered for coffee, donuts and wine on Sunday to talk politics. Her house in Derry overlooks Beaver Lake, covered this time of year with a thin film of ice.

Final Ad Burst; Final Ad Fizzle

Jan 8, 2012

In the closing hours of the primary, the campaigns are turning to the airwaves to make one last push for votes.  About a third of the electorate say they have yet to make up their mind.  Some 60 television ads a day might help them decide. That might sound like a lot but the real story of advertising in this primary is,  there’s so little of it.

Two candidates have dominated the New Hampshire television market for several months.  Texas congressman Ron Paul, often cast as a firebrand, is now running an ad aimed at burnishing his image as a reliable leader.

At last, the rivals who were supposed to savage front-runner Mitt Romney in the final weekend before Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire got down to business.

In the opening minutes of their debate Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, several of those chasing Romney in the polls let fly the roundhouse punches they'd been pulling through weeks and months of TV debates.

Once more, the great media consensus was confounded. Saturday night's debate at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, N.H., produced another battle among half a dozen presidential contenders, much like a dozen before it. Front-runner Mitt Romney was neither knocked out nor even knocked down. He was scarcely even knocked around.

Once again, the evening ended with the bruises pretty equally distributed among the contestants. And with the New Hampshire primary bearing down on Tuesday, virtually no time remains for Romney's rivals to bring him down.

Many of the journalists and professional political types who dutifully watched Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire probably had the same thought occur to them at several points: "For this we missed most of the NFL wildcard game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions?"

Jonathan Lynch

Members of Occupy New Hampshire returned to Manchester Saturday to demonstrate outside of the Republican Presidential Debate at St. Anselm's College and spread their message of economic inequality.

Nearly five months after Occupy New Hampshire’s last tents were torn down in Veteran’s Park, the ninety-nine percenters returned to Manchester to demonstrate against what they perceive to be growing economic inequality across the nation.

Hundreds Turn Out For Santorum Town Hall

Jan 7, 2012
Amy Quinton

Before last night’s debate, a crowd of several hundred gathered in Hollis for a town hall meeting with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

So many people squeezed inside a barn in Hollis to hear Rick Santorum that it prompted one campaign staffer to exclaim “this is nuts.”

Most of the several hundred people inside were political tourists from out of state.

At one point Santorum told the crowd that he’d only take questions from New Hampshire residents.

He urged voters to stick to their values.

Ron Paul Returns to NH

Jan 6, 2012
Jon Greenberg, NHPR

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul drew a crowd of about 450 people at his first event in New Hampshire  after the Iowa caucuses.   Paul’s promise to curtail foreign military activity drew some of the loudest cheers.

The Texas congressman has nothing if not an enthusiastic following and voters young and old alike responded well to Paul’s signature policies.  Especially when he said the imminent danger of a nuclear Iran is exaggerated.

When asked what he would do about Social Security and other entitlements, he said he would protect them.

The University of New Hampshire poll shows Mitt Romney at 44 percent support, up five points from two weeks ago. Texas congressman Ron Paul stands at 20 percent. UNH survey center director Andy Smith says the race for now – at least -- is for third.

“But because NH voters make up their minds very late that could easily be for second, should Ron Paul slip up and or should some of the support for the non-Paul and non Romney candidate go to Santorum or Gingrich or Huntsman.”

Photo by Lawria via Flickr

It’s game on in the Granite State. Every four years, the TV trucks pull in, guys in suits and sunglasses show up in your local breakfast joint, and the opinions of New Hampshire citizens are momentarily considered to be of national importance. It’s the first in the nation primary time!

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Republican Mitt Romney accused President Obama of creating a bad business climate.

Romney said the President’s policies are designed to help his political allies more than the country as a whole.

He told voters in Salem that President Obama packed the National Labor Relations Board with union stooges; that he used the stimulus to repay public sector unions, and that the President backed green jobs initiatives to benefit supporters at companies like Solyndra.

Photo by peekabou, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

News of the New Hampshire Primary gives pundits plenty to chew on this week. Later this year, momentum will flag and campaigns will wear on. Absent an imminent vote or sex scandal, media-makers occasionally flirt with exciting uncertainties – or as Steve Kornacki calls them, political red herrings.

McCain's Street Cred Aids Romney

Jan 4, 2012
Jon Greenberg, NHPR

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is benefiting from the endorsement of Arizona senator John McCain.  Some voters are ready to translate their trust in McCain into a vote for Romney.

John McCain has long been popular in New Hampshire.  He trounced George W. Bush in the 2000 primary and edged out Mitt Romney in 2008.  At a packed event in the historic Peterborough town hall, McCain urged people to get behind his former rival.

 

Republican Mitt Romney looks to solidify support here after his narrow win in Iowa.

New Hampshire is supposed to be where Mitt Romney wins big. But his first event only half filled a school gymnasium. With John McCain at his side, Romney cast himself as a candidate capable of uniting all Americans.

“I want America to remain one nation under god. I want to bring us together. I want to restore the principles that made us the hope of the earth, I don’t want to transform America into something that we don’t recognize. I want to restore America.”  

Gingrich Takes Aim at Romney and Paul

Jan 4, 2012

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is drawing sharp distinctions between himself and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the final days of the New Hampshire primary.   Gingrich presents himself as a consistent conservative.

Speaking to reporters in Concord, Newt Gingrich said Mitt Romney’s record puts him at odds with the bulk of the Republican party.  Gingrich underscored two features of the Massachusetts health insurance plan enacted under Romney.

“Included state funded abortions.  Included specifically designating Planned Parenthood as a part of Romneycare.”

Saying he's there "to make sure we make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America," 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain just returned to New Hampshire to endorse the White House bid of his one-time rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

McCain and Romney fought a hard battle for the GOP nomination n 2008, after which Romney endorsed the Arizona senator.

The Ultimate NH Primary Cheat Sheet

Jan 4, 2012

After months of political debates, ad buying, and hand-shaking, the New Hampshire Republican primary is finally upon us. And not surprisingly, the latest WMUR Granite State Poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center shows that the economy/jobs is the top issue for about 60 percent of the state's voters.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The conservative provocateur finished a disappointing sixth in Tuesday's caucuses in Iowa, with just 5 percent of the vote.

"Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice," Bachmann said at a mid-morning news conference in West Des Moines. "So I have decided to stand aside."

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Republicans may not necessarily agree on whom should be their party's presidential nominee. But they're fairly unanimous that the contest won't take a truly decisive turn until it reaches the Palmetto State.

And Tuesday night's inclusive results in the Iowa caucuses in which Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum could each declare victory, with Romney declared the winner by just eight votes should do nothing to dispel that notion.

Though he said last night that he would go home to reassess his bid for the presidency — a signal that he might drop out of the race — this message just popped up on the personal Twitter page of Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

"And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State...Here we come South Carolina!!!"

Iowa proved a road to victory for Mitt Romney, but it was a road to nowhere for Michele Bachmann.

"Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside," Bachmann said Wednesday at a West Des Moines news conference. The Minnesota congresswoman decided to end her 2012 presidential bid after finishing sixth in Tuesday's caucuses in Iowa — the state where she was born and where, just five months ago, she won a Republican straw poll in Ames.

The photo finish in Iowa — officially, Mitt Romney bested Rick Santorum by only eight votes — has catapulted Santorum into the front ranks of Republican presidential hopefuls.

"This is huge news for Santorum," says Charlie Arlinghaus, who directs a conservative think tank in New Hampshire. "I don't think there's a way to spin the results without saying he's the big winner tonight."

Several news outlets, including the AP and The New York Times, report that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will endorse Mitt Romney.

Iowa Results Fuel Santorum NH Camp

Jan 4, 2012
NHPR

New Hampshire supporters of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum are celebrating this morning.  They are working to capitalize on Santorum’s tie for first place in Iowa.

Less than four weeks ago, the former Pennsylvania Senator was stuck in single digits in the Iowa polls.  That’s about where he stands today in New Hampshire and his backers are hoping for a similar surge in next week’s primary.

State campaign co-chair, Bill Cahill, says Santorum aims to consolidate the social conservative vote in the Granite State.

At Ron Paul's caucus night event in Ankeny, Iowa, most of his supporters were celebrating. Paul finished a strong third in Tuesday night's caucuses.

But one man in the crowd — famed Republican strategist Frank Luntz — was much more concerned with what happens next.

"I think over the next 24 to 48 hours, the campaign's gonna get a little bit meaner, a little darker, and a little bit more personal, as the candidates now fight for their life," said Luntz, who spoke with NPR in between television appearances Tuesday night.

Rick Perry To Reassess Bid After Loss In Iowa

Jan 4, 2012

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he will return to his home state and "assess the results" of Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, after getting just 10 percent of the vote.

"With the voters' decision tonight in Iowa, I decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight's caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race," Perry said.

He was originally scheduled to campaign in South Carolina on Wednesday, but those plans were put on hold after his distant fifth-place finish.

The Associated Press adds:

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