Romney Endorses McCain; Clinton Takes NM

Mitt Romney has formally endorsed John McCain’s candidacy for president of the United States.  Romney noted their differences but emphasized the importance to back a candidate who remains strong in the fight against Islamic extremism.  Romney urged his pledged delegates to back McCain at the Republican convention, while calling on the Republican party to “come together and make progress” while the Democrats are still fighting.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton emerged as the winner in the close state of New Mexico, where they had been counting ballots for over a week.  Clinton won by a 49-48% margin and secured 14 of the state’s 26 delegates.

Also, the Senate voted on a bill Wednesday that would restrict the interrogation techniques of the CIA to the standard Army rules on interrogation.  Among those successfully voting to defeat the the bill was former Vietnam POW and current presidential hopeful John McCain, a long-time opponent of torture.


Super Duper Tuesday

Things are starting to look interesting in the battle to become the next ‘leader of the free world.’ And I use that term with ever-increasing irony…

The real story of the day is the tooth-and-nail fight for the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton holds the lead in total delegates received thus far with 1076; she won eight states and claimed crucial victories in California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Yet Barack Obama is not far behind with 1006, winning 13 total states and convincing double-digit majorities in eleven of those (Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, Minnesota, and several western states).

The Obama campaign has been gaining momentum in recent weeks; his January fund-raising total of $32 million has cast a lofty shadow over Clinton’s monthly total of $13.5 million. In fact, Clinton has taken a page from the book of Romney and made a personal loan of $5 million to keep her campaign competitive in coming weeks.

On the Republican front, John McCain didn’t do quite as strongly as expected, but finished leaps ahead of his competition. McCain was the only Republican candidate to win more than 50 delegates in any state, accomplishing the feat in the delegate-rich states of California, New York, Missouri, Illinois, Arizona, and New Jersey.

He leads the scorecard of total delegates received thus far in the Republican contest:

  1. McCain 724 (9 states on Super Tuesday)
  2. Romney 281 (7 states)
  3. Huckabee 196 (5 states)
  4. Paul 14 (0 states)      (1,191 delegates needed for victory)

Mitt Romney made gains in many Western states (claiming victories in Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, Maine, Alaska, North Dakota, and Montana) while Mike Huckabee played well in mostly southern states (Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and West Virginia). Still, it was John McCain that emerged as the front-runner; he stands in good position to secure the Republican nomination in coming weeks.

Up next on the radar for Republicans is this Saturday’s contest in Louisiana, Washington, and Kansas. The Democrats will compete in Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska, and Maine.

Primary Bits

The Nevada Caucus is set for tomorrow night, as well as the South Carolina Republican primary. Polls are showing Clinton and Romney with a slight edge in Nevada, while Obama and McCain are polling ahead in South Carolina. To keep you up to date, here are a few primary news and video clips from the past several days:

Barack Obama picked up an endorsement from the 60,000-member Culinary Workers Union in Nevada. Days after the endorsement, the Nevada State Teachers Association and Hillary Clinton supporters filed a lawsuit against the Democratic party’s plans to use nine large Las Vegas casinos as caucus sites. But on Thursday a Nevada judge rejected the case and said the casino caucus sites can proceed as planned. The ruling is seen as a boost to the Obama campaign, as many of the caucus-attendees at casino sites will be members of the Culinary Workers Union. Here is Bill Clinton responding to an ABC reporter about the casino sites:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was interrupted during an interview with Bill Maher this week. There were two separate outbursts during the interview; the first was “Let Dennis debate! Stop the Censorship! Help save democracy!” and later with “GE, NBC, Put Impeachment on TV!” Here is the video:

During a Nevada flight with journalists on board, Hillary Clinton pretended to be a flight attendant in a spoof you can see here:

On the Republican side, John McCain is now leading in national polls while Giuliani’s campaign is still banking on the larger states to gain some momentum.

Mike Huckabee refused to say whether he finds it offensive that South Carolina displays the Confederate flag on its state Capitol grounds. Huckabee also responded to questions concerning his desire to amend the Constitution ‘in God’s standards’, replying that “The radical view is to say we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, one man and three women, a man and a child, a man and an animal.”

Mitt Romney got into a brief argument with an AP reporter concerning the role of lobbyists in his campaign:

And for a laugh, here are a couple comics:

rep-comic.jpg Rudy Campaign

I’ll be back again tomorrow with news from Nevada and the South Carolina Republican contest.

Romney Wins Michigan; Uncommited Showing Strong

Mitt Romney has won the third Republican primary contest, winning the thirty delegates from the state of Michigan. Here are the results:

  • Romney 39%
  • McCain 30%
  • Huckabee 16%
  • Paul 6%
  • Thompson 4%
  • Giuliani 3%
  • Uncommitted 2%

And Hillary Clinton has won the zero delegates awarded in Michigan’s Democratic contest. With only four names appearing on the ballot, the Democratic primary results were as follows:

  • Clinton 55%
  • Uncommitted 40%
  • Kucinich 4%
  • Dodd 1%
  • Gravel 0%

One might call it a Clinton victory if only her name wasn’t the most (if not the only) recognizable name on the ballot. It was expected to be an even larger landslide for Clinton in a primary contest that has no real value in the nominating process. There is a relatively strong showing of Kucinich supporters, though, considering he has to fight legal battles in order to appear in a televised debate.

On the Republican side, Ron Paul has once again received more than double the votes of Rudy Giuliani; perhaps they should consider barring Rudy from the next televised debate.

Next up in the series is the state of Nevada, set for Saturday the 19th. For those of you looking further ahead, here is a copy of the primary schedule.

Romney’s Equity Firm to Buy Clear Channel

From LewRockwell:

What would it cost to buy the support of just about every nationally syndicated neocon talk show host in America? About $19.5 billion, which is what Mitt Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital, and Thomas H. Lee Partners have agreed to pay in a leveraged buyout agreement with Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio station owner in the country. This is part of a negotiation that has been pending for over a year.

Clear Channel owns more than 1,100 full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations, twelve radio channels on XM Satellite Radio, and more than 30 television stations in the United States. Premiere Radio Networks, which is the largest syndication company in the United States, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Clear Channel and is home to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and many others. Sean Hannity recently signed a large multi-market contract with Clear Channel, as well.

Romney is the former CEO and current silent partner of the firm.