A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Room to Run for Romney
On Tuesday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney officially became the "presumed GOP nominee for president" when Rick Santorum announced he is suspending his bid to win the White House.
Santorum had been a conservative favorite, surprising press and pundits alike with his "staying power", winning 11 states this primary season and vowing only a couple of weeks ago to stay in the race right up to the GOP convention this summer.
Santorum's concerns over the health of his three-year-old daughter, Bella, who suffers from a debilitating disease, as well as Romney's formidable delegate lead, forced Santorum's hand. The former Pennsylvania congressman gave his version of the "Gettysburg Address" on Tuesday afternoon, delivering a fiery and uplifting speech from the Gettysburg Hotel – just down the road from the famous battlefield.
While Santorum did not mention Romney by name in is his remarks, he did promise to stay active this crucial election year and work to help defeat Barack Obama this fall.
It's been a pretty good couple of weeks for Romney. Santorum has now all but cleared the way for his nomination, and for the next couple of weeks there is a rare break from the unrelenting primary calendar! The next states to cast votes for their favored GOP presidential candidate are Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island who go to the polls on Tuesday, April 24.
This is all on the heels of Romney's triple-win last week with Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington D.C, all cementing Romney's frontrunner status.
For those keeping count, Romney now has 660 delegates to Rick Santorum's 281, Newt Gingrich's 135 and Ron Paul's 51, according to the Associated Press tally. Faithful Carolina-Canada Connection readers know the magic number for delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination is 1,144.
Gingrich Goes On
Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich wasted no time in making a financial appeal to Santorum backers. Within an hour of Santorum's exit from the race, the Gingrich campaign posted to its website a fundraising appeal for "the last conservative standing" and the former speaker of the U.S. House also vowed to "stay in this race all the way to Tampa".
The Gingrich campaign could use the cash infusion.
Carolina-Canada Connection has been reporting for a couple of weeks now that the Gingrich campaign is in serious financial trouble. Last Sunday, Gingrich admitted as much on Fox News. He said that his campaign is "operating on a shoestring" and according to Fox News, Gingrich "signaled he is preparing to transition from candidate to surrogate in anticipation of Mitt Romney winning the nomination."
At least for now, the Santorum decision has once again shaken up an already unpredictable primary season.
Weekly Washington Wrap
- As Republicans narrowed in on their candidate, President Obama travelled to the battleground state of Florida to attend three fundraisers and to give a policy speech describing his push for the “Buffet Rule” (suggested by financier Warren Buffet, the policy requires high-income earners to pay a higher tax rate). Obama’s speech on Monday continued his campaign’s drumbeat of tax “fairness” for the middle class while at the same time attempted to portray Governor Romney as a wealthy investor who is out of touch with voters. Republicans hope to convince voters that “fairness” is Obama’s code word for “tax hikes.”
- While Congress is out of town this week for the last days of Easter recess, their absence did not prevent their ability to stoke the fire created by Washington’s latest scandal. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released a second video from a government agency’s Las Vegas conference in which employees of the General Services Administration (GSA) joked they were making federal buildings more energy efficient to get President Obama better press, not to provide environmental benefits. The video clip follows last week’s release by Issa of a rap video featuring GSA employees rapping about wasting taxpayer money. That video received an employee talent contest award at the 2010 GSA conference in Las Vegas, an ironic twist to the scandal of wasting taxpayer money to the tune of $3,000 per attendee at the conference. The House Oversight Committee will have a hearing on the GSA conference this Monday.
Wilkins in Washington
And Washington, D.C. is where David Wilkins has found himself the past two weeks.
He was in our nation's capital earlier this week attending a number of insightful meetings that included a chat with Ed Matricardi, the founder of Allied Public Affairs, and an old friend from his days leading the South Carolina GOP.
And since our friends in the Canadian television media have top notch bureaus based in Washington, D.C., Wilkins got to chat with Don Martin on CTV's Power Play and with Evan Solomon on CBC's Power and Politics.
Last week, Wilkins was in D.C. to attend Prime Minister Stephen Harper's address at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Harper discussed the Canada-U.S. bilateral relationship with Jane Harman, president and CEO of the Wilson Center, in front of invited guests and stakeholders.
The visit came on the heels of a one-day summit including Harper, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and President Obama.
They Said What?
“There are others who are saying: ‘Well, this is just a gimmick. Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule, won’t do enough to close the deficit. Well, I agree.” President Obama as reported by the Washington Post.
“What I tried to bring to the battle was what Abraham Lincoln brought to this battlefield back in 1863 on November 19th,” Rick Santorum announcing his campaign's suspension from the Gettysburg Hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
"…if they were called somebody else’s tax cuts, they’d probably be less likely to be raised," former President George W. Bush in a rare policy speech this week saying he wished the "Bush tax cuts" had someone else’s name attached to them.
"So, ta-ta, America. Ni hao, Beijing," New York Post editorial supporting Prime Minister Stephen Harper's comments that Canada expand its energy markets because it cannot rely on the U.S. being a permanent energy customer.
"I think you have to be realistic, given the size of his organization, given the number of primaries he's won. He is far and away the most likely Republican nominee," Newt Gingrich discussing Mitt Romney on Fox News Sunday.
"We should not have a tax system where billionaires pay less than their secretaries. We have a tax system that’s rigged against the average person, rigged in favor of the very wealthy and we need to fix that," Obama advisor, David Axelrod, touting Obama's tax plan on MSNBC.
"Obama has hit one more Carter benchmark - both saw gas prices double in their first term of office. In fact, while just barely, Obama has seen an even higher gas price increase than Carter dealt with under his administration," Lauren Fox, reporting in U.S. News and World Report.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.