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Clint Eastwood has endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in the race for the White House.
Oscar-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood attended a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Sun Valley, Idaho, said to have raised over $2 million.
Clint Eastwood said he was endorsing the Republican because “the country needs a boost somewhere”.
In February Clint Eastwood starred in a Chrysler Superbowl advert, Halftime in America, sparking debate over whether he backed President Barack Obama.
Clint Eastwood has endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in the race for the White House
At the time, Clint Eastwood had said he was not endorsing either candidate and, speaking to Fox News, said he was “certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama”.
“It was meant to be a message about just about job growth and the spirit of America,” Clint Eastwood said in February of the Super Bowl advert.
“I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK. I am not supporting any candidate at this time.”
On Friday Mitt Romney said of Clint Eastwood’s endorsement: “He just made my day. What a guy.”
After an introduction from Mitt Romney, Clint Eastwood spoke to about 325 guests gathered for the Idaho fundraiser.
Clint Eastwood said he first saw Mitt Romney when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, and Eastwood was directing the film Mystic River in Boston.
The actor said he thought: “God, this guy, he’s too handsome to be governor. But it does look like he could be president.”
Backing Mitt Romney, Clint Eastwood added that Romney would “restore a decent tax system… so there’s a fairness and people are not pitted against each other,” according to reports from Idaho.
Mitt Romney is challenging Barack Obama for the White House in November’s presidential elections.
Also on Friday figures showed that the US added 163,000 jobs in the month of July, but national unemployment rose to 8.3% from 8.2%.
Correspondents say the health of the US economy is likely to become a decisive factor in the outcome of the election.
According to new figures released by the Center for Responsive Politics, the estimated price tag for the US elections in November is almost $6 billion.
Why so much?
“The sky is the limit here,” says Michael Toner, former chair of the US Federal Election Commission.
“I don’t think you can spend too much.”
In a time of general belt-tightening, it may sound like a surprising argument, but Michael Toner believes there should be more – not less – spending on US elections.
Anything that engages voters, and makes them more likely to turn out is, Michael Toner says, a good thing.
“It’s very healthy in terms of American politics… it’s a symptom of a very vigorous election season, there’s a lot at stake here.”
On 6 November, Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, is set to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency, and polls suggest the margin between them could be wafer thin.
New figures just released by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group which tracks money in politics, estimate the total cost of November’s elections (for the presidency, House of Representatives and Senate) will come in at $5.8 billion – more than the entire annual GDP of Malawi, and up 7% on 2008.
“You could say we’ve gotten into a crazy world, where the cost of elections has sky-rocketed, and that we are in a wacko world of crazy spending,” says Michael Franz, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political ads.
But, he says, “it all depends what apples and oranges you want to compare”.
Michael Franz argues that US elections are “relatively cheap” when compared with spending on, for example, the US military operation in Afghanistan.
Michael Toner has his own favorite analogy: “Americans last year spent over $7 billion on potato chips – isn’t the leader of the free world worth at least that?”
Center for Responsive Politics says the estimated price tag for the US elections in 2012 is almost $6 billion
Online campaigning is the biggest area of growth, but it still accounts for a relatively modest amount of money spent.
TV campaign ads reign supreme in the battle for votes (at least in terms of costs), eating up, it is estimated, over half of all campaign spending.
For some in the battleground states, where ads are most densely targeted, it can get a bit much.
“It’s extremely annoying,” says Katie Loiselle, a 26-year-old teacher living in Virginia, which used to be a safe win for the Republicans, but is now a crucial swing state.
Katie Loiselle is one of the much-coveted undecided voters. She voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but this time she is not sure.
In theory, she should be a plum candidate for persuasion. In practice, she does all she can to avoid what, over three months before election day, is already starting to feel like an onslaught.
“I’ll change my channel when they come on… I might start flipping through a magazine or talking to someone.
“It’s not like what they are going to say is going to rouse my intelligence. It just seems they are spending a whole lot of money bashing each other.
“I’m kind of dreading these upcoming months.”
It is the presidential debates in October, not the campaign ads, that will help inform her choice, she says.
But for voters like Katie Loiselle, it could be a case of nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Some experts believe that this year the amount of airspace in key target areas, could – quite literally – run out.
And it is not just the number of ads that is up, the tone has been raised too.
It is nothing new for a US election to be “the most expensive ever” – there has been a clear and sharp upwards trend for decades.
This time the increase is driven by the Congressional elections. The presidential race itself will cost an estimated $2.5 billion, which is actually slightly down on the 2008 figure of $2.9 billion – but this time only one party has held primaries to choose their candidate.
And one key factor likely to push spending up is the rise of the relatively new – but already infamous – Super Pacs, which are making their presidential election debut, and can spend as much as they like on political advertising, as long as they do not co-ordinate directly with the campaigns.
SuperPac is a category of independent political action group established by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that is allowed to accept and spend unlimited amounts of corporate, individual or union cash on behalf of a candidate, often without disclosing its sources. SuperPacs are barred from co-ordinating their spending – usually on advertising – with the candidates they support, but some say they in essence operate as shadow campaign committees.
They are the “wild cards” in this election (in the words of the Center for Responsive Politics) and predicting how much they will end up spending is next to impossible.
Super Pacs are unpopular with voters, but there seems little chance of getting the rules changed – political spending by corporations and unions was classed as a form of free speech by the Supreme Court in 2010, and is therefore protected under the US Constitution.
Any effort to restrict such spending would, says Michael Toner, probably need a constitutional amendment, and – he says – this would be both “very difficult” and “highly ill-advised”.
The US does have a government-run public finance system designed to keep a lid on campaign spending. But both candidates have opted out of it this year, giving them free rein to spend as much as they like.
Barack Obama was the first-ever presidential contender to opt out in 2008, and many experts say the extra money he spent in the final weeks was a significant factor in his victory over John McCain.
But they have to raise it to spend it, and in practice, this means an unrelenting schedule of fundraiser after fundraiser for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Critics say this takes away from the time that candidates spend with the average (not so wealthy) voter, and in the case of a president, risks detracting attention from his day job of running the country.
The media tends to focus on fundraising figures, seeing this as one sign of the overall health of a campaign.
But there is a school of thought which says that both money and campaigning matter less than we imagine.
It is the big picture that counts, not the nitty-gritty day-to-day stuff, argues James Campbell, chair of the political science department at the University at Buffalo.
“Every wheeze, misstep or gaffe, every little twist and turn, is heightened for the next day’s headlines,” he says.
He jokes: “It’s like reading a cardiogram and the lines spike up and down, and it’s like ‘Oh my God, is the patient still alive?’… We are trying to get a bit more perspective.”
James Campbell, like a number of other political scientists, specializes in predicting election results, and says voters make their choice not so much on campaign ads or electioneering, but based on a few key “fundamentals” – the economy being the most important one.
It is very rare, he says, for a person to change their party affiliation, so the pool of persuadable voters is small, perhaps as little as around 2% or 3% he argues, once you exclude people who will not vote.
But in a close race, tiny margins can be the difference between winning and losing.
“The ads aren’t just trying to change the undecided,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and author Packaging the Presidency.
“Most of the time, they’re trying to mobilize their base.”
“Money matters,” she says starkly.
“You would be giving up the election if you decided to stop advertising.”
Projected spending estimates for 2012 US elections:
• Total cost – $5.8 billion
• Presidential election – $2.5 billion
• Super Pacs and other outside groups – at least $750 million
Source: Center for Responsive Politics
Per person spending
• US – $18 per person on federal elections in 2012 (projected)
• UK – 80 cents per person in 2010 general election
• Canada – $8 per person in 2011 general election
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said would respect an Israeli decision to use military force to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, according to one of his aides.
Mitt Romney, who is in Jerusalem, is expected to pledge closer ties between the US and Israel if he is elected.
President Barack Obama has focused on using sanctions to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The first leg of Mitt Romney’s trip, in London, was marred by controversy.
After talking of “disconcerting” signs in London’s preparations for the Olympic Games, Mitt Romney backtracked and predicted a “very successful” Olympics.
On Sunday morning Mitt Romney held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
Mitt Romney held talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres
He told Shimon Peres he shared Israel’s concern about the development of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, saying: “The threat it would pose to Israel, the region and the world is incomparable and unacceptable.”
Mitt Romney will give a speech later on Sunday near Jerusalem’s Old City in which he is expected to say it is “unacceptable” for Iran to have the “capacity” to develop nuclear weapons.
“If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing the capability, the governor [Mitt Romney] would respect that decision,” his foreign policy adviser Dan Senor told reporters ahead of the speech.
After his meetings with Israeli officials, he went to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holy sites.
Mitt Romney will be hoping that burnishing his pro-Israel credentials will help him among key constituencies in a tight race with Barack Obama, analysts say.
Mitt Romney says Barack Obama has undermined Israel and supported its enemies.
The Republican presidential hopeful is also scheduled to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, though not Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
While not explicitly ruling out military intervention, President Barack Obama’s policy has emphasized non-military means of putting pressure on Iran.
Mitt Romney is highly critical of the international talks taking place which might lead to Iran being allowed to enrich some uranium. Mitt Romney wants zero enrichment.
In his speech on foreign policy, Mitt Romney will say he hopes the military option on Iran can be avoided but that it should not be taken off the table.
Mitt Romney says this is the best chance of focusing the minds of Iranian leaders on finding a peaceful solution.
A source in Mitt Romney’s campaign said he also agreed with those who worried the Arab spring could turn into an “Islamist winter”.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney has hit back on attacks about his record as CEO of Bain Capital in interviews with US broadcasters.
“I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after 1999,” Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney was responding to reports suggesting he was still listed on Bain’s regulatory filings several years after he said he left the company.
He called on Barack Obama to apologize, after the president said Mitt Romney’s time at Bain should be scrutinized.
The timing is key because between 1999 – when Mitt Romney said he left the company he founded – and 2001, Bain was responsible for closing down American firms and shipping jobs overseas.
Speaking to WJLA-TV a few hours before Mitt Romney’s own media appearances, President Barack Obama said the Republican candidate would have to answer questions about when he stepped down from Bain Capital.
Mitt Romney has hit back on attacks about his record as CEO of Bain Capital
“Ultimately, I think Mr. Romney is going to have to answer those questions because if he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is you’re ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations,” Barack Obama said.
But Mitt Romney said attacks on his record at Bain, an investment company he co-founded in 1984, were “simply beneath the dignity of the presidency of the United States”.
“He [Obama] sure as heck ought to say that he’s sorry for the kinds of attacks that are coming from his team,” he told ABC News on Friday night.
With November’s election now less than four months away, the Obama and Romney campaigns have spent much of the week trading accusations of dishonesty over Mitt Romney’s time at Bain.
In a series of television and web advertisements, the Obama campaign argued that Mitt Romney had “pioneered” outsourcing US jobs during his time at Bain. The Romney campaign responded with their own ad, calling Barack Obama the “outsourcer-in-chief”.
The Boston Globe reported on Thursday that documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission conflicted with Mitt Romney’s statements that he gave up control of the firm in 1999.
The filings list him as “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president” from 1999 to 2001.
That period covers a time when Bain ran companies that fell into bankruptcy, as well as moved jobs abroad – issues highlighted by Obama campaign advertisements.
The Obama campaign has accused Mitt Romney of lying in his official campaign disclosure forms. Barack Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter suggested that Mitt Romney had broken federal law by doing so – an accusation the Romney camp firmly denied.
Mitt Romney and his aides say he left Bain in 1999 to run the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
In a statement, the company said Mitt Romney “remained the sole stockholder for a time while formal ownership was being documented and transferred to the group of partners who took over management of the firm in 1999”.
Independent website FactCheck.org said on Thursday it had found no evidence that Mitt Romney actively managed Bain after leaving in February 1999, describing him as “a passive, absentee owner”.
The site had previously said that Mitt Romney would open himself up to felony charges if he had actively managed Bain after 1999 but said otherwise on his disclosure form.
Rumors of Condoleezza Rice becoming Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate has increased significantly after internet pioneer Matt Drudge reported that she is “near the top” of his shortlist.
Mitt Romney could name his running mate as early as next week, significantly before the traditional time of just before the party convention in late August.
He is widely expected to name a safe, unexciting figure in order to keep the focus of the election on President Barack Obama’s record.
Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush’s national security adviser for four years and then his Secretary of State, would be a stunning choice and fly in the face of almost everything Mitt Romney himself and his advisers have indicated they want in a running mate.
Matt Drudge used his Drudge Report website to tease readers with an “exclusive” story: “a surprise name is now near the top of the list: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice!”
He added: “It was Condi who received two standing ovations at Romney’s Utah retreat a few weeks ago, and everyone left with her name on their lips.”
The Stanford University professor has never run for office or faced anything like the intense personal scrutiny vice-presidential candidates have to go through. She has no domestic policy experience and has said he favors abortion rights – a position that would make her anathema to conservatives and some independent voters.
Rumors of Condoleezza Rice becoming Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate has increased significantly after internet pioneer Matt Drudge reported that she is “near the top” of his shortlist
She is very closely associated with George W. Bush and the unpopular Iraq war and has no executive experience. After the 2008 election, she hinted strongly that she voted for Barack Obama rather than Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.
Aged 57, Condoleezza Rice has never married and is seen as something of an introvert. She has repeatedly made clear over the years that she does not believe she is cut out for the rigors of a political campaign.
The floating of her name could well be a ploy to shift the subject of political conversation away from Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, which is currently taking a hammering, and to appeal to women voters, who tend to lean Democratic. As a black woman, she would also have some appeal to minority voters and independents.
Presidential candidates often indicate they are considering unusual choices and almost always indicate that a woman or a minority is under consideration, in large part to placate different party and voting constituencies.
But Mitt Romney has strongly indicated he will go for a middle-aged white man with executive experience or a Washington track record that goes beyond foreign policy.
His advisers are determined to avoid repeating what they see as the mistake John McCain made in 2008 when he gambled on an inexperienced female – Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska – as his running mate.
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, are considered the favorites.
Also very much in the running are Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, while Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida are much more likely picks than Condoleezza Rice.
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico probably have a stronger chance than Ms Rice. Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia are also frequently mentioned.
Senior Romney foreign policy advisers like John Bolton, George W. Bush’s hardline ambassador to the UN, are highly skeptical about Ms Rice’s abilities. The memoirs of Vice President Dick Cheney, who holds a fundraiser in Wyoming for Romney this week, and Donald Rumsfeld, depict her unfavourably.
Condoleezza Rice spoke to Mitt Romney donors at the Utah retreat last month and was well received. She later told CBS News: “I talked about the need for American leadership; I talked about the importance of the United States to a more peaceful world, a world that has been quite turbulent in recent years and needs a strong American anchor.
“But I also talked about the essence of America, and perhaps that’s what people resonated with.”
In the same interview she dampened speculation that she might be Mitt Romney’s running mate: “I didn’t run for student council president. I don’t see myself in any way in elective office.”
Condoleezza Rice added: “I’m saying there is no way I will do this, because it’s really not me, I know my strengths. Governor Romney needs to find someone who wants to run with him. There are many people who will do it very, very well, and I’ll support the ticket.”
The news came as Barack Obama apologized for not inspiring the public enough as president, telling CBS This Morning he regretted “thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right”.
Drudge Report: ROMNEY NARROWS VP CHOICES; CONDI EMERGES AS FRONTRUNNER
Mitt Romney’s campaign increased its fundraising lead over Barack Obama in June, official numbers released on Monday show.
Mitt Romney and the Republicans raised $106 million, $35 million more than Barack Obama and the Democrats, who raised $71 million.
Both camps raised more than in May, when the Romney bid took in $77 million and the Obama camp $60 million.
The totals exclude millions raised by independent groups that support each candidate.
Mitt Romney's campaign increased its fundraising lead over Barack Obama in June
The Obama campaign released the June numbers in an email to donors.
“If we lose this election, it will be because we didn’t close the gap enough when we had the chance,” the email says in a call for donations.
Barack Obama’s campaign has been regularly warning supporters that he is in danger of becoming the first sitting president in history to be outspent by his opponent.
Mitt Romney and the Republicans have an estimated $160 million cash in the bank to spend on the campaign, they confirmed on Monday.
Despite its fundraising bonanza, correspondents say the Romney campaign has struggled recently to gain the initiative.
He has faced renewed scrutiny over his financial affairs in recent days, and several polls show the president retains a lead in some key swing states.
However, a poor jobs report on Friday was seen as a reminder to Barack Obama that the US economy remains weak just four months before the 6 November election.
Mitt Romney and the Republicans raised a combined $100 million in June, laying down the gauntlet to a Barack Obama campaign that is scrambling to keep pace.
The figure excludes the millions raised by groups that support the Republican presidential candidate.
President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have not yet released their fundraising results for June.
Barack Obama spent the day in Ohio as he launched the first bus tour of his campaign for re-election in November.
In May, the Romney campaign out-fundraised its rival, attracting $77 million against the Obama team’s $60 million.
Barack Obama has been warning supporters that he is in danger of becoming the first sitting president in history to be outspent by his opponent.
Mitt Romney and the Republicans raised a combined $100 million in June
According to Mitt Romney’s campaign aides, much of the money raised in June came from new donors, Politico reported.
Several states, including the key battlegrounds of Colorado, Michigan and Ohio, exceeded their fundraising goals, they added.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama pitched a positive message on Ohio’s economic recovery and the comeback of the state’s car industry.
Ohio’s unemployment rate of 7.3% compares with a national average of 8.2%.
Ohio is a key battleground in presidential elections – no Republican has ever won the White House without capturing it.
A Quinnipiac University poll of Ohio voters last week had Barack Obama leading his rival by 47% to 38% in the state. Earlier, the Obama campaign had run a barrage of attacks on Mitt Romney’s business record.
“I’m betting you’re not going to lose interest,” Barack Obama told voters in Maumee, Ohio.
“I’m betting you’re not going to lose heart. I still believe in you, I’m betting on you.”
The president also touched on his landmark healthcare reform act, which was upheld by the Supreme Court last week.
“It is going to make the vast majority of Americans more secure,” he told supporters. Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the law if he wins office.
On Friday, Barack Obama will finish his bus tour with appearances in Poland, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, said the president had “no new answers” for the economy.
Despite its fundraising bonanza, correspondents say the Romney campaign has struggled recently to gain the initiative.
His team was seen as having been put on the back foot by the president’s order last month halting deportations for children of illegal immigrants.
The Romney camp also delivered conflicting responses to Supreme Court ruling last week on healthcare.
And there were negative headlines this week over a Vanity Fair investigation reporting that much of Mitt Romney’s personal fortune was hidden in a network of opaque offshore investment havens.
Conservative concerns over the former private equity chief’s campaign were vented in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
It accused Mitt Romney’s staff of “slowly squandering an historic opportunity”. The newspaper is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who called for a Romney campaign shake-up, in a tweet earlier this week.
Meanwhile, pictures of Mitt Romney on holiday with his family this week in New Hampshire prompted conservative radio talk host Laura Ingraham to tell listeners:
“There’s no week to spare, we have a country to save.”
With the economy such a major issue in the coming election, both campaigns will be eagerly awaiting figures due on Friday showing if there was any rise in hiring by US employers during June.
Barack Obama’s wide-ranging healthcare reform bill, which is seen as a key achievement of his presidency, is facing its moment of judgement in the US Supreme Court.
The law, dubbed ObamaCare, passed in 2010, requires all Americans to obtain health insurance or face a penalty fine.
But conservative opponents of the president say that “mandate” is illegal under the terms of the US constitution.
The justices are expected to rule on Thursday, and could cut the mandate or strike down the whole law.
The debate over healthcare is a fiercely polarizing issue in the US, and a verdict either way is expected to have a major impact on the race for the White House.
Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, are just five months away from the presidential election.
The president maintains a slender lead in some polls, but is facing a stiff challenge from Mitt Romney and conservative opponents, amid a rocky economic outlook.
ObamaCare, passed in 2010, requires all Americans to obtain health insurance or face a penalty fine
Mitt Romney told a rally near Washington DC on Wednesday that if the Supreme Court did not quash the law he would “repeal and replace” the bill if he won the White House.
The bitter debate over the legislation has touched such partisan issues as state and individual rights, federal deficits, end-of-life care, and abortion and contraception funding.
The nine-member Supreme Court has several options.
It could decide that it is too early to rule on the case, as many of the law’s provisions – including the mandate to buy health insurance – do not come into force until 2014.
It could also dismiss the challenge to the mandate on a technicality, ruling that the penalty constitutes a tax lawfully imposed by Congress. Few observers expect the court to choose this option.
The meat of the case concerns the challenge to the individual mandate, which the justices could decide oversteps Congress’ right to regulate interstate commerce.
Analysts say that questioning from several conservative justices during oral arguments at the court in March revealed a deep level skepticism on the bench.
The court could decide to strike down the mandate and send the bill back to Congress to find a way to make the rest of it work. It could also overturn the entire law, ruling that the need to buy health insurance is integral to the legislation.
The Supreme Court is composed of nine justices, five seen as conservatives and four as liberals. It has delivered several divisive wafer-thin majority rulings in recent years, prompting criticism from liberals.
A 5-4 ruling in 2010 known as Citizens United changed campaign finance laws in the US to allow unrestricted fund-raising by independent groups not directly affiliated with candidates.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found public approval of the court at its lowest level since records began in 1987.
The healthcare law – officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but commonly dubbed ObamaCare by opponents – was passed in 2009 without a single Republican vote in Congress, and signed into law by President Obama in June 2010.
Polls suggest many Americans would be pleased to see the law overturned.
However, individual elements of the bill are popular, and some people are opposed because they do not think it goes far enough.
The bill has already enabled millions of Americans aged under 26 to obtain health insurance by staying on their parents’ coverage for longer than previously allowed.
Patients with pre-existing medical conditions have also been able to obtain health insurance since the passage of the law.
Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino boss, who was one of Newt Gingrich’s top backers, has become Mitt Romney’s largest donor.
Sheldon Adelson has handed a $10 million donation to Restore Our Future, a super PAC devoted to the election campaign of the former Massachusetts governor, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While the gift could make a big difference to Mitt Romney’s election hopes, it is little more than a drop in the ocean for Sheldon Adelson, whose fortune is believed to add up to $20 billion.
Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino boss, who was one of Newt Gingrich's top backers, has become Mitt Romney's largest donor
Sheldon Adelson made his fortune with Las Vegas Sands, which owns enormous casinos in Macau and Singapore as well as in Las Vegas.
The tycoon was by far the biggest supporter of Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, propping it up almost single-handedly with around $21 million worth of funding.
Sheldon Adelson, who appears to be primarily motivated by support for Israel, has apparently pledged to give a total of $100 million to Republicans this election year.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney raised almost $17 million more than President Barack Obama’s re-election effort in May, according to new figures.
Mitt Romney and the Republicans raised $76.8 million, while the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party brought in $60 million.
Mitt Romney now has $107 million cash on hand, almost matching the $115 million Barack Obama’s campaign had by the end of April.
Barack Obama’s May total included $15 million raised at the home of George Clooney, with tickets costing $40,000.
Members of the public also bought $3 raffle tickets to win a spot at that star-studded event.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney raised almost $17 million more than President Barack Obama's re-election effort in May
Both presidential candidates are in the midst of a hectic fund-raising schedule as they prepare for the long campaign ahead of November’s election.
Barack Obama is campaigning this week in California and Nevada, while Mitt Romney has been in Texas.
The monthly campaign fundraising totals do not include millions of dollars being raised and spent by independent committees backing each campaign.
May’s fundraising figures were the first since Mitt Romney became the official Republican nominee, having won the required numbers of delegates during the primary season to ensure he will face Barack Obama in November.
Announcing its fundraising totals early on Thursday, the Obama campaign said on Twitter that 572,000 people donated in May, 147,000 of them for the first time.
His campaign also reported that 98% of the contributions were less than $250.
In its statement shortly afterwards, the Romney campaign reported that donations of $250 or less made up 93% of all donations and $12 million of the total amount raised.
“Our strong fundraising is a sign that Americans are tired of President Obama’s broken promises and want a change of direction in the White House,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
Barack Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt used Twitter to play down Mitt Romney’s fundraising haul: “Reminder on RNC/Romney camp fundraising: 1st month joint committee was in existence, so all their primary donors wrote their maxout checks.”
Both the camps raised considerably more in May than in April, when the Obama campaign and the Democrats brought in $43.6 million, slightly ahead of their opponents.
Republican Mitt Romney has secured his place as the challenger to Barack Obama in November’s US presidential election, following a primary in Texas.
Projections show Mitt Romney easily won enough votes to pass the threshold of 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination.
Mitt Romney said he was “humbled”. He is the first Mormon from a major party to contest the presidential election.
He is set to be officially anointed as the Republican nominee at the party convention in Florida in late August.
Mitt Romney has been the presumptive nominee for several weeks as his rivals withdrew or suspended campaigning.
With 1,086 delegates secured as he entered the Texas race, Mitt Romney only needed 58 to pass the 1,144 mark.
Republican Mitt Romney has secured his place as the challenger to Barack Obama in November's US presidential election, following a primary in Texas
In early returns, Mitt Romney had captured more than 70% of the vote. Texas awards 152 delegates proportionally.
He will surpass his father, George Romney, a former Michigan governor who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 1968.
Opinion polls suggest Mitt Romney is locked in an extremely close race with Barack Obama in November.
“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee,” Mitt Romney said in statement.
As polls closed, the former Massachusetts governor was attending a fundraiser in Las Vegas with real estate tycoon Donald Trump.
He spent the day campaigning in Colorado and Nevada.
Ahead of Tuesday’s private fundraiser, the Obama campaign released a video focusing on Donald Trump’s comments falsely alleging that the president was born in Kenya.
The video seeks to draw a contrast between Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, who once corrected a woman after she called Barack Obama a Muslim.
“Why won’t Mitt Romney do the same?” asks the clip.
On Monday, Mitt Romney stopped short of condemning Donald Trump’s comments.
“I don’t agree with all the people who support me. And my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Mitt Romney told reporters.
The Obama campaign video against Donald Trump is the latest in a series of attack ads.
On Monday, the Romney campaign released an attack ad criticizing Barack Obama over a federal loan to a solar panel maker which later went bankrupt.
On Tuesday Mitt Romney also met casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who gave millions to supporters of Newt Gingrich’s campaign during the primary season.
Experts say the outcome of November’s election could depend on what happens in a handful of battleground states, including Colorado and Nevada, as the candidates vie for the support of independent voters.
The next question of the campaign is who Mitt Romney will pick as his vice-presidential running mate.
Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate in this year’s US presidential election, has rejected the legitimacy of same-sex marriage telling graduates at Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, that marriage is “a relationship between one man and one woman”.
Mitt Romney told the Liberty University commencement that marriage is an “enduring” institution that’s reserved for one man and one woman.
The crowd cheered his comments, made days after Democratic President Barack Obama embraced same-sex marriage.
Mitt Romney also said that culture – “what you believe, how you live, what you value – it matters”.
“Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman,” he said.
Mitt Romney told the Liberty University commencement that marriage is an “enduring” institution that's reserved for one man and one woman
Mitt Romney, a Mormon by religion, was given a standing ovation.
Barack Obama, fighting for re-election as president in November, announced his support for gay marriage this week.
It was seen as a politically risky move, especially in the South, where one in three swing voters strongly opposes allowing gays and lesbians to wed.
Virginia is regarded as a key battleground in November.
Addressing the graduation ceremony at Liberty University, Mitt Romney avoided talking about his own faith but stressed the importance of Christian values in American society.
He has so far struggled to gain support from evangelical Christians in his campaign for the Republican ticket.
“There is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action,” he told the audience.
While Mitt Romney opposes gay marriage, he has said that same-sex couples should have some rights, including the ability to adopt children.
President Barack Obama has ended months of hedging on the issue of same-sex marriage by saying he thinks gay couples should be able to wed.
Barack Obama has become the first sitting US president to back gay marriage.
Mitt Romney, the Republican who is set to challenge Barack Obama for the White House in November’s elections, promptly said he was against gay marriage.
In recent days, Vice-President Joe Biden and cabinet member Arne Duncan had expressed support for gay unions.
A Gallup poll on Tuesday suggested that 50% of Americans were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage – a slightly lower proportion than last year – while 48% said they would oppose such a move.
The interview with ABC News was apparently hastily arranged as Barack Obama came under mounting pressure to clarify his position on the issue.
President Barack Obama has ended months of hedging on the issue of same-sex marriage by saying he thinks gay couples should be able to wed
“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Barack Obama told ABC.
He pointed to his administration’s commitment to increasing rights for gay citizens. He cited the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and said his administration had dropped support for the Defense of Marriage Act.
“I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community. I hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient,” Barack Obama said.
He said he had changed his views after seeing gay members of his own staff who were in “incredibly committed monogamous relationships”, and service personnel who felt constrained by not being able to wed.
Barack Obama also said discussions with his own family had helped the “evolution” of his views on the issue.
“There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and… Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently,” Barack Obama said.
“It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”
In 2010, Barack Obama said his views on the issue were “evolving”, a stance that had frustrated gay rights supporters and donors.
His comments aired on Wednesday come a day after North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment effectively banning same-sex marriage or civil unions.
The Obama campaign had opposed that measure, which was passed with 61% in favor and 39% against.
In the US, 31 states have passed constitutional amendments or legislation against same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney set the stage for an election year clash over the polarizing social issue by saying he was against gay marriage.
The former Massachusetts governor told a Fox News affiliate: “I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name.
“My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”
It was an embarrassing start for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign yesterday as he held his first political rally of the 2012 race in a half-empty arena.
With First Lady dressed head to toe in campaign colors at his side, Barack Obama targeted swing states Ohio and Virginia that are critical for his bid to remain in the White House.
Barack Obama formally launched his Chicago-based re-election effort last year but his official political events have been confined to fundraisers since then.
That changed this weekend, however, with results which may have surprised Barack Obama.
The President, who was propelled to power in the 2008 election thanks in part to huge rallies across the nation, hoped to regain that momentum with events in large arenas in Columbus, Ohio and Richmond, Virginia.
Come game time, however, with his first event – which was free and open to the public – held at Ohio State University, his numbers appeared to fall flat, according to several reports.
One photo taken and posted to Twitter by Republican rival Mitt Romney’s campaign spokesman Ryan Williams showed the floor and seats with more space than people.
The venue holds 20,000 and according to figures from Barack Obama’s campaign, 14,000 attended the event – 70% of the stadium’s seating capacity.
According to the paper, event organizers busied themselves moving people from the stage’s surrounding seats to the arena’s floor to depict a better crowd to television cameras.
Barack Obama targeted swing states Ohio and Virginia that are critical for his bid to remain in the White House
Aiming to encourage his supporters, Barack Obama released an email prior to his rally reminding them to watch his first rally and donate money.
“The crowd’s starting to form in Columbus, and they’re ready to go,” he said in the email.
“In a little while, I’ll go on stage for the first rally of 2012.”
Barack Obama’s campaign is eager to get the president on the road and at the center of the political battle.
“We’re ready to go,” campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters in a recent conference call.
“While Mitt Romney has been busy endearing himself to the Tea Party and making promises he can’t keep, we’ve been busy building the largest grassroots campaign in modern American history.”
The Republican National Committee released their own email earlier Saturday morning, however, in the mocking form of fake prepared remarks for the president’s rally in Columbus.
“Ohio, thanks for the tepid welcome. I know I’m not as popular here as I once was, so I’ll take what I can get,” the RNC said in the imagined speech it dubbed “as prepared for reality”.
“It turns out the hope and change I promised didn’t work out. So, we’ve launched a new strategy: hype and blame,” the RNC’s email said.
Since Mitt Romney became his party’s presumptive nominee, Barack Obama has criticized his opponent in formal and informal situations – a sign that he is more than ready to launch the attacks that are expected to characterize a potentially ugly and negative campaign.
Republicans accuse Barack Obama of infusing politics into his official White House events and scoff at the notion that his campaigning is just starting.
The president has done official trips in recent months to highlight his energy record and to tout proposals to reduce costs for students. Young people are an important constituency for his campaign.
The Obama campaign has mapped out several scenarios to win the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the presidency, and the choice of states for his inaugural rallies was not coincidental.
Ohio, with its large cache of 18 electoral votes, is a particularly coveted prize.
No Republican has made it to the White House in the last century without winning the state. Barack Obama bested Republican rival John McCain there in 2008.
Ohio has struggled with a loss of manufacturing jobs, but its unemployment rate, at 7.5% in March, is below the national average, which was 8.2% in March and dipped to 8.1% in April.
That could help blunt Mitt Romney’s attacks on Barack Obama’s economic record. The president’s campaign also hopes to capitalize on union anger over an attempt by the state’s Republican governor, John Kasich, to limit collective bargaining rights for firefighters, police officers, and other state workers. The law was later repealed.
Polls show Barack Obama is leading Mitt Romney in Ohio and Virginia. An average of polls by RealClearPolitics showed the president ahead in Ohio by 4.2 percentage points and ahead in Virginia by 3.2 percentage points.
Virginia had an even lower unemployment rate in March, coming in at 5.6%.
The Obama campaign will also try to capitalize on an advantage with women voters in the state, where the governor – Republican Bob McDonnell – promoted legislation that would have required women to undergo an invasive trans-vaginal sonogram before getting an abortion.
Michelle Obama will also help attract the female vote. The popular first lady, who has done fundraisers across the country for her husband’s campaign, will be at his side for both rallies.
US Navy SEAL has slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as “ammunition” for his re-election campaign.
In his newly released re-election campaign, President Bill Clinton is featured saying that Barack Obama took “the harder and the more honorable path” in ordering that Osama bin Laden be killed. The words “Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?” are then displayed.
Besides the ad, the White House is marking the first anniversary of the SEAL Team Six raid that killed bin Laden inside his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan with a series of briefings and an NBC interview in the Situation Room designed to highlight the “gutsy call” made by the President.
Barack Obama used a news conference yesterday to trumpet his personal role and imply that his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, who in 2008 expressed reservations about the wisdom of sending troops into Pakistan, would have let Osama bin Laden live.
“I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did,” Barack Obama said.
“If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.”
Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: “The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.
“I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice – it was a broader team effort.”
Ryan Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that Barack Obama was exploiting Osama bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid. “The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.”
Barack Obama has faced criticism even from allies about his decision to make a campaign ad about the Osama bin Laden raid. Arianna Huffington, an outspoken liberal who runs the left-leaning Huffington Post website, roundly condemned it.
Arianna Huffington told CBS: “We should celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It’s one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room… all that to me is perfectly legitimate, but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.”
US Navy SEAL accuses Barack Obama of using them as ammunition for his re-election campaign
Campaigning in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mitt Romney responded to a shouted question by a reporter by saying: “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
A serving SEAL Team member said: “Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart.
“But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, <<Come on, man!>>. It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.”
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: “The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.
“But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot.
“In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.”
Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command.
Chris Kyle added: “He’s trying to say that Romney wouldn’t have made the same call? Anyone who is patriotic to this country would have made that exact call, Democrat or Republican. Obama is taking more credit than he is due but it’s going to get him some pretty good mileage.”
A former intelligence official who was serving in the US government when bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration knew about the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts in October 2010 but delayed taking action and risked letting him escape.
“In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier – as would George W. Bush.”
Brandon Webb, a former SEAL who spent 13 years on active duty and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “Bush should get partial credit for putting the system in place.
“Obama inherited a very robust package with regards to special ops and the intelligence community. But Obama deserves credit because he got bin Laden – you can’t take that away from him.
“My friends that work in Special Operations Command (SOCOM) that have been on video teleconferences with Obama on these kill or capture situations say that Obama has no issue whatsoever with making decisions and typically it’s kill. He’s hitting the kill button every time. I have a lot of respect for him for that.”
But he said that many SEALs were dismayed about the amount of publicity the Obama administration had generated about SEAL Team Six, the very existence of which is highly classified.
“The majority of the SEALs I know are really proud of the operation but it does become <<OK, enough is enough – we’re ready to get back to work and step out of the limelight>>. They don’t want to be continuously paraded around a global audience like a show dog.
“Obama has a very good relationship with the Special Operations community at large, especially the SEALs, and it’s nice to see. We had the same relationship with George W. Bush when he was president.”
It was “stretching a little much” for Barack Obama to suggest only he would have made the decision.
“I personally I don’t think Romney would have any problem making tough decisions. He got a very accomplished record of making decision as a business professional.
“He may not have charisma but he clearly has leadership skills. I don’t think he’d have any problem taking that decision.”
Clint Bruce, who gave up the chance of an NFL career to serve as a SEAL officer before retiring as a lieutenant after nine years, said: “We were extremely surprised and discouraged by the publicity because it compromises the ability of those guys to operate.
“It’s a waste of time to speculate about who would and wouldn’t have made that decision. It was a symphony of opportunity and intelligence that allowed this administration to give the green light. We want to acknowledge that they made that decision.
“Politicians should let the public know where they stand on national security but not in the play-by-play, detailed way that has been done recently. The intricacies of national security should not become part of stump speeches.”
President Barack Obama shared a meal with politicians, journalists and stars like Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan at the 98th annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Barack Obama enjoyed a genial evening with the members of the press, thanking them for their time and dedication.
Nothing was off limits during Washington’s night of levity, including the recent Secret Service scandal in Colombia, “dog socialism”, and the state of media today. And of course, he didn’t shy away from the political arena.
Barack Obama appeared in high spirits as he began his comedic routine.
“We gather during a historic anniversary,” he said.
“Last year at this time, in fact on this very weekend, we finally delivered justice to one of the world’s most notorious individuals.”
That man wasn’t Osama bin Laden – no, a picture of none other than Donald Trump flashed on the screen.
Jabs at his likely GOP rival Mitt Romney came soon after.
“I’m not going to attack any of the Republican candidates – take Mitt Romney,” Barack Obama deadpanned, adding that the former Massachusetts governor would call the luxurious Hilton ballroom “a little fixer upper”.
The president continued: “[Romney] and I actually have a lot in common… We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one, he has two.” After a pause, he added: “What a snob.”
Four years ago, Barack Obama recalled, he was locked in a tough primary fight with Hillary Rodham Clinton, now his secretary of state.
“Now she can’t stop drunk texting me from Cartagena,” he said, referring to their recent trip to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, where Hillary Clinton was photographed drinking a beer and dancing.
Next up was a video satirizing Mitt Romney’s highly politicized event of strapping his dog Seamus to the roof while on home from a family vacation.
In the faux-political video, the announcer hinted at what a horrible world it would be if “socialist” first dog Bo Obama were allowed another four terms in office.
“America’s dogs can’t afford four more years of Obama – that’s 28 years for dogs.”
The video finished with the slogan: “I’m an American, and dog gone it, I ride on the outside. (Paid for by the Wolf Pack of America.).”
President Barack Obama shared a meal with politicians, journalists and stars at the 98th annual White House Correspondents' Dinner
Throughout the routine, Michelle Obama could be seen laughing at the dinner table. First Lady was wearing a modified version of Naeem Khan’s one-shouldered paisley organza ball gown from the Fall/Winter 2011 collection.
The version that went down the runway had a twisted strap over the left shoulder, but Michelle Obama seemed to prefer a dress that better displayed her décolletage.
She accessorized the look with detailed gold hoop earrings and a loosely-waved bob, as well as a large cocktail ring worn on her left hand.
Michelle Obama also elected to wear a bright pink lipstick to match the colors of her gown.
Earlier, Barack Obama gave a knowing nod to several instances of “hot microphone” instances, lampooning himself in a monologue, asking who the Kardashians are, and why exactly they’re famous.
“What am I doing here,” he asked off stage.
“I’m opening for Jimmy Kimmel and telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian.”
The crack drew a thumbs up from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the presidential primary campaign earlier this month.
Rick Santorum had called Barack Obama a snob for encouraging young Americans to attend college.
But Barack Obama touched on serious themes as well, remembering The New York Times’ Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times of London who died while covering the uprising in Syria.
“Never forget that our country depends on you to help protect our freedom, our democracy and our way of life,” he said.
Then he returned to the lighter side: “I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew.”
Barack Obama then passed the podium on to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who he noted got his start on a program called The Man Show.
“In Washington, that’s what we call a congressional hearing on contraception,” he said.
Jimmy Kimmel began joking straight out of the gate, saying: “It’s an honor to be here. Mr. President, remember when the country rallied around you in the hopes of a better tomorrow?
“That was hilarious. That was your best one yet. There’s a term for guys like President Obama. Probably not two terms, but there is.”
No one was safe from the wry jokes of the outspoken host of Jimmy Kimmel Live.
He poked fun at everyone from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (“I think you’re misunderstanding New Jersey’s slogan. It’s not the Olive Garden State”) to Newt Gingrich (“It’s great to see the Gingriches here, because that means the check cleared.”)
Jimmy Kimmel also picked up on the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia, saying he told the Secret Service that for $800 he wouldn’t joke about them, “but they only offered 30”.
“If this had happened on President Clinton’s watch, you can damn well bet those Secret Service agents would have been disciplined with a very serious high five,” Jimmy Kimmel said.
Among those who attended Saturday night’s dinner were former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the cast of the hit TV show Modern Family, singer John Legend, actor George Clooney, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, director Steven Spielberg, and actress Zooey Deschanel.
Proceeds from the dinner go toward scholarships for aspiring journalists and awards for distinction in the profession.
The association was formed in 1914 as a liaison between the press and the president.
Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended the dinner. Some of the proceeds from the dinner pay for journalism scholarships for college students.
Several journalists were also honored at the dinner, including:
• Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of The Associated Press, for winning the Edgar A. Poe Award for their stories about the New York City Police Department’s widespread surveillance of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It’s the fourth major prize for the series, which has also won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and a George Polk Award.
• ABC’s Jake Tapper and Politico’s Glenn Thrush, Carrie Budoff Brown, Manu Raju and John Bresnahan, for winning the Merriman Smith Award for excellence in presidential coverage under pressure. Tapper won in the broadcast category for breaking the news that rating agency Standard & Poor’s was on the verge of downgrading the federal government’s triple-A credit rating because of concerns over political gridlock in Washington. In the print category, Thrush, Budoff Brown, Raju and Bresnahan of Politico won for their report on the deal between Obama and congressional Republicans to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
• Scott Wilson, of The Washington Post, for winning the Aldo Beckman award. Wilson was recognized for his “deeply reported and nuanced stories, his evocative writing and his clear presentation of complex issues, particularly on the foreign policy front”.
US media report that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is expected to suspend his campaign next week.
Newt Gingrich said on Wednesday that he expected Mitt Romney, who won five primaries on Tuesday, to be the Republican nominee.
The former House Speaker’s campaign had said it would reassess its future if he did not win the contest in Delaware.
Newt Gingrich has won only two primaries – South Carolina and Georgia – since the election season began in January.
He will reportedly hold his last campaign event on 1 May in Washington DC.
During a campaign stop in North Carolina on Wednesday, Newt Gingrich all but conceded.
“You have to at some point be honest about what’s happening in the real world as opposed to what you would like to have happened,” Newt Gingrich told supporters.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is expected to suspend his campaign next week
Newt Gingrich added that Mitt Romney “had a very good day yesterday. You have to give him some credit.”
He said he would continue to campaign for the next week as a “citizen”, adding he would discuss economic issues, such as high unemployment.
“We are going to stay very, very active and we are working out the details of our transition,” Newt Gingrich said.
“But I am committed to this party. I am committed to defeating Obama.”
Newt Gingrich was expected to go ahead with several scheduled campaign stops across North Carolina.
The former House Speaker had campaigned heavily in Delaware ahead of Tuesday’s primary, a state that Mitt Romney all but ignored.
But Newt Gingrich still lost the state’s vote by 30%.
Bob Walker, a Gingrich adviser and former US representative, said on Tuesday: “I don’t think we can lose by 30 points in Delaware and feel good about it.”
In December, Newt Gingrich confidently predicted he would become the Republican nominee, and for a time enjoyed high poll ratings.
Although he won his home state of Georgia and nearby South Carolina, Newt Gingrich racked up heavy losses as the primary season continued.
He had vowed to fight on, even as Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney’s main Republican challenger, suspended his own campaign earlier in April.
Following Tuesday’s wins, the Romney campaign will begin formally integrating with the Republican National Committee.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus said on Wednesday he had directed its staff to start communicating with Mitt Romney advisers.
Former Massachusetts Governor Romney’s delegate lead means it is impossible for any other candidate to capture the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination at the Republican convention in August.
Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for the presidential elections in US, has vowed to take the White House from President Barack Obama and end four years of “disappointments”.
Speaking while racking up a series of primary night victories, Mitt Romney said a “new campaign” was beginning, heralding the start of the road to November’s vote.
“Hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight,” Mitt Romney said.
Mitt Romney easily won primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
His claim to the Republican nomination is now unrivalled, with no serious challengers remaining in the contest.
With 14 primaries remaining, Mitt Romney has amassed an unbeatable lead in the race for the delegates who will formally crown him the Republican nominee at the party’s convention in late August.
Without competition in the remaining contests he is expected to cruise past the 1,144 delegates he needs to take the nomination.
Mitt Romney has vowed to take the White House from President Barack Obama and end four years of "disappointments"
Among the states still to vote are California and Texas, both heavily populated states with large hauls of delegates.
Just Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul actively remain in the contest.
Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, spoke in North Carolina as Tuesday’s results came in but gave few clues as to his future in the contest.
He had pinned his hopes on a strong showing in Delaware, but instead polled less than half of Mitt Romney’s total.
As the results began to come in on a night with the most electoral delegates at stake since Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney took the stage in New Hampshire, the site of his first primary win of the year.
He focused on the forthcoming general election campaign, saying America needed a new direction and a renewal of its greatness.
“Tonight is the start of a new campaign to unite every American who knows in their heart that we can do better,” Mitt Romney said.
“The last few years have been the best that Barack Obama can do, but it’s not the best America can do.
“Tonight is the beginning of the end of the disappointments of the Obama years and the start of a new and better chapter that we will write together.”
Mitt Romney accused the president of failing to deliver on his promises of “hope and change” made during his 2008 election campaign.
The average American is still feeling the pain of the economic collapse, Mitt Romney said. “It’s still about the economy… and we’re not stupid.”
Shortly after Mitt Romney’s remarks, Barack Obama took to the stage in Colorado, a state his strategists see as part of a potential route to re-election.
Barack Obama is making a three-state tour of campuses in Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa – all swing states set to feature heavily in November.
The trip is an effort to highlight the growing cost of higher education and, analysts say, revitalize his support among young voters who may have become disillusioned with the president since 2008.
Barack Obama stressed his humble background and said that the election in November would be about making education, and the nation as a whole, affordable for ordinary people.
His spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement that the choice between the two men was clear.
“The title for Governor Romney’s speech tonight should have been Back to the Future, because he has proposed a return to the same policies that got us into the economic crisis in the first place,” he said.
“Mitt Romney has spent the past year out on the campaign trail tearing down the president with a negative message that even Republicans who have endorsed him have criticized.
“This marks the end of that monologue. Now he must put his record and his agenda next to the president’s.”
Republican Rick Santorum has ended his bid for the White House, leaving Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee.
The former Pennsylvania senator made the announcement at a news conference in the city of Gettysburg.
“While this presidential race is over for me, we are not done fighting,” said Rick Santorum, a social conservative.
Rick Santorum had been campaigning in Pennsylvania, his home state, ahead of its primary on 24 April.
But he was far behind Mitt Romney in terms of funding and was in danger of losing the state for the second time in six years, analysts said.
In 2006 Rick Santorum lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat by an 18-point margin.
In the current race for the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum lags far behind Mitt Romney in terms of the number of delegates needed to seal the nomination at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, in late August.
Rick Santorum’s children and his wife Karen stood behind him in Gettysburg as he made the announcement that he was suspending his campaign.
He had taken time off the campaign trail in recent days as his 3-year-old daughter Isabella, who has a rare genetic disorder, was admitted to hospital.
Republican Rick Santorum has ended his bid for the White House, leaving Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee
Rick Santorum proved to be the most resilient of the Republican rivals challenging Mitt Romney’s front-runner status.
In his statement Rick Santorum said he had surpassed expectations, adding that “against all odds, we won 11 states, millions of voters, millions of votes”.
“We were winning in a very different way,” Rick Santorum said.
“We were touching hearts.”
Rick Santorum remembered some of the volunteers he worked with during the campaign.
Without the help of people like Wendy in Iowa, who made 5,000 phone calls or the girls in Tulsa, Oklahoma, whose song “Game On” became an internet sensation, the campaign would not have come as far as it did, Rick Santorum said.
He mentioned his visit to the factory of the Minnesota manufacturer of his sweater vests, which became known as the former Senator’s signature outfit.
Rick Santorum won a total of 11 primaries and caucuses, and picked up additional delegates in states that awarded them proportionally.
He emerged on the national scene on the night of the Iowa caucuses in January, eventually winning the state by a whisker after victory was initially handed to Mitt Romney.
His old-fashioned, hard-working campaign style saw him visit every one of the Iowa’s 99 counties in the months preceding the vote, and won him the respect and support of many in the state.
Rick santorum continued to garner strong support in the Midwest and in the South, halting Mitt Romney in a swathe of states from Minnesota to Alabama and as far west as Colorado and North Dakota.
In conceding that he could not win the nomination Rick Santorum made no specific mention of Mitt Romney, and did not say whether he planned to endorse the front-runner.
However, he reportedly telephoned the former governor to concede shortly before speaking to reporters.
In a statement, Mitt Romney congratulated Rick Santorum on his campaign, calling him an “able and worthy competitor”.
“He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation,” the former Massachusetts governor said.
Meanwhile, fellow candidate Newt Gingrich said Rick Santorum had run a “remarkable campaign”, adding that “his success is a testament to his tenacity and the power of conservative principles”.
Newt Gingrich, though, insisted that he would remain in the race in an effort to broaden the policy discussion and offer a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul congratulated the former senator on running a “spirited campaign”. Ron Paul has the fewest delegates but, like Newt Gingrich, has refused to pull out of the contest.
Despite them remaining in the race, many analysts quickly characterized Rick Santorum’s decision as the moment the general election campaign effectively began.
Mitt Romney, who made his fortune in a private equity firm is now seen as the man to take on Democratic President Barack Obama, a former law professor and community organizer, in November’s election.
US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney eked out a narrow win in Ohio and was victorious in four other Super Tuesday states.
As expected, Mitt Romney cruised to victory in his home state of Massachusetts, as well as Idaho, Vermont and Virginia.
Mitt Romney also won in Alaska, which Ron Paul was pinning his hopes on for his only win of the nomination campaign.
Rick Santorum won a hat-trick of contests, while Newt Gingrich took his home state of Georgia.
Mitt Romney now leads the field with 415 delegates committed to backing him at the national Republican convention in August. A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win the party’s nomination and go on to challenge Barack Obama in November’s election.
But Super Tuesday did not deliver a sufficiently convincing victory to end the race and convince Mitt Romney’s rivals to pull out.
After Tuesday’s 10-state voting marathon, Mitt Romney defended his position as the front-runner.
“I’m going to get this nomination,” Mitt Romney told supporters in Boston.
Mitt Romney and his wife Ann at their Super Tuesday primary rally in Boston
Mitt Romney easily won Massachusetts, where he was governor, as well as liberal-leaning Vermont and Idaho, where his fellow Mormons make up a chunk of the electorate.
He also won resoundingly in Virginia, where Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich failed to qualify for the ballot.
Rick Santorum, a former US senator from Pennsylvania, said his victories in Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota proved he was the bona fide conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.
“This was a big night tonight,” Rick Santorum told supporters in Steubenville, Ohio. “We have won in the West, the Midwest and the South, and we’re ready to win across this country.”
After a cliffhanger count, Mitt Romney narrowly edged out Rick Santorum in Ohio, the night’s most coveted prize.
Ohio was important because no Republican nominee has taken the White House without winning the Midwestern bellwether state in the general election.
Of the 66 delegates on offer, Mitt Romney took home 35 compared to Rick Santorum’s 21, the Associated Press reports.
Rick Santorum began the race in Ohio with a big lead in the opinion polls, but Mitt Romney’s well-funded political machine overcame him in part through a heavy campaign of attack adverts.
Rick Santorum has attracted the support of religious conservatives with his opposition to gay marriage and abortion.
However, his outspoken remarks on birth control and the role of religion may have turned off moderate-leaning voters.
Exit polls showed Ohio voters thought Mitt Romney stood the best chance of beating Barack Obama; however, Rick Santorum appealed more to blue-collar voters.
Super Tuesday Guide
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, did not achieve the sweep of Southern states he hoped for.
But he vowed to stay in the race after his Georgia win.
“There are lots of bunny rabbits to run through, I am the tortoise. I just take one step at a time,” Newt Gingrich said.
With 96% of votes counted in Alaska, Mitt Romney was winning with 33% of the vote, ahead of Rick Santorum with 29%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul – who had been hoping to make the state his only win of the campaign – was trailing with 22% while Newt Gingrich held 14%.
Of the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination, 419 were up for grabs on Tuesday.
Overall, Mitt Romney won at least 212 of Super Tuesday’s delegates, taking his total to 415, while Rick Santorum added 84, taking his count to 176, AP reports.
The race is not over yet as the next crop of primaries and caucuses will not do Mitt Romney any favors.
Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Hawaii hold their contests over the next 10 days.
Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich will be hoping to halt Mitt Romney’s momentum and keep their challenges alive.
The drawn-out nomination fight, which has been waged in large part through negative television adverts, may have taken its toll on the Republican Party.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed only 35% of Americans looked upon Mitt Romney favorably, compared to 32% for Ron Paul, 23% for Newt Gingrich, and 32% for Rick Santorum.
Top US Republican John Boehner has called in Congress for action against a White House contraception rule that has angered Catholic leaders.
John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, said legislation was needed against the rule, which means Church-linked institutions must buy health insurance that covers birth control costs.
Catholic leaders say that would force them to violate religious beliefs.
White House officials say they want to find ways to allay Church concerns.
But one report in the New York Times on Wednesday said the administration would not back down from the rule.
Under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, employers must offer insurance that includes contraceptives.
Churches and other houses of worship were given a waiver under the new law, but institutions including Catholic universities and hospitals are not exempt.
John Boehner took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday to call for legislation against the rule.
“This attack by the federal government on religious freedom must not stand and will not stand,” he said.
Top US Republican John Boehner has called in Congress for action against a White House contraception rule that has angered Catholic leaders
The speaker said the House Energy and Commerce Committee were working on legislation related to the rule.
The mandate has also provoked strong condemnation from the Republican presidential candidates on the campaign trail.
In Colorado on Tuesday, Mitt Romney described the policy as a “violation of conscience”.
But the White House and other Republican candidates have hit back at his criticism.
During Mitt Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts, the state implemented legislation that required hospitals – including Catholic ones – to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
Democratic congresswomen have defended the White House measure, arguing that the policy would control health costs, stop unwanted pregnancies and that overturning the rule would adversely affect staff who may not be Catholic.
Jan Schakowsky, a Democratic Representative from Illinois, said: “Women’s healthcare should not depend on who the boss is.”
Wisconsin Representative Gwen Moore said the church “can’t impose its religious views on people and whether they can have healthcare”.
The uproar began over the weekend, after US Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended the policy in an editorial for USA Today.
Catholic bishops called for the rule to be dropped, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who wrote in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal that the mandate was “an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience”.
The Obama administration has sought to portray the issue as a balance between religious freedoms and preventing discrimination under the new healthcare law.
“You are going to have folks of all faiths who work for those large institutions,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a Tuesday press briefing.
“Those women ought to be able to have access to the same contraceptive services that other women will have access to.”
Republican Rick Perry will make the formal announcement on Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina.[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]
The Republican Rick Perry will officially announce his candidacy on Saturday, August 13, said Washington Times after information was provided exclusively by Carl Cameron from Fox News, known as having a hostile position to the current president, Barack Obama.
He will make his announcement in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is scheduled to speak at an annual conference of conservative bloggers.
Republican Texas Governor, Rick Perry is running for the US presidential race.
Rick Perry will then travel to New Hampshire and on to Iowa Sunday — hitting 3 of the first 4 states to hold nominating contests next year.
Rick Perry makes his entrance about six months before the Iowa caucuses, the traditional kickoff of the nominating season (the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President of the United States). Iowa is scheduled to be followed by New Hampshire’s primary, Nevada’s caucuses and South Carolina’s primary, though several other states are considering moves to jump ahead in the line.
The rest of the field has been assembled in Iowa for Thursday night’s nationally televised debate, Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll, the Iowa State Fair, which runs for 11 days and is a traditional hot spot for meeting voters and mugging for cameras.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”] Rick Perry’s presidential nomination is expected to fundamentally reshape the race and divert attention from other contenders, many of whom will be competing this weekend in the Iowa Straw Poll.
Being now in his 11th year as Texas governor, Rick Perry could fill the void some party activists see and could unify social and economic conservatives in the “Grand Old Party” (GOP a traditional nickname for the Republican Party)
“This is about electing a true conservative leader with a real record of job creation as our next president,” said Scott Rials, executive director of “Make Us Great Again”, one of the several pro-Perry political action committees that have formed to raise and spend money independently of Rick Perry’s campaign.
“Governor Rick Perry is our best qualified candidate to win back the White House and get our economy back on track.”
“Contrary to written reports that Governor Perry would use his Charleston speech on Saturday to announce his intention to run, he will tell the influential red state gathering … that he has entered the contest,” Rick Perry’s campaign strategist, David Carney told The Washington Times on Thursday.
In a preview of the Perry campaign’s emphasis, David Carney hailed the three-term governor as someone “known by many as America’s jobs governor.”
Carney, who was chief strategist for Rick Perry last year when he defeated Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas’ gubernatorial primary, said the Perry record stands “in perfect contrast to the current occupant of the White House, whose administration has appeared to be flailing around, trying to deal with economic woes for months.”
The GOP’s move also adds another target for President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee, which had invested time in trying to discredit former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, whose polls show he is the front-runner in the field.
Conservatives were pleased with Rick Perry’s pending announcement.
“I think Governor Perry entering the race will solidify conservatives,” Dr. Randy Brinson, an Alabama gastroenterologist and founder of Rock the Vote, told The Washington Times.
“Romney will hope for a perilous split due to the large number of social conservatives in the race but history shows it will not occur as Romney strategists think.”
“Perry travels to Alabama and the key state of South Carolina to line up solid support over the weekend,” said Dr. Brinson, who is considered a major force in conservative politics in the South.
“Obvious strategy is to anchor South Carolina which is the make-or-break state for all Republican presidential contenders.”
Kirsten Gray, Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman, who disputed Rick Perry’s activity claims by saying he fought for a budget that would lay off thousands of state workers, said:
“Not surprising Rick Perry is making his announcement in South Carolina instead of Texas — there’s nowhere in the Lone Star State he could announce without an angry mob showing up.”
[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]According to the RealClearPolitics.com average of polls, Mitt Romney leads Rick Perry 20.4% to 15.4%. Former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, who has not announced a candidacy, places third, in a near-tie with Republican Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, an announced candidate who polls fourth.
Rick Perry did not seek space at the straw poll, though his announcement Saturday could fuel a write-in campaign there.
On Thursday, Mitt Romney was heckled by liberal activists as he delivered a soapbox speech at the Iowa fair.
"I’m not going to raise taxes. That’s my answer. If you want someone to raise taxes, you can vote for Barack Obama," said Mitt Romney to the liberal hecklers at Iowa fair.
“You ready for my answer? I’m not going to raise taxes. That’s my answer. If you want someone to raise taxes, you can vote for Barack Obama,“
Mitt Romney told the hecklers.
Rick Perry’s entry makes him the first sitting governor in the race, the field having a handful of former governors.
Winning the presidency by Perry would mean for Republicans to return to the power after the defeat of George W. Bush in 2008.
Last May, Washington Times wrote that Governor Rick Perry is capable to attract not only among Republican voters, but also from conservatives, independents and even Obama’s Democrats.
The first sign that he could run for US presidency was in June 2011, when he was invited to a Fox News show and said:
“I am thinking seriously about it.”
Rick Perry is the Texas Governor since 2000, when he ascended from the lieutenant governorship after George W. Bush won the White House.
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