Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Mitt Romney in Zanesville, Ohio, on March 5, 2012.
Mitt Romney in Zanesville, Ohio, on March 5, 2012. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
March 6 (Bloomberg) — Former U.S. Senator John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican and a Bloomberg contributing editor, talks about today’s Super Tuesday primaries and the outlook for the Republican presidential nomination.
Sununu speaks with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s “InsideTrack.” (Source: Bloomberg)
March 5 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, talks about the outlook for tomorrow’s presidential primary in the state.
Ohio is among 11 states holding primaries and caucuses. Portman speaks with Peter Cook in Youngstown, Ohio, on Bloomberg Television’s “Money Moves.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Rick Santorum 2012
Rick Santorum at a a campaign rally on March 3, 2012, in Blue Ash, Ohio.
Rick Santorum at a a campaign rally on March 3, 2012, in Blue Ash, Ohio. Photographer: Eric Gay/AP
Mitt Romney is reaching for breakout
victories today to propel him to a commanding lead in the
Republican presidential race, as Rick Santorum presses for
enough Super Tuesday support to keep his bid alive and stoke
doubts about the front-runner.
Polls showed Romney ahead of his competitors among
Republican voters nationally, gaining momentum in the swing
state of Ohio — one of today’s most coveted prizes with voting
under way — and running competitively in Tennessee, a Super
Tuesday state the Santorum camp has focused on.
“If he wins most of the states, he’ll be the presumptive
nominee; he’s close to that right now,” Bob Bennett, a former
Ohio Republican chairman who represents the state on the party’s
national committee, said of Romney. “He’ll be able to start
down the path of the presumptive nominee and sew it up in
Both men braced for a possible mixed result that could
further muddle the contest as voters in 11 states weighed in.
With more than 400 of the 1,144 delegates needed for the
nomination at stake, Santorum unleashed fresh attacks against
Romney yesterday, saying he can’t be trusted on key Republican
principles. Romney cast himself as the only candidate capable of
beating President Barack Obama and improving the economy.
Obama was asked at a White House news conference today what
he would like to say to Romney about criticism the candidate has
aimed at his handling of the presidency. Obama said with a
smile: “Good luck tonight.”
“What you have with Romney is someone who is simply not a
genuine article,” Santorum told reporters in a conference call,
echoing a message he has been making to voters. “He’s not
someone that you can trust on the issue of big government.”
Romney, 64, made a jobs-centered pitch as he toured Ohio by
bus, voicing growing confidence in his chances based in part on
a refusal to veer off his spotlight on the economy and Obama.
“I look at this campaign right now, and I see a lot of
folks all talking about lots of things, but what we need to talk
about to defeat Barack Obama is getting good jobs and scaling
back the size of government — and that’s what I do,” the
former Massachusetts governor told voters at a guardrail
manufacturing company in Canton, Ohio.
Santorum, 53, questioned Romney’s singular focus on fiscal
issues. “This country is more than just the economy,” the
former Pennsylvania senator said at a Christian school in
Miamisburg, Ohio. “I’m someone who has gone out and delivered
that message against all the odds.”
Santorum, Romney and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich took time today to criticize Obama on Iran, telling a
pro-Israel group in Washington they would be more forceful in
stopping the government in Tehran from developing nuclear
weapons. Obama, addresssing reporters at his news conference
today, suggested that campaign criticism of his handling of Iran
is political “bluster” and said he is intent on preventing
Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Santorum, addressing the annual meeting of the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee, said Obama has “been
reticent” in his efforts. “He says he has Israel’s back,”
said Santorum. “From everything I’ve seen, he has turned his
back on the people of Israel.”
Romney said he would “bring the current policy of
procrastination to an end.” He spoke by satellite, as did
Gingrich, who told the group that in his administration, “we
would not keep talking while the Iranians keep building.”
The stakes for Romney and Santorum are as high in Ohio as
any other state voting today. A win for Romney would quiet
concerns about his ability to carry a state regarded as a
battleground in the general election, while a loss would
underscore worries about his appeal to working-class and
religiously conservative voters.
In Youngstown, Romney said that if he got sufficient
support from people in Ohio and other states, “I can get the
nomination, and then we can start organizing our effort to make
sure that we replace President Obama.”
For Santorum, an Ohio victory would give his candidacy
momentum it lost after Romney beat him in Feb. 28 primaries in
Michigan and Arizona. A defeat in Ohio — where he had led in
polls until recent days — would undercut his argument that his
standing with factory workers and social conservatives can
propel him to the nomination.
A Quinnipiac University poll yesterday showed Romney
leading Santorum in Ohio, 34 percent to 31 percent. Gingrich had
15 percent and U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas 12 percent.
The telephone poll questioned 753 likely Republican primary
voters was conducted March 2-4 and has a margin of error of plus
or minus 3.6 percentage points. Last week, a Quinnipiac poll
gave Santorum the lead over Romney, 36 percent to 29 percent.
In a CNN/ORC poll also released yesterday and conducted
March 1-4, Romney and Santorum each had 32 percent, followed by
Gingrich with 14 percent and Paul with 11 percent. The telephone
survey of 546 likely voters in Ohio’s primary has an error
margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
“The campaign really has heated up” in Ohio, said John C. Green, a University of Akron political scientist. “Whoever wins
the popular vote, even if it’s by a smidgen, is going to be able
to take some bragging rights out of Ohio, which is a very
important state in the presidential election, particularly for
No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying
The candidates also were battling in the South, where
Gingrich pressed for a win in Georgia, the state he represented
A CNN/ORC poll of 527 likely voters in Georgia’s primary
showed Gingrich with 47 percent, followed by Romney with 24
percent, Santorum with 15 percent and Paul with 9 percent. As in
Ohio, the March 1-4 survey has a sampling error of plus or minus
4 percentage points.
Tennessee a Battleground
Tennessee also emerged in new polls as one of the day’s
battlegrounds. An American Research Group poll released March 4
showed Santorum with a 4-point advantage over Romney. In mid-
February, Santorum led by 18 points in a poll by the Tennessean
newspaper and Nashville, Tennessee-based Vanderbilt University.
Nationally, support from conservatives gave Romney the lead
in the race in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released
yesterday. Romney was supported by 38 percent of those surveyed
and Santorum by 32 percent; Gingrich and Paul were tied at 13
percent. The telephone poll was conducted Feb. 29-March 3 among
400 Republican primary voters and has a margin of error of plus
or minus 4.9 percentage points.
New Romney Backers
As the candidates made their closing arguments, influential
Republicans swung behind Romney in what his campaign called a
sign that the party is increasingly eager to coalesce behind him
and concentrate on challenging Obama. Former U.S. Attorney
General and Missouri Governor John Ashcroft offered his support
yesterday, a day after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of
Virginia and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn endorsed Romney.
While Romney’s campaign wouldn’t predict a win in Ohio or
any state today — and conceded that he expects to lose in
Georgia, where Gingrich is favored — a top adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, said his candidate will win the majority of
delegates at stake.
“We’re looking forward to a good day,” he said yesterday.
“The party has already begun to coalesce behind Mitt Romney,
and we expect that we’ll pick up more endorsements after
Primaries are also being held in Massachusetts, Oklahoma,
Vermont and Virginia, a state where only Romney and Paul are on
the ballot. Caucuses occur in Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota.
Wyoming begins its delegate-selection process at county
conventions that start today, with some results reported, and
end on March 10.
Paul is making a push in Idaho, campaigning there yesterday
In Ohio, Romney’s fundraising advantage was evident. Ad
spending by Romney’s campaign and a political action committee
backing him outpaced expenditures on behalf of Santorum in Ohio
by about 10-1, according to data from New York-based Kantar
Media’s CMAG, an advertising tracking company.
The Romney campaign and Restore Our Future, a super-PAC
that supports him, spent $1.8 million to air ads 3,713 times on
Ohio broadcast television through March 1, CMAG reported. The
Red White and Blue Fund, a super-PAC backing Santorum, had spent
$181,250 to air ads 371 times.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Julie Hirschfeld Davis in Zanesville, Ohio at
Lisa Lerer in Richfield, Ohio at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Jeanne Cummings at
Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-05/santorum-says-romney-trying-to-buy-republican-nomination-can-t-be-trusted.html