Candidates Jockey For Position, Messages In Post-Iowa Landscape
News outlets report on how GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is being targeted by Republican rivals and the Obama campaign. Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann exits the primary race, and Rick Santorum, fresh from his Iowa caucus finish, draws headlines.
The New York Times: After Iowa, Obama Campaign Sharpens 2 Negative Portrayals Of Romney
The bigger conundrum for the Obama campaign is how to balance its two lines of criticism of Mr. Romney, particularly if he wins the nomination. Do they go the out-of-touch, protector-of-Wall-Street route or the flip-flopper route? In one portrayal, he is the greedy Wall Street type. … The other picture paints him as the weathervane-watcher who was for Roe v. Wade before he was against it, who said he believed that humans contributed to global warming before he said he was not so sure, and who said he was glad Mr. Obama was "copying" parts of his Massachusetts health reform before he said he would seek to repeal the president’s health-care overhaul (Cooper and Landler, 1/4).
Los Angeles Times: Obama Strategist Dismisses Mitt Romney As 'Charlatan,' '25% Man'
But (David) Axelrod questioned Romney's electoral viability, given his record of changing positions amid shifting political circumstances. Romney at one point supported abortion rights, but later reversed that stance. As governor he pushed through a healthcare system similar to the one Obama enacted. Yet Romney has called for rolling back Obama's signature healthcare reform law (Nicholas, 1/4).
The Hill: Abortion-Rights Groups Keep Focus On Romney
Rick Santorum's sudden rise, fueled largely by evangelical Republicans, hasn't knocked abortion-rights groups off of their attacks against Mitt Romney. Santorum has a staunchly conservative record on social issues, and his close second-place finish in Iowa on Tuesday was fueled largely by evangelicals. He won 57 percent of the caucus-goers who said abortion was their top issue, according to a Washington Post poll. But abortion-rights advocates were quick to attack Romney after the Iowa results were announced (Baker, 1/4).
The Washington Post: Michele Bachmann Exits The GOP Race As She Entered It
After a last-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Michele Bachmann exited the presidential race just as she entered it, painting "Obamacare" as the socialist undoing of the United States of America (Henneberger, 1/4).
The Wall Street Journal: Bachmann Quits, But Perry Stays In
A day after lackluster showings in the Iowa caucuses, Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped out of the Republican presidential nomination race Wednesday, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent several hours reassessing his candidacy before announcing he would remain in the contest. … In her announcement, Mrs. Bachmann cited the national health-care law, one of President Barack Obama's signature initiatives, as the primary reason she chose to run, along with what she viewed as a need to cut federal spending (Hughes and Yadron, 1/5).
Reuters: Michele Bachmann Ends Campaign
Representative Michele Bachmann ended her campaign to become the 2012 Republican presidential nominee on Wednesday and called on supporters to rally behind the party's eventual choice. ... Bachmann said Republicans must unite behind the Republican presidential nominee to roll back President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul and "take back our country" (Johnson, 1/4).
National Journal: GOP Field Loses Vocal Opponent Of Health Care Reform
The Republican presidential field has just lost one of its most vocal critics of health care reform. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a fiery conservative aligned with the tea party movement, didn't just criticize health care reform legislation; she based her campaign on repealing it. "The evening that 'Obamacare' was passed ... served as the inspiration for my run for the presidency of the United States,” the Minnesota lawmaker told supporters on Wednesday, as she announced the suspension of her campaign (Quinton, 1/4).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: With Presidential Bid Behind Her, Minn. Republican Bachmann Must Decide On Return To Congress
Bachmann didn't tip her hand about future political plans during her concession speech Wednesday in Des Moines but vowed to remain engaged in issues, especially in her opposition to changes in federal health care law. "Make no mistake: I will continue to fight for our country," she said (1/5).
Los Angeles Times: Rick Santorum's New Image Worked In Iowa
Santorum now sits squarely in the sights of voters, and perhaps more important, in the sights of his opponents, who are already framing their lines of attack: Santorum is a "big-government conservative" who supported initiatives of President George W. Bush that are deeply unpopular with conservatives, including the Medicare prescription drug benefit that created a new entitlement program, and the federal education program called No Child Left Behind (Abcarian, 1/5).
Reuters: Insight: Rivals Set To Pounce On Santorum's Past
Santorum served on the board of a for-profit hospital chain, Universal Health Services (UHS), where he received $341,000 in compensation from 2007 to 2010. During Santorum's four years on the board, UHS's McAllen, Texas, hospital group was sued for defrauding Medicare through "illegal compensation to doctors in order to induce them to refer patients to hospitals within the group," according to a Justice Department press release in 2009. The McAllen group agreed to settle the lawsuit by paying $27.5 million (Stern and Cooke, 1/4).
Bloomberg: Santorum Becomes Millionaire In Six Years After Losing U.S. Senate Seat
Since his 2006 re-election defeat, the former Pennsylvania lawmaker has gone from being one of the poorer members of the U.S. Senate to earning $1.3 million between January 2010 and August 2011…. Outside of his employment contracts, Santorum's greatest financial gain came from $395,414 in director fees and stock options he listed in a recent financial disclosure. The fees and options came from King of Prussia-based Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS), a publicly traded health-care management company that was sued in 2010 by the federal government for alleged Medicaid fraud (Przybyla and Bykowicz, 1/5).
The Associated Press: Santorum's Conservative Record Has Some Blemishes
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum nearly won Iowa's caucuses with a message of fiscal conservatism and a muscular foreign policy. But even conservatives view Santorum's claims skeptically in light of his 16 years in Congress. ... In 2003, Santorum was a leading advocate for extending Medicare prescription drug benefits to seniors, a measure that conservative critics branded as a massive entitlement expansion that would run up the federal budget deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. He now says the vote was a mistake (Miga, 1/5).