‘Personhood Forum’ Moves Candidates’ Abortion Positions To Center Stage
Although Mitt Romney wasn't present, the other Republican presidential hopefuls challenged his abortion stance. Meanwhile, with South Carolina's GOP presidential primary vote fast approaching, the Republican candidates are stepping up their ads and their efforts take the spotlight.
Los Angeles Times: Mitt Romney Surrogates Target Newt Gingrich
Former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri and ex-Rep. Susan Molinari of New York, both Romney backers who served with (former Speaker Newt) Gingrich in the House, blasted him as a wobbly conservative and a bomb-throwing leader more interested in promoting himself than the party. … Talent said Gingrich says things "that undermine the conservative movement," citing Gingrich's criticism of Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare reform plan, his opposition to the troop surge in Iraq, and his now-notorious couch klatch with Nancy Pelosi (Oliphant, 1/18).
The Associated Press: AdWatch: Santorum Ad Lumps Romney, Obama Together
Santorum's ad also strips any nuance from Romney's positions, though. While Romney's health care plan in Massachusetts is similar to Obama's, he also says he would repeal the president's national plan and that he doesn't believe the Massachusetts version can work on a national level. While he has run as a moderate in the past, particularly against (Sen. Edward M.) Kennedy, Romney has emphasized he is an anti-abortion candidate and has said he would govern that way (Jackson, 1/18).
Los Angeles Times: Rick Santorum Focuses On Gingrich With Time Running Out In S.C.
With attention turning toward Newt Gingrich as the conservative Republican with the best chance of catching front-runner Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum cranked up his assault on the former speaker of the House, questioning his steadiness and convictions. ... Santorum attacked Gingrich for his supporting the Wall Street bailout, a mandate to require individuals to have health insurance and the theory of global warming (Hoeffel, 1/18).
Politico: Rivals Hit Absent Mitt Romney On Abortion
Mitt Romney's GOP rivals hit him for being insufficiently pro-life at a Personhood USA forum here Wednesday night. Romney wasn't there to defend his record on the issue, which has always caused problems for him. The former Massachusetts governor was once considered pro-choice, but now says he is pro-life. The heated rhetoric represents an attempt by Romney's rivals to dethrone the front-runner — a CNN/Time poll released Wednesday of South Carolina's primary voters showed Romney leading. But it also surfaced Romney's biggest weakness in South Carolina — the fact that social conservatives don't really consider him one of them (Summers, 1/18).
The Hill: GOP Hopefuls Tout Abortion Stances At 'Personhood' Forum
Rick Perry denounced Mitt Romney's shift to oppose abortion rights as "a choice of convenience" during a personhood forum Wednesday night. "It is clear to most of us that this was a choice of convenience, a choice of political convenience," Perry said. "Gov. Romney has been on both sides of the issue of life.” Perry went on to question the authenticity of Romney's position, saying he couldn't understand shifting on the issue later in life. "How do you change your position – you're pro-life then you're not - in your 50s?" Perry said (Sink, 1/18).
NPR: Front-Runner Romney Skips Personhood Forum
A candidate forum was held in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday night, sponsored by the anti-abortion rights group Personhood USA. Participating in the event were Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry. Front-runner Mitt Romney did not attend (Gonyea, 1/19).
Meanwhile, also in the news -
The New York Times: Poll Shows Obama's Vulnerability With Swing Voters
As Mr. Obama moves toward a full-throated campaign, … a majority of independent voters have soured on his presidency, disapprove of how he has dealt with the economy and do not have a clear idea of what he hopes to accomplish if re-elected. … When asked whom they trust, the poll found that Mr. Obama has an advantage over Congressional Republicans in making the right decisions about creating jobs, health care, Medicare and Social Security. Yet the gap narrows on the economy ... with 44 percent of Americans saying they trust Mr. Obama and 40 percent saying they trust Republicans in Congress. The public is evenly split on who they trust to deal with the budget deficit (Zeleny and Sussman, 1/18).