GOP Presidential Hopefuls Face Off In Two Battleground States
Issues ranging from plans to cap or cut Medicaid spending to voting positions on the Medicare prescription drug program are among the policies being tossed about as candidates jockey for tea party votes and conservative credentials.
The New York Times: In Tightening Race, Top GOP Candidates Race To Capture 2 Battleground States
In the brilliant sunshine of Arizona, Rick Santorum aggressively challenged Mitt Romney in a state where the Tea Party is strong and the politics of immigration are poised to take center stage at a debate on Wednesday night. Speaking to about 500 people at the Maricopa County Lincoln Day luncheon, Mr. Santorum tipped his hat to the Tea Party movement, many of whose members had packed into the large Shriners' hall to hear him speak. "We need to take everything from food stamps to Medicaid to housing programs to education training programs," he said. "We need to cut 'em, cap 'em, freeze 'em, send 'em to the states and say that there has to be a time limit and a work requirement," he said, the rest of his words drowned out by thunderous applause (Shear and Zeleny, 2/21).
Los Angeles Times: Ron Paul's 'Groovy' New Ad Calls Santorum A Fake Conservative
If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are best buds these days. As Romney fights to stave off a potentially debilitating loss in Michigan's Feb. 28 primary, Paul is taking to the airwaves there with an ad that reinforces Romney's message that Rick Santorum betrayed conservative principles on spending when he served in Congress. … It says Santorum voted to raise the debt ceiling, doubled the size of the Education Department, and "supported the biggest entitlement expansion since the '60s," referring to the Medicare prescription drug plan (Memoli, 2/21).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Gingrich Asks Oklahoma Lawmakers For Input On Getting 'Federal Government Out Of Your Hair'
The former House speaker said he'd focus most on regulations he thinks are hindering energy development and on giving states greater flexibility to implement Medicaid programs for the poor. Gingrich praised House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's ideas for turning more Medicaid funds into block grants to states. Gingrich drew conservative blowback last May for suggesting Ryan's plan for Medicare for seniors constituted "right-wing social engineering" (2/21).