As close as the general election is expected to be, virtually everything the presidential candidates do from here until November is about maximizing the turnout of voters in their respective bases without repelling independents or moderates.
As the election year began, conventional wisdom was pretty well set about the outcome of the presidential race. If the economy improved, President Obama would win. If not, he'd be a one-termer.
So what does it mean that many big economic indicators are moving sideways?
"Obama seems to be in that gray area," says Paul Pierson, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. "The numbers are neither so good nor so bad that they give you a definitive answer."
That's how much President Obama campaign will receive from a fund-raising event last night at George Clooney's home. The New York Times reports the A-list, Hollywood crowd paid $40,000 a person, helping to set "a record for a presidential election fund-raiser."
If anything could predictably induce torrents of Internet reaction, it would be a U.S. president making the surprise disclosure that he supports same-sex marriage. And so it has been following President Obama's Wednesday ABC News interview in which he said he personally backs gay marriage.
The 2012 presidential election was supposed to be about the economy, and even with President Obama's historic decision to make it known Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage, that is still likely to be true.
But the president's decision to announce in an ABC News interview that he personally backs gay marriage could mean that at least one social issue may take a more prominent role in the election-year spotlight.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 1:15 pm
(Revised at 2:03 pm ET with new Ron Paul-Pennsylvania material.)
The contest for the Republican presidential nomination may be over for all practical purposes, with Mitt Romney the all-but-certain GOP nominee. But that doesn't mean there's nothing of interest in Tuesday's primaries.
Voters are going to polls in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and New York, though turnout is expected to be low. Still, here are four things to watch for.
Nothing about what happens during today's Republican presidential primaries in five states is expected to change the fact that Mitt Romney is the presumptive/expected/presumed/inevitable (pick your favorite word) nominee.
Polls are open in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. There are 209 convention delegates at stake and Romney could pull off a five-state sweep.
President Obama sets off on a two-day tour of college campuses Tuesday to tout a plan to keep student loans more affordable.
The trip is billed as official business, but it has a political flavor. Stops include: North Carolina, where Democrats hold their national convention this summer; Colorado, where Obama accepted his party's nomination four years ago; and Iowa, where his White House campaign was launched in 2008.
All three states are expected to be hard-fought battlegrounds in November.
Ahead of Pennsylvania's primary Tuesday, the likely Republican presidential nominee has been campaigning in the state with a man at the center of running-mate speculation — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. But Mitt Romney hasn't said much about whom he might name as his vice presidential choice.
Romney has said he appointed a longtime aide to handle the process and that he hasn't yet discussed making a list of potential candidates. But just about everyone else in politics is discussing it. And the men at the top of that list are asked about it a lot.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Monday, a day before Pennsylvania and four other states hold their primary contests.
Romney isn't concerned about the primary, but Pennsylvania will likely be an important swing state in the general election. And Monday also offered a chance to audition a potential running mate: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
At a Republican candidates' forum in Wisconsin before the state's primary earlier this month, a speaker who wasn't on the ballot had strong words for the GOP regarding its low standing among Hispanic voters.
"The way the party ... talks about immigration is going to impact the future course of this party and the future course of this nation," said former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the first Hispanic to hold the nation's highest law enforcement post.
For telling National Rifle Association members over the weekend that "I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year" if President Obama is re-elected, rocker Ted Nugent has now attracted the attention of the Secret Service.
Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:30 pm
For those who can't get enough of polls about the presidential election, Gallup has fired up its "daily tracking" survey that will follow the levels of support for President Obama and presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is reaching out to a segment of the Republican base that has given him trouble in this year's primary season: the Tea Party. On Monday night in Philadelphia, he spoke to activists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and what might have been a tough crowd turned out to be just the opposite.
Updated at 2:23 pm: Rick Santorum's daughter, Bella, is expected to be released from the hospital by Monday evening given the improvement in her condition, said Alice Stewart, spokeswoman for the former senator's campaign.
Assuming her release goes as planned and Santorum, who took a break from his campaign to tend to his daughter and for the Easter holiday, returns to the trail, that would clear the way for the Romney campaign to resume its negative advertising against Santorum.
When a presidential campaign leaves a state, political activists and the local reporters who cover the candidates often take a vacation. Not so in Wisconsin this year, where Mitt Romney won the GOP primary this past Tuesday. As Chuck Quirmbach of Wisconsin Public Radio reports, recall elections scheduled during the next two months mean there is no spring break in Badger State politics.
Mitt Romney has taken the lead in voter support in Pennsylvania, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling which shows the Republican frontrunner ahead of Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from the Keystone State, 42 percent to 37 percent. That lead was just on the 4.9 point margin of error, suggesting a tie. That's bad news for Santorum, however, as he dropped six percentage points while Romney gained 17 percent from a month ago.
Much of the Republican political establishment, many GOP voters and political analysts were telling Rick Santorum that the time had come for him to end his quest for his party's presidential nomination even before Tuesday when he failed to win any of three primaries.
Those calls had only increased by Wednesday as Santorum fell further behind Romney in the delegate count.
A newcomer upsets an education veteran for a spot on the Kansas City School Board, Cass County voters pass a half-cent sales tax to upgrade emergency dispatch systems, and more election results and headlines from KCUR.
After going 0-for-3 in Tuesday's presidential primaries, a defiant Rick Santorum dismissed calls to drop out and predicted he'll win the next contest in his home state of Pennsylvania on April 24.
He'll have to — and not because it would put the former Pennsylvania senator on a path to defeat front-runner Mitt Romney, who has been racking up delegates and is increasingly seen as the inevitable nominee.
A loss in Pennsylvania, where recent polls show Santorum is weakening, would "destroy the rationale for him continuing," says Pennsylvania pollster G. Terry Madonna.