man don't need him around, anyhow
Romney's difficulties in the South continued this week with Rick Santorum picking
up wins in Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday. Despite strong evidence that
the contest is becoming a two-man race, Newt
no signs that he's considering dropping out. Romney picked up victories in
Hawaii and American Samoa and continues
to hold a strong lead in delegates.
taken in the days after a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan went on a killing
spree, murdering 16 civilians, shows that more than half of Americans support
speeding up the U.S. withdrawal from the country. President Barack Obama vowed
this week to stick to the current withdrawal timetable, which has U.S.
troops handing over security duties to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
Gingrich surprised many this week by suggesting
that "it's very likely that we have lost, tragically lost, the lives
and suffered injuries to a considerable number of young Americans on a mission
that we're going to discover is not doable." He was immediately criticized
for the comment by GOP Senator Lindsay
against making a major change in strategy because of the incident. "You
don't make an abrupt shift in policy because of the actions of one crazed,
deranged person," he said.
Foreign policy may be the dominant issue of the campaign?
The conventional wisdom so far in the campaign has
been that foreign policy would take a back seat to concerns over the economy.
But Santorum suggested
this week that with the economic outlook improving somewhat, priorities may
be shifting. "That may be the issue of the day come this fall -- a nuclear
Iran. Or on the precipice of it [with] Israel potentially having to go to war
to stop that development." He continued: "I may not have been a Wall
Street private equities fund manager, but I served eight years on the [Senate]
Armed Services Committee."
With no state victories and only 48 delegates to his
name, Ron Paul is beginning to feel
like an afterthought in this race. But with the increasingly possibility that
this race goes to the convention in Tampa without a clear victor, Paul's
support could become a sought-after commodity. There has been rumor and speculation
that Paul is tacitly supporting Romney by focusing most of his attacks on
Santorum and Gingrich, but the Texas congressman suggested this week that he
may not be able to support Romney because of their differences on foreign
policy. "I'd talk to him and see what kind of a foreign policy he is going to
have," Paul said. "Mitt's a friend and we talk a lot. We just disagree on the
issues." Paul also argued that the "Republicans are going to be in trouble
unless they come our way and decide they want a president who's more for peace
than for war."
With Puerto Rico's primary coming on Sunday, the
issue of English as a national language has bubbled up in the campaign. On Wednesday,
Santorum suggested that he might be in favor of Puerto Rican statehood, as long
as the territory was willing
to adopt English as its official language. "Like any other state, there
needs to be compliance with this and any other federal law.... And that is that
English needs to be the principal language. There are other states with more
than one language, like Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English
must be the principal language."
At least one of Santorum's Puerto Rican delegates
withdrew his support over the comment, which Santorum continued
to defend on Friday. The Romney campaign issued a
mild rebuke, saying, "Governor Romney believes that English is the
language of opportunity and supports efforts to expand English proficiency in
Puerto Rico and across America. However, he would not, as a prerequisite for
statehood, require that the people of Puerto Rico cease using Spanish."
As a point of fact, English is taught in schools in
Puerto Rico. The U.S. federal government does not require states to make
English the official language, though a number of states have passed laws to
In recent weeks, Gingrich has reframed his campaign
around the issue of gas prices, pledging $2.50-per-gallon gas if he is elected,
and repeatedly mocking President Obama for suggesting algae as a potential
replacement for fossil fuels. The president fired
back this week, accusing GOP candidates of dismissing scientific
innovations: "If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail,
they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society -- they would
not have believed that the world was round."
saying "The president maligned me, suggesting I don't like biofuels. That's
baloney. I am in favor of science and technology." However, Gingrich said, "no
serious study" had suggested that algae could serve as a replacement for oil in
the short run.
White House spokesman Jay Carney also suggested
this week that any candidate promising $2.50 gas was "lying." He later
backed off the comment -- sort of -- saying "I shouldn't have gone to motivations,
I should have said that anybody who said that doesn't know what he's talking
to watch for:
Following Missouri's official caucus on Saturday (voters
chose Santorum in an unofficial primary back in February) and Puerto Rico's
primary on Sunday, Illinois will hold its closely watched primary on Tuesday.
Polls show Romney with a slight
latest from FP:
A. Cohen says that the war in Afghanistan could become a
liability for the president in November.
Rothkopf looks at Obama's "cool
Massie argues that the GOP have a
lot to learn from David Cameron's Tories.
says Cameron is betting
on Obama's reelection.
David Miller has a
suggestion for why the GOP has such a hard time attacking Obama on foreign
Clement says the public generally
support Obama's wait-and-see approach on Iran.
Walt argues that if Santorum is serious about becoming
president, he must
convince Gingrich to drop out.
Peck plays a new
game that simulates the twits-and-turns of the 2008 campaign trail.
Keating looks at Santorum's faith-based approach to Dutch
Sean Gardner/Getty Images