With most attention focused on the state’s GOP presidential primary battle, and no Democratic primary for president, Kucinich was left in a low-turnout race in a newly drawn district against his once-close ally, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).
Vice President Joe Biden, long known for making embarrassing verbal gaffes, echoed the cynical criticism many people levy against career politicians, stating he had stayed in the Senate for 36 years because he didn’t want to get “a real job.”
Biden was speaking to a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Thursday night, when he turned to praise the work of Richard M. Daley, the city’s former mayor of over 20 years.
“I never had an interest in being a mayor, ’cause that’s a real job. You have to produce,” Biden said, according to a White House pool report. “That’s why I was able to be a senator for 36 years.”
Biden was elected to the Senate in 1972 directly from the county council of New Castle County in Delaware at the age of 29. He turned 30 – the minimum age to become a senator – less than two months before taking office. Biden then served continuously as Delaware’s senator until 2009, when he became Barack Obama’s vice president.
Byron York of the Washington Examiner notes that Biden’s remarks recalled criticism Sarah Palin, a former mayor, posited at the 2008 Republican National Convention against Barack Obama. Both had been charged with inexperience – Palin as a former small-town mayor with only a couple of years under her belt as Alaska’s governor, Obama as a former community organizer with only a couple years under his belt as a U.S. senator.
“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer,” Palin said, “except that you have actual responsibilities.”
Biden’s comments also included an evaluation of Obama’s chances of reelection against any of the Republican presidential hopefuls currently seeking the GOP nomination.
“I don’t think we’ll be beaten by those candidates,” Biden said. “I think we’ll be beaten, if we are, by something happening in the Eurozone or something happening in the Gulf, which could be difficult for us, or this barrage of super PAC money.”
“But even with that I feel good,” he added.
(CBS News) FRANKSVILLE, Wis. – In directing what appeared to be a new level of vitriol toward Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum on Sunday described his rival as “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” Santorum later, however, bristled at the notion that he was referring to anything other than Romney’s position on health care.
After a rally at the South Hills Country Club here, Santorum asked Republicans to “pick any other Republican in the country” than GOP presidential front-runner Romney, based on issues that make the former Massachusetts governor “uniquely disqualified” to run against Obama.
Reporters swarmed him for clarification, only to have Santorum testily reply that it was unreasonable to take his comment outside the context of health care.
“I would say, as for, on the issue of health care, yes, that’s what I was talking about – Obamacare, as you heard me say,” he said. “That’s what I said. I didn’t say anything different than that. That’s exactly what I said.”
Minutes later, Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times followed up with a question about his outburst, to which Santorum asked, “What speech did you listen to? Stop lying.” (watch at left)
Pressed further, Santorum clarified that he meant Romney was the worst candidate “to run against Barack Obama on the issue of health care, because he fashioned the blueprint. I’ve been saying it in every speech. Quit distorting our words. If I see it [in print], it’s bull(expletive). C’mon man, what are you doing?”
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams quickly issued a statement in response: “Rick Santorum is becoming more desperate and angry and unhinged every day. He see conservatives coalescing around Mitt Romney and he’s rattled by the backlash caused by his suggestion that keeping Barack Obama would be better than electing a Republican. He’s panicking in the final stages of his campaign.”
OK Bad (accidental) pun… The Phoney conservatives focus on taking our freedoms to “protect” us from ourselves. Whether you agree with someone’s right to view erotica, porn, or whether ART becomes the target… It is all a gateway to LESS freedom.
Oh, and if history is our guide… The guy that doth protest too much about your sex habits, is always the guy who has the sickest nature.
March 16, 2012
‘Vigorous’ Santorum crackdown may catch Internet porn viewers with pants down
Internet pornography could conceivably become a thing of the past if Rick Santorum is elected president.
The unapologetic social conservative, currently in second place behind Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, has promised to crack down on the distribution of pornography if elected.
Santorum says in a statement posted to his website, “The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws.”
If elected, he promises to “vigorously” enforce laws that “prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.”
Although the idea of Santorum vanquishing Internet pornography may seem far-fetched, a serious effort to combat online smut might actually be successful, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told The Daily Caller.
“If the government wanted to aggressively move against Internet pornography, it could do so,” explained Volokh. “Here’s the deal: In most parts of the country, a lot of pornography on the Internet would plausibly be seen as obscene.” (RELATED: Full coverage of the Santorum campaign)
There are a few approaches that Santorum could pursue in an attempt to eradicate Internet pornography. “It wouldn’t be that difficult to close down a lot of the relatively visible websites that are used for the distribution of pornography, if they’re in the United States,” said Volokh.
Santorum’s administration could take American-based porn distributors to court for violating obscenity laws, said Volokh, and have them shuttered. But that would leave foreign-based sites untouched.
To black out foreign sites, Santorum would likely need legislative action requiring Internet service providers to use “a mandatory filter set up by the government or by the service providers,” said Volokh.
But the government could also prosecute individual citizens who view porn, and already has the legal authority to do it.
“Although the Supreme Court says private possession is constitutionally protected, it has said that private receipt of [pornography] is not protected,” noted Volokh. “You can’t prosecute them all … but you can find certain types of pornography that are sufficiently unpopular” for easy convictions, he explained.
Most contemporary prosecutions for the receipt of pornography are because the government cannot prove its suspicion that the accused has committed more serious crimes, said Volokh. He speculated that there aren’t more prosecutions because “that prosecutor isn’t going to win a lot of votes in the next election.”
The government would probably need to “find some extra money in the budget for additional porn prosecutors,” joked Volokh. He also cautioned that there would be significant outcry because “sometimes it’s viewed by husbands and wives who watch it to spice up their sex lives.”
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, noted that “What constitutes obscenity remains maddeningly vague,” but added that he’s not entirely convinced Santorum would be successful in an attempt to snuf Internet porn.
Is Ron Paul running for president in the wrong party?
The results of the GOP primaries, so far, would certainly seem to suggest that. Paul’s support draws heavily from two constituencies one doesn’t normally associate with the Republican party: young voters, who are overwhelmingly independents, and antiwar voters, who tend to be Democrats. He has carried the youth vote and garnered a significant proportion of independents in virtually every contest: more significantly, polls show him beating President Obama in the general election by winning a huge portion of the independent and youth votes. Combined with the anybody-but-Obama vote, Paul’s potential base of support in a two-way race defines the contours of a winning electoral coalition, one that could win him the White House, bring about a major political realignment – and upend the political Establishment in this country.
The problem, for Paul, is that the GOP leadership is implacably opposed to his candidacy: never mind all that nonsense about a Romney-Paul “alliance,” which was just an invention of the “mainstream” media pushed by the Santorum campaign. After all, the Romneyites stole the Maine caucuses right out from under the Paul campaign, and are doing their best to repeat the same fraud in the rest of the caucus states. Some “alliance”!
Three factors have kept Paul from being a real contender: not only the hostility of the leadership and the age demographics of the average Republican primary voter – which is well over 40 – but also the ideological factor. After a decade and more of neoconservative domination, not only of the party but of the conservative movement, the GOP is the War Party. For the Paul campaign, this is fatal. Ron has made his anti-interventionist views the linchpin of his campaign: he never fails to bring up the issue of war and peace, even when discussing some economic or social topic. That’s because he realizes – unlike some “libertarians” – the issue is central to the question of rolling back the power of government to rule our lives.
While Paul regularly invokes the “Old Right” and the legacy of Robert A. Taft and the Taft Republicans, this tradition has been long forgotten by Republican voters – and deliberately buried and disdained by the party’s intellectuals, such as they are, who regularly rail against “isolationism” and hail FDR and Winston Churchill as their chosen icons.
The result is that, after an initial spurt of success – starting out with a respectable showing in Iowa, and placing second in New Hampshire – the Paul campaign has fallen back to its 2008 levels, with Ron rarely breaking 10 percent.
The response of the Paul campaign has been to hunker down and reassure its enthusiastic supporters – and they haven’t lost their enthusiasm, not by a long shot – that they have a strategy. That strategy is to concentrate on getting delegates, rather than winning “beauty contests,” i.e. primaries in which the results don’t determine who gets the delegates. In many states, the process of delegate selection is long and involved, with county, regional, and state-wide conventions being held to determine who gets to go to Tampa. Given the dedication of the Paulians, and their superior organizational skills, the idea is that Ron will get many more delegates than his vote totals in the primaries would indicate, through sheer perseverance.
However, the process hasn’t always worked out that way. The Paulians, having devoted themselves to learning the arcane rules governing delegate selection, and playing by the book, often arrive at these conventions to find that the rule book has been thrown out by the party leadership. Huge fights have broken out at these shindigs, and the going has been pretty rough: when the party leaders arrive to find the hall packed with under-30 Paulians, all waving signs and wearing buttons, suddenly the rules are “revised,” and the Paulian playbook is no longer applicable.
The Paul campaign started out with the odds stacked against it: the GOP leadership and the “mainstream” media both did everything they could to smear, discredit, and discount him and his supporters. This effort failed: Ron emerged from the pack, and went on to create what is arguably the most vital and alive movement this country has seen since the 1960s.
However, the growth and development of the Paulian movement has now reached its limits within the confines of the GOP, like a potted plant whose roots can no longer be contained. Either the plant is put in the ground, or its roots will become so stunted that the plant will wither and die.
In short, the Paulians must make a decision: either break free of the bonds of the GOP, or else face a future of dwindling political fortunes.
Consider the two likeliest scenarios: 1) Romney gains the magic number of 1144 delegates before the Tampa convention, and is declared the winner: i.e. it’s a repeat of the McCain victory in 2008. And we all remember what happened in 2008: Ron was locked out of the convention, and the Paulians held their own well-attended convention down the street. Paul never endorsed McCain (perish the thought!), and the neocon-run McCain campaign managed to run their candidate – and the GOP – into the ground.
Now, however, we are confronted with a quite different prospect: a brokered convention. With no candidate winning the magic number of delegates, the usual nominating convention-as-coronation scenario is thrown out the window, and what the mainstream media and party officials refer to as “chaos” reigns in Tampa. Translation: the convention will revert back to the way these events normally played out in the Good Old Days, before Big Money and Big Media turned them into political Kabuki theater, with the players and the outcome predetermined from the start.
While this prospect is refreshing, and even exciting – as any disruption in our ritualized political process would be – it still doesn’t hold out much hope for the Paul campaign. The reason is because, short of Paul getting the nomination, there is nothing concrete to be gained from a brokered convention.
With Romney in the lead, delegate-wise, a brokered convention will center on efforts by the Not-Romneys to put together a coalition capable of grabbing the nomination away from Mitt. Yet the Paulians are highly unlikely to be a part of this Not-Romney coalition – unless, of course, they ditch their principles and their whole rationale for launching the campaign to begin with. For this would mean voting for an anti-libertarian schmuck, i.e. either Santorum or Gingrich. That, I believe, is never going to happen: if it did, the Paulian movement would immediately implode, given the enormity of the sell-out.
There is, on the other hand, another possibility, and that is allying with the Romneyites against the Santorum and Gingrich camps. Yet, again, we are faced with the question of what concrete rewards the Paulians could expect to gain from such a dark alliance. In my view, a realistic answer to that question is: exactly nothing.
In the view of some Paul campaign officials, however, the answer is not so clear, as this televised interview with campaign manager Jesse Benton demonstrates. Ignore the typically biased and obnoxious demeanor of the interviewer, and focus on Benton’s answers toward the end, when he says a brokered convention could yield all sorts of rewards for the Paul campaign, such as “a cabinet position,” changes in the party platform — and even “the vice-presidency”!
It’s hard to decide whether this kind of speculation is delusional or just a way of reassuring Paul’s supporters that there’s a good reason to keep sending in the campaign contributions and pinning their hopes on making a splash in Tampa. As we all know, however, a stone makes a splash before it sinks to the bottom of the pond….
The idea that Romney is going to offer the vice-presidential nomination to Ron – or his son, Rand, freshly elected to the Senate from Kentucky – is a pipe dream. The party leadership would never allow it, the convention might well rebel (as a way of expressing conservative discontent with the candidate), and – in my opinion – Romney would never offer it in the first place.
As for changes in the party platform [.pdf] – so what? No one pays attention to these documents, not even the candidates, who are not bound by them. A cabinet position would be a paltry prize indeed, and accepting such a deal – handing the nomination to Romney in exchange for, say, making Nick Gillespie the drug czar – or, more likely, making Rand Paul Transportation Secretary – would be a humiliating end to what started out as a noble crusade.
In each case, the price the Paul campaign would have to pay for such ill-gotten “gains” would be so high that the result would be the effective end of the Paulian movement: that’s because the price would be supporting the nominee, i.e. Mitt Romney, with a personal endorsement from Ron. I, for one, can’t imagine him doing that: whenever he’s asked if he would consider supporting the eventual nominee, Paul gives every indication that the answer is no. He explains why in this interview, in which he emphasizes the Republicans’ warmongering as a major reason not to endorse any of them.
Viewed objectively, and with the long-range goals of the Paulians in mind, there is only one road forward for the movement: the third party route.
Running on a third party ticket would give Paul access to the votes of his natural constituency: the young independents disgusted with both parties who yearn for real change – i.e. a revolution – in Washington. It would give the Old Right remnant in the GOP, which Paul has reawakened from its long sleep, a place to go in November, while also making room for independents, antiwar voters, civil libertarians, disillusioned Obamaites, and other constituencies unlikely to be caught dead voting in a Republican primary.
Polls indicate Paul would get anywhere from 18 percent to 21 percent running as a third party candidate, and the percentage seem to be climbing as the actual election draws nearer. These same polls indicate he would draw two-thirds of his votes from the Republican column, but I don’t think these “drill-down” analyses hold much water: what they leave out is non-voters, new voters, and – most important of all – future events. If the US starts bombing Iran before election day, or, say, we have another economic meltdown, as we did in the winter of 2008, then all bets are off – and the prospect of a Paul victory becomes more than mere wishful thinking.
A Paul third party candidacy would not only open up a prospect that, right now, seems highly unlikely if not impossible – i.e. Ron Paul sitting in the Oval Office – it would also place significant constraints on the other candidates, including President Obama. Faced only with a warmongering Republican, Obama can pretty much do whatever he likes when it comes to provoking, sanctioning, and threatening Iran: after all, antiwar voters have nowhere else to go. With Paul in the race, however, Obama is going to have to be very careful not to lose his left-ish antiwar constituency, which has so far stuck with him as the lesser to the two evils. If and when Obama makes his move against Iran, Paul’s third party campaign will be right there, scarfing up votes from the President’s disillusioned and angry former supporters.
Indeed, the ultimate effect of a Paulian third party ticket could well be preventing the outbreak of a major war in the Middle East. This, it seems to me, is a factor the Paul campaign is going to have to weigh in the balance as it considers its options. In terms of the Paulians’ own principles – especially their characteristic opposition to wars of aggression on moral grounds – this is a powerful argument for launching a third party campaign.
We don’t endorse candidates here at Antiwar.com, and for a very good reason: we’re a journalistic enterprise, not a political organization, and we don’t take orders from any party central committee or faction. Nor do we give a blank check to any politician – no, not even Ron Paul. There can be little doubt, however, that the Paul campaign has had a tremendous effect on the antiwar movement in this country, with several longtime peace campaigners taking up Paul’s cause. He has become a symbol of the anti-interventionist impulse in modern American politics, and his political fate is bound up to a large extent with the fate of the antiwar movement – and the prospects for peace in the 21st century.
He has moved the discourse forward, challenging the premises of the interventionists at every turn and upholding a consistent vision of a republic that respects the sovereignty of all and seeks to lead by example rather than by force. If his voice is stilled after the Tampa convention, American voters will be left with a “choice” of an outright warmonger in Republican clothing versus our somewhat less overtly belligerent albeit no less interventionist sitting President, whose foreign policy record is worse than his predecessor’s.
Ron Paul’s last hurrah cannot – must not — be a “deal” made in Tampa, and I’d be willing to bet the ranch no such deal will be forthcoming. Speaking as a political analyst, and not a partisan, I would venture to say the Paulian movement will peter out and come to nothing if it stays locked within a Republican straitjacket. Liberated from their partisan constraints, Paul’s supporters will be spared the Long March through the GOP apparatus, and instead of wasting their time running for county central committee they’ll be freed up to make the case for peace directly to the American people.
What course the Paul campaign takes in the next few weeks will determine the nature of his political legacy. If it ends in Tampa, then the fate of the Paulian movement will be reflected in this bit of verse from the poet Robinson Jeffers, whose fierce “isolationism” caused him to be exiled from polite “liberal” circles in the run up to World War II:
“While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire
“And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens,
“I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.”
Paul has often been asked if he’d run as a third party candidate, and he always gives the same ambiguous answer – and that was necessary, at the time, and proper. However, the moment is fast approaching when ambiguity on this matter becomes increasingly counterproductive, as far as advancing the cause of peace and liberty is concerned.
In politics, timing is everything. Before the movement he created passes the apex of its influence in the GOP and begins to lose its relevance, the candidate and the campaign must stop at this crossroads and contemplate their ultimate direction. The hour of decision has arrived.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
I would note, for my readers’ information, that this decision cannot wait until the Tampa convention this summer: the most likely vehicle for a Paul third party run, the Libertarian Party, holds its nominating convention at the beginning of May. While it seems likely the LP nomination is Paul’s if he seeks it, the reality is that Paul’s hour of decision will arrive a lot sooner than late August, when the Tampa convention is scheduled to take place. An alternative would be to run on the Constitution Party ticket, which has ballot status in many states: however, the baggage this particular political formation carries may well be a burden the Paulians will wind up wishing they didn’t have to carry. There’s always the course of launching an independent ticket from scratch, but that would be costly and prone to disruption by Republican operatives. Remember how the Democrats followed the Naderites from state to state, mounting harassing lawsuits and keeping Nader off the ballot in several instances? The GOP would no doubt launch a similar operation directed at Paul.
For more on this subject, including my take on how Sen. Rand Paul’s political future plays into all this, see my recent column in Chronicles magazine.
Read more by Justin Raimondo
- Who Are the ‘Terrorists’? – March 11th, 2012
- The Syrian Gambit Unravels – March 8th, 2012
- Western Hypocrisy and the Russian Election – March 6th, 2012
- Obama’s Red Line – March 4th, 2012
- Netanyahu’s War – March 1st, 2012
Ron Paul’s Fight to the Finish
“There are four of us in the race and of course, Romney looks like he’s ahead, but he’s far from having it won”, says Rep. Ron Paul, (R-TX), discussing his hopes for big wins in Alabama and Mississippi today and why he intends to fight on through the GOP primary race.
In some places, such as Maine and Minnesota, Ron Paul is likely to outperform the straw polls in terms of proportion of delegates won. As Lew Rockwell has noted, here and here, Ron Paul activists are sometimes able to take control of the local machines.
Sometimes, however, the opposite apparently happens. As The Washington Times reported on March 10th, Paul actually underperformed his vote tally in Wyoming with local caucuses over the weekend.
If you’ve ever been a Ron Paul delegate, you know that the GOP central committees will employ every trick in the book to avoid having to seat Ron Paul delegates. They will freely ignore their own bylaws, apply rules in such a manner as to only exclude Paul delegates, and will liberally employ intimidation tactics through verbal abuse, and even physical manhandling of delegates.
In the end, if everything else fails, they’ll attempt to get you to switch your vote by begging you to be a “team player” and by claiming that Romney is electable and that your dissent will keep Obama in power.
They did it in 2008, and some Ron Paul delegates switched their vote to the “electable” John McCain at the national convention, as I noted here.
I described my own delegate experience in 2008 here. Trust me, they’ll do everything they can to intimidate, harass or just plain exclude you. Be ready for it.
The video shows what is probably a fairly typical experience for many delegates:
So much for making deals with Obama… They took him out. The last man against wars, and bailouts, and for liberty is GONE.
From his stint as Cleveland’s “Boy Mayor” in the late 1970s, including two debt defaults and the forced sale of the city’s electric plant, to his unsuccessful effort to impeach Vice President Richard B. Cheney in 2007, Kucinich has repeatedly thrust himself into the national spotlight. Often coming up on the short end of his fights, Kucinich, 65, never stopped swinging but usually did so in a friendly spirit.
His defeat, according to lawmakers, was the latest development in a process that is making Congress a more sanitized, less colorful place. Some of the institution’s most original characters are either retiring or losing reelection battles, in part because their positions or personalities are so easy to caricature. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), for example, have announced their retirements.
“The one thing that’s being tamped down here is, we’re losing characters. When I got here, you had Jim Traficant, you had Barney, and then Dennis came,” said Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio), a nine-term veteran, referring to Frank and former congressman James Traficant, who ended up in prison on corruption charges.
“The place needs character, and characters.”
What’s next for Kucinich is unclear. He has spoken of possibly moving to Washington state to run in a Democratic-leaning district. He would need to establish residency there by mid-April, but it’s not certain he could do that while remaining in Congress representing an Ohio district.
That dalliance — he flew to the state last May to consider it — played into the theme Kaptur used that against him, saying he is more concerned with his quixotic fights against powerful international forces than delivering for the people of his district.
She compared his consideration of leaving Cleveland to the mid-1990s move by the city’s beloved football team, the Browns, and the 2010 departure of NBA superstar LeBron James — two psychic blows still deeply felt in a place that bills itself as the “Sixth City” even though it’s fallen to the country’s 45th largest in the last 50 years .
“Looks like next in line to abandon us is Dennis Kucinich,” Kaptur’s narrator said in a radio ad.
The new 9th Congressional District stretches more than 100 miles from Cleveland (Kucinich’s base) all the way west to Toledo, encompassing 47 percent of her current district. That gave her an edge, as did her years of work on the Appropriations Committee, from which she funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to northern Ohio.
Ohio Primary Results
Results as of 9:05 AM ET | 0:47
99.8% of precincts reporting | SOURCE: AP
With the Ohio Democrat’s primary loss, we look back at some of his statements, speeches, and sightings.
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise to those of you have been around long enough. Ron Paul won next to nothing on “Super Tuesday” in the way of votes and delegates, OK… But as we have said for sometime now, Dr Paul already won something more important; The youth of America and the injection of his ideas into the sub mainstream.
It was worth it!
California, TX, New York… all still yet to vote, but the trend looks bad for a Ron Paul Nomination. The specter of Iran looming and other ginned up coming wars are just too hard to resist, and it appears Israel has just as much influence on our “elections” as they always have had.
The GOP has doomed itself! Not only will Obama win the White House, but at this rate the Dems will take back Congress, giving the Trifecta to the Sorosians once more. This time they will use it to their full advantage. Its a good idea to get and stay organized as we will have to fight for everything going forward.
Arizona Republican John McCain on Monday became the first senator to call for U.S.-led air strikes to stop the slaughter of unarmed civilians being carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives. The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower,” McCain, a Vietnam War veteran and the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a speech on the Senate floor.
“Therefore, at the request of [opposition forces], the United States should lead an international effort to protect key population centers in Syria, especially in the north, through airstrikes on Assad’s forces.”Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), two of McCain’s closest allies on foreign policy, issued a statement Monday night saying they backed McCain’s position toward Syria.
An estimated 7,500 Syrians have been killed by Assad’s military during the past year, including hundreds in the city of Homs which has been targeted by tank and artillery attacks.
McCain, the GOP presidential nominee in 2008, said the goal of the U.S. air strikes should be to “establish and defend safe havens” in Syria where opposition forces can organize and plot political and military attacks against Assad. The international community could also deliver humanitarian and military assistance to these safe zones, including food, water, weapons and training.
“Increasingly, the question for U.S. policy is not whether foreign forces will intervene militarily in Syria. We can be confident that Syria’s neighbors will do so eventually, if they have not already. Some kind of intervention will happen, with us or without us,” McCain said. “So the real question for U.S. policy is whether we will participate in this next phase of the conflict in Syria, and thereby increase our ability to shape an outcome that is beneficial to the Syrian people, and to us.
“I believe we must.”
So far, the Obama administration has opposed military intervention in Syria, believing that tougher economic sanctions and greater diplomatic pressure will drive Assad from power.
But McCain said the U.S. has little to show after a year of diplomatic efforts, which have failed to halt what the senator called Assad’s “killing spree.” McCain drew comparisons between Syria and Libya, where NATO forces conducted air strikes against the armed forces of dictator Muammar Qadhafi.
“The kinds of mass atrocities that NATO intervened in Libya to prevent in Benghazi are now a reality in Homs,” McCain said. “Indeed, Syria today is the scene of some of the worst state-sponsored violence since Milosevic’s war crimes in the Balkans, or Russia’s annihilation of the Chechen city of Grozny.”
ATLANTA (AP) — Mitt Romney is angling to solidify his front-runner status and Rick Santorum to keep it a two-man race as voters in 10 states put Super Tuesday’s imprint on the Republican presidential race. Newt Gingrich just hopes to keep his struggling campaign alive with a strong showing in Georgia.
Voters who turned out early Tuesday at one polling place in suburban Cincinnati made clear that all the candidates still have some convincing to do: Polling officials in Anderson Township said many people were asking for issues-only ballots and skipping the presidential voting altogether.
“I don’t like the way the Republicans have gone after each other, and the Democrats aren’t any better,” said one of them, accountant Chuck Horning.
With 419 delegates at stake around the country, Tuesday’s voting represents a sizable slice of the 1,144 needed to nail down the GOP nomination.
Romney, who turned back Santorum in a close contest in Michigan last week, hoped to continue his winning trend. He has won four consecutive contests, including Saturday’s Washington caucuses.
The GOP front-runner, trying to keep his focus on President Barack Obama, was using a speech Tuesday before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to argue he’d be more effective at containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In prepared remarks, Romney said the Obama administration’s “naive outreach to Iran gave the ayatollahs exactly what they wanted.”
The president, for his part, showed he had no intention of ceding the spotlight to his GOP challengers. Obama scheduled his first full news conference of the year for Tuesday afternoon, and planned to announce a new program to address the housing crisis, part of his ongoing effort to show he’s working aggressively to help the economy recover.
Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing the president, trained its criticism solely on Romney, issuing a “Super Tuesday memo” arguing that the front-runner’s “agenda for the wealthy” was hurting him with those who are not.
Supporters of the candidates were out in force to make the case for their favored candidates.
Romney backer Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said it was time for the party to close ranks behind the former Massachusetts governor.
“The party is starting to understand the need to coalesce behind somebody, that what does unite us is beating Barack Obama,” Chaffetz said on CNN. “Mitt Romney has by far the best chance of beating Barack Obama in November, and we’ve got to get united in that sooner rather than later.”
Karen Santorum, in a taped interviewed on CBS, sketched her husband as a solid father and strong supporter of women, trying to counter impressions he wasn’t supportive of broad opportunities for women. She said she couldn’t even think about what it would be like to be first lady, saying, “I still don’t even go there.”
After falling behind Santorum in Ohio last month, Romney has closed the gap in recent days, with polls showing the race a dead heat on the eve of the primary. It’s a familiar trend for Romney, whose superior fundraising and turnout operation have helped him turn deficits in Florida and Michigan into triumphs.
The former venture capital executive kept his campaign’s focus on the economy in a final sprint across Ohio, where he and Santorum are competing most fiercely.
“Other people in this race have debated about the economy, they’ve read about the economy, they’ve talked about it in subcommittee hearings,” Romney said of his opponents. “But I’ve actually been in it. I’ve worked in business and I understand what it takes to get a business successful and to thrive.”
Romney, the New Englander in the race, is expected to do well in the Vermont and Massachusetts primaries. He is also poised to win the Virginia primary.
Besides Ohio, Santorum is competing most aggressively in primaries in Oklahoma and Tennessee, where the GOP’s conservative hue matches the strict social conservative’s evangelical appeal. He was leading narrowly in Tennessee, where polls showed Gingrich and Romney closing.
Despite signs that Gingrich planned to remain in the race, Santorum urged voters in Ohio to see it as increasingly a two-candidate fight.
“I’m excited that we’re here with the opportunity of winning states on Super Tuesday … and, hopefully, eventually, having the opportunity to go one on one at the end of this thing and see where this race really falls out,” Santorum told supporters in Miamisville, Ohio. “And when we do, we’ll win.”
Gingrich has won only one state — the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary — and was projected to win only Georgia out of the 10 states voting Tuesday. He began advertising in Tennessee on Monday, putting down just $35,000 for television time, a small purchase.
Yet, Gingrich planned to campaign Tuesday in Alabama, which holds its primary March 13, even before the voting was finished in Georgia. Ads for Gingrich were expected to begin airing in Alabama and Mississippi, which holds its primary on the same day, and he will visit both Southern states later in the week. He was then heading to Kansas, which holds its caucuses Saturday.
Still, Gingrich tried to cast a likely win in Georgia as a sign of momentum, comparing it to Romney’s narrow win in his native Michigan over Santorum last week.
At a breakfast meeting of a suburban Atlanta chamber of commerce, Gingrich criticized his rivals as mere managers, rather than leaders of the change he recommends.
“The truth is I have opponents who are, in a normal period, adequate,” he told more than 100 in Gwinnett, Ga. “But they don’t have anything on the scale of change I just described to you.”
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was focusing on Tuesday’s caucuses in Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota.
Despite the big chunk of votes being cast Tuesday, because delegates are apportioned based on vote percentage and the candidates are focusing on different regions, the race is expected to continue further into March.