Ari Shapiro | KERA News

Ari Shapiro

In a final burst of campaigning in Michigan Tuesday, embattled GOP front-runner Mitt Romney complained that rival Rick Santorum was making automated phone calls to Democrats and urging them to vote against Romney in the Republican race. (Although only declared Republicans can vote in the party primary, voters can change their affiliation to cast a ballot.)

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Along with Arizona, Michigan holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday. If Rick Santorum beats native son Mitt Romney in Michigan, it could throw the race into turmoil.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

The Republican race for president heads to Michigan and Arizona this week. Both states hold primaries on Tuesday. Former Governor Mitt Romney was in Michigan yesterday, his campaign bus logging more than 250 miles across the state. He's fighting the recent surge of former Senator Rick Santorum.

Romney held three events in three towns - Lansing, Troy and Flint - and NPR's Ari Shapiro was with him at all three stops.

Mitt Romney is on a bus tour across Michigan, hoping to win the votes of the state where he grew up. With primary day on Tuesday, Romney seems to have closed the gap in polls with Rick Santorum.

This trip has the feel of those early days campaigning back in New Hampshire, before any votes were actually cast: the long bus rides, the snowy landscape, even the impromptu restaurant drop-ins.

Symbolically speaking, this month's Michigan's primary may be the most important of the GOP presidential race to date. It's the state where Mitt Romney grew up, and his father was a beloved government and business leader. And now, Romney seems to have a real chance of losing the state to Rick Santorum.

Thousands of Republican activists from around the country are in Washington, D.C., listening to party leaders and conservative media stars at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The backdrop of CPAC, which wraps up Saturday, is the heated presidential race. Three of the remaining candidates spoke Friday. The fourth, Ron Paul, skipped the conference. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin headlined the final session Saturday.

Four years ago, Mitt Romney took his farewell bow at the meeting, leaving the presidential race.

There was no 11th-hour surprise in the Nevada caucuses Saturday night. The first state in the West to vote in the Republican presidential race chose Mitt Romney, who won with support from a broad base and left his rivals trailing behind.

No Thanks To You, Mr. President

Nevada has been Romney country since at least 2008. That year, he took about half the vote in the caucuses but lost the Republican nomination to John McCain.

This year, he has his sights set higher.

Saturday is caucus day in Nevada, the first state in the West to vote as Republicans go about choosing their presidential candidate.

Mitt Romney is counting on another win here to keep him on the path to the nomination. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have also been campaigning across the state, while Rick Santorum is in the Midwest looking ahead to later contests next week.

Believe it or not, Nevada leads the country in unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcy.

Republican candidates are campaigning across the state ahead of Saturday's caucuses. The state looks much different than it did four years ago — today it leads the country in home foreclosures, personal bankruptcies and unemployment.

Mitt Romney starts the week having undergone a transformation.

For almost a year, he tried to portray himself as the grown-up in the Republican race for the presidential nomination. Now, over the course of two debates and countless Florida campaign stops, the buttoned-up businessman is showing that he can get tough.

This shift has upended the yin-yang dynamic that has been playing out for weeks between the passionate, fiery Newt Gingrich and the staid, steady Romney.

There are not many things that President Obama, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney agree on, but when it comes to job training there is common ground.

"It is time to turn our unemployment system into a re-employment system that puts people to work," Obama said during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Earlier in the week, Gingrich offered a similar solution for helping those facing long-term unemployment.

Mitt Romney has spent a lot of his time in Florida talking about home foreclosures. The housing crisis is one of the few problems that Romney can use to attack both his Republican rival Newt Gingrich and President Obama.

One of the biggest issues in the Florida GOP primary race is housing. Mitt Romney is attacking Newt Gingrich's work for the housing giant Freddie Mac. This issue is not just a political talking point though. Three years after the economic collapse, foreclosures continue to affect real people every day in an extremely personal way.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning in Florida following a big loss over the weekend to Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. Romney told a crowd that Gingrich resigned in disgrace after four years as speaker of the House.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It wasn't too long ago Mitt Romney looked like he was on a winning streak; that maybe if things kept going his way, he could sweep all the early primary and caucus states. Now, his record is one for three.

The GOP presidential candidate forum held Saturday in Charleston, S.C., was not exactly a debate. In fact, it was sort of the opposite of a debate.

The event was moderated by Fox News host and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. All the candidates except for Ron Paul attended, but they never actually shared the stage. They were explicitly prohibited from attacking — or even mentioning — each other.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And Mitt Romney spent the last week celebrating a major victory and then fending off some major attacks. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from Aiken, South Carolina.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Mitt Romney's double-digit win in New Hampshire plants his feet happily on the path to the Republican nomination heading, now, into South Carolina.

As New Hampshire voters headed to the polls Tuesday, we spoke with several as they left polling places in Manchester and Bedford.

Dan Yarrington, who owns a series of game stores in Manchester, told us he voted for Ron Paul for his foreign policy stance and his philosophy on government spending.

On Tuesday night, New Hampshire voters could catapult Mitt Romney securely onto the path of the Republican nomination, or they could undercut the air of inevitability surrounding his campaign.

The former Massachusetts governor is clearly expecting the catapult. One indication? On Monday morning, the candidate changed his rhetoric to reposition himself even more squarely as a general election candidate.

When Mitt Romney kicked off this past week with a blitzkrieg tour of Iowa, he had no way of knowing just how true this statement would be: "You guys in Dubuque, you're the best. Get out there and vote tomorrow. I need every vote!"

He wasn't kidding. When the final numbers were tallied in Iowa, the former Massachusetts governor edged his closest rival, Rick Santorum, by the smallest margin in Iowa history — just eight votes.

Monday morning in Iowa, I caught up with Mitt Romney's strategist Eric Fehrnstrom after the campaign's first event of the day, a speech at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport.

In the last hours before Tuesday night's caucus, Fehrnstrom said, the former Massachusetts governor plans to consolidate his support by visiting areas in the eastern part of the state where he had a strong showing in 2008 — places like Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.

One of the most important things to understand about global affairs is how much lies beyond any one country's control, even for the most powerful country in the world.

Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says the limits on American power were especially apparent this year.

"American power has always had many real-world limits," he says.

In some ways, he says, that makes President Obama's accomplishments all the more notable.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As he continued his bus tour on Thursday, Mitt Romney may have been hoping to connect with regular folks. At a service station in Randolph, N.H., he pumped the gas himself.

But voters weren't necessarily buying his 'just folks' demeanor. When he joked with a woman at the service station about buying a classic car her family owns, she asked, "$10,000?" — an echo of his unfortunate bet with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a recent debate.

On the trail with Mitt Romney in New Hampshire Thursday morning, I encountered the first Occupy protesters of the three-day bus trip.

One of them, Bob Broadhurst, grew up in Boston but now lives in nearby Littleton, N.H. He's been one of the Occupy protesters in New York since September, but returned to New Hampshire to protest along Romney's route.

A fourth-generation electrician, Broadhurst is an IBEW union member and his main issue is what he calls "the attack" on unions and labor. Romney represents a convenient target for his ire.

Stumping in New Hampshire on Wednesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney revealed a bit about his strategies for staying in shape on the campaign trail.

"Hey, I heard you pull the cheese off your pizza to stay thin. Is that true?" asked a woman at Village Pizza in Newport, N.H., in the southwestern part of the state, where the Romney bus tour had made a stop.

"You know, on occasion, but on the campaign trail you need all the calories you can get," laughed Romney.

"And do you run three miles a day like they say?" she asked.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Most of the Republican presidential candidates are focusing their campaign efforts on Iowa at the moment; the first-in-the-nation caucuses there are less than two weeks away.

But not former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He's hundreds of miles away from Iowa, in New Hampshire. And today he's setting off on a three-day tour of the state, eyeing an early primary win.

In the final leg of the campaign in Iowa, the Republican presidential candidates are talking about judges. No one has made them a bigger issue than Newt Gingrich.

Overhauling the judiciary has become one of his key proposals on the stump.

Conservatives have used "activist judges" as a battle cry for many election cycles now. But in Iowa, the issue has special resonance since the judiciary became a potent political issue two years ago.

Pages