Saturday, April 7, 2007

Guiliani rattles some with Vito Corleone's voice

(from a Drudge Report cite)

Rudy rattles some with Vito Corleone's voice


April 6, 2007, 12:11 AM EDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Rudolph Giuliani launched into a California campaign speech recently with an opening line the crowd surely didn't expect -- his husky-voiced impersonation of Don Corleone in "The Godfather."

"Thank youse all very much for invitin' me here tuh-day, to this meeting of the families from different parts'a California," Giuliani said, recycling his old New York gag to laughter and scattered applause.

Then this week, Giuliani used the reference again, invoking the mob's code of honor to explain why reporters should lay off his wife. "I am a candidate. She's a civilian, to use the old Mafia distinction," he said.

Other Italian-American politicians have shunned references to organized crime, fearful of being tarred unfairly by anti-Italian stereotyping. Not Giuliani, who has in the past embraced such talk to remind voters he helped bust up the New York mob as a federal prosecutor. Plus, he's an unabashed "Godfather" fan.

But some political analysts are puzzled why a man seeking to become the first Italian-American president would dabble so blithely with the darkest stereotypes of his heritage, especially before voters really get to know him.

And a leader in the nation's largest Italian-American organization said Thursday that Giuliani should drop his Corleone impersonations because they are insensitive to Italian-Americans trying to dispel the linkages between being Italian and being in the mob.

"It's unfortunate for him to make light of a stereotype that creates a lot of discomfort for millions of other Italian-Americans," said Dona De Sanctis of the Order Sons of Italy in America. "We would hope that Mr. Giuliani would try to find humor in other aspects of his candidacy rather than his Italian heritage that way.

"We don't think it's funny," she said of such jokes. "We stopped laughing a long time ago."

Giuliani's campaign Thursday night issued a statement that did not address the Sons of Italy directly. "Mayor Giuliani is proud of his Italian heritage and has a record celebrating the country's culture and the important contributions Italian-Americans have made to New York City and the United States."

Giuliani's comments didn't bother Joseph Scelsa, president of the Italian American Museum in New York and the Coalition of Italian American Associations. He called himself a Giuliani supporter and said the mob references were "in jest. ... He's done more to advance the image of Italian-Americans."

So far, Giuliani's heritage -- he is the grandson of Italian immigrants -- has not been in an issue in the campaign, seemingly because so many Americans already know him and his record in New York City and on 9/11.

But the Marlon Brando impersonation has been a longtime favorite of Giuliani's, including from his days giving paid motivational speeches. One real-estate Web site quoted him at a March 2006 convention appearance, saying in the Brando voice, "Welcome to Las Vegas -- a city which we used to own."

In the February appearance in California, Giuliani told the crowd he opened with the impersonation because he listened to 2,000 hours of men on tape talking that way to carry out his groundbreaking mob prosecutions in the "Pizza Connection" case and others. Plus, it's important to have a "sense of humor" about such things, he said.

Staff writer Carl MacGowan contributed to this story.
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

Friday, April 6, 2007

New Gingrich Tries to Translate His Remarks on YouTube

(from The Washington Post)

Newt Gingrich Tries To Translate His Remarks on YouTube

By Jose Antonio Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 6, 2007; C01

On Wednesday, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who's mulling a White House run, apologized in a YouTube video for his recent remarks equating bilingual education with "the language of living in a ghetto."

The apology was delivered in English and Spanish, with the three-minute Spanish video, "Mensaje de Newt Gingrich," subtitled in English. Can't get any more bilingual than that.

(However: Memorando al SeƱor Gingrich: In Spanish, the "r" is rolled and the syl-la-bles are se-pa-ra-ted.)

In an interview yesterday, the Georgia Republican called his choice of words "clumsy."

"Look, people are misunderstanding what I'm saying," Gingrich said. "What I was simply saying is that a language barrier -- any language barrier, whether you speak Hindi, Chinese, Vietnamese -- hampers a person's ability to communicate in the language of prosperity."

Last Saturday, Gingrich struck a similar chord. In a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women, he said Americans "believe English should be the official language of the government." In the past, he's frequently called for the end of bilingual education in schools, and in 1995, a year after taking the House speakership, he said that bilingualism poses "long-term dangers to the fabric of our nation."

"We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English," he told the women's group last weekend, "so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto."

The remarks drew a barrage of comments from the Latino community, and were quickly repudiated on popular Web sites such as Latin Americanist, Latino Pundit and Vivir Latino-- U.S. Latino life in blog form. A headline on Vivir Latino read "Newt -- Not Ghetto Fabulous," with Maegan Ortiz, the site's New York-based editor, writing: "Don't you love how politicos use Spanish when it works for them and when it doesn't, they trash it?" Similarly, Hispanic organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund were incredulous, calling Gingrich's comments "hateful."

"There is a clear understanding among Latino citizens and Latino immigrants that you must learn English to get good jobs, to fully participate in this society. There is no resistance to that fact," said Peter Zamora, a credentialed bilingual education teacher who is the co-chairman of the Washington-based Hispanic Education Coalition, which supports bilingual education.

Added Ortiz, who, like Zamora, watched Gingrich's mea culpa Wednesday night: "It's just so ironic that he'd use a video spoken in his ghetto Spanish to say sorry about a nasty, racist remark directed at the Latino community. I mean this is a guy whose own official Web site has his own biography written in Spanish. How hypocritical is that?"

As of yesterday afternoon, Gingrich's YouTube apology, the Spanish version, had been watched more than 34,000 times on the video-sharing site. Comments kept coming in, some viewers sympathetic to Gingrich, many not, others simply LOLing -- laughing out loud.

"While the rest of the world rushes to make their children bi- and trilingual, this linguistically arrogant [person] bring his narrow mindedness to light," as one commenter put it.

"Keep it up, Newt. You're absolutely right," wrote another. "People who speak English have better opportunity in this country. That's not a racist or anti-Spanish statement, it's just the reality that speaking the dominant language of a country is a first step at being successful."

Another wrote: "This is freaking hilarious. Newt makes Bush sound like an expert in Spanish."

Gingrich said he began taking "intensive" Spanish lessons in 2001, before the Sept. 11 attacks. In the past year and a half, he'd finished "about 100 hours" of lessons, he said, adding that it took him three takes to tape his YouTube video.

Of the final product, he said with a laugh: "I hope it wasn't too painful to watch."

NY TIMES article

(from the NY Times.)

April 6, 2007
Romney Used His Wealth to Enlist Richest Donors

WASHINGTON, April 5 — Mitt Romney, the multimillionaire founder of a giant private equity firm, knew he did not need other people’s money to mount a presidential campaign. But as they began planning a campaign more than two years ago, Mr. Romney and his advisers wanted to avoid the fate of two other millionaires, Steve Forbes and Ross Perot, whose self-financed campaigns went down as quixotic indulgences.

“By Mitt or anyone else self-funding, you don’t have a lot of people making investments in you,” said Spencer Zwick, 28, the campaign’s fund-raising director and a close aide whom the candidate sometimes calls his sixth son. “To be credible, you have to show that you have raised resources from around the country.”

Instead of tapping his own money directly, Mr. Romney embarked on an effort to leverage his personal fortune into donations to his Republican primary campaign.

He spent $6 million of his own on the campaign that made him governor of Massachusetts in 2002. Then he almost immediately began parlaying his own wealth, a network of his fellow Mormons and financiers, and his fund-raising role for the Republican Governors Association, into a national operation that quietly has signed up some of the biggest supporters of President Bush. Thus, although he remains the least known of the Republican front-runners, he has already locked up some of the most important donors.

At the start of the first quarter of this year, for example, Mr. Romney lent his campaign $2.35 million to pay for an elaborate demonstration of just how fast he could raise money from others. He rented the Boston convention center, furnished it with more than 400 laptop computers, loaded each with custom software and had more than 400 telephone lines installed.

He invited 400 wealthy supporters, including dozens of chief executives he knew through business connections, to a reception at an adjacent hotel. The next day each sat down before a personal-contact list loaded into an assigned laptop, with dozens of technical support staff and campaign finance advisers standing by to assist. Reporters watched from the sidelines for hours as Mr. Romney’s supporters raised $6.5 million.

“It was a great show,” said Ron Kaufman, a White House political director under the first President Bush.

Mr. Kaufman said he walked out thinking, “That was the most impressive thing I have ever seen.”

By the end of the first quarter, Mr. Romney had brought in more than $20 million, vaulting ahead of his better-known rivals for the Republican nomination, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor. Mr. Romney’s campaign calls the money evidence of his broad appeal.

“His message sells,” Mr. Zwick said.

Mr. Romney’s financial support is deep but narrow. He amassed $20 million from fewer than 33,000 donors, according to figures disclosed by his campaign. By comparison, Mr. McCain raised $12.5 million from nearly 50,000 donors while Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, raised $25 million from more than 100,000. Their average contributors each gave about $250; Mr. Romney’s gave more than $600.

Mr. Romney’s backers note that he raised the money despite very low name recognition nationwide. .

“It is why he is a viable candidate for president,” Mr. Kaufman said, asserting that it helps demonstrate the candidate’s management skills.

Mr. Romney has not always avoided putting his money behind his political career. When he left his private equity firm, Bain Capital, in 1998 to take over the foundering Salt Lake City winter Olympics, he threw in $1 million to start the turnaround.

In addition to the $6 million he spent on his 2002 campaign for governor, Mr. Romney last year dipped into his own pocket to contribute to Republican candidates for governor in potentially pivotal states — $3,500 in South Carolina, $2,000 in Iowa and $1,000 in Minnesota. (In Utah, he also gave $10,000 to the campaign of Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr., whose father is a major donor to Mr. Romney’s campaign; and $3,400 to the unsuccessful Michigan campaign for governor of Richard DeVos, a big conservative donor.)

But soon after he was elected governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney turned into a fund-raising machine, setting up a series of federal and state political action committees that together let individual donors give far more than the federal campaign spending limits.

To fill them, Mr. Romney turned in part to connections in the tight-knit world of wealthy fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Of the roughly 450 people who have given the $5,000 maximum allowed annually to his federal political action committee, about a quarter are from Utah, the center of the Mormon church. And of his top eight donors, four — J. Willard Marriott Jr. and his brother, Richard Marriott, the hotel executives; Jon M. Huntsman Sr., the plastics mogul; and L. E. Simmons, the software chief executive — are Mormons who each gave more than $100,000, according to data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

In addition, Mr. Romney tapped many of the financiers with whom he used to make deals as Bain Capital’s founder. More than 70 of the donors who contributed the maximum to his federal political action committee came from the investment business. They included several top executives of Bain and the giant buyout firms HM Capital Partners; Thomas H. Lee; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co.; and The Blackstone Group. Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s billionaire co-founder, gave about $50,000 to Mr. Romney’s various funds.

His biggest PAC donor, Peter Karmanos Jr., the chairman of Compuware, said he is both a family friend and a business connection, according to a company spokesman, who declined to elaborate. Mr. Romney’s brother, G. Scott Romney, sits on the Compuware board, and Mr. Karmanos gave about $250,000 to Mr. Romney’s committees.

Beginning in 2002, Mr. Romney also steadily climbed the fund-raising ladder of the Republican Governors Association, becoming its chairman in 2006 and impressing some of the major conservative donors he met through the association, according to Mr. Kaufman.

For example, Mr. Romney and Mr. Zwick, the campaign fund-raising director, visited with Bob J. Perry, the Texas homebuilder who was one of President Bush’s top supporters, a little less than two years ago.

“He asked in that first meeting, ‘Mitt, are you going to run for president?’ ” Mr. Zwick recalled.

Mr. Perry eventually gave $2.05 million to the governors’ association and more than $100,000 to Mr. Romney’s political action committees. Mr. Perry was impressed that Mr. Romney was “a strong leader and not a career politician,” said Anthony Holm, his spokesman.

About the same time, Mr. Romney met Carl H. Lindner Jr., the founder of the American Financial Group and patriarch of a family that is among the biggest conservative donors in the country. Mr. Romney visited Mr. Lindner’s Cincinnati home to give a speech at a fund-raiser for a local campaign, and the two millionaires found that they had much in common, Mr. Zwick recalled.

Since then, Mr. Zwick said, Mr. Romney and his wife, Ann, have traveled to spend time socially with Mr. Lindner and his wife, Edyth, and with their son Craig and his wife.

Mr. Lindner gave $150,000 to the Republican Governors Association under Mr. Romney, and about $245,000 to Mr. Romney’s political action committees.

More than 20 major Bush donors have given also to Mr. Romney, including Ambassador Sam Fox; Ambassador Mel Sembler; the real estate developer Robert Congel of New York; and Ted Welch of Tennessee, an investor.

In all, Mr. Romney helped the Republican Governors Association raise $26 million and his political action committees raised a total of $8.8 million to build support for his presidential campaign.

Some of the association expenditures may have dovetailed with Mr. Romney’s fund-raising in his campaign for the presidential nomination. The association directed $1 million to the campaign for governor of Mr. DeVos at the same time Mr. DeVos himself was giving $2 million to the association. He lost the election and is not yet supporting a candidate.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Romney makes gains in New Hampshire

(from The Hill)

Romney makes gains in New Hampshire
By Klaus Marre

April 05, 2007

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has surged in the Republican primary field in New Hampshire and is now tied for first place, according to a new Zogby poll released Thursday.
With 25 percent of support, Romney is tied with Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is third among Republican presidential contenders, with 19 percent.

The poll rounds off a successful week for Romney, who last month polled at 13 percent in New Hampshire. His campaign disclosed earlier this week that the former governor won the GOP fundraising battle in the first quarter, hauling in $20.63 million and outdistancing McCain and Giuliani.

“Score this as a big week for Mitt Romney,” said pollster John Zogby. “These poll numbers, together with the small increase in Iowa and a huge fundraising effort, puts him into the top tier and makes him a major player in the race for the GOP nomination.”

The poll was conducted between April 2 and 3 and has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Another poll released Wednesday, this one conducted by CNN and WMUR, has McCain and Giuliani leading with 29 percent and Romney coming in third with 17 percent. The survey had a margin of error of 5.5 percent and also shows that McCain's favorability rating has increased the most of any GOP candidate in the past month.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Newcomers' Fundraising Shakes Up Field

(from The Washington Post. frankly, i find it extremely interesting that the liberal media is so shocked that governor romney raised so much money. and, quite frankly, i hope the liberal media stays away from giving coverage to the governor until this summer. better to lay under the radar for a bit and let the talk of mccain and guiliani bore people then to jump up front and wear out the national interest too early...)

Newcomers' Fundraising Shakes Up Field

By Chris Cillizza Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 4, 2007; 3:20 PM

Amid a sea of seasoned politicians, two new faces stole the headlines this week in the critical chase for campaign cash.

Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) announcement today that he had raised $25 million during the first three months of the year rocked the Democratic field, just as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's $21 million haul shook up the Republican side a few days ago. Most of Obama's money and all of Romney's take can be spent in the primaries next year, giving the two a huge advantage over some of their rivals whose funds must be divided between their primary and general election campaigns.

Obama and Romney have each won just a single election to statewide office and have spent a combined six years in those posts. Statewide and national polls have shown Obama running second or third behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards in the Democratic race, while Romney on the Republican side had been mired in the single digits before his recent surge in popularity in New Hampshire and Iowa.

So, why then were they able to outshine far better known political commodities like Clinton (N.Y.) and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain?

"We are coming off of back-to-back eight year runs in the White House," said Alex Vogel, a GOP lobbyist not affiliated with any of the current presidential candidates. "It makes sense that the American people are interested and enamored with new brands."

This is the first time since 1952 that neither party has an incumbent president or vice president seeking the nomination of their party. The wide-open nature of the field coupled with the presence of several high-profile candidates on each side has created an excitement and interest among voters that has not been seen in recent political history.

In a bid to capitalize on that hunger for change, Romney and Obama both have played up their credentials as outsiders -- promising voters a departure from the status quo in Washington.

For Obama, a charismatic speaker, that means a laser-like focus on his long-held opposition to the war in Iraq. The war has proved to be the single most animating issue for many Democratic primary voters who are disappointed in Clinton for supporting the 2002 use-of-force resolution against Iraq and who has not been forceful enough in her more recent condemnation of the conflict.

Romney's message is less issue-centric. Instead, the former businessman and governor offers a broad call for "innovation and transformation" that, he subtly suggests, has been missing from his party of late.

"Even as America faces a new generation of challenges, the halls of government are clogged with petty politics and stuffed with peddlers of influence," Romney said in his announcement speech.

The surprising financial strength of Obama and Romney seems to show that their messages are resonating in dramatic fashion.

In some ways, Obama's campaign finance success is more surprising than that of Romney's. Romney was the immediate past chairman of the Republican Governors Association as well as a co-founder of Bain Capital and the head of the 2002 Salt Lake City winter Olympics, which were all lucrative fundraising avenues. Obama, in contrast, arrived in the Senate in 2004 with a skeleton of a national fundraising operation and was forced to build one on the fly after formally announcing his candidacy just ten weeks ago.

Obama's rapid financial growth, fueled by more than 100,000 donors and $7 million raised via the Internet, has forced a recalibration of the handicapping for the Democratic competition as Obama proved to be a much stronger fundraiser than many assumed, said several party sources without ties to any of the candidates.

"Today's announcement is a complete game changer," said Stephanie Cutter, who served as communications director for Democratic Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "Obama exceeded all expectations, and demonstrated that his message and candidacy has taken hold and has significant staying-power because he's appealing to new donors and grassroots' support."

Prior to Obama's decision to enter the race, Clinton had been expected to enjoy a broad financial advantage over her rivals for the Democratic nomination. Her perceived financial superiority was considered key to her status as the frontrunner -- especially in light of decision by officials of large states like California and New York that are expensive to campaign in to move up their primaries to next Feb. 5.

The Clinton campaign had been talking up Obama's fundraising numbers for the past several weeks in hopes of diminishing the impact of today's announcement. "I would expect Senator Obama is going to have a comparable amount of money to what we have," Clinton finance chairman Terry McAuliffe said during a Sunday conference call with reporters.

Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton's campaign manager, echoed that sentiment in a statement put out by the campaign after Obama's fundraising figures were made public today.

"We are thrilled with our historic fundraising success and congratulate Senator Obama and the entire Democratic field on their fundraising, which demonstrates the overwhelming desire for change in our country," said Solis Doyle.

On the Republican side, Romney's showing drew kudos from a wide variety of political operatives who praised not just the eye-popping total but also the campaign discipline it took to raise such enormous sums.

"I think the Governor surprised more than a few folks and not just by the amount of money he raised, but the organizational ability it takes to raise it," said Chris LaCivita, a leading Republican consultant.

Romney's success has already forced McCain to alter his approach to fundraising. Former House member Tom Loeffler of Texas, who is serving as McCain's finance chairman, will now oversee the entire fundraising operation. The campaign has also created McCain's 200 (for donors who gather $200,000 or more in contributions) and McCain's 100 ($100,000 or more) to provide some rigor to its bundling program. "There are now new metrics of accountability in place," said McCain communications director Brian Jones.

McCain is also moving quickly to re-establish his policy credentials with a series of speeches over the next three weeks. He'll deliver an Iraq-centered speech at the Virginia Military Institute next Wednesday and will follow that up with an address on economic policy and government waste in Memphis, Tennessee on April 16 . A third speech, also focused on domestic policy, is set for April 23 although no location has yet been chosen.

The question for McCain is whether this reshuffling of the deck within his organization and revised message can resurrect the image that led him to the precipice of the Republican nomination in 2000.

Romney is working to keep McCain on the mat, announcing today that Doug Struyk and David Tjepkes, two Iowa state representatives who had previously signed onto McCain's Straight Talk America PAC, were switching allegiance to Romney. The former governor is also back on the television airwaves in Iowa and New Hampshire with an ad touting his fiscal discipline.

"In Washington, the echo chamber of what's happening there and the constant bang and clatter from inside 'The Beltway' leads everyone to believe that it's the center of the universe," said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden.

"There's a frustration with the status quo mentality, and since Governor Romney's message is one of change that essentially says 'Hey, Washington needs a fresh set of eyes and new ideas,' we're seeing a greater degree of support that agrees with Governor Romney's approach," he added.

Jackpot won, Romney Now Works on Name Recognition

(from the New York Times

Jackpot Won, Romney Now Works on Name Recognition

MANCHESTER, N.H., April 3 — Mitt Romney dashed across southern New Hampshire on Tuesday, enjoying the media attention that has come with his new fund-raising haul while trying to raise his profile among voters.

He started the day in a television studio in Watertown, Mass., doing interviews with the morning shows of all three broadcast networks, before driving to Keene, N.H., for a community forum that attracted a few dozen people along with a sizable news media contingent.

Mr. Romney’s campaign announced Monday that it had raised $20 million in the first quarter, outpacing efforts by his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. But he has trailed Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, the most established Republican contenders, in most nationwide polls. His supporters say the reason is largely that few people outside Massachusetts, where he was governor until three months ago, and Utah, where he was chief executive of the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics, yet know who he is.

So in introducing himself Tuesday to voters here in the state with the first presidential primary, Mr. Romney focused on his biography. He took them through his successful career in management consulting and venture capital, then his experience tackling the problems of the troubled Salt Lake City Olympics and finally his record as a one-term governor.

In a stump speech that he is still smoothing, he portrayed himself as a Washington outsider who would bring his private-sector experience to bear on reforming government.

“Whether you agree with me or disagree with me on issue after issue, one thing that is clear is I bring change to an organization I’m associated with,” he said during an afternoon speech in Manchester at offices of Easter Seals. The country requires change, he said, from “business-as-usual lifelong politicians always debating and arguing and poking at each other about the way things get done.”

The candidate also sought to play up his large family as evidence of the kind of values he espouses. He and his wife, Ann, high school sweethearts, have 5 children and 10 grandchildren.

Their oldest son, Tagg, who quit his job as a marketing executive for the Los Angeles Dodgers to join his father in campaigning, was with him Tuesday, along with Tagg’s 11-year-old daughter, Allie. They were introduced to audiences at several events.

“I have a big incentive to do a good job: 5 sons, 5 daughters-in-laws and 10 grandkids,” Mr. Romney said in his stop at Easter Seals, adding, in remarks to a group that included a large number of older people, “I want to make sure that the America my grandkids inherit is an America with just as much promise, just as much opportunity and just as much hope as some in your generation gave to me and my kids.”

Mr. Romney’s conservative critics have dogged him in recent months, raising questions about his conservative credentials. Some have noted that as recently as 2002 he supported protecting abortion rights in Massachusetts and that he joined the National Rifle Association only after it became clear that he was planning to run for president.

But perhaps because many people are still getting to know him, voters in Keene and Manchester did not press him on those issues Tuesday.

Local reporters did sharply question him, however, and he responded with well-practiced answers.

“I did change my view on abortion, but my view on same-sex marriage is the same,” he said. “I’ve opposed same-sex marriage from the beginning. Of course, with time and experience, I’m going to change my views where I’ve learned I’ve been wrong.”

In an interview, he explained: “I have always been personally pro-life. The issue for me was, What should the role of government be?” But, he said, he came to believe that states should be permitted to restrict abortion.

Several voters said Tuesday that they believed Mr. Romney’s change of position was genuine.

“I think we all grow,” said Canon Samir J. Habiby, a retired Episcopal priest, who dropped by to hear him in Keene. “I think he’s believable.”

Mr. Romney, a Mormon, was not asked by his audiences Tuesday about his faith, which some analysts have suggested could make him unelectable. In the interview, he said his religion was usually raised only by reporters.

When asked about the issue, one New Hampshirite, Cindy Meade, said it was irrelevant. “Religion shouldn’t come into it,” said Ms. Meade, an administrative assistant at Granite State Manufacturing, a Manchester company Mr. Romney visited Tuesday. “That to me is discrimination.”

Mr. Romney mentioned that his $20 million first-quarter take had come from some 32,000 to 33,000 donors. But though he said his fund-raising triumph showed that his message was resonating, his events Tuesday were mostly small affairs. Money will allow him to begin to change that and reach large audiences, he said. He expects to make major purchases of television time and build an extensive field operation as he focuses on the early primary states.

“Obviously I’m not as well known as Senator McCain and Mayor Giuliani at this stage,” he said, “but raising money from people who support my effort gives me the opportunity to build the kind of awareness that we’ll need to win the primaries and the caucuses.”

While he may be able to raise a lot of money, though, he does not always carry much of it around. Having sampled a piece of blueberry pie and a glass of milk at a diner in Peterborough, N.H., he had to borrow $5 from his son to pay. “I’ve got 55 cents,” Mr. Romney said.

Romney vows vetoes of excess spending

(from Politico's link to Iowa paper)

Romney vows vetoes of excess spending

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney burnished his image as a tight-fisted conservative at Statehouse press conference today, where he was joined by a group of GOP legislators backing his presidential bid.

"Washington is a broken place right now, dysfunctional in some respects," said the former Massachusetts governor. "We have to rein in spending," said Romney, touting his proposal to cap non-defense discretionary spending and promising to veto spending bills that would exceed the cap.

Romney rapped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria and Democratic leaders' efforts to set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Pelosi and Senate leader Harry Reid shouldn't "dictate to the commanders in the field and the commander in chief," he said.

Romney also announced that a dozen Republican legislators have endorsed his candidacy.

Later today, Romney is scheduled to open his Iowa headquarters at 5:15 p.m. at 3590 109th St., Urbandale and hold a "Ask Mitt Anything" Tele-Town Hall
Meeting at the headquarters at 6:30 p.m.