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Republicans have kept their hold over Congress, capping a dire night for the Democrats.

With Donald Trump elected as the 45th US president, the GOP retained its majorities in the House and Senate.

Republican dominance over Congress in principle enables Donald Trump to turn his policy plans into law.

However, how easily this will happen is unclear given that key GOP leaders had refused to back him.

Image source Wikipedia

Image source Wikipedia

The night began with majority control of the Senate up for grabs, with 34 of the 100 seats available.


However, the Democrats have so far gained just one seat in the Senate, with Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee Iraq war veteran, taking Mark Kirk’s place in Illinois. During a TV debate last month Mark Kirk mocked Tammy Duckworth’s Thai heritage, but later apologized.

Another bright spot was in Nevada, which Cortez Masto retained for the Democrats, beating Republican Joe Heck to become the first Latina senator.

Democrats also failed to significantly dent Republican advantage in the House, with just five Republican incumbents losing.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had distanced himself from Donald Trump after previously endorsing him, won re-election to the House of Representatives in Wisconsin.

Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American legislator, with victory in a House race in Minnesota. She came to the US while still a child, escaping Somalia’s civil war with her family and spending four years in a Kenyan refugee camp.

In a letter signed by more than 70 Republicans, the GOP’s National Committee head is being urged to stop funding Donald Trump’s campaign.

The signatories said Donald Trump’s “divisiveness” and “incompetence” risked drowning the party in November’s election.

The letter said that the GOP should instead focus on protecting vulnerable candidates in elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Former members of Congress are among the signatories of the letter.

“We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide,” said a draft of the letter published by Politico.Donald Trump San Diego rally

“Only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck.”

The letter added: “This should not be a difficult decision, as Donald Trump’s chances of being elected president are evaporating by the day.”

Reacting to the move, Donald Trump said he was not concerned that the party could cut him off.

“All I have to do is stop funding the Republican Party,” he said.

According to a Time Magazine report on August 11, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus had threatened to withdraw funding from the Trump campaign, and instead direct it to Congressional campaigns.

Donald Trump denies that this conversation ever took place.

The Republican presidential nominee has endured 10 days of negative headlines after a string of controversial comments.

In recent weeks, several leading Republicans have deserted Donald Trump over his outspoken attacks.

Polls suggest support for Donald Trump has been falling in key battleground states in recent weeks.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have said they are “totally committed” to the GOP unity in a statement following their meeting.

Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are trying to find common ground after the House speaker said he could not endorse the presumptive Republican nominee.

Paul Ryan has said Donald Trump lacked conservative principles.

“We had a great conversation this morning,” they wrote in a joint statement.

“While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground.”

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Donald Trump and Paul Ryan said they would be having “additional discussions” but think they can unify the party and win the election.

At a press conference following the meeting, Paul Ryan said he was “very encouraged” by what he heard from Donald Trump.

Donald Trump arrived for the meeting at the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters in Washington amid protesters brandishing placards.

Afterwards, RNC chairman Reince Priebus, who mediated the talks in his office, said it was a success.

In December 2015, Paul Ryan harshly criticized Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US.

Donald Trump said it was “not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for”.

However, on May 11, Donald Trump appeared to soften, saying it was “just a suggestion”.

Paul Ryan, who ran as 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s vice president, clashes with Donald Trump on many issues, including religious freedom and trade.

He has remained popular on Capitol Hill, after being urged to take over as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the autumn.

Many who view him as a more electable figure than Donald Trump have urged him – in vain – to run for president.

However, more Republicans are throwing their support behind Donald Trump, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Donald Trump is one of the least politically experienced nominees in US history, having never held elected office.

That outsider status has appealed to voters who feel let down by Washington.

A recent Gallup Poll shows that two in three Republican-leaning voters view Donald Trump favorably.

Republican presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and John Kasich have announced they will now co-ordinate strategies against rival Donald Trump.

Ted Cruz has said he will cut campaigning in the Oregon and New Mexico primaries to help John Kasich, while the latter will give Ted Cruz a “clear path” in Indiana.

Donald Trump responded to his rivals saying they were “totally desperate” and “mathematically dead”.

The New York businessman has a clear lead in delegates but may still fall short of the 1,237 needed to win outright.

If Donald Trump does not reach the target, the vote will go to a contested convention – where a different nominee may emerge through negotiations among party figures.

John Kasich and Ted Cruz announced their move in near-simultaneous statements.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Ted Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, said: “Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by [Hillary] Clinton or [Bernie] Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation.”

John Weaver, John Kasich’s strategist, said in a statement released on the candidate’s site: “Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee.”

Some Republican strategists have been urging this deal for weeks but analysts say it may now have come too late to stop Donald Trump.

In response, Donald Trump tweeted: “Wow, just announced that Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!

“Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are mathematically dead and totally desperate. Their donors & special interest groups are not happy with them. Sad!”

Donald Trump has frequently said the GOP nomination process is “rigged” to favor establishment figures against him.

However, the Republican frontrunner did last week promise to change his image, in a closed-door meeting with GOP leaders.

The Indiana primary is on May 3, Oregon is on May 17, with New Mexico on June 7.

However, before those comes voting in five north-eastern states where Donald Trump is heavily favored.

Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware all vote on April 26.

Campaigning in Maryland on April 24, Donald Trump said he was confident of avoiding a contested convention.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders spoke to a rally of 14,000 supporters in New Haven, Connecticut, on April 24, again accusing rival Hillary Clinton of earning money through “speeches behind closed doors on Wall Street”.

Hillary Clinton retains a clear lead in delegates and will hope the north-eastern state votes will effectively put an end to Bernie Sanders’ dogged campaign.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have traded increasingly hostile remarks in recent weeks.

However, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said: “Regardless of the intensity of what’s played out here… we are going to be unified.”

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has promised to change his image, in a closed-door meeting with GOP leaders.

Donald Trump, who leads the Republican race to be presidential nominee, delivered his message via aides, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The New York businessman’s success in primary elections so far has set off alarm bells among those in the party anxious that his tone and policies will turn off voters.

Five states go to the polls on April 26 to pick their presidential candidates.

Donald Trump has a clear lead in the number of delegates but may fall short of the 1,237 threshold required to win the nomination without a contested convention – where the nominee is chosen through negotiations among party figures.Donald Trump foreign policy advisory team

In a recording of April 21 meeting obtained by Associated Press, Donald Trump’s senior aides told Republican leaders that he has been “projecting an image” so far and “the part that he’s been playing is now evolving”.

In it, Donald Trump’s newly hired senior aide, Paul Manafort, told the Republican National Committee (RNC) members that the presidential hopeful has a campaigning personality and a private one.

“When he’s out on the stage, when he’s talking about the kinds of things he’s talking about on the stump, he’s projecting an image that’s for that purpose,” Paul Manafort said.

Donald Trump knows he needs to moderate his personality, Paul Manafort told the meeting. “The negatives [unfavorable ratings in polls] will come down. The image is going to change.”

His standing among female voters is particularly low, after a series of controversial remarks about women, abortion and rival Ted Cruz’s wife.

According to analysts, Donald Trump’s decisive win in the New York primary this week seemed to signal a new, softer side in his victory speech.

Meanwhile, he told a rally in Pennsylvania on April 21: “At some point, I’m going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored.”

On one of the key social issues currently engulfing the GOP, transgender rights, Donald Trump took a stance out of step with his key rival Ted Cruz on April 21, when he said transgender people should be allowed to use a toilet assigned to a gender of their choosing.

Ted Cruz criticized this as politically correct but former candidate Ben Carson praised Donald Trump for “trying to moderate”.

Donald Trump has accused the RNC of conspiring against him and of rigging the way delegates are awarded in a way that is unfavorable to him.

Donald Trump has accused GOP’s leaders of conspiracy, saying they do not want him to win the presidential nomination.

The system was “stacked” against him, the Republican frontrunner said in New York, accusing the Republican National Committee (RNC) of conspiring against him.

Donald Trump’s comments come after his rival Ted Cruz was awarded all the delegates in Colorado without a state-wide vote.

He leads the race but may fall short of getting enough delegates to get the nomination outright.

That would lead to a contested convention in July, where delegates are free after the first ballot to back whom they want, opening the door for Texas Senator Ted Cruz or even the third candidate in the race, John Kasich.

The Washington Post reported on April 13 that Ted Cruz is likely to win on a second vote, because he has persuaded so many delegates to vote for him when they are “unbound” to vote as pledged.

However, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus rejected Donald Trump’s charge that the rules in states like Colorado had been changed in response to his rise in the polls.

Reince Priebus tweeted that the nomination process had been well known for more than a year.Donald Trump RNC conspiracy

“It’s the responsibility of the campaigns to understand it. Complaints now? Give us all a break.”

Asked at a town hall event in New York whether the RNC wanted him to win, Donald Trump said: “No, I don’t think so. I really don’t.”

He has been criticized for not campaigning hard enough on the ground in states like Colorado.

However, Donald Trump said delegates who wanted to support him were being pushed out by the RNC.

“They don’t like when I put up my own money because it means they don’t have any control of me because I’m working for the people,” he said.

Most states have opted to hold state-wide primaries or caucuses to determine the number of delegates pledged to a particular candidate.

However, Colorado decided last summer to select its delegates in a different way, at its own state convention.

The state-by-state primary contests come to New York next week where a high number of delegates will be up for grabs.

Several senior Republicans have expressed opposition to Donald Trump winning, doubting his ability to win a general election and disagreeing with his hard line on immigration.

The property tycoon has broken an earlier pledge he made to support whoever the Republicans nominate, therefore refusing to rule out a third-party run.

Donald Trump has said there will be “riots” if he is not chosen as the party’s nominee, having headed to the convention with the most delegates.

Mitt Romney says he will vote for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in Utah caucus as he is “repulsed” by Donald Trump.

The former Republican presidential candidate said in a Facebook post that the only way to nominate a Republican is to have an open convention, in which party officials choose the nominee.

Mitt Romney campaigned with Governor John Kasich in Ohio but said voting for Ted Cruz is the only way to stop “Trumpism”.

He joins other Republican leaders coalescing around Ted Cruz.

Donald Trump has won the most state contests and holds 678 delegates – 1,237 are needed to win the nomination.

Photo Facebook

Photo Facebook

“Mitt Romney is a mixed up man who doesn’t have a clue. No wonder he lost!” Donald Trump said on Twitter.

However, Republican leaders are concerned that Donald Trump’s controversial comments about immigrants, women and Muslims would make him a weak candidate in the general election in November.

Some also feel that the onetime Democrat cannot be trusted to implement conservative policies.

“Today, there is a contest between Trumpism and Republicanism,” Mitt Romney said.

“Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these.”

Earlier this month, Mitt Romney gave a speech outlining why he was against Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman with no political experience, calling him a “phoney” and a “fraud”.

Mitt Romney’s home state of Utah holds its presidential contest on March 22.

A group of conservatives including well-known talk radio host Erick Erickson met on March 17 to discuss ways to defeat Donald Trump, including launching a third party campaign to challenge the New York businessman.

“We encourage all former Republican candidates not currently supporting Trump to unite against him and encourage all candidates to hold their delegates on the first ballot,” he said in a statement, put out on behalf of the group.

“We believe that the issue of Donald Trump is greater than an issue of party. It is an issue of morals and character that all Americans, not just those of us in the conservative movement, must confront.”

Many GOP members have also misgiving about Ted Cruz because he has repeatedly and publicly denounced Republican leaders.

However, more prominent Republicans are throwing their support behind Ted Cruz in a last-ditch effort to stop Donald Trump.

Popular South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have recently endorsed Ted Cruz.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who left the Republican race on March 15, said this week he would not be endorsing any of his former rivals.

He also said he had no interest in becoming a vice-presidential nominee.

Donald Trump won four out five primaries on March 15, but the race in Missouri has not been called for the Republicans yet.

Hillary Clinton narrowly won the state’s Democratic primary after her opponent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders declined to pursue a recount.

Mitt Romney has urged the Republican Party to reject Donald Trump, reportedly calling the front-runner a “phony” and “fraud”.

The former Republican presidential candidate accuses Donald Trump of “playing the American public for suckers”, in a planned speech leaked to the media.

Donald Trump has meanwhile mocked Mitt Romney on Twitter as a “failed candidate” who should not advise on getting elected.

Many senior Republicans are alarmed at the prospect of Donald Trump securing the nomination for November’s election.

In the latest attack from top figures in the party, several members of the Republican national security community wrote an open letter describing Donald Trump’s “vision of American influence and power in the world” as “wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle”.Mitt Romney Donald Trump indictment

“He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence,” the letter said.

Donald Trump has sought to present himself as a “unifier”, after his victories in seven states on so-called Super Tuesday consolidated his position at the front of the race for his party’s nomination.

Mitt Romney, who has been a fierce critic of Donald Trump, is expected to warn in his speech on March 3 that his policies are a threat to the Republican Party and to the country as a whole.

“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Mitt Romney says, according to a leaked transcript of his remarks.

“His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” he is quoted as saying.

Mitt Romney will also warn that the nomination of Donald Trump would pave the way to the presidency for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump meanwhile accused Mitt Romney of having run “one of the worst races in presidential history” and “working with the establishment” to prevent a Republican win.

Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election to President Barack Obama.

Several GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have spoken out against Donald Trump’s controversial policies and positions in recent days.

Donald Trump’s latest controversy centers on his failure to disavow David Duke, a leader of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan, who endorsed him. He later said he had on several occasions in the past disavowed David Duke.

Paul Ryan said on March 1 that nominees “must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices”.

Donald Trump rival Marco Rubio indicated in his speech on Super Tuesday that the Republican establishment was unlikely to back the former reality TV star.

According to the New York Times, some GOP donors are already trying to raise funds for an anti-Trump effort.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has announced his 2016 White House bid.

The Republican wrote on his website: “I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government.”

Rand Paul stands out from the Republican pack because of his comparatively libertarian views.

He becomes the second Republican to enter the contest that concludes in November 2016.

A first-term senator hailing from one of the country’s most well-known libertarian families, Rand Paul first held elected office when he rode a wave of Tea Party popularity to the US senate in 2010.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Once there, Rand Paul soon drew attention when he spoke for more than 12 hours in protest about President Barack Obama’s drone policy and the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA.

He has proven to be a thorn in the side of many of his fellow Republicans, openly challenging them on issues such as government surveillance, drone policies and sanctions on Iran and Cuba.

Rand Paul has also questioned the size of the US military and proposed relaxing drug laws that lock up offenders at a high cost for tax payers.

It is not clear how successful Rand Paul will be amongst mainstream Republican supporters.

His father, former member of the US House of Representatives Ron Paul, ran several unsuccessful presidential campaigns that had strong appeal to libertarians who favor limited government and lower taxes.

Rand Paul is expected, however, to run a very tech-savvy campaign that could create appeal to new Republican demographics, like young voters.

He is due to make his announcement in person in a ballroom in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 7. He joins Senator Ted Cruz as the two most prominent declared candidates.

Rand Paul could face up to 20 other fellow Republicans doing battle for the nomination, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, both of whom are expected to enter the race soon.

The triumphant individual is widely expected to battle with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic favorite and former US Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton has yet to officially announce her candidacy, but is expected to do so in the next two weeks.

Rand Paul attended Baylor University, but did not graduate.

He later attended Duke Medical School.

Rand Paul lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with his wife Kelly and their three sons.

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In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Sarah Palin said that she is “seriously interested” in running for the White House in 2016.

When asked to clarify her thinking about a possible presidential bid, the former Alaska governor said: “You can absolutely say that I am seriously interested.”

Sarah Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice-presidential nominee, said she stood by comments she made on January 22 in Las Vegas to ABC News, where she first expressed enthusiasm about potentially competing for the Republican presidential nomination.Sarah Palin 2016

On January 23, Sarah Palin told the Post: “I am. As I said yesterday, I’m really interested in the opportunity to serve at some point.”

However, Sarah Palin said that she is not yet ramping up a national political operation. Instead, she said, she is contemplating her political future and does not feel rushed to make a final decision.

Sarah Palin previously mulled a presidential run ahead of the 2012 election cycle, but declined to enter the contest. During the run-up to the GOP primaries, her supporters built an expansive political network in Iowa on her behalf, in case she jumped in.

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President Barack Obama won the third presidential debate against his Republican rival Governor Mitt Romney according to two instant polls released by CNN and CBS News.

CBS News said that its poll of 521 undecided voters said the president had won the night by a 53% to 23% margin over his GOP counterpart, with a further 24% saying they thought it was a tie. CBS said the margin of error in its poll was +/- 4 percentage points.

CNN said Barack Obama won by eight percentage points among the debate watchers it polled, 48% to 40%, with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points. CNN noted the Obama win was within the margin of error. The network didn’t say how many respondents there were to its poll.

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President Barack Obama is accused by GOP of using the killing of Osama bin Laden as a political weapon for his re-election, after it was first presented as a moment of national unity.

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is portraying his risky decision to go after America’s top enemy as a defining difference with his Republican presidential opponent, suggesting Mitt Romney might not have had the guts to order a mission that put lives and perhaps a presidency at stake.

Barack Obama himself is opening up on the raid again – and opening the secretive White House Situation Room as an interview stage – to hail the one-year anniversary.

The broader goal for Barack Obama, whether through campaign web videos or the trappings of the White House, is not to just to remind voters of an enormous victory on his watch. It is to maximize a political narrative that he has the courage to make tough calls that his opponent might not.

“Does anybody doubt that had the mission failed, it would have written the beginning of the end of the president’s first term?” Vice President Joe Biden says in laying out Barack Obama’s foreign policy campaign message.

“We know what President Obama did. We can’t say for certain what Governor Romney would have done.”

The strategy underscores the fact that Barack Obama, who ordered the raid as commander in chief, is now seeking a second term as president. The risk is the political blowback that can come if he is seen as crossing a line into politicizing national security.

“Sad,” said a Mitt Romney spokeswoman. “Shameless,” said 2008 Barack Obama election foe John McCain.

Joe Biden even combined the killing of the Al Qaeda leader and Barack Obama’s support for a failing auto industry into what he called a re-election bumper sticker message.

“It’s pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,” the vice president said in a speech on Thursday.

Barack Obama is accused by GOP of using the killing of Osama bin Laden as a political weapon for his re-election

Barack Obama is accused by GOP of using the killing of Osama bin Laden as a political weapon for his re-election

Barack Obama’s campaign followed that on Friday with a new web video questioning whether Mitt Romney would have taken the same path Barack Obama did. If features a quote from a 2007 Mitt Romney interview in which he said it was not worth “moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person”.

That prompted Barack Obama’s 2008 opponent, John McCain, to issue a scathing statement in which he accused Barack Obama of playing politics with the Osama bin Laden killing and “diminishing the memory of September 11th”.

“This is the same president who said, after bin Laden was dead, that we shouldn’t <<spike the ball>> after the touchdown,” he said.

“And now Barack Obama is not only trying to score political points by invoking Osama bin Laden, he is doing a shameless end-zone dance to help himself get re-elected.”

Barack Obama’s initial words on the Osama bin Laden mission – a raid for which he received wide praise, including from Mitt Romney – were ones of sober thanks. Addressing the nation late that night of May 1, 2011, in Washington, Barack Obama said: “Tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11.”

So much for that, the Romney campaign said on Friday.

“It’s now sad to see the Obama campaign seek to use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to distract voters’ attention from the failures of his administration,” Mitt Romney spokesman Andrea Saul said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Osama bin Laden raid is a part of Barack Obama’s foreign policy story.

He added: “I think the way that we’ve handled it represents exactly the balance you need to strike.”

President George W. Bush, when seeking re-election in 2004, faced criticism that he was politicizing the memory of the September 11, 2001, attacks, including with a video at the Republican National Convention that credited him with “the heart of a president”.

Steve Schmidt, a spokesman and strategist for that Bush campaign, said the Osama bin Laden killing is fair game as a campaign message for Barack Obama.

“It was a courageous political decision to launch the raid where bin Laden was killed. The stakes were enormous,” Steve Schmidt said.

“Had it gone south, there would have been tremendous political ramifications for the president. It’s a real event that happened on his watch, by his command.”

Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by U.S. Navy SEALs. The terror leader was living in a compound in one of Islamabad’s suburbs, having evaded capture for nearly 10 years.

The episode is featured prominently in a longer Barack Obama campaign video, narrated by actor Tom Hanks, as an example of decisive leadership.

Barack Obama sent in the U.S. forces with no assurance that Osama bin Laden was at the site, leading to a heart-pounding scene in the Situation Room, captured in one of the most famous photos of the presidency.

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[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”]Republican Michele Bachmann, 55, won the Iowa Straw Poll Saturday, affirming her status as a top-tier candidate in the Republican race to challenge President Barak Obama in 2012.

 

Michele Bachmann received 28% of the nearly 17,000 votes cast. The Texas Republican, Ron Paul was close behind her with 27%. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty came in a distant third with 13% of the vote, followed by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum with 9% and businessman Herman Cain with 8%.

 
Michele Bachmann received 28 percent of the nearly 17000 votes cast

Michele Bachmann received 28 percent of the nearly 17000 votes cast

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The daylong political festival was the first indication of how these Republicans are faring with the Grand Old Party (GOP) base. Nine candidates were on the ballot, and voting ran for 6 hours on the campus of Iowa State University.

Voters came in from far and wide, some of the candidates organizing bus caravans to bring backers to the event. In the past the turnout has ranged from 14,000 to 23,000.

Free hamburgers and ice cream were provided and some candidates even paid the $30 entry fee for their supporters to vote in the Iowa Republican Straw Poll.

Sunday morning, it was the ultra-conservative Tea Party favourite Michele Bachmann who was doing the rounds of the talkshow studios on the big television networks, while the former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a poor third, became the first hopeful to announce he was dropping out of the race.

 

For Michele Bachmann, who won 28% of votes cast, it was the latest success in a rapid rise from local politics to Republican frontrunner.

 

As the result emerged late on Saturday, Bachmann, standing on the steps of her campaign bus, shouted what has become her slogan, just as “hope and change” was for Obama.

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“You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one … term … president.”

 

“I think what people see in me is I’m a real person, I’m authentic,” she said.

 

Michele Bachmann compared herself to Ronald Reagan, who is saw as one of the party’s giants by Republicans, in being guided by a core set of principles.

 

“I don’t compromise my core principles. That’s how you lead, you lead from principles.”

 

Bachmann’s weekend victory provides important momentum for her campaign and can expect an influx of financial support, but the bigger question for Republicans is whether her appeal can be broad enough to seduce enough voters in the November 2012 presidential election. Although there are eight declared candidates, realistically only three are still in the race: Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the Texas Governor Rick Perry, who announced his candidacy on Saturday.

Although Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll, her vote is soft, with many still undecided.

Sue Matejka, 65, reflects the fluidity of Iowa Republicans. She travelled the three hours from her home in Olin, Iowa, to Ames for the Straw Poll in a bus paid for by Tim Pawlenty but, despite accepting his largesse, had no qualms about voting for Michele Bachmann.

“I am undecided,” she said. For her, the overriding imperative is a candidate who will unseat Barack Obama.

“It is between Bachmann and Perry. I haven’t heard enough about Perry. What is on paper looks good. What he has done for Texans is good,” she added.

Michele Bachmann has risen fast since being elected to Congress in 2006. She has made the most of frequent appearances on television, particularly Fox News, where she is a favourite because of her ultra-conservative views.

She is one of the most high-profile figures, along with Sarah Palin, in the Tea Party movement. In line with Tea Party principles, she adopted a hardline position during the debt crisis, saying she would not vote for raising the national debt ceiling and on Sunday repeated her view that deep cuts in federal spending were vital.

But it is her views on social issues that helped secure her win in Iowa, one of the most socially conservative states in the country outside of the south. Before joining Congress, she prayed outside abortion clinics.

 

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Michele Bachmann is also one of the most outspoken critics of homosexuality, co-owning with her husband, Marcus, a clinic in Minnesota where, according to an ABC report by an undercover team, counsellors encourage gay people to pray to get rid of homosexual urges.

 

“It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It’s anything but gay,” she said in a speech in 2004.

While such views on social issues go down well in Iowa, Republicans know such statements will alienate many of the independent voters who decide elections nationwide.

Bachmann’s biggest problem is the entry into the race of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is a strong candidate. While Perry holds many of the same views as Bachmann on social issues, he said that while he is opposed to same-sex marriage in Texas, he thinks it is fine for New York, saying that is the prerogative of each state to decide. As governor of a state with the best record of job growth in the country, Rick Perry is better placed than Michele Bachmann to take on Barak Obama on the economy. Michele Bachmann acknowledged she cannot win on social issues alone and shifted the emphasis in her round of television interviews on Sunday to the economy.

“It will be an economics election.”

 

Rick Perry, who announced his candidacy earlier Saturday, came in 6th place with 3.6% of the vote, ahead of GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, all of whom didn’t compete in the contest.

The poll results are nonbinding, amount to a popularity contest and offer candidates a chance to test their get-out-the-vote organizations.

Michele Bachmann’s victory may provide a road map for the Iowa campaign heading into the caucuses that are just four months away. But the straw poll has a mixed record of predicting the winner of that contest.

In 2008, Romney won the straw poll, but the big news was the surprising second-place showing of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses, but dropped from the race soon after. McCain, who eventually won the nomination, didn’t compete in the straw poll and finished in 10th place.

Meanwhile, Barak Obama, dropping in the polls and aware of the boost Republicans received from four days of campaign events in Iowa that attracted 700 journalists, heads off on Monday on a three days bus tour of the mid-west, including Iowa. A CNN poll last week put Obama on 47%, down from 52% in January. The White House election is 16 months away but he has a lot of ground to make up.

Michele Bachmann won first poll of Republican contest for 2012 presidential race.

 

Republican Rick Perry will make the formal announcement on Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina.[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]

 

The Republican Rick Perry will officially announce his candidacy on Saturday, August 13, said Washington Times after information was provided exclusively by Carl Cameron from Fox News, known as having a hostile position to the current president, Barack Obama.

He will make his announcement in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is scheduled to speak at an annual conference of conservative bloggers.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is running for the US presidential race.

Republican Texas Governor, Rick Perry is running for the US presidential race.

Rick Perry will then travel to New Hampshire and on to Iowa Sunday — hitting 3 of the first 4 states to hold nominating contests next year.

Rick Perry makes his entrance about six months before the Iowa caucuses, the traditional kickoff of the nominating season (the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President of the United States). Iowa is scheduled to be followed by New Hampshire’s primary, Nevada’s caucuses and South Carolina’s primary, though several other states are considering moves to jump ahead in the line.

The rest of the field has been assembled in Iowa for Thursday night’s nationally televised debate, Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll, the Iowa State Fair, which runs for 11 days and is a traditional hot spot for meeting voters and mugging for cameras.

 

[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”] Rick Perry’s presidential nomination is expected to fundamentally reshape the race and divert attention from other contenders, many of whom will be competing this weekend in the Iowa Straw Poll.

 

Being now in his 11th year as Texas governor, Rick Perry could fill the void some party activists see and could unify social and economic conservatives in the “Grand Old Party” (GOP a traditional nickname for the Republican Party)

“This is about electing a true conservative leader with a real record of job creation as our next president,” said Scott Rials, executive director of “Make Us Great Again”, one of the several pro-Perry political action committees that have formed to raise and spend money independently of Rick Perry’s campaign.

 

“Governor Rick Perry is our best qualified candidate to win back the White House and get our economy back on track.”

 

“Contrary to written reports that Governor Perry would use his Charleston speech on Saturday to announce his intention to run, he will tell the influential red state gathering … that he has entered the contest,” Rick Perry’s campaign strategist, David Carney told The Washington Times on Thursday.

In a preview of the Perry campaign’s emphasis, David Carney hailed the three-term governor as someone “known by many as America’s jobs governor.”

Carney, who was chief strategist for Rick Perry last year when he defeated Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas’ gubernatorial primary, said the Perry record stands “in perfect contrast to the current occupant of the White House, whose administration has appeared to be flailing around, trying to deal with economic woes for months.”

The GOP’s move also adds another target for President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee, which had invested time in trying to discredit former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, whose polls show he is the front-runner in the field.

 

Conservatives were pleased with Rick Perry’s pending announcement.

 

“I think Governor Perry entering the race will solidify conservatives,” Dr. Randy Brinson, an Alabama gastroenterologist and founder of Rock the Vote, told The Washington Times.

 

“Romney will hope for a perilous split due to the large number of social conservatives in the race but history shows it will not occur as Romney strategists think.”

 

“Perry travels to Alabama and the key state of South Carolina to line up solid support over the weekend,” said Dr. Brinson, who is considered a major force in conservative politics in the South.

 

“Obvious strategy is to anchor South Carolina which is the make-or-break state for all Republican presidential contenders.”

 

Kirsten Gray, Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman, who disputed Rick Perry’s activity claims by saying he fought for a budget that would lay off thousands of state workers, said:

 

“Not surprising Rick Perry is making his announcement in South Carolina instead of Texas — there’s nowhere in the Lone Star State he could announce without an angry mob showing up.”

 

[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]According to the RealClearPolitics.com average of polls, Mitt Romney leads Rick Perry 20.4% to 15.4%. Former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, who has not announced a candidacy, places third, in a near-tie with Republican Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, an announced candidate who polls fourth.

Rick Perry did not seek space at the straw poll, though his announcement Saturday could fuel a write-in campaign there.

On Thursday, Mitt Romney was heckled by liberal activists as he delivered a soapbox speech at the Iowa fair.

 

"I’m not going to raise taxes. That’s my answer. If you want someone to raise taxes, you can vote for Barack Obama," said Mitt Romney to the liberal hecklers at Iowa fair.

"I’m not going to raise taxes. That’s my answer. If you want someone to raise taxes, you can vote for Barack Obama," said Mitt Romney to the liberal hecklers at Iowa fair.

 

“You ready for my answer? I’m not going to raise taxes. That’s my answer. If you want someone to raise taxes, you can vote for Barack Obama,

 

Mitt Romney told the hecklers.

Rick Perry’s entry makes him the first sitting governor in the race, the field having a handful of former governors.

Winning the presidency by Perry would mean for Republicans to return to the power after the defeat of George W. Bush in 2008.

Last May, Washington Times wrote that Governor Rick Perry is capable to attract not only among Republican voters, but also from conservatives, independents and even Obama’s Democrats.

The first sign that he could run for US presidency was in June 2011, when he was invited to a Fox News show and said:

 

“I am thinking seriously about it.”

 

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Rick Perry is the Texas Governor since 2000, when he ascended from the lieutenant governorship after George W. Bush won the White House.