WASHINGTON (CNN) - In an unusual move for the person tasked with being his party's top cheerleader, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is shining a light on the political vulnerabilities of one of the GOP's top figures and a likely frontrunner for the 2012 Republican nomination - former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Now Romney's team is hitting back.
Steele, guest-hosting on Bill Bennett's radio show Friday, cast doubt on Romney's conservative bona fides and blamed the Republican base for rejecting Romney last year because "it had issues with Mormonism" and was unsure of Romney's commitment to opposing to abortion rights. Those comments aren't sitting too well with Romney's political team.
"Sometimes when you shoot from the hip, you miss the target," said Romney spokesman Eric Ferhnstrom. "This is one of those times."
A Romney aide noted that the former Massachusetts governor won the Conservative Political Action Conference's annual straw poll the past three years, won 11 presidential primaries and caucuses, and earned 4.2 million votes by the time he left the race in February of last year.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton emerged from Tuesday's contest in Pennsylvania with a big symbolic victory and a net gain of about a dozen pledged delegates. But those spoils could vanish on May 6 in North Carolina, a delegate-rich contest with a plethora of natural advantages for Barack Obama.
Obama owes his victories throughout the Democratic nomination battle to African-Americans, young voters, upscale whites and independent voters.
In North Carolina, those voters come in bunches, and their ranks are growing.
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) - In her first comments about the Wednesday evening’s controversial debate, Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of “complaining” about the broadcast and hinted her rival might not be equipped to handle the rigors of the Oval Office.
“I know he spent all day yesterday complaining about the hard questions he was asked,” she told an interviewer Friday morning on WTXF in Philadelphia. “Being asked tough questions in a debate is nothing like the pressures you face inside the White House.”
In campaign stops in Pennsylvania and North Carolina yesterday, Obama criticized both his rival and the debate format, accusing the moderators of focusing on trivialities and saying Clinton was “in her element.”
Seeing an opening after what some pundits regarded as a poor performance by Obama, Clinton used the morning show interview to make the case for her own toughness and determination.
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Barack Obama furthered his recent criticisms of Hillary Clinton Monday by mocking the fact that she recently "threw back a shot and a beer" in front of the media.
After first saying too many candidates are only giving voters "rhetoric," the Illinois senator said, "They'll promise you anything. They'll even give you a long list of proposals. They'll even come around with TV crews in tow and throw back a shot and a beer."
The shot came Saturday at Bronko’s Restaurant in Crown Point, Indiana. With the national media in tow, Clinton made a stop there to drink a beer and speak with voters. After ordering her beer the bartender asked, “You want a shot with that Hillary?” After some deliberation, Clinton settled on a shot of Crown Royal, a Canadian whiskey.
But Obama is not totally in the clear himself when it comes to photo-ops at bars. The White House hopeful nursed a beer in front of cameras with Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey at a sports bar during his Pennsylvania bus tour on March 28. He has since mentioned that moment of drinking in front of audiences on the trail in the Keystone State.
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) - On the face of things, with its sizeable African-American population, Philadelphia looks to be friendly territory for Barack Obama by the time the Pennsylvania primary rolls around on April 22.
But Hillary Clinton is making a push Friday for the urban vote, holding two policy-oriented events in the city to spotlight the twin issues of crime and the economy.
Appearing at a YMCA in west Philadelphia this morning with Mayor Michael Nutter, who yesterday signed into law a series of controversial anti-gun measures, Clinton unveiled a plan to cut the national murder rate in half.
Introducing Clinton, Nutter urged the federal government to provide more assistance to mayors around the country working to put ex-offenders back to work and protect families from violent crime
“Here in west Philadelphia, we’re worried more about Al Gangsta than al Qaeda,” Nutter joked. “Osama bin laden and some of those other folks couldn’t last five minutes in west Philadelphia.”
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton said Wednesday she has long disagreed with her husband on issues of free trade.
"I have a long record of being on a different attitude toward trade than my husband does," she said in Pittsburgh. "I don't think any married couple I know agrees on everything. And we disagree on this."
Bill Clinton has indicated in the past he supports free trade with Colombia. The New York senator is now sharply critical of the measure and said she will work to see it is not authorized by Congress.
Asked Wednesday if she had talked about this issue with her husband, she said "we talk about everything."