11/07/2011 08:03 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2012

Election 2012 HuffPost Blog: Latest News On The Campaign

WASHINGTON -- The campaign blog below, which launched on the Election Day before Election Day 2012, is a HuffPost within HuffPost: A central source of breaking news, analysis, original reporting and aggregation, both fast and comprehensive.

02/22/2012 6:48 PM EST

Santorum Tries To Sidestep Satan Comments

Rick Santorum was bedeviled for the second day in a row Wednesday by comments he made four years ago about Satan.

"Our presidents in the past have been very clear that they believe in God and Satan and good and evil," Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for Santorum, told The Huffington Post. "It may seem extremely strange to

the media, this country was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. This isn't out of the mainstream. When he believes in God that isn't news."

Santorum on Tuesday night attempted to move past the comments by telling reporters that they were asking "questions that are not relevant to what's being discussed in America today."

But an unnamed Santorum aide gave the story more oxygen when he was quoted Wednesday by the Washington Examiner's Byron York saying that if Santorum's faith perspective was going to be so closely examined, then Mitt Romney's Mormon faith should also come under the microscope.

"Why is Mormonism off limits?" the Santorum aide said.

A Republican consultant who is supporting Romney said that even if the Santorum campaign may be legitimately upset about a disparity in how its Protestant faith is examined more intensely than others, going after Romney's Mormonism is bad idea.

"People are not about attacking someone's religion," the Republican said. "There's no question it tends to be fair game on evangelical Christians, but that's just the political reality we live in. If they start going after the Mormonism thing, that's going to blow up on them."

And Santorum's original comments, the GOP operative added, are also going to hurt him with voters, because they play into the image of Santorum as someone who is so passionate about social issues and morality that he will meddle in people's personal lives.

"It just reinforces that he wants to be the moral conscience of our country, and nobody's looking for big brother," he said. "And even though I tend to agree with him, people don't want Washington in that

role. It's problematic. I think it reinforces that. That's his problem in the fall and it makes it his problem right now."

-- Jon Ward

02/22/2012 6:37 PM EST

Rand Paul Responds To Uproar Over VP Comment

Comments by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that he would be "honored" to be considered for vice president if Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee set off an instant brushfire on the Internet.

"This explains a lot," wrote "the Daily Caller's" Matt Lewis, pointing to the much-remarked upon friendly relationship between Paul's father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Romney, both presidential candidates.

HuffPost's Sam Stein wrote: "The Texas Republican has refused to attack Romney during televised debates. He's also devoted a considerable portion of his vast campaign resources to television ads that undermine Romney's opponent of the week, from Rick Perry, to Newt Gingrich, to his latest foe, Rick Santorum."

Rand Paul's remark was treated as circumstantial evidence that there is some sort of agreement between Romney and Paul's father, with Romney promising some sort of reward to Paul for his unofficial and unstated alliance.

But Rand Paul's chief of staff, Doug Stafford, told HuffPost late Wednesday that there was no there there in his boss' comment.

"The senator was answering a question posed to him by the media. His father is running for president, and since no one has won even 20 percent of the delegates needed to win, he is a contender for the nomination," Stafford said in an email. "If he does not win and the eventual winner wishes to consider Senator Paul for the VP spot, of course he would be honored. Why wouldn't someone consider it an honor to be asked to run for the second-highest office in the country?"

-- Jon Ward

02/22/2012 6:06 PM EST

'Son Of Detroit' Mitt Romney Got Just 1,661 Votes There In 2008

HuffPost's Simone Landon reports:

Very few Detroit residents vote Republican -- around 13 or 14 percent in general elections -- according to Wayne State University Professor of Political Science Lyke Thompson. Historically Detroiters long have voted Democratic, with the party having dominated elections since before the Great Depression.

"Detroit has had much more connection to the Democratic Party than did the rest of the state," Thompson explained.

Overall voter turnout for the 2008 presidential primary in the city was 15.7 percent. A total of 5,235 people voted Republican. Mitt Romney won Detroit that year, with 1,661 votes to eventual GOP nominee John McCain's 1,306. Ron Paul got 411 Detroit votes.

But in the 2008 general election, Obama swept McCain 97 percent to 2.7 percent. Only 8,881 people in Detroit voted for the Republican candidate.

Read more here.

02/22/2012 5:44 PM EST

Rand Paul: 'It Would Be An Honor' To Make Romney's V.P. Shortlist

There have always been questions about why, exactly, Rep. Ron Paul has spent so much of his presidential campaign coming to the aid of Mitt Romney.

The Texas Republican has refused to attack Romney during televised debates. He's also devoted a considerable portion of his vast campaign resources to television ads that undermine Romney's opponent of the week, from Rick Perry, to Newt Gingrich, to his latest foe, Rick Santorum.

Paul and Romney are reportedly friends, but that seemed like only half the story. The most logical explanation for the alliance was that Romney had promised Paul some sort of future role, either at the GOP convention or even in his administration. Some also speculated that Romney might have plans for Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

On Wednesday, the younger Paul acknowledged that he would in fact love to be on Romney's V.P. shortlist.

“I don’t know if I can answer that question, but I can say it would be an honor to be considered,” Sen. Paul said.

-- Sam Stein

02/22/2012 1:37 PM EST

Hoekstra Tanking After China Ad

The fortunes of Michigan GOP Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra have plummeted since his infamous Super Bowl ad featuring an Asian woman speaking broken English aired.

The latest evidence is a Wednesday NBC/Marist poll that finds Hoekstra trailing incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow by 21 points.

A week ago, he trailed by 14 points, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. Before that, Stabenow had averaged just a seven-point lead.

Hoekstra has since removed the ad, and the actress, Lisa Chan, has apologized for participating.

-- Michael McAuliff

02/22/2012 11:25 AM EST

Good News For Romney

Two new polls from NBC and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion give Mitt Romney's campaign something to smile about.

In Michigan, the poll shows a "tight battle" between Romney at 37 percent and Rick Santorum at 35 percent among likely Republican primary voters, with 13 percent for Ron Paul and 8 percent for Newt Gingrich. Most other recent surveys have found Santorum ahead by single digit margins, although the trend over the last week has been in Romney's favor.

In Arizona, the NBC/Marist poll gives Romney a 16 percentage point lead over Santorum (43 to 27 percent), followed by Gingrich (16 percent) and Paul (11 percent). A half dozen other polls conducted in Arizona over the last week have shown Romney leading, although by narrower margins.

The two NBC/Marist polls were conducted by telephone from Feb. 19 to 20 using live interviewers, and both involved samples of both landline and mobile phone numbers.

Read more about other recent polls in Michigan here.

-- Mark Blumenthal

02/22/2012 10:15 AM EST

Roemer To Run As An Independent

Buddy Roemer has long been the forgotten man in the field of remaining GOP presidential candidates. On Wednesday, he made that status official, saying he would drop his bid for the Republican nomination and continue his run for the White House as an independent.

"I have decided to take my campaign directly to the American people by declaring my candidacy for Americans Elect. Also, after many discussions with The Reform Party, I am excited to announce my intentions of seeking their nomination," Johnson said in a statement. "It is time to heal our nation and build a coalition of Americans who are fed up with the status quo and the partisan gridlock that infects Washington."

As a Republican, the former Louisiana governor was mostly seen as a novelty candidate for his lively Twitter feed and campaign stops like visiting Occupy DC.

-- Max J. Rosenthal

02/22/2012 8:50 AM EST

Detroit News Endorses Romney

The more conservative of Detroit's two major, Gannett-owned newspapers formally endorsed Mitt Romney in Michigan's upcoming GOP primary.

The Detroit News' op-ed page has allowed plenty of room to supporters of the Michigan native and former Massachusetts governor. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder gave his endorsement to Romney in an op-ed last week, and the paper offered the candidate a forum to reiterate his opposition stance to the government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.

"Pick a presidential candidate capable of leading this nation to prosperity and stability and choose a nominee who will give the GOP a fighting chance of defeating President Barack Obama this fall," the Wednesday Detroit News endorsement reads:

On leadership, the Michigan native and former Massachusetts governor has the strongest resume of the four remaining Republican candidates. He has not only successfully run a state, but also has deep experience in turning around private companies. America today is the ultimate turnaround project.

Romney has a refreshing free market vision for restoring the nation's prosperity. He sees a return to our entrepreneurial roots, freeing individuals to reach for their dreams, take risks and strive for gain with minimal government encumbrances.

He would reverse the rush toward a government-controlled economy and allow the free marketplace to do what it has always done -- pull the nation back to its feet.

Read more here.

-- Simone Landon

02/21/2012 6:27 PM EST

Don Imus Slams Rick Santorum

Fox Business Network radio host Don Imus ripped into Rick Santorum on his show Tuesday, calling the Republican "a wretched individual."

Mediaite reported that Imus said he had first-hand knowledge about the Santorums that backed up his views on the former Pennsylvania senator and his wife, Karen. Imus' wife, Deidre, worked closely with the Santorum family on a bill to combat autism in 2006.

“Rick Santorum is just one of the phoniest ... ugh ... just a wretched individual!” Imus said. “I know that first hand, from when Deirdre worked on him with that Combating Autism bill. Everybody's expendable. [They'll] say and do anything.”

The Combating Austim Act passed in Dec. 2006. According to Austim Votes, the political arm of the non-profit Austim Speaks, the law ramped up funding for research and education about the disorder.

As Mediaite notes, "Imus didn’t expand on what happened between his wife and Santorum, but the website SantorumExposed.com has an Imus clip from 2006, where Imus' wife, Deirdre, says that Santorum's communications director wanted her to write an op-ed piece in a Pennsylvania newspaper, praising the work Santorum did on the Combating Autism Act."

During the show, Imus also said he wouldn't be voting for President Barack Obama and expressed his disdain for the remainder of the GOP field. He said that someone should rope off the GOP candidates, “and charge admission to let kids come in and pet them.”


-- Anna Staver

02/21/2012 5:18 PM EST

INFOGRAPHIC: January Fundraising And Spending Visualized

Reports about January's fundraising numbers, released on February 20, have focused on two narratives: Mitt Romney's limited fundraising and high burn rate and the role that super PACs are playing in an increasingly contested Republican primary. HuffPost decided to combine those narratives together to make a graphic of candidate and super PAC fundraising and spending in January.

Newt Gingrich and his allied super PAC, Winning Our Future, out-raised Romney and his allied super PAC, Restore Our Future, by $3.5 million in January. Gingrich was the biggest beneficiary of super PAC spending.

Romney, meanwhile, is clearly the biggest spender of all the candidates, having dropped $18.7 million in January. His super PAC added an additional $13.9 million.

Comparing the spending by Romney's allied super PAC with that of Barack Obama helps explain why the president reversed course and began encouraging super PAC donations. The Obama-allied super PAC, Priorities USA Action, raised only $58,815 in January and spent $258,025. While Obama's spending is on par with Romney's, he would have to spend much larger sums to compete against Romney and his super PAC.

--Paul Blumenthal