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UPDATE: Campaign Briefs – Gingrich Skips Michigan; Romney, Santorum 'Neck and Neck'

Leading Republican primary candidates are spending big money ahead of state primary Tuesday.

Patch presents Michigan presidential campaign roundups before the Republican primary Feb. 28.

Romney, Santorum race tight in Michigan, new poll shows

A new NBC News/Marist poll shows Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum locked in a statistical tie.

In Michigan – which has turned into a make-or-break contest for Romney – the former Massachusetts governor gets the support of 37 percent of likely GOP primary voters, including those who are leaning toward a particular candidate, the poll shows. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, has 35 percent support, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 13 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 8 percent.

“Michigan is neck and neck,” said pollster Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Gingrich won't campaign in Michigan 

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has decided not to campaign in Michigan ahead of Tuesday's primary.

Recent polling shows Gingrich in fourth place in the state.

Gingrich had planned to travel to Michigan at the end of the week, but his spokesman R.C. Hammond announced Monday night that he wouldn't make the trip, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Meanwhile, leading candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have made several appearances in Michigan in the last week. Romney most recently was in Shelby Township on Tuesday and plans to speak at the Detroit Economic Club on Friday. Santorum spoke to the Economic Club on Thursday.

Candidates advertise early and often

Pick a channel, any channel. If you watch TV, you're seeing lots of spots promoting or attacking Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The Republican presidential rivals and two political action committees (PACs) buy lots of local airtime daily.

Huffington Post lists these TV budgets for Michigan ads this month: $3.2 million for Romney and Restore Our Future; $1.1 million for Santorum and Red White and Blue Fund.

"Santorum's presidential campaign and his allied super PAC are putting all their chips into Michigan," according to HuffPo, "in hopes that a win there catapults him to victories later in the primary calendar." The first Michigan ad run by the PAC backing Santorum is embedded at right.

For its part, Team Romney late last week introduced a new Michigan attack ad. It criticizes Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, for supporting "billions in earmarks," which provide federal money for local projects. Santorum is shown once telling a talk show host: "I have had a lot of earmarks. In fact, I’m very proud of all the earmarks I’ve put in bills."

An earlier spot from Restore Our Future, also embedded with this article, has the tagline "Rick Santorum: Big Spender, Washington Insider."

In the view of Alexander Burns at Politico.com, the Red White and Blue Fund's "presence in Michigan is going to make it a fairer paid-media fight than Santorum’s had anywhere else. ... Santorum won’t be defenseless on the air as the first wave of negative ads against him register among Michigan Republicans."

Blog encourages mischief

Daily Kos, a 10-year-old public affairs blog, is behaving like a 10-year-old prankster. It invites Michigan readers to "sign up for Operation Hilarity," the site's name for crossover voting by Democrats.

"The longer the GOP primary drags on, the better things look for Democrats," the site says. "We are encouraging Democrats, liberals and progressives to vote for Rick Santorum." Mischief-makers can receive an email reminder to vote Feb. 28.

What polls show

A recent Michigan survey has Feb. 17-19 results from 602 likely voters questioned by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, NC. It shows 37 percent support for Santorum and 33 percent for Romney. (Ron Paul has 15 percent and New Gingrich trails with 10 percent.)

"Romney's still not convincing anyone that he's a Michigander – only 29 percent of voters consider him to be one, while 62 percent do not," the North Carolina firm says. "But given that he's risen in the polls over the last week without making any progress on that front, it looks like it doesn't really matter whether or not Michigan Republicans consider him to be one of their own."

Based on eight February polls in the state, New York Times analyst Nate Silver on Monday gives Santorum a 72 percent chance of winning in Michigan Feb. 28 – while noting "considerable uncertainty in the forecast."

Voices from the trail

  • "The Snyder endorsement is not the magic excelsior the Romney campaign needs to cure his political ills. ... Mr. Snyder does not attract the very voters who have gone AWOL on Mr. Romney." – Tim Skubick, Lansing public TV talk show host, blogging at MLive.com on Sunday
  • "If Romney doesn't do well (in Michigan), he can't say it's because of the peculiarities of the state. The peculiarities of this state work in his favor." – John Dickerson, CBS News political director, Sunday on Face the Nation
  • "The Michigan primary has the look of a High Noon showdown between the two fastest guns left in the Republican posse." – Mike Connell, retired executive editor in a Port Huron Times Herald front-page column Sunday
  • "If Rick Santorum pulls off (a Michigan) upset, it'll be the biggest victory for the sweater-vest set since Jim Tressel coached Ohio State to eight wins in nine years against Michigan." – Jason Stanford, Democratic consultant, at Politico.com on Saturday
  • "As the first primary in an industrial state, Michigan brings manufacturing and urban issues to the forefront of the presidential campaign. These are usually issues not considered this early in the primary process." – Terri Towner of Rochester, Oakland University political scientist, Patch email interview
  • "What Michigan needs aren't pols relitigating the past, but a credible economic vision for the future that unites a whole lot more people than it alienates." – Daniel Howes, business columnist, The Detroit News
Will Curtis February 23, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Dumbing down. How many reading this even know what a renminbi is?
Tonto February 23, 2012 at 03:05 PM
How about booting a communist out of the White House? Think about the huge lie of the democrats worrying about our health. All while their fearless leader puffs his cigarettes. How about we are now the United Greece States of America. Who cares, just so long as Robin Hood promises everything will be free just so long as rich people don't run out of money to steal from.
Erin February 23, 2012 at 04:55 PM
OK - for me, I believe no one running for 2012: belongs to a cult, is a secret "son of Islam", hates women, is a socialist or a communist, or should be compared in any way to Hitler. (but if you're so inclined, there's plenty at Beck "University" or WorldNewsNet) That said, thoughts on 20th debate last night? Not a blockbuster, but interesting. The fact-checking the day after is always fun. Here's a decent one http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/22/fact-check-candidates-make-errant-claims-on-auto-bailout-taxes/
Erin February 23, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Oops, meant to say WorldNetDaily. Always good for a chuckle. Like how the Girl Scouts are a radicalized organization, secretly Communist and sexualizing young girls! Yeah, it's gotten an Indiana lawmaker in a little trouble this week. Again, kind of important to fact check, especially you lawmakers out there. Just sayin'
Jerry Grady February 23, 2012 at 06:46 PM
So which newscast should I start watching to get the real facts, FOX, CNN, MSNBC, O, Colbert, O'riely, etc... Just laugh with me, because ain't nothing any of them say is facts. It is their interpretation and more importantly, entertainment value.
Scot Beaton February 23, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Dayrl, I'm in the words and pictures business its called advertising, been in the business for over thirty years, been recognized for my creative work five times in the New York CLIO show. To answer you question yes I choose my words carefully. I said "some" Republicans and I am always careful to always say "public schools".  Daryl, you can choose to believe the world was created by a God in six days, you can choose to believe man and Tyrannosaurs Rex were on the plant at the same time. That's whats great about America. "freedom of speech" But I choose for public school science class; the world has been around for about 4.2 billion years and man has only been on the plant for about 500,000 years. These are scientific facts, and only scientific facts should be taught in science class in public school, which is funded with our tax dollars. Daryl, I have spent the last week defending Thomas Jefferson am I'm going to have to spend another week now defending Charles Darwin? Maybe a better choice of words is those who believe creationism trumps darwinism are "scientific illiterate".
Scot Beaton February 23, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Will, thanks
Marty Rosalik February 23, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Scot, who are we to say that evolution is not the instrument of creation? Just asking.
Marty Rosalik February 23, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I know what a renminbi is. Can't pronounce it.
Erin February 23, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Jerry - I hear you there. And some of it is pretty darn funny! Every network has its own spin to attract their demo and therefore ad dollars, but in reviewing many networks and sites, I do find little glimmers of mostly truth (after checking out original doc's and interviews whenever possible). Even on Fox which can be a little light on facts. Heck, any network that has to convince you that they're "fair and balanced" by constantly telling you that they are, you have to wonder sometimes. But their local and international is particularly good and pretty much apolitical. And i stay away from the Opinion pages in general everywhere. Anyway, this is the world we live in - we have to cast a wide net and be discerning about our information sources. Good luck in your discernment.
Jerry Grady February 23, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Will, if they don't know now, they will shortly, as we will all be using it. LOL ( for those that don't, the currency for The People's Republic of China.)
Erin February 23, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Will - renminbi - official currency of China, or did I mistakenly say something naughty in slang?
Jerry Grady February 23, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Scott, why feel the need to defend it. I believe in Creation, but will never defend it to anyone, because you have a right to think your way. When you say you have to defend it, it means you are shoving it down peoples throats. Daryl never said nor stated, it had to be Creation. He just pointed out his views, just like you point out your scientific views. I just for one decide to believe in Creation and you believe in evolution. Never defend your stance, because there are no right or wrong answers on this one.
Scot Beaton February 23, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Marty, for those who don't know a Renminbi is Chinese paper currency. Welcome to this post... I sincerely like your intelligent comments. Evolution can be a instrument of creation, just how we apply that thought in a public school setting can be an issue of contention.
Scot Beaton February 23, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Jerry, thanks of your response, I feel this is a yes or no issue; I do not want the Bible taught as an alternative in public school science class... these are public tax dollars that support these institutions and we need to up hold the US constitution "separation of church and state" what you choose to believe I'm all for "freedom of speech" that's in our constitution too. Again thanks for your comments.
Marty Rosalik February 23, 2012 at 08:28 PM
I don't know for sure one way or another so I posed the question. I have been helping my kid study some pretty advanced science including AP biology, college level chemistry, anatomy, and now physics. The evidence on evolution is much stronger from my perspective.
Daryl Patrishkoff February 23, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Scot, I read several times your multiple entries before I wrote my response. I just read them all again to make sure I understood the points. I must say you are taking shots at everyone with plenty of generalizations and assumptions. On each of the 4 Republican candidates you pointed out negative points. I have not chosen my candidate yet, but I will use Romney as an example of your approach (Bahama money and Staples). Do you understand how international business works? Business has to have money all around the world to conduct international business. In my operations in Europe, South America and China I had to move money there to conduct business. Do you understand how the VC world works? A VC takes a distressed company that is about to go under, invests money, creates a business plan, executes the the plan and if they are correct they make money. Staples was a great turnaround story. Intelligent people do not just read books and pontificate about their view and believe they are smart. Intelligent people take a situation, understand the past, make changes, and have a record of success/failure. They get their fingers dirty working and learn from their mistakes. You implied if you believe in Creationism and the Garden of Eden you are dumb. You left out the many Democrats that also believe in creationism. I do not think you are dumb because you do not believe my way.
Herb Helzer February 23, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Daryl, comment space doesn't really permit a "look at all of the issues," so Scott chose the one that is currently taking up the most airtime and column inches. Rest assured that he and I and many others see the Republican candidates and President Obama as a "package" across many issues -- foreign and domestic, economic and social -- including their statements, what organizations are doing or saying on that candidate's behalf, and their stated objectives and accomplishments (including those areas where the candidate has fallen short). By that reckoning, I support and endorse the reelection of President Barack Obama -- warts and all.
Scot Beaton February 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Dayrl, thanks again for your thoughts... what you just wrote to me went over the top of 70% of America's heads... my response to Alan was disclaimerd that I am taking a marketing approach on how I view this primary, most Americans don't have a masters degree in business, and Mitt has huge uphill battle on his hands this primary season and against president Obama, if Mitt can make it through the convention. The one with the best ad campaign is going to win this presidential election, and the Republicans need better branding, and desperately need new ad campaigns. Right now all their just doing is shooting each other in the foot. Daryl, also I'm not posting because I'm a democrat either... I have said this may times before... I'm a fiscal conservative, social liberal, I don't have a political party to rally around; I was just giving out friendly, very straight foward advertising advice... it's what I do for a living.
Jeremy Nielson February 23, 2012 at 11:13 PM
When an analog phone rings, the phone company is sending you 100vdc at about a half amp. If you pickup, the voltage drops to 48vdc. Robocalls only last 30 seconds, but if you can keep a telemarketer talking you could probably recharge some batteries with it...
Susie February 26, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Scott, I am a woman and I do not feel the Republican party wants to take me back 50 years. First when you quote someone such as Romney stating "states have a right to ban contraception" make sure you have it right. You can listen to it from the horses mouth http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Multimedia/2012/January/GOP-debate-contraception.aspx Futhermore, Romney supports the Hyde amendment which bans the use of federal dollars to be spent on ABORTIONS (kind of a jump from he wants to rip birth control out of the hands of the poor). Abortion is legal, however there are millions of people who are not in favor of paying for women to have abortions when birth control is at their fingertips. Santorum did say "Birth control has been harmful to society" in a way he is right. Are sexually transmitted diseases higher today than they were 50 years ago? I would have to say yes. You want to hold Santorm responsible for a comment made by Foster Friess? Did you hold Obama responsible for the sayings of Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers? Oh yeah I forgot he didn't hold the same views as those gentlemen. It was not "The Demise of the American family" it was "The Demise of American CULTURE". Do you see the difference? I find it hard to believe that this woman waited 11 years to bring her story to light. I don't care for Newt but I would have to question her motives and wonder how much money was involved or if she was just a woman scorned.
Michelle Dainus March 01, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Radicalism is still radicalism. I never said I was a Democrat, I am a common sense progressive. I believe in helping people help themselves. But thanks for going ahead and making assumptions about me.
Scot Beaton March 01, 2012 at 08:58 AM
Michelle Dainus, "As far as I am concerned Roe V Wade was won 39 years ago, and it is not going to change." your quote... Michelle, I wish I was as sure about that as you are. This country's opinion is continuing to shift from your rights... to the fetus has more rights than you. With the right mix in the courts and the senate, Roe V Wade is history. History repeats its self all the time... America could drink ...then America could not drink... now America can drink again. As odd as this comparison sounds were a nation of flip flopers. Even Ron Paul is now prow-life. Michelle, my opinion... a fetus does not have a right to be in the womb of any woman, but is there by her permission. This permission may be revoked by the woman at any time, because her womb is part of her body... There is no such thing as the right to live inside the body of another, i.e. there is no right to enslave... a woman is not a breeding pig owned by the state (or church). Even if a fetus were developed to the point of surviving as an independent being outside the pregnant woman's womb, the fetus would still not have the right to be inside the woman's womb. Thanks for your comments.
Michelle Dainus March 01, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Scot, I am with you, it scares the living crap out of me to think of what will happen if Roe V Wade is overturned. I do the most I can. I write my congressmen and Senators almost on a weekly basis on issues such as this, which is something we should all be doing when we have issues with the government. I do my civic duty and vote, but what kind of a life is living in fear? It's really sad that almost 40 years later we are still debating these issues. Hopefully this does not go the way of prohibition, if it does it will have detrimental effects on women's health, and I may have to take my Canadian friends seriously when they joke about moving.
Ed Lambert March 01, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Michelle, a "common sense progressive" is still a progressive. By definition, gleaned from their political history in this country, their goal is to have the State exercise power to force people to do what progressives want people to do. If Roe v Wade were overturned, the matter of abortion would still be left to the states. Moreover, and most important--you seem not to know this or to ignore it--conservatives will be quite satisfied if all taxpayer funding is removed from the abortion issue. By the way, the same people arguing for a woman's "right to choose" are dead set against any defeat of that part of Obamacare REQUIRING employers to pay for birth control and abortion. Are you consistent in arguing the "choice" issue?
Ed Lambert March 01, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Scot, now tell us why the majority on the left will not even tolerate mention in a science class of the fact that Darwin himself noted that his theory of evolution had weaknesses in it. Also, tell us why the left refuses to permit the very mention of the fact that there are alternative explanations offered for the origin of life and matter. Yes, there probably are some fundamentalists who take the Garden of Eden story literally. So what? That is no more extreme than an atheist's absolute certainty that God does not exist. Above all, there remains to be discovered scientific evidence enabling us to trace any current species of life on this planet into the pre-Cambrian era. To suggest that evolution explains it all would NOT be a scientific statement. Science and religion/metaphysics/philosophy/theology do not even deal with the same "content" that science does. Parties on both sides get caught in this trap regularly. Hence, the fighting.
Scot Beaton March 01, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Ed, "Scot, now tell us why the majority on the left will not even tolerate mention in a science class of the fact that Darwin himself noted that his theory of evolution had weaknesses in it. Also, parties on both sides get caught in this trap regularly. Hence, the fighting." your quote... Ed, nice to here from you. would agree I would hope our public school science teachers are teaching the correct materials. Ed let me try to clarify my opinion. I posted this on the Tom McMillen post. Darwin died in 1882 and their have been a ton of scientists who have proven most of his "theory's" to be true. But some choose to believe the world was created by a God in six days, and choose to believe man and Tyrannosaurs Rex were on the plant at the same time. That's whats great about America. "freedom of speech" But I choose for public school science class; the world has been around for  4.2 billion years, and man has only been on the plant for about 500,000 years. These are scientific facts. And only scientific facts should be taught in science class in public school, which is funded with our tax dollars... my opinion if a student asks the question what created the universe they should be told the truth "we still don't know". Then the teacher could encourage the student when he or she grows up to become a scientist and us find out. But to refer to a book that was written over 2500 years ago by humans not a good idea... my opinion.
Erin March 02, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Michelle + Scot - Forget about Roe v. Wade. They're debating contraception now, and NOT just for religious organizations. Luckily, the Blunt Amendment was defeated today: http://blunt.senate.gov/​public/_cache/files/​12ca4c96-d98c-4b37-920a-cdb15ed​b24d4/​S.%201813%20Amendment.pdf. Also called the "conscience" amendment It would have allowed ANY employer for ANY reason of "moral conscience" to deny offering coverage of ANY medical treatment or medication to basic coverage. That isn't too broad, is it? ;-) Adding insult to injury, this is an amendment attached to, and halting progress on, the Highway Bill, holding up jobs and much needed infrastructure. I'm so glad it's been all about Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, right? But good news - Congress' job approval rating went from 10% to 11%. Stellar. And, the nerd I am, saw some C-SPAN today w/Sebelius (HHS) being grilled by - yes, more panels full of men, about how they don't understand how preventive care and contraception 1) bends the cost curve long term and 2) can decrease maternal and infant mortality. I love bureaucrats, especially when they don't accept women's testimony on women's health issues.
Marty Rosalik March 02, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Erin you said it best. " I love bureaucrats, especially when they don't accept women's testimony on women's health issues" Isn't that the way it is always done in religious fundamentalist theocracies?
Erin March 02, 2012 at 01:37 PM
But wait, there's still more - Boehner just announced his latest JOBS Bill: March 1, 2012 "Boehner Vows to Continue Contraception Fight" http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/boehner-vows-to-continue-contraception-fight/ Okay, they DO know we all don't have short-term memory loss, right? Otherwise, they might be concerned over the hypocrisy of "taking away our religious freedom". "Twenty-two states have laws or regulations that resemble, at least in part, the Obama administration's original rule [mandated contraception coverage in basic plans]. More than a third had some Republican support, a review of state records shows. In six states, including Arkansas [Huckabee signed], those contraceptive mandates were signed by GOP governors. In Massachusetts in 2006, then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed a healthcare overhaul that kept in place a contraceptive mandate signed by his Republican predecessor. Now the GOP presidential candidate is calling the Obama rule an "assault on religion." At the federal level, President George W. Bush never challenged a similar federal mandate imposed in 2000." http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/15/nation/la-na-gop-contraceptives-20120216 Oh well, probably just hoping voters aren't paying attention and they listen to their one chosen news channel to tell them how to vote.

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