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June 27, 2013

US Supreme Court rules Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

US Supreme Court rules Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cameras lined up outside the Supreme Court in preparation for the release of the DOMA case yesterday.
Image: bclinesmith.

In a ruling released yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5–4 that portions of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are unconstitutional and married same-sex partners should not be prevented from receiving federal benefits including tax and social security benefits, and recognition for the purpose of immigration.

In the majority decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.” Kennedy said DOMA “writes inequality into the entire United States Code“.

Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority decision in the DOMA case.
Image: Supreme Court of the United States.

The case was brought by 84-year-old Edith Windsor, who was married to Thea Speyer. The State of New York recognised their marriage, but following Speyer’s death, Windsor had to pay more than US$300,000 in inheritance tax.

In addition to a decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court also ruled on a case brought by supporters of Proposition 8 in California, a ballot measure which made same-sex marriage illegal in 2008. The resulting same-sex marriage ban was challenged in the court and a lower court held that the measure was incompatible with the US Constitution. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by supporters of Proposition 8, arguing they do not have standing to defend in court a law the State of California is unwilling to defend. Therefore the lower court decision holds. California Governor Jerry Brown said: “I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state’s counties they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted”.

President Barack Obama welcomed the decisions: “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” Obama instructed Eric Holder, the US attorney general, to ensure the ruling is implemented in federal law.

Anthony Romero from the American Civil Liberties Union said the fight for same-sex marriage rights would now return to the states. Chad Griffin from the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights organization, pledged: “Within five years, we will bring marriage equality to all 50 states.”

People celebrating the Supreme Court gay marriage decision.
Image: Neon Tommy.

A number of opponents of same-sex marriage have voiced their opinions on the Supreme Court decision. Michele Bachmann, a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, stated: “Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted. For thousands of years of recorded human history, no society has defended the legal standard of marriage as anything other than between man and woman. Only since 2000 have we seen a redefinition of this foundational unit of society in various nations.”

Bachmann went on: “Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to join the trend, despite the clear will of the people’s representatives through DOMA. What the court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States.”

Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp said the “courts have allowed the desires of adults to trump the needs of our children”.



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February 3, 2012

On the campaign trail, January 2012

On the campaign trail, January 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, January 2012

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Friday, February 3, 2012

The following is the third in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, the challengers to President Barack Obama react to the results of the New Hampshire Democratic Party primary, two new political parties choose their first presidential nominees, and an economist who announced his intentions to seek the nomination of Americans Elect answers a few questions for Wikinews.

Summary

Mitt Romney on the eve of the Iowa Caucus.
Image: Iowa Politics.

Initially, it was reported that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucus by eight votes over former Senator Rick Santorum, who surged in the polls just days ahead of it. Several weeks later it was revealed that Santorum actually won. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race as the result of her sixth place finish. Romney went on to win the New Hampshire Primary the next week, with Ron Paul placing second. Jon Huntsman, Jr., who finished third, dropped out and endorsed Romney.

Ahead of the South Carolina primary, Texas governor Rick Perry ended his run and endorsed Gingrich. Gingrich received praise for his debate performances in South Carolina, and won the primary by a large margin over Romney despite a highly publicized interview with his ex-wife just before. By this point, the campaign had turned negative with Gingrich attacking Romney for his business past, and with Romney referring to Gingrich as a “failed leader”.

President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address on January 24. It was widely viewed as his “campaign kickoff” for re-election, and included a populist message that labeled the nation’s tax code as “rigged for the super wealthy”. Following the address, Obama traveled to five campaign battleground states.

Just ahead of the Florida primary, Gingrich won the endorsement of former candidate Herman Cain. Nevertheless, Romney held a five-to-one spending advantage and was able to win the state and all fifty of its delegates. He solidified his position as frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

New Hampshire Democratic Party primary results

Though the Republican Party’s first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary received the bulk of media attention earlier in January, the Democratic Party held a primary in the state as well.

Second place finishers by town.
Cowan (blue), Supreme (red), Terry (yellow), Haywood (purple), Freis (yellow orange), Ely (brown), O’Connor (light grey), Richardson (pink), Wolfe (grey), O’Donnell (orange), Greene (green), Jordan (red violet), Tyler (peach), none (white), greater than two (black).

President Barack Obama was challenged by thirteen Democratic Party presidential candidates including performance artist Vermin Supreme, anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, and historian Darcy Richardson. In the end, Obama easily won the primary with 81 percent, which amounted to 49,080 votes. Though the percentage was in the range won by incumbent presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush during their respective parties’ primaries in 1996 and 2004, the vote total was about 5,000 less than Bush received in 2004, and almost 30,000 fewer than Clinton in 1996.

New Hampshire primary runner-up Ed Cowan.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Out of the candidates on the ballot, Ed Cowan of Vermont finished second behind Obama with 975 votes or 1.56 percent. Cowan’s percentage was greater than that achieved by the Republican Party’s 2004 New Hampshire primary runner-up Richard Bosa who finished with 1.2 percent, and greater even than comedian Pat Paulsen‘s 1.1 percent second place finish in 1996.

The result surprised even Cowan, who said “More people voted for me than I actually met… I passed out about 500 copies of my stump speech, 550 at the most. Officially (based on my receipts) I spent $580, but it might have been as much as $650 tops. That resulted in 1.5 votes per dollar spent”. Cowan hopes to enter additional primaries, and hints that he may be thinking about an independent run; “The only vote that matters in the long run is the one on 11/7/12 [U.S. Election Day], and I hope to be on most if not all ballots.”

Vermin Supreme of Massachusetts came in third with 833 votes or 1.37 percent. In response to the results, Supreme exclaimed, “I WON !!!!!” In fact, Supreme has received notice: a recent Gregory Brothers video for the popular YouTube show “Songify the News” included a clip of his glitter bomb of fellow candidate Randall Terry. It has received over one million views.

Terry finished fourth with 442 votes. He told Wikinews, “we did what we set out to do: we injected the plight of unborn babies into this primary; hundreds of thousands of people in New Hampshire, Maine, and Boston saw the victims of Obama’s policies: dead babies.”

John Haywood was close behind with 423 votes. When asked for his reaction to the results, he stated: “when you’re beaten by a ratio of 115 to 1, you don’t exactly go whoopee, do you? I am, nevertheless, tremendously proud of my platform at haywoodforpresident.com.”

Darcy Richardson, who was interviewed by Wikinews last November, finished with 264 votes. He hypothesized that his ballot position and the fact that he did not travel to New Hampshire contributed to the low vote total. He remarked:

Cquote1.svg

Normally I would feel rather despondent about the results, but then I’m reminded that Eugene McCarthy garnered only 211 votes in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary when he revisited the state in 1992, and State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf of Pennsylvania, who has more experience in elected office than anybody running in either party and who personally spent several days campaigning in the state late last week, polled only 24 votes in yesterday’s Republican primary. Despite our non-presence, we actually made a comparable showing to that of Louisiana’s Buddy Roemer and received a higher percentage of the vote than gay activist Fred Karger, both of whom virtually lived in the state for the past four or five months.

We’ll do much better in future primaries, beginning with Missouri on February 7th.

Cquote2.svg

Of the other candidates, Aldous Tyler received 106 votes, John Wolfe, Jr. received 245, Bob Ely received 287, Craig Freis received 400, Bob Greene 213, Robert Jordan 155, Cornelius O’Connor 266, and Ed O’Donnell 222. There were several thousand write-in votes including 2,289 or 3.77 percent of the total for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, Jr. each also received over one thousand write-in votes.

New parties select presidential nominees

Anderson greets supporters.
Image: Jeremiah Roth.

Both the Justice Party and the American Third Position Party (A3P) selected their first presidential nominees in January.

On January 12, the A3P nominated Independent filmmaker Merlin Miller for president and selected retired professor Virginia Abernethy as his running mate. The party was founded in 2010, and promotes third position politics and white nationalism. According to Miller’s campaign manager Alex Carmichael, it is currently petitioning to appear on the Ohio ballot, and plans to do so in a dozen other states.

The next day, the Justice Party nominated former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, who had formed the party a few months before. It supports accountability through the removal of corporate money in politics, and is currently on the ballot in several states.

The party did not reach the deadline to file in California, and Anderson decided on January 9 that he would seek the nomination of the socialist Peace and Freedom Party, which has attained ballot access in the state. Others competing for the party’s nomination include Socialist Party USA nominee Stewart Alexander, Party for Socialism and Liberation nominee Peta Lindsay, and Stephen Durham of the Freedom Socialist Party.

Economist running for president

Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff announced in early January that he intends to seek the presidential nomination of Americans Elect, an independent organization hoping to nominate a bipartisan ticket for the 2012 presidential election. The group says it has already achieved ballot access in fifteen states, and hopes to appear on all the rest. Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer has also expressed his interest in the nomination.

Kotlikoff, who filed with the FEC on January 12, has authored fifteen books and is a regular contributor at Bloomberg.com. As an economist, he has consulted for large corporations, central banks, national governments, and international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund. The policy basis of his run is the “Purple plan”, a tax proposal that he believes both Democrats and Republicans can support.

Kotlikoff took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews.

Laurence Kotlikoff in November 2011.
Image: Hung-Ho Vergil Yu.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIf elected president, what specific policies would you promote, and how would you work with a likely Republican congress to implement them?

Kotlikoff: Many of my specific policies are posted at www.thepurpleplans.org. Others are laid out under Issues at www.kotlikoff2012.org.
I can talk to both sides of the isles. I have friends on both sides and can intermediate very well between the two parties. The two sides are often recommending much the same thing, but with different words. I can translate. If you read my Bloomberg columns about health care reform and tax reform, you’ll see this ability to connect the dots for both sides. Plus, if I were elected, it would be on the basis of my proposed policies, not my great looks or personality. The politicians would be on clear notice with respect to what policies the public wants implemented. If they didn’t implement them, they’d have me campaigning against them, regardless of which party they were in.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your views on the Stop Online Piracy Act? How would you address the issue of online piracy as president?

Kotlikoff: On SOPA, I’m concerned with its potential chilling effect of freedom of speech on the Internet. I’m also deeply concerned about online piracy. But we need to be careful not to do more harm with respect to our 1st Amendment rights than good in defending intellectual property rights. As President, I’d bring together the proponents and opponents of SOPA and ask them to listen to each other and respond to the other side’s concerns. If I became persuaded that we could better combat online piracy via new legislation as opposed to enforcing existing legislation, I would ask the two sides to put forward a jointly authored bill.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your thoughts on fellow AE presidential candidate and former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer? If he wins the AE nomination, would you consider running as an Independent?

Kotlikoff: On Governor Roemer, I agree with some statements on his website and differ with others. I believe we agree on much more than we disagree. What I don’t see is much depth or detail to what he proposes. It’s not enough to write a few sentences here and there about our problems. What we need is someone who really knows how to fix them in the simplest, cost-effective manner. The Purple Plans illustrate my ability to formulate real solutions to our pressing problems. The only plan that I saw of the Governor’s (in my admittedly quick look at his site) is his tax plan. I believe it would be less efficient, less conducive to growth, and far less progressive than www.thepurpletaxplan.org. His reference to sales taxes indicate a lack of knowledge on his part or that of his economic advisors of how consumption taxation works and what it really taxes.
I’m an independent now in terms of my political affiliation. If you are asking whether I would run as a write-in candidate for President, the answer is no. I expect to win the AE nomination. I looked a bit more at Governor Roemer’s site. One of the problems we face in the policy formation arena is getting close, but no cigar. The Governor has some good instincts in some areas, some bad ones in other areas, and no real specifics beyond the tax plan, which has, I believe, some very major flaws. In the end, he’s a politician and a banker, not an economist and I really think we need an economist at this point to get to the cigar when it comes to the very many severe economic problems we face. I’ll let you judge for yourself by comparing what’s on my website with his as well as those of other AE candidates who emerge. Knowing we have problems, knowing they aren’t being fixed, and knowing that the two parties are making the problems worse is all fine and good, but knowing precisely how to fix the problems is a different kettle of fish. I don’t suggest that designing economic policy is as tough as brain surgery, but spending decades studying economics makes a difference.



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February 2, 2012

Mitt Romney wins 2012 Florida primary

Mitt Romney wins 2012 Florida primary – Wikinews, the free news source

Mitt Romney wins 2012 Florida primary

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Romney in December 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore..

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Florida Republican Party presidential primary election on Tuesday with over 46 percent of the vote. Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich came in second with 32 percent. As a winner-takes-all state, Florida awarded all fifty of its delegates to Romney, pushing him ahead as the front-runner for the Republican Party nomination.

The win follows what The Wall Street Journal described as “one of the most acrimonious weeks in recent presidential campaign history.” Gingrich briefly led the polls in Florida after his victory in the South Carolina primary on January 21, and attributed his fall to negative advertisements from the Romney campaign. Romney outspent Gingrich five-to-one on campaign advertisements in the state.

According to exit polls, Romney won the female vote by a large margin over Gingrich. He also edged him among the Tea Party and conservative voters, and tied him among evangelicals.

In his victory speech, Romney argued, “A competitive primary does not divide us. It prepares us. And we will win.”

Gingrich disagreed, remarking, “It is now clear that this will be a two-person race between the conservative leader Newt Gingrich and the Massachusetts moderate…We are going to contest every place and we are going to win.”

Former Senator Rick Santorum finished third with 13 percent, followed by Congressman Ron Paul with seven percent. Paul did not campaign extensively in Florida and is currently focusing his campaign on Nevada’s February 4 Republican caucus, in which the party selects candidates for that state.

Romney, who now leads Gingrich 71 to 23 in delegates, plans to focus on both Nevada and Minnesota. Gingrich will also participate in Nevada, but hopes to keep his campaign alive with victories in the southern states of Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.

Results

Candidate Votes Percentage Delegates Results by County
Mitt Romney 775,023 46.42% 50
Image: Gage Skidmore.

██ Mitt Romney

██ Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich 533,097 31.93%
Rick Santorum 222,790 13.34%
Ron Paul 117,100 7.01%
Rick Perry* 6,768 0.41%
Jon Huntsman, Jr. 6,199 0.37%
Michele Bachmann 3,962 0.24%
Herman Cain 3,494 0.21%
Gary Johnson 1,196 0.07%



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  • “U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary” — Wikinews, January 22, 2012

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January 22, 2012

U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary

U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia won the Republican Party South Carolina presidential primary yesterday with 243,153 votes (40.4%). Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who won the New Hampshire primary last week, came in second with 167,279 (27.8%). The result reflects a shift in polling just days before the election, following two Grand Old Party (GOP) debates and a highly publicized interview with Gingrich’s ex-wife.

In his victory speech, Gingrich criticized President Barack Obama and the “media elites”, and alluded to the well-funded Romney when arguing, “We don’t have the kind of money that at least one of the candidates does. But we do have ideas and we do have people and we’ve proved here in South Carolina that people power with the right ideas beats big money.”

Romney, who had been criticized by Gingrich for his business practices as CEO of Bain Capital, commented after the results were announced, “Those who pick up the weapons of the left today will find them turned against us tomorrow…if Republican leaders want to join this president in demonizing success…then they’re not going to be fit to be our nominee.”

Gingrich with his wife Callista in January 2012.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Just a week ago, Gingrich trailed Romney by ten points in South Carolina; however, Gingrich was thought to have been successful in the two debates before the primary. During the first on Monday, he received a standing ovation for his comments on race and employment, and on Thursday, received another standing ovation after criticizing moderator John King for discussing his previous marriage. Exit polls by CBS News indicated that 65 percent of voters believed the debates were an important factor in considering a candidate, with 13 percent saying it was the most important factor.

Moreover, those polls suggest Gingrich won broad support from the Tea Party and evangelicals, who questioned Romney’s sincerity on social issues. They apparently decided to overlook an interview that aired just before the primary, in which Gingrich’s ex-wife claimed Gingrich asked for an “open marriage“.

According to Furman University political science professor Brent Nelsen, Gingrich “tapped the emotion of the right-wing electorate, and that washes away all of the questions.”

Former Senator Rick Santorum, who, after a recent recount was found to have actually won the January 3 Iowa Caucus, finished in third place with 102,055 votes (17%). Congressman Ron Paul came in fourth with 77,993 (13%). Texas governor Rick Perry, who earlier withdrew from the race and endorsed Gingrich, finished sixth behind the withdrawn Herman Cain.

Historically, the winner of the South Carolina primary has gone on to win the Republican Party nomination; however, this is the first time three different candidates won the first three contests.

The result gives Gingrich 23 delegates, placing him first overall, ahead of Romney who has 19. Santorum is third with thirteen and Paul is fourth with three. The campaigns now shift to Florida for that state’s January 31 primary. Romney currently leads in the latest polling.

According to Republican strategist Adam Temple, “Gingrich will carry momentum into Florida, but his campaign doesn’t appear to be as durable for the long haul.”

Results

Candidate Votes Percentage Results by County
Newt Gingrich 243,153 40.4%
Image: Gage Skidmore.

██ Newt Gingrich

██ Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney 167,279 27.8%
Rick Santorum 102,055 17.0%
Ron Paul 77,993 13.0%
Herman Cain* 6,324 1.1%
Rick Perry* 2,494 0.4%
Jon Huntsman, Jr.* 1,161 0.2%
Michele Bachmann* 494 0.1%
Gary Johnson* 213 0.0%

* – Withdrew before the vote


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January 12, 2012

Mitt Romney wins the 2012 New Hampshire Republican primary

Mitt Romney wins the 2012 New Hampshire Republican primary

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the first-in-the-US New Hampshire Republican primary on Tuesday with 97,600 votes (39.3%). This follows his narrow victory in the Iowa Caucus last week. Congressman Ron Paul, who finished third in the Iowa Caucus, came in second with 56,872 votes (22.9%). Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., who spent a great amount of resources on the primary, came in third place with 41,783 votes (16.8%).

Romney in December 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore..

The New Hampshire primary, the first primary of the election, is the second in a series of state elections that help to assign delegates to candidates to determine the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Delegates can also be assigned from members of the Republican National Committee, though these are unpledged and subject to change. To win the nomination, a candidate must accumulate 1,144 delegates.

With his victory, Romney claimed seven delegates to increase his total to 25 with unpledged delegates included. Paul won three delegates for his finish to total ten delegates, placing him second overall to Romney. Despite his third place finish, Huntsman is currently sixth overall in delegates with only the two he won in New Hampshire. He currently trails former Senator Rick Santorum who has compiled eight delegates overall, followed by Texas governor Rick Perry with four, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with three.

In his victory speech, Romney criticized President Barack Obama, saying he “wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society,” countering that he himself wants “to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity.” Romney received a call following the results from Paul, who offered his congratulations. Paul mentioned afterwards that “He certainly had a clear-cut victory. But we’re nibbling at his heels.” Paul, a libertarian, added, “I have to chuckle when they describe us as being dangerous. That’s one thing they are telling the truth [about]. Because we are dangerous to the status quo in this country!”

Though some Huntsman supporters were disappointed with their candidate’s third place finish, Huntsman stated his “confidence in the system is reborn because of the people of New Hampshire”. He announced he would remain in the race and head to South Carolina for that state’s primary on January 21.

Gingrich finished in fifth place with 23,291 votes (9.4%) slightly behind Santorum who won 23,408 votes (9.4%) despite the surge from his strong showing in the Iowa Caucus. Perry, who did not focus on New Hampshire after the Iowa Caucus, finished with 1,764 votes (0.7%).

The campaigns now head to South Carolina, where all six major candidates still in the race will compete. The latest We Ask America poll from South Carolina shows Romney with 26 percent, ahead of Gingrich with 21 percent and Santorum with 13 percent.

New Hampshire Republican primary complete results

Candidate Votes Percentage Delegates Results by County
Mitt Romney 97,600 39.3% 7
Image: Lolthatswonderful.

██ Mitt Romney

██ Ron Paul

Ron Paul 56,872 22.9% 3
Jon Huntsman, Jr. 41,783 16.9% 2
Rick Santorum 23,408 9.4%
Newt Gingrich 23,291 9.4%
Rick Perry 1,764 0.7%
Buddy Roemer 950 0.4%
Write-ins 540 0.2%
Fred Karger 485 0.2%
Michele Bachmann[1] 350 0.1%
Kevin Rubash 249 0.1%
Gary Johnson[2] 181 0.1%
Herman Cain[3] 161 0.1%
Jeff Lawman 119 0.0%
Christopher Hill 108 0.0%
Benjamin Linn 83 0.0%
Michael Meehan 54 0.0%
Keith Drummond 42 0.0%
Joe Story 42 0.0%
Bear Betzler 29 0.0%
Joe Robinson 25 0.0%
Stewart Greenleaf 24 0.0%
Mark Callahan 20 0.0%
Andy Martin 19 0.0%
Linden Swift 18 0.0%
Timothy Brewer 15 0.0%
Vern Wuensche 15 0.0%
John Davis 14 0.0%
Randy Crow 12 0.0%
Hugh Cort 3 0.0%
James Vestermark 3 0.0%
  1. Bachmann dropped out following the Iowa Caucus
  2. Johnson dropped out in December to seek the Libertarian Party presidential nomination
  3. Cain dropped out in December



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  • “Mitt Romney wins Iowa Caucus by eight votes over surging Rick Santorum” — Wikinews, January 5, 2012
  • “U.S. presidential candidate Gary Johnson leaves GOP to vie for the LP nom” — Wikinews, December 29, 2011

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January 1, 2012

On the campaign trail, December 2011

On the campaign trail, December 2011 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, December 2011

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Sunday, January 1, 2012

The following is the second in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the campaign manager for a candidate already seeking two presidential nominations discusses the likelihood his candidate will run for the Reform Party’s nomination; a lesser known candidates forum reveals an alternative fuel possibility and concludes in a dramatic fashion; and the newly nominated candidate for the Boston Tea Party talks with Wikinews.

Summary

Ron Paul speaks at an Iowa campaign event, December 28.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

In December 2011, businessman Herman Cain ended his campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination amid allegations of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair. Hoping to appeal to social conservatives, Texas governor Rick Perry released a commercial in Iowa entitled “Strong”, in which he states, “there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” While the video received 24,407 likes by the end of the month, it received 725,698 dislikes.

Frontrunner Newt Gingrich had trouble of his own after he suggested during an interview with The Jewish Channel that Palestinians were an “invented people”. He refused to retract the comments at the final GOP debate before the January 3 Iowa Caucus. Gingrich’s lead in the polls disappeared as Mitt Romney won big endorsements from South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, former Senator Bob Dole, and former president George H.W. Bush.

Meanwhile, Congressman Ron Paul rose in the polls as well, trailing Romney by two points in the final NBC/Marist poll of the year with Rick Santorum surging and Rick Perry close behind. However, Paul encountered his own troubles as the media reported on articles published in his newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s that included incendiary comments about blacks, gays, and Israel. Paul says he did not write the articles and has publicly disavowed them in the past. Additionally, Paul won the backing of Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson, who previously served as the state chairman for Michele Bachmann, who continued to sag in the polls since winning the Ames Straw Poll in August.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, another candidate who had been low in the Republican polls, announced a switch to the Libertarian Party to run for that party’s presidential nomination. Analysts have suggested that if Johnson wins the Libertarian nomination, he could possibly take votes away from the Republican nominee and help President Barack Obama win re-election.

Possible Reform Party candidate?

Roemer speaks to the Reform Party of New Jersey on December 10.
Image: Greenguy89.

Presidential candidate Buddy Roemer addressed members of the Reform Party of New Jersey on December 10 at a joint Reform Party-Tea Party event. The meeting raised speculation that Roemer, who is currently running for the presidential nominations of both the Republican Party and Americans Elect, would also seek the nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America.

Dennis Mikolay, a member of the New Jersey party’s leadership, wrote on his blog that “there are efforts within the Reform Party to draft him [Roemer] as their candidate”. However, Roemer, who served as Governor of Louisiana as a Republican, does not seem interested in the nomination. According to campaign manager Carlos Sierra, the Reform Party has “reached out to us…but the Governor does not intend to seek their nomination. He is focused primarily on the GOP nomination. We think once his message gets a stage and an audience, that it will resonate with the Republican Party and Independents. The problem is he keeps getting shut out of the debates.”

Industrialist Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995. He won the party’s presidential nomination the next year and received over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. After this, the party was plagued by infighting, and decreased in prominence. In 2008, Ted Weill was nominated for president, but appeared only on the ballot in Mississippi and received 481 votes.

For 2012, three candidates have announced their intentions to seek the party’s nomination: former college football coach Robby Wells, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert David Steele, and small business owner Andre Barnett.

Lesser-known candidates forum

On December 19, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics hosted a forum at St. Anselm College to present lesser-known candidates for the Republican and Democratic Party presidential nominations. Wikinews covered the Democratic Party forum that showcased candidates challenging President Barack Obama for that party’s presidential nomination, including anti-abortion activist Randall Terry and performance artist Vermin Supreme.

Vermin Supreme glitter bombs Randall Terry during the Democratic Party presidential candidates forum as John Wolfe looks on.
Image: Marc Nozell.

A high point of the forum occurred after Vermin Supreme delivered his final statement. He exclaimed, “Jesus told me to make Randall Terry gay” and proceeded to glitter bomb Terry while shouting, “he’s turning gay.” Terry had earlier affirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage, comparing it to slavery and abortion. Supreme later told Wikinews that Terry “took his glittering like a man, a gay man. I don’t know if the fairy dust turned him gay right away, but he took his medicine, and he seemed to enjoy it on some level.” Though Terry could not be reached for comment, he wrote on his blog that the glitter bombing “appeared to have no impact on me becoming homosexual.” Supreme claims he was threatened by a Terry supporter after the forum and is now “seeking Secret Service protection.” He has no plans to glitter bomb anyone else.

Supreme says that he had previously met Terry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and “was given the distinct impression that he (Terry) wanted to perform fellatio on me.” He says that prior to the forum, he offered “to have ‘homosexual gay sex’ in the lavatory stall”, but Terry declined. During the forum, Supreme said that he planned to write-in Terry, but said afterwards that his support “depends how gay he [Terry] gets.”

Dr. Bob Greene, a physicist who also participated in the forum, commented that the glitter bombing “was inappropriate for the circumstances.” During the forum, Greene differentiated himself from his opponents by discussing the use of thorium as an alternative fuel, saying “we have enough thorium for all of our energy needs for well over a thousand years.” He elaborated further after the forum, explaining that thorium could be used by bombarding it with neutrons, after which it fissions. “The fuel”, he explained, “is a molten salt, really Thorium Fluoride with a couple of stable-izers.” Greene says that it is safer and produces less waste than conventional methods, but “the military favored the uranium cycle because you could get lots of plutonium out of it, which they wanted for bombs. Thorium – not so.”

Others that participated in the Democratic forum include writer Ed Cowan, lawyer John Haywood, activist Edward O’Donnell Jr., and lawyer John Wolfe.


Boston Tea Party presidential nomination

On December 23, the Boston Tea Party (BTP) nominated Howard Community College trustee Tiffany Briscoe of Maryland as its second presidential nominee. The BTP was formed in 2006 and “supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” In 2008, the party nominated boxing manager Charles Jay, who appeared on three state ballots and won a total of 2,422 votes.

Briscoe’s platform calls for the legalization of drugs, a repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, and an end to subsidies and foreign aid. Former radio host Kimberly Johnson was selected as her running mate.

Briscoe took some time to speak with Wikinews about her campaign and the BTP.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you plan to gain ballot access for the BTP?

Briscoe: The BTP is a fairly new political party. Yet, it has great potential. Its message of individual freedom and free markets resonates with a great majority of the American people that do not seem to be content with the current Establishment. We need to campaign massively, which we are already doing, to collect enough petition signatures and get on as many ballots as possible. I will myself contribute financially to help get the party on the ballot in such states as Colorado and Louisiana. At the end of the day, we will probably be able to appear on 14 to 15 states throughout the country, and stay as a write-in candidate in virtually all the others.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIdeologically, how are you different from Ron Paul or Gary Johnson?

Briscoe: Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are two great men that have helped the cause of liberty by working from the inside of the government. But they do not reflect the true nature of libertarianism. Paul has become a typical politician, taking pork barrel to his district to get reelected, wants to restrict immigration, and wants to plague the economy with an entire new series of tax credits and corporate loopholes for energy and health care reform. Gary Johnson, while he did veto more laws than any other governor in the 1990s, also encounters the same problem: he wants to keep Guantanamo Bay open with the so-called “enemy combatant” inside, he opposes the end of the Federal Reserve that is creating so much troubles with our economy, and even wants to establish a FairTax that would increase consumer prices in a way that will slow economic development. So while I do consider myself as an ideological ally of these two men, I don’t believe they’re doing the best they can when it comes to promoting the philosophy of freedom.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat do you hope to accomplish with this campaign, and what would constitute a success?

Briscoe: Of course, I am not running just to get my name or the party’s name out there, even though the latter is also a goal. I am running to show that there are actually some people outside of Washington that still care about the future of our country, to show that all these independent-minded folks are not alone in their daily fight against the federal government. But with 60% of the people wishing to see a third party play a more important role and with an even greater portion saying they would consider voting for a third party in 2012, we might have more chances to reach success than we may think. Of course, the ultimate success would be paving the way to the White House but at this point, I believe only taking away votes from the true “spoilers” that the Establishment represents in a way that would change the ultimate course of the election would already make us proud.



Related articles

  • “U.S. presidential candidate Gary Johnson leaves GOP to vie for the LP nom” — Wikinews, December 29, 2011
  • “South Carolina governor Nikki Haley endorses Mitt Romney for U.S. president” — Wikinews, December 17, 2011
  • “Republican hopeful Gingrich fuels controversy over Palestinian ‘invented people’ remarks” — Wikinews, December 11, 2011
  • Campaign manager: 100 percent chance Buddy Roemer will run for Americans Elect presidential nomination” — Wikinews, December 1, 2011
  • “U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll‎” — Wikinews, August 15, 2011

Sources

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December 24, 2011

Gingrich, Perry fail to qualify for Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot

Gingrich, Perry fail to qualify for Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Republican candidates for President of the United States Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have failed to qualify to be on the ballot for the Virginia primary election, scheduled for March 6, Super Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and Perry, Governor of Texas, did not submit the 10,000 signatures, with at least 400 from each of the state’s eleven congressional districts, to the state’s board of elections before the 5:00 PM deadline last Thursday required to gain ballot access, according to the Republican Party of Virginia.

Gingrich’s and Perry’s campaigns both claimed to have more signatures than needed, 11,050 and 11,911 respectively. Volunteers spent last night reviewing the submitted petitions and validating signatures. Reportedly Rick Perry is considering an appeal of the assessment.

Among other major candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and Texas congressman Ron Paul submitted the required petition and qualified for the ballot. On Thursday, it was disclosed that candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum also failed to gain ballot access.

According to the manager of the Gingrich campaign, Michael Krull, the former House Speaker plans to compete in the Virginia primary, despite not gaining ballot access, as a write-in candidate. Krull blamed a “failed system” for the campaign’s inability to gain ballot access. Rick Perry’s campaign manager said he was disappointed by that campaign’s failure to qualify for the ballot. According to a recent poll of 489 Republican voters by Quinnipiac University, Gingrich leads in the state with 30% of support, followed by Mitt Romney at 25% and Ron Paul at 9%.

As Virginia’s delegates to the Republican National Convention are not awarded on a winner-take-all basis, candidates other than the winner of the state’s primary could also gain delegates from the state.



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August 15, 2011

U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll

U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Presidential candidates at the Ames Straw Poll. From left: Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Thaddeus McCotter, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota narrowly defeated fellow Representative Ron Paul of Texas to win the nonbinding Ames Straw Poll on Saturday. The poll, held every four years in Ames, Iowa is used as a gauge of Republican candidate viability several months ahead of the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses. This year, nine candidates were listed on the ballot.

Bachmann, the first woman to ever win the poll, waged a high visibility campaign that benefited from persistent media coverage to win 4,823 of the 16,892 votes cast. Following the victory, she remarked to her supporters that “You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president.”

Paul, who tripled his support from the 2007 poll with 4,671 votes, took advantage of an enthusiastic grassroots following. His campaign manager commented that the result proves he “is moving into the first tier” of candidates.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, whose traditional ground-campaign approach did not work as effectively as expected, came in a disappointing third place with 2,293 votes. Politico felt the showing “may spell the end of his campaign”, but Pawlenty argued that the campaign is “just beginning.” He later withdrew from the race.

The fourth place finish of former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was seen as a “moral victory” for the candidate since he did not receive as much media coverage as the others, and did not spend as much cash. He vowed to remain in the race, stating “We have a caucus strategy, not a straw poll strategy…I don’t think there is any question that what we did here today shows that we are building a base of support in Iowa.”

Surprisingly, Texas governor Rick Perry, who entered the race on the same day as the poll, was not on the ballot but was still able to garner 718 write-in votes. That put him ahead of the Republican frontrunner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who was on the ballot but did not actively pursue the victory. He won the 2007 poll, but came in second to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses.

Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, who paid $18,000 for campaign space, came in last place with 35 votes.

Results table

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann with her husband

Ron Paul

Ron Paul

Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty with his family

Rick Santorum with his family

Rick Santorum with his family

Herman Cain

Herman Cain

Thaddeus McCotter

Candidate Votes Percentage
Michele Bachmann 4,823 28.55%
Ron Paul 4,671 27.65%
Tim Pawlenty 2,293 13.57%
Rick Santorum 1,657 9.81%
Herman Cain 1,456 8.62%
Rick Perry (write-in) 718 3.62%
Mitt Romney 567 3.36%
Newt Gingrich 385 2.28%
Jon Huntsman, Jr. 69 0.41%
Thaddeus McCotter 35 0.21%



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