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Archive for January, 2012

Mitt Romney Wins: Florida Primary Results 2012

Huff Post- Posted: 1/31/12 08:00 PM ET  |  Updated: 1/31/12 08:08 PM ET

Mitt Romney was projected the winner of Tuesday’s presidential primary election in Florida by the Associated Press.

The former Massachusetts governor was running ahead in the polls going into the contest.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was projected to finish in second place. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum was projected to finish in third with U.S. Rep. Ron Paul in fourth.

Ahead of Tuesday, Gingrich said he intended to continue his campaign for the White House regardless of the outcome of the contest.

This is a developing story… More information to come…

Check out the live blog below for the latest developments out of Florida.

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Much unsaid as Romney cites his tie to Mexico

By  Michael Kranish

Globe Staff   January 31, 2012

MIAMI – Mitt Romney, who rarely discusses his ancestry, has repeated a striking comment in Florida in recent days to soften his rhetoric about immigration and woo the crucial Hispanic voting bloc.

“My dad was born in Mexico,’’ Romney says at many campaign stops, as he expresses empathy and solidarity with immigrant families. It follows sharp rhetoric in places such as Iowa, where he decried what he called efforts to provide “amnesty’’ to the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants.

The story of Romney’s father, George, is one that many Cuban-Americans can relate to in this city of immigrants: A revolution sweeps through the homeland, prompting an exodus of people who, in many cases, left behind everything to come to the United States. But in this case, George Romney’s country of birth was Mexico, not Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

The issue of immigration is especially sensitive in Florida, where Hispanics make up 11 percent of the Republican primary electorate, and could provide the key to victory in today’s primary. Romney’s chief challenger, Newt Gingrich, has called Romney anti-immigrant; Romney said the charge was repulsive.

It is in this context that Romney has mentioned that he is the child of a born-in-Mexico father. But he usually ends the story there, failing to explain the circumstances or, even more strikingly, why it might be relevant to those he is trying to win over.

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Newt Gingrich, On Eve Of Likely Florida Loss, Unleashes Wild Attacks On Mitt Romney

Huff Post- Posted: 1/31/12 12:00 AM ET  |  Updated: 1/31/12 09:13 AM ET

TAMPA, Fla. — Meet Newt Gingrich, the human Roman Candle.

Gingrich and Mitt Romney on Monday staggered to the end of a brutal week of campaigning in Florida, one in which they took increasingly nasty and personal shots at one another. But the day marked a new level of angry and relentless attacks on Romney by Gingrich, the former House speaker from Georgia.

From morning until the last of five events at the end of the day, Gingrich branded Romney a liar and cheat, accusing him of suppressing religious liberty and trying to “buy the election.”

The strain of the nastiness showed on both men. Romney’s voice was hoarse as he spoke at his last of three events, in front of a few thousand people at The Villages, a massive retirement community 90 minutes northeast of Tampa. But in a sign of growing confidence and looseness as a candidate, Romney led the crowd in singing “America the Beautiful,” a tune he has mentioned on the campaign trail all month without breaking into song.

Romney didn’t mention Gingrich by name at his last event, after mocking and dismissing him earlier in the day.

Gingrich, on the other hand, launched himself into the Romney juggernaut with a level of fury and desperation certain to produce uneasiness in the GOP for its poisonous tone. Gingrich has vowed to carry his candidacy all the way to the GOP convention, but his actions Monday bore a wildness that could call his campaign’s longevity into doubt.

Gingrich continued to harp on a charge that Romney, during his time as Massachusetts governor, vetoed funds to expand the provision of kosher food for Bay State retirees. Gingrich said Romney has a “lack of concern for religious liberty.”

“Romney cut off kosher food to elderly Jews on Medicare,” Gingrich said, stretching the truth. And Gingrich also hit Romney for a 2005 decision as governor to require Roman Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception, which many Catholics believe is a form of abortion, to rape victims.

“You want a war on the Catholic church by Obama? Guess what: Romney refused to allow Catholic hospitals to have conscience in their dealing with certain circumstances,” Gingrich said.

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GOP Seeks Big Changes In Federal Prison Sentences
NPR- by Carrie Johnson

January 31, 2012

Every year, federal judges sentence more than 80,000 criminals. Those punishments are supposed to be fair — and predictable. But seven years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw a wrench into the system by ruling that the guidelines that judges use to figure out a prison sentence are only suggestions.

Republicans in Congress say that has led to a lot of bad results. They’re calling for an overhaul of the sentencing system, with tough new mandatory prison terms to bring some order back into the process. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, brought up the subject at a recent hearing.

“A criminal committing a federal crime should receive similar punishment regardless of whether the crime was committed in Richmond, Va., or Richmond, Calif., and that’s why I am deeply concerned about what’s happening to federal sentencing,” Sensenbrenner said.

Since the Supreme Court acted in 2005 to make the sentencing guidelines advisory — not mandatory — Sensenbrenner said, judges in places like New York City have imposed sentences below the guideline ranges almost half the time. But judges only a few hours further north in New York are still following the guidelines.

Former prosecutor Matt Miner — who also served as GOP congressional aide — says that’s not justice.

The way you make sure the guidelines get due respect is to make them respectable.

– Douglas Berman, Ohio State University law professor

“We have a federal system. There should be consistency not just in the same courthouse and on the same floor, or district by district, but across the country, and we’re failing in that,” Miner says.

Douglas Berman, a law professor and sentencing expert at Ohio State University, said, “The way you make sure the guidelines get due respect is to make them respectable.”

A lot of people argue that ever since the Supreme Court weighed in, black men have it a lot worse.

Judge Patti Saris of Massachusetts leads the congressionally created U.S. Sentencing Commission. Saris spoke about the issue at a panel sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington earlier this month.

“The average sentence for a black male was 20 percent longer than that for a white male. … And I think what’s important to add there is that no one here is accusing judges of being racist,” Saris said.

So, then, what’s going on?

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The Hill- By Amie Parnes – 01/30/12 08:47 PM ET

President Obama is finding ways to get his message to the public without going through the White House press corps.

Obama on Monday held his “first completely virtual interview” as part of an event hosted by Google+, the social network the president called “a newfangled thing.”

The president joined a so-called “hangout”— a chat room of sorts on the social networking site — and took questions through YouTube on everything from unemployment to streamlining the federal government.

The event took place in the White House’s Roosevelt Room without the presence of television cameras or reporters.

The virtual interview is part of a larger effort by the White House to connect directly to Americans without going through the news media.

In recent months, Obama has hand-picked social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to relay his message on a variety of issues, holding town-hall meetings on both and even doing a third on LinkedIn.

And when Obama has sat down with reporters in recent months, it has been with hand-picked news outlets, which could allow the White House to better tailor the president’s message.

The effort extends beyond the president, too. On the heels of Obama’s State of the Union address last week, Vice President Biden and more than 30 White House officials went directly to the public by answering questions on Twitter.

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