Paul goes to Maine,


vows to stay in race


Ron Paul said Saturday the Republican presidential race has “a ways to go” and he doesn’t intend to get out or get behind another candidate anytime soon.


The Texas congressman was campaigning in Maine, which holds caucuses beginning Saturday. He spoke to an overflow crowd at the University of Southern Maine and held an outdoor rally outside the famed L.L. Bean store in Freeport. He picked up the endorsement of Linda Bean, the granddaughter of the Bean company founder and a prominent Republican activist in the state.


Paul told reporters that it didn’t make sense for him to campaign in Florida, which holds its primary Tuesday and awards all its 50 delegates to the winner.


“Some other campaigns have many, many millions of dollars to run a campaign,” Paul said. “We maximize the delegates the way we’re doing it.”


Paul planned to campaign this week in other caucus states, including Nevada, which also holds its caucus on Saturday, and Colorado and Minnesota, which hold caucuses Feb. 7.


 


NBC seeks removal


of anti-Gingrich ad


NBC asked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday to pull a campaign advertisement made up almost entirely of a 1997 Nightly News report on Newt Gingrich’s ethics committee reprimand.


The ad started running in Florida on the weekend, when it is harder for stations to switch ad traffic even if they want to. Broadcast days before Tuesday’s primary, the ad shows former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw saying that some of Gingrich’s House colleagues had raised questions about the then-speaker’s “future effectiveness.”


Under Brokaw’s image is a line that reads — “Paid for by Romney for President, Approved by Mitt Romney.”


The footage was used without permission and the extensive use of the broadcast “inaccurately suggests that NBC News and Mr. Brokaw have consented to the use of this material and agree with the political position espoused by the videos,” NBC’s vice president of media law, David N. Sternlicht, wrote Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades.


Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said the campaign isn’t likely to stop running the ad.


 


Romney wins poll


at Ohio breakfast


Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has won a straw poll of GOP voters in southwest Ohio, a conservative corner of the battleground state.


The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that 277 people cast ballots in the unscientific poll Saturday at the Northeast Hamilton County Republican Club’s pancake breakfast in Sharonville.


Romney took nearly half the vote, with 48 percent compared to 24 percent for Newt Gingrich. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum got 22 percent, and Texas congressman Ron Paul had 6 percent. Some attendees didn’t vote because they were undecided or unsatisfied with the options.


Blue Ash council member Rick Bryan conducted the official vote count and said the outcome would be a good indicator of how local Republicans feel because those in attendance represented the area’s GOP base.


 


Pundits re-evaluate


California’s impact


For months, nobody figured California Republicans would have a say in picking their party’s 2012 presidential contender — the state’s June 5 primary was just too late to matter.


But suddenly, as a volatile and vicious GOP battle barrels toward Tuesday’s Florida primary, uncertainty is setting in as some pundits start to wonder: Could the Golden State’s mother lode of delegates actually make a difference?


“It’s still a long shot, but the possibility of a contested June Republican primary in California is greater today than it has been in many years,” said Dan Schnur, a former GOP strategist who now directs the University of Southern California’s Unruh Institute of Politics.


In one scenario, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney could keep tearing at each other long enough for California to weigh in. In another, party elders and deep-pocketed donors could decide neither of them is viable anymore and back a late entry into the race.


Nationally renowned election prognosticator Larry Sabato, who directs the University of Virginia Center for Politics, noted that it’s possible for someone to enter the race in February and still compete for a majority of delegates.


Compiled from wire reports.