(CBS News) Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has accepted the role of president and chief executive officer of the Financial Services Roundtable, a Washington, D.C. lobbying group for the banking industry.
In a statement accepting his new role, Pawlenty wrote that he would have to leave his perch on the Romney campaign. "My time in public service was rewarding and focused on achieving results," Pawlenty said. "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve, but I am now moving on and committed to focusing fully on this new opportunity."
Romney, in turn, issued a press release calling Pawlenty a "dear friend" and wishing him luck on the endeavor. "He's brought energy, intelligence and tireless dedication to every enterprise in which he's ever been engaged, and that certainly includes my presidential campaign."Continue »
In an interview with CBS Greensboro affiliate WFMY, Mrs. Romney grinned while telling a story about 8-year-old Mia, one of her 18 grandchildren, who seems to sense the stress her grandfather is under.
"Last time she was with Mitt, I saw her putting her arm around him and then stroking his arm, and I thought, 'I've never seen her do that before!'" Mrs. Romney said. "And I asked her about it, and she just said, 'Oh I just wanted to let Papa know that I love him.'"
Mrs. Romney explained that Mia is "aware that her grandfather is going through some hard times and being attacked at times, and this little 8 year old wanted to protect him."
Mia is one of the four children of Matt Romney, the second eldest Romney son. Many of the Romney grandchildren have appeared on the trail at varying points, and call Ann "Mamie" and Mitt "Papa."
Updated: 5:26 p.m. ET
(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney does not currently receive national security briefings, his campaign confirmed to CBS News today.
Typically, presidential candidates begin receiving briefings after securing their party's nomination, which Romney did in Tampa two weeks ago.
"It's a long-standing practice for presidential candidates and select advisers to be provided intelligence briefings following the party's nominating convention," Shawn Turner, the spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told CNN in June. "During the last presidential campaign, all the candidates began receiving briefings in September following the conventions."Continue »
(CBS News) James Taylor strummed "You've Got a Friend" during a sound check on at the Democratic National Convention this afternoon. Later that evening, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords graced the same spot and embodied those words.
Giffords attended the convention today and delivered the Pledge of Allegiance. Accompanied on stage by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as the crowd roared, "Gabby! Gabby!" She delivered the pledge with an upbeat tone, using her left hand to help hold up her right hand to her heart. Her appearance brought people in the audience to tears.
A senior Obama campaign official told CBS News that the plan for Giffords to be a part of the convention had been in the works for a long time, noting that she and the president are friends.
"She is a real symbol of grit and determination," said the aide. "There's a symbolism of that for this country. It will be a powerful moment." Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., who now holds Giffords congressional seat, released a statement that said, "All of Southern Arizona and the country is inspired by Gabby and her amazing spirit. We are so happy to have her home in Tucson, and I couldn't be happier that tonight the whole country will see her grace and perseverance."Continue »
(CBS News) As Mitt Romney hunkers down for debate prep in New England this week, CBS News has confirmed that Democrats - including President Obama - have also begun to ready for the face-offs.
According to a senior Obama campaign official, Mr. Obama is in the process of preparing for the three upcoming debates, the first of which is slated for early next month.
A source tells CBS News that Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., too, has sat down for an initial meeting to start working on his role in the vice presidential debate preparations.
Van Hollen, who will be playing Paul Ryan in mock-debates with Vice President Joe Biden, told CBS News' Political Director John Dickerson on Wednesday that while he likes Ryan, "I was very disappointed in Paul Ryan's acceptance speech."Continue »
(CBS News) CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Mitt Romney may have taken the day off today to go ski boating, but, in Charlotte, his campaign is hard at work showboating.
Though Romney spent Monday at his New Hampshire lake house, Republican supporters have converged in North Carolina just blocks from the Democratic National Convention to get their message out. This afternoon, Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, held a press conference where they touted Romney and trounced on the president and his supporters.
"If the election were held today, we'd be winning today," declared Priebus, adding that the states he thinks Romney currently has in the bag are Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin and Virginia. Meanwhile, Chaffetz slammed the president for a lack of leadership, particularly with regard to failing to get a budget passed through the Senate. "Other than the Wednesday night bingo and wheelchair races, I have a hard time figuring out what they actually do in the United States Senate on a day to day basis," he opined. "The thrill and pixie dust of Barack Obama's presidency are gone," said Priebus.Continue »
Updated: 6:00 p.m.
(CBS News) TAMPA, Fla. -- Rep. Paul Ryan might be a data wonk, but his speech tonight will be descriptives, not details.
Romney advisers tell CBS News that Ryan's speech will not lay out specific policies, but will instead focus on drawing contrasts between the president and Gov. Romney. "I don't expect this to be a policy speech. It's a convention speech," said one top aide.
Asked specifically if Medicare, however, will be mentioned, the aide coyly advised, "I believe the word comes up."
The campaign says that the focus of Ryan's speech will be on how Romney plans to strengthen the middle class, and highlight ways in which President Obama has weakened it. Unlike last night, where the main keynote speakers did not mention Mr. Obama by name, there's no indication that Ryan will shy away from it tonight. When asked if he will speak about ways he thinks the president has failed, the campaign said, "There's a nice little section on that."Continue »
(CBS News) The Republican National Convention will begin on Tuesday, not Monday, officials announced today.
With Tropical Storm Isaac looming off of Florida's coast, RNC Chairman Reince Preibus issued a statement saying that the convention would convene Monday, but immediately recess until Tuesday. No further updates on how the rescheduling will work have been yet issued. "Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area," wrote Preibus.Continue »
(CBS News) Mitt Romney held the 100th town meeting of his campaign Monday in Manchester, N.H. - the same town where he held his very first last year. He has often remarked to reporters that he truly enjoys hosting such campaign events, feeding off of the energy and spontaneity provided by his questioners.
However, today, it seemed that spontaneity was not quite as omnipresent.
While the top of the event, attended by an estimated 3,000 people, mostly focused on the economy, two questions at the end were about foreign policy, a topic that he and his running mate, Paul Ryan, also present today, have little hands-on experience with during their political careers.
The queries were about Afghanistan and Israel, asking what a Romney-Ryan administration would do to achieve American pursuits in both. Romney took the opportunity in his answers to criticize President Obama for failed leadership abroad, and offered that he would be a much stronger and transparent leader.
The audience members who asked the questions, however, were not strangers.
The Afghanistan question came from New Hampshire state senator Jack Barnes, 80, who is serving his 16th year in the state Senate and was among the first in the state's legislature to endorse Romney last year. His question was followed by one regarding Israel, posed by prominent New Hampshire Tea Party activist Jennifer Horn. Horn is a former congressional candidate in the state, and was heavily involved in the Republican primary process, hosting town meetings featuring many of the candidates though her "We the People" forum group.
Neither Barnes nor Horn identified themselves by name upon taking the microphone, but it seems likely that Romney knew who they were when taking their questions. When Romney answered Barnes' question, he thanked him for his military service, prefacing it with "you know I've said this to you before." After Horn endorsed Romney in December, she has stumped solo and alongside him at multiple campaign-sponsored events.
The Romney campaign did not comment when CBS News asked for reaction.
(CBS News) President Obama has not taken questions from the White House press corps since June 19, an issue exacerbated by the fact that Mitt Romney - who historically has only held press conferences sparingly - has held multiple news conferences in recent weeks. Instead, Mr. Obama has done a number of interviews with local TV news reporters in the various markets where he's been campaigning and has come under criticism for recently doing interviews with outlets such as ESPN, People Magazine, "Entertainment Tonight" and radio shows instead of taking questions from more hard news outlets.
The Romney campaign, whose candidate has been uncharacteristically chatty with national political reporters lately, has seized on the opportunity to criticize the president for his selection of interviews. "President Obama was on a radio program down in New Mexico, not talking about jobs, not talking about the fiscal crisis in this country, not talking about the rapid increase in debt that has occurred under his administration, instead he was talking about his favorite chili peppers," said Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom on CNN this morning.
Later on the same program, Mr. Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, defended the selection of interviews.
"I don't think that they're more important, but I think they're equally important," she said, referring to whether or not the campaign felt entertainment news outlets were more valuable than the national news media. "I think that's where a lot of Americans get their news. And I think the president's going to continue doing that."
(CBS News) ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - After a jam-packed weekend furiously jetting around the country with his new running mate, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney flew solo in the Sunshine State today and tried to deflect Democrats' criticism of Ryan's Medicare proposals.
Romney arrived in Florida in the middle of the night after racing through Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin on Saturday and Sunday with his newly-minted vice presidential selection. Florida, which holds 29 electoral votes, is critical in Romney's path to victory this November. There are few scenarios where he can win the election without taking the state.
(Watch Romney's remarks on Medicare.)
Romney won Florida's Republican primary contest and has spent a significant time on the trail here for over a year. However, in Ryan, he has selected a running mate who raises a possible vulnerability for him here on the hot-button issue of Medicare, which affects a large swath of Florida's senior citizen community. He said today that the two "want to make sure that we preserve and protect Medicare." In contrast, Romney expounded that President Obama wants to cut Medicare by $700 billion.Continue »
The Republican presidential candidate had a busy morning puttering around the town of Wolfeboro, N.H., prepping for senior campaign advisers dropping by his summer house today.
He went to a local hardware and grocery store, where he picked up fresh corn and a load of soft drinks, including caffeine-free Diet Coke. When asked by press if he was planning on entertaining today, he responded "I've got some folks coming over today," but coyly laughed when asked if any of his vice presidential contenders - specifically Ohio Sen. Rob Portman - would be in attendance.
Wolfeboro is nestled along New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee, where the Romneys have had a home for years. While many lawns are littered with Romney signage, many year-round residents are hesitant to support him, some due to their own differing politics as well as a local concern that, should he become president, their town might become the next Kennebunkport, Maine - the vacation home of former President George H.W. Bush - and be swamped with tourists.
As Romney rounded out his morning errands at a drug store this morning, he apologized to a woman who had been blocked in by his secret service detail. All was quickly forgiven. "It's because you're a very special person," she responded, giving him a thumbs up.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was planning on coming to Colorado for a campaign event this coming Saturday, but the campaign has decided to cancel the trip in the wake of last Friday's massacre at a movie screening of "Dark Knight Rising" in Aurora.
Rubio will still campaign in Las Vegas on Saturday, where he'll visit his old elementary school and hold a rally. The trip will mark Rubio's first time heading out on the trail to stump for Romney on his own.
Romney is currently on an international campaign swing. He is in London today and will be in Israel over the weekend, before heading to Poland.Continue »
(CBS News) Aurora, CO - In the wake of last week's deadly shooting, the Romney and Obama campaigns both say they are keeping their ads off the air in Colorado at least through Friday.
In addition to pulling their commercials off the air, the Obama campaign has also cancelled all events statewide through the week. They currently have 29 offices open across the state and were supposed to open offices in Highlands Ranch and Pueblo last Friday. The openings were postponed, however, as news of the mass shooting at the Century Cinema in Aurora broke early that morning. The rampage left 12 dead and 58 more injured.
The Romney campaign, which has 10 offices in Colorado, has also halted all robo-calls and phone-banking in the state for the time being. At a fundraiser last night in San Francisco, Mitt Romney commended President Obama for meeting with victims on the ground in Aurora earlier in the day, calling it "the right thing for the president to be doing on this day."Continue »
(CBS News) RICHMOND, VA. -- While the state of the race may be up in the air, one thing the Obama campaign is confident in is their boots on the ground.
Democrats across the country - and particularly in swing states - are thoroughly fired up about the ground game that they are voraciously working. Advisers proudly note that their clipboard yielding volunteers are excited, RSVPs to events come in by the thousands, and they've got dozens of offices set up in battleground states across the country. (35 in Ohio! 30 in Florida! And counting.)
They are also happy to draw this in contrast to the their Republican counterparts, who are not as visible on the ground. When Mitt Romney campaigned in New Hampshire in April, his team no longer had an office in the state (they do now), which lay in stark contrast to the aggressive primary battle they had waged there, replete with an extremely robust staff, almost weekly candidate visits for months on end, and thousands of yard signs sprawled out on lawns up and down the Granite State.
Upon his return, the Obama campaign (8 offices strong) launched a Twitter campaign called "Since Mitt's Been Gone." In Iowa, they've made their headquarters an abandoned Des Moines Blockbuster store that Romney staff was based out of during the caucuses. Before Romney headed to states like Pennsylvania and Michigan on his bus tour last week, senior adviser Russ Schriefer was asked by CBS if the campaign was planning on leaving staff behind along the way, to invest in more boots on the ground there.Continue »
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