Presidential Election 2012 Update: Looking ahead to Michigan and Arizona

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Romney took a detour from his campaigning in Michigan to attend the Daytona 500 in Florida. | Reuters

Tomorrow, Arizona and Michigan will hold their primary elections in what could amount to Mitt Romney’s make-or-break moment in the 2012 election. Born and raised in Michigan, this state’s primary is critical to Romney’s campaign, but it may be a tough win for the candidate, who is neck and neck with opponent Rick Santorum in the most recent poll. The forgotten primary of Arizona could be one of the least watched races of the election, with Romney leading in the polls by 8 percentage points.

On the campaign trail…

Newt Gingrich (Republican): Newt Gingrich traveled to California this Saturday to speak at the California Republican Party’s Conference, where he dropped into the Asian Town Hall event and addressed Saturday’s Luncheon. Focusing on energy independence and promoting his campaign to get gas prices down to $2.50, he spent the majority of his 45 minute speech attacking Obama on economic issues. As part of his strategy to focus on the South, he flew to Georgia on Sunday, and has three campaign stops planned in Tennessee today.

Barack Obama (Democrat): At a luncheon today, President Obama made the case for prioritizing funding for education. He told U.S. Senators: “Budgets are about choices, so today I’m calling on all of you: invest more in education, invest more in our children and in our future.” He also spoke to the growing recovery of the U.S. economy and warned that absent investment in education, the upward trend may cease to exist.

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Ron Paul supporters gather at the CRP Conference in Burlingame, California. Februay 24, 2012. Credit: IVN

Ron Paul (Republican): Despite the lack of attention Ron Paul got from California Republicans at their Spring Conference this weekend, his supporters came out in full, protesting Newt Gingrich’s speech at Saturday’s Luncheon in Burlingame, California. He will continue to campaign in Michigan today and will rally in Springfield on Tuesday, the day of the Michigan primary.

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Buddy Roemer (No Party Preference): Dropping out of the Republican race last Wednesday, Buddy Roemer will seek the nomination of Americans Elect, a non-partisan organization that is on track to gain ballot access in all 50 states.

Mitt Romney (Republican): The former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is struggling in the Michigan polls, a state which CBS News says is crucial to his campaign. He traveled to Florida this Sunday to attend the Daytona 500, a campaign move which prompted many to ask, “Should’t he have been campaigning in Michigan?” While Romney admitted he does not closely follow the races, he defended his visit by adding, “I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.” This could be an indication of a confident Romney campaign.

Rick Santorum (Republican): Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum showcased his Catholic faith today as he dismissed President Kennedy’s 1960 campaign speech about separation of church and state.

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church should have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical of the objectives and vision of our country.”

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Ryan Allein
Ryan Allein

Rick Santorum: No separation of church and state? I guess I misunderstood Thomas Jefferson when he said, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and state." Hmm well maybe he misspoke?