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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Endorsement

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February 4, 2012 at 6:56 AM

Mitt Romney's Mormon faith helps in Nevada and the West

The LDS Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Photo Elizabeth Hunter, UW Election Eye)

LAS VEGAS — A couple of undergrads were horsing around in the hallway when I entered the building.

At the Latter Day Saints Institute of Religion Student Center on the campus of University of Nevada-Las Vegas, young Mormons have heated discussions about politics over ping-pong and candy. Lots of candy. Several baskets of candy — in bowls on the front desk, on a coffee table, in the hallway.

I grabbed a piece as I asked the receptionist if I could speak to someone about Mitt Romney and Mormon politics. “LDS,” she kindly corrected me with a smile. I blushed. From that moment on, I’ve used LDS -— not Mormon —- when talking with members of the Church.

She led me to the office of Institute Director Garth Rasmussen, whom she referred to as Brother Rasmussen. The LDS Doctrine and Covenants book, labeled and marked with color-coded tags, lay open on his desk. Within minutes, Brother Rasmussen was openly sharing his gospel with me.

Here’s the thing, though: Rasmussen said he was happy to talk with me about politics, provided I knew that they were his opinions and not those of the LDS Church writ large. I said absolutely, and we started discussing political issues from healthcare to welfare. About the latter, he got particularly passionate, and shared with me a Mormon parable called the “Gullible Gulls.”

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Comments | Topics: Demographics, Endorsement, Endorsements

February 2, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Donald Trump endorses Mitt Romney for GOP presidential nomination

Press conference in advance of the arrival of Donald Trump and Mitt Romney (Photo by A.V. Crofts)

LAS VEGAS — The competition for opulence on the fabled Las Vegas strip is fierce, and the towering Trump International Hotel, with its twinkling gold-plated exterior and plush interior design, plays to win.

The hotel’s namesake and owner, business magnate Donald Trump, thinks he’s betting on a winner as well.

If there was any lingering belief to the rumor that had circulated widely yesterday evening that Trump was throwing his weight behind Newt Gingrich to be the next U.S. president, the enormous “ROMNEY” sign that greeted us in the pressroom off the ornate Trump International Hotel lobby buried that notion.

The pressroom was draped in velvet blue curtains with no fewer than six snappy American flags acting as a stately backdrop. Special guests were seated in rows closest to the podium, including the former First Lady of Nevada, Dema Guinn. A gaggle of press photographers stood poised on an elevated platform behind the guests, their gigantic camera lenses all pointed to the front of the room. After a friendly black Labrador Retriever took a preventative sniff of our bags, we made a beeline to the first row of seats reserved for the press and soaked in the scene. Mitch Potter, Washington Correspondent for the Toronto Star, turned to us from his chair next to ours and said of our environs, “It looks like a final episode of The Gong Show.”

Donald Trump, sporting reality television’s most talked about hair, entered the room closely trailed by Mitt and Ann Romney. The couple looked far more relaxed and well-rested since we had last laid eyes on them, in what was a difficult week for the Romney campaign in South Carolina.

“Mitt is tough,” said Trump. “He’s smart.  He’s sharp. He’s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to this country that we all love.”

Trump then turned over the podium to Romney. Romney thanked Trump succinctly, drew attention to the very real foreclosure crisis in Nevada, and his plan to reverse these kinds of trends. In closing, Romney recapped his credentials, not missing a chance to inject a bit of humor. “I spent my life in the private sector—Not quite as successful as this guy, [gesturing behind him to Trump] but successful nonetheless. Sufficiently successful to understand what it takes to get America to be the most attractive place in the world for innovators, entrepreneurs and job creators.”

While it was made clear that there would not be a Q & A segment of the press conference, Trump did reappear in the back of the pressroom after he and Romney exited the front of the room, and took questions from the floor. The following UW Election Eye video captured some of his comments about his decision to endorse Romney, as well as a little tease about his own presidential aspirations:

 

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Comments | Topics: Donald Trump, Endorsement, GOP

January 29, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Herman Cain's endorsement of Newt Gingrich makes it Establishment vs. Tea Party

The Herman Cain — as he’s known on Twitter, Facebook, and around the web — endorsed Newt Gingrich last night in West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s likely too little, too late for the Florida primary, which tallies all votes on Tuesday but has allowed early voting since Jan. 21. Several polls show Mitt…

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Comments | Topics: Colorado, Election 2012, Endorsement