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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: GOP

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September 14, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Paul Ryan rallies cultural conservatives as he headlines Values Voter Summit

Washington, D.C. — As is his job as the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee, Paul Ryan dutifully came to the Values Voter Summit this morning, making the case that his boss was the best person to carry the Republican cause forward in the fall.

The crowd at the Values Voter Summit in Wash., D.C. stands to welcome Wisc. Rep. Paul Ryan, GOP vice-presidential nominee, on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 (Will Mari / UW Election Eye)

But the congressman from Wisconsin was also here, it seems, to rally cultural conservatives and to help ensure that they stay energized enough to vote come November.

It wasn’t his line about how Romney is “an honest man with a charitable heart; a doer and a promise keeper,” nor his criticism of the president’s economic polices, that got the biggest standing applause.

For while he said that “in this election, values voters are also economic voters,” and tried to connect the economy under the president to social issues, Ryan was much more in his element toward the end of his speech, when he addressed worries about the HHS mandate and its impact on religious non-profits, especially those run by or associated with the Catholic Church.

“You would be hard pressed to find another group in America that does more to serve the health of women and their babies,” Ryan, who is Catholic, said.

But he claimed that the mandate is “not a threat and insult to one religious group; it is a threat and insult to every religious group.” It’s a standard line from the Romney campaign, but meant something different here.


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: GOP, HHS Mandate, Paul Ryan

September 14, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Republican conservatives open “third” convention at Values Voters Summit

Washington, D.C. — Some might say the Republican Party will have experienced three conventions this year.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins speaks at last year’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit showcases conservative leaders and is sometimes a focal point of controversy. (Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore/flickr / UW Election Eye).

First, there was the mini-convention for Ron Paul and his people the weekend before the actual GOP convention last month in Tampa, Fla. UW Election Eye has encountered fervent Paul partisans all around the country, and they have been a very motivated bunch in their sometimes-quixotic libertarian quest for their man’s nomination.

The rally in Florida was a chance for them to vent some of their frustration at the process, some of which spilled over at the “big-tent” convention itself. But normally these are occasions in which disparate groups, as at all political-party gatherings, have to play well together, or appear to. As my colleagues showed in their coverage of the Democrats’ convention last week in Charlotte, S.C. they’re about presenting united fronts and compromising for the sake of potential victory.


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: GOP, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum

August 11, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Six things about Paul Ryan that may be surprising

Paul Ryan, Official Photo

Rep. Paul Ryan, Official Congressional Photo

In the 112th Congress, Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin just announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate, is one of the most powerful members of the GOP. He’s the House Budget Committee Chairman, a highly influential insider.

Here are six interesting things about Ryan.

1. He was elected to Congress in 1998. At the age of 28. “I learned economics working for Jack Kemp,” he said in 1999. Kemp served in the George H.W. Bush administration, and he was Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996. And as a point of note, Kemp was the supply-side economics messiah.

2. When Ryan was 16, his father died. Ryan attended Miami University (Ohio) with help from Social Security survivor benefits, which he collected until age 18. Average annual 4-year public university tuition and fees in 1988 was an inflation-adjusted $2,800. He studied economics and political science, graduating in 1992. Six years later, he was a Congressman from Wisconsin’s first district.

3. Like many in politics, when his party’s in power, his budget philosophy differs dramatically from when the other folks are in the White House. For example, he voted yes on President Bush’s expansion of Medicare’s drug benefit. In 2005, the Washington Post reported that the White House had revised its estimated costs of the program:

[T]he new Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost more than $1.2 trillion in the coming decade, a much higher price tag than President Bush suggested when he narrowly won passage of the law in late 2003…. As recently as September, Medicare chief Mark B. McClellan said the new drug package would cost $534 billion over 10 years.

As Bruce Bartlett noted in 2009, “the drug benefit had no dedicated financing, no offsets and no revenue-raisers; 100% of the cost simply added to the federal budget deficit.”


Comments | More in National | Topics: GOP, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan

March 27, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Republican delegate convention in Pierce County messy, long, and favored Rick Santorum

Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum (Photos courtesy of,,, and

Note: this is the second of two related posts on the state of the 2012 Republican presidential contest. Part 1 was posted yesterday morning.

TACOMA — The Republican presidential nomination is not over yet, Rick Santorum says. Part of his campaign’s argument is that delegates in caucus states will be allocated to him in greater numbers than the popular votes were on caucus day.

The Pierce County Republican Party convention on Saturday is one place to test Santorum’s view.

The results suggest Santorum might be right.

On March 3, Mitt Romney handily won Washington state’s presidential straw poll at the GOP caucuses, garnering 38% of the statewide caucus vote to 25% for Ron Paul and 24% for Santorum. In Pierce County specifically, Romney won 38% of the vote, Santorum won 26% and Paul received 23%.

That was the popular straw vote on caucus day. In Washington, as in many other caucus states, the official process of appropriating delegates to candidates begins at the precinct caucuses — but is entirely separate from the straw vote — and then moves to the county, and finally to the state level.


Comments | Topics: conservatives, delegates, GOP

March 10, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Thousands at Ada County caucus make history, embrace 2012, put Idaho on Republican map

BOISE — “Wow, all the way from Seattle? I knew we were a big deal!” said one Republican at the Ada County caucus. That’s the reaction we heard covering the caucuses this past week from Sandpoint all the way down to Boise, Idaho. Our 1,400 mile trip showed us that not only were Republicans energetic about…


Comments | Topics: caucus, Caucuses, caucuses

March 5, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Fishy Robocalls — 'tis the season

King County voters received phony robocalls, claiming the Republican caucuses on March 3 were cancelled.

King County voters received phony robocalls that claimed the Republican caucuses on March 3 were cancelled. (Photo by tj scenes/

Nowadays, robocalling is standard practice for political campaigns. In a presidential election year, almost everyone can expect an automated phone call here and there. This nomination season, voters in contested states, like South Carolina or Ohio, racked up dozens of robotic voice mails. Sometimes it’s Robo-Robert on the other end of the cord, sometimes it’s Barbara Bush. Usually, it’s just annoying.

Nevertheless, setting up an automated phone bank is usually easier than finding flesh-and-blood volunteers. With companies like Republican Robo Calls — who assure the customer they’ve never worked with a Democrat — charging only two to seven cents per call, million dollar campaigns can hardly afford not use them.

Yet for a system supposedly designed to avoid human error, there’s certainly a lot of it. Whether it’s scandalous content, like accusing John McCain of fathering an illegitimate black child in 2000, or just ringing the wrong households, like Rick Santorum phoning Democrats in Michigan, robocalling can be disastrous for both its users and subjects.

The robocalls that peppered Washington state in anticipation of the Republican caucus had their share of trickery as well.


Comments | Topics: Barbara Bush, campaign oddities, Caucuses

March 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

No interviews, no film, no photos at Kingston caucus — no problem

A sign welcomes voters into Kingston High School during Saturday's Republican caucuses in Kitsap County. Tucked away from the town center, the school was the only location to serve residents of Kingston. (Lucas Anderson/UW Election Eye) KINGSTON — Kingston High School had a nearly full parking lot when we arrived at 9:45 this morning. The setting…


Comments | Topics: caucus, Caucuses, delegates

February 9, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Miss the live tweeting from Colorado caucus? Here's a recap of the night

SEATTLE – On the evening of Tuesday, February 7, the UW Election Eye team live tweeted from the Colorado caucuses with real-time updates, even scooping the New York Times — by nearly six minutes — in announcing that Rick Santorum had won Colorado. This news meant Santorum had swept the night. If you missed our…


Comments | Topics: Caucuses, Colorado, Colorado caucus

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