Romney’s own hot-mic moment… At Florida fundraiser (overheard by NBC’s Garrett Haake), Romney singles out HUD for possible elimination and says he wants to cut the Education Dept… He and his wife also were giddy about the Hilary Rosen flap… And Romney revealed he wants a “Republican DREAM Act” to help woo Latinos… Senate to vote on Buffett Rule at 5:30 pm ET… Team Obama rakes in $53 million in March… Anonymous donor writes Crossroads $10 million check… NYT on White House’s access to big donors… Romney, meanwhile, promises his own donors access at “Presidential Inaugural Retreat!!!
*** Romney’s own hot-mic moment: In an interview with the Weekly Standard earlier this year, Mitt Romney said he learned this advice from his unsuccessful 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy: don’t get too specific. “One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education,” he said. “So I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies.” But at a Florida fundraiser Romney attended last night — which NBC’s Garrett Haake overheard because he was sitting on a seawall outside the home — the former Massachusetts governor got MUCH MORE specific. Indeed, it was in a way Romney’s own hot-mic moment, where he was more open about his plans than he’s been to voters and reporters to date.
*** Eliminate HUD, cut Education Department: He singled out HUD for possible elimination. “I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.” He said he’d cut the Education Department, though not eliminate it entirely, referring again to that 1994 Senate defeat. “The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely.” Romney also identified specific loopholes and deductions that he’s eliminate to finance his across-the-board tax cut. “I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said, per Haake, adding that he would also likely eliminate deductions for state income and property taxes as well.
*** Giddy over the Rosen flap: At the fundraiser, Haake adds, both Romney and his wife Ann remained absolutely giddy about last week’s Hilary Rosen flap. “It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” Ann Romney said. The candidate went further, calling the episode a “gift” that allowed his campaign to show contrast with Democrats in the general election’s first week. But while Romney said last week that “all moms are working moms,” that doesn’t apply to mothers who are welfare recipients, the Boston Globe says. Romney said at a Jan. 4 campaign stop in Manchester, N.H.: “Even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work,” Romney describing his position as Massachusetts governor. “And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless,’ and I said ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving daycare to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”
*** Romney wants a “Republican DREAM Act”: Here’s a final bit of news from last night’s Romney’s fundraiser: He said the GOP must offer its own policies to woo Hispanics, including a “Republican DREAM Act,” to give Hispanic voters a real choice between the two political parties. So Romney here is admitting the obvious: He and his party have A LOT of work to do with Latinos. Why? Consider this: Obama can get to 270 electoral votes (275 to be specific) by winning the following battleground states: Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia. Under the scenario of this Hispanic path (CO, NM, NV, and VA), Obama doesn’t need to win Florida, Ohio, Iowa, or New Hampshire. That’s right — this is a viable path to 270 that does not include EITHER Florida or Ohio. It’s pretty stunning.
Read More on msnbc.msn.com. By NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Brooke Brower.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)
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