Gay Marriage and States Rights: GOP Split

Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann
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A roundup of today's top campaign 2012 stories

Some Republican candidates are taking a "states' rights" stance on the issue of gay marriage ... and it's worrying party insiders: "Two of the most prominent social conservatives looking toward the 2012 presidential election – Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann – now have suggested deferring to the states on marriage laws. That stance meshes somewhat with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's view, and he is perceived to be the most socially moderate candidate in the GOP field. For a party that has in the past remained adamantly opposed to gay marriage, the coming presidential race may be the forum where that position gets a fresh look.... And so now there are the makings of an uncomfortable clash between the federalists and the social conservatives within the party about how the issue should be addressed going forward, and potential candidate Perry has found himself right in the middle of it." [RealClearPolitics]

Spending hawk Michele Bachmann has run up a hefty hair-and-makeup tab, reports Mother Jones: "Considering Rep. Michele Bachmann's crusade against government spending and her demand that America live within its means, you wouldn't figure her for a conspicuous spender. But after launching her bid for the White House, Bachmann has broken with her usual frugality and shelled out some serious cash on a stylist in what could be seen as her own John-Edwards'-$400-haircut-moment. According to Bachmann's latest campaign finance filings, her campaign spent nearly $4,700 on hair and makeup in the weeks after she entered the presidential race on June 13 .... Bachmann's hefty hair and makeup tab in recent weeks far surpasses what she's spent in the past. A review of her campaign records shows less than $1,000 in similar spending last year, which includes her 2010 congressional reelection bid." [Mother Jones]

So much for a "civil" campaign. Jon Huntsman has just sent out an email blasting Mitt Romney and his record on taxes: "Mr. Huntsman’s campaign sent an e-mail to reporters on Monday with the title: 'The Romney-Obama Budget Plan: Raise Taxes.' In it, Mr. Huntsman, a former Republican governor of Utah, argues that his rival Mitt Romney raised hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue as governor of Massachusetts. 'The way that Mitt Romney solved budget deficits in Massachusetts looks very similar to what President Obama would enact today if our Republican leadership in Congress wasn’t standing strong for the American taxpayer,' the e-mail from Mr. Huntsman said. The e-mail added,  'Republican primary voters will also face a historic choice — do they want to nominate a candidate who adopted President Obama’s budget approach as governor of Massachusetts?'" [NYT]

Tim Pawlenty is trying to project a tougher image, reports the LA Times: "Now, as [Pawlenty] relaunches his presidential campaign three weeks before a crucial test of his viability in the Ames straw poll, he's trying to prove what many Iowa voters don't quite believe: that he's a tough guy who can beat President Obama in 2012. Traveling hundreds of miles last week through the counties that ring Des Moines and Ames, Pawlenty hammered the theme that he has taken on tough fights and won. In each speech, Pawlenty noted that he had challenged unions, braved a government shutdown and stood firm for conservative principles in Minnesota. He began airing a new Iowa television ad, set in a hockey arena: 'You fight, you bleed, you prevail,' he narrates." [LA Times]


Early primary states are competing for earlier dates – and more influence – according to the New York Times: "The 2012 presidential race is the first to fall under new rules from the Republican National Committee, which had intended the contests to start in February, a month later than in 2008. But at least a half dozen states are threatening to defy the rules and move up their primaries. The result is that the first ballots are once again likely to be cast in January as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina move up the dates of their contests to protect their franchises as the early voting states." [NYT]

In other Bachmann news, The Hill takes a look at her recent voting record – or rather, lack of a voting record: "Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has missed nearly 40 percent of votes in the House since she formally launched her presidential campaign. Bachmann’s absentee rate, which is significantly higher than the two other House members running for president, could be used by her GOP opponents on the campaign trail. Bachmann, the chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus who has surged toward the top of the Republican presidential field, has missed 50 of 135 votes (37 percent) since formally announcing her candidacy June 27 in Waterloo, Iowa." [The Hill]