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Political Notebook

Romney’s memory is ‘foggy’ on Detroit’s Golden Jubilee

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed supporters at the Royal Oak Music Theatre last night.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed supporters at the Royal Oak Music Theatre last night.(Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - Several nights ago, Mitt Romney began to recount a tale about when Detroit was the pride of the nation, a place where everyone wanted to be.

“I think my dad had a job, like, being the grandmaster or whatever of the 50th celebration of the automobile in Detroit,’’ he said at a Tea Party rally in Milford. “They painted Woodward Avenue with gold paint. My memory’s a little foggy here, so, uh, but - yeah I was probably 4 or something like that. But they had the cars go down Woodward Avenue.’’

His memory was a little foggy because he hadn’t been born yet.

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The Golden Jubilee, as the 1946 event was called, occurred nine months before Romney’s birth.

An aide said that he was simply telling a story about his father and that he never claimed to have been at the event.

“Mitt doesn’t say he was there, in fact, he says his memory was foggy,’’ the aide said. “He was simply telling the story about his dad.’’

The discrepancy, first cited by the Toronto Star, is not the first time Romney got an event wrong about his early childhood.

In 2007, Romney had to acknowledge that he had not watched his father march with Martin Luther King Jr., as he had asserted in a national debate. Romney said at the time that his father had told him that he had marched with King and that he was using the word “saw’’ in a “figurative sense.’’

“I did not see it with my own eyes, but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in that great effort,’’ Romney said then.

But historical evidence and news reports showed that George Romney never did march with King. — MATT VISER

Obama urges governors to invest in education

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WASHINGTON - President Obama urged the nation’s governors yesterday to invest more state resources in education, saying a highly skilled workforce is crucial for the United States to remain competitive with other countries.

Obama made his pitch at a White House meeting with governors in Washington as part of the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association. The president and his wife, Michelle, hosted a black tie dinner with the governors Sunday night.

Obama said at yesterday’s session that he sympathized with governors whose state budgets have been badly squeezed during the economic downturn. But he said that was no reason to trim resources from schools.

“The fact is that too many states are making cuts in education that I think are simply too big,’’ Obama said. “Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state than the decisions you make about where to invest. Budgets are about choices.’’

He reaffirmed his view that decisions about education should be left to states and not the federal government. “I believe education is an issue that is best addressed at the state level,’’ the president said, “and governors are in the best position to have the biggest impact.’’

It was a message directed largely to Republican governors, many of whom have complained of too much federal intrusion in state matters, including education. Several prominent GOP governors were in the room as the president spoke, including Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

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Obama earlier this month granted waivers to Massachusetts and nine other states, freeing them from some of the toughest requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act as long as they measure student progress with their own standards.

He called on governors to assist that effort toward a more state-centered approach to education by spending more.

“The fact of the matter is we don’t have to choose between resources and reforms; we need resources and reform,’’ he said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Poll shows Santorum ahead of Romney in Ohio

Rick Santorum leads former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney by 7 points in Ohio, a crucial state that will hold its primary a week from today, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

The poll found Santorum would receive support from 36 percent of likely Republican primary voters, followed by Romney with 29 percent, former House speaker Newt Gingrich with 17 percent, and Texas Representative Ron Paul with 11 percent.

With 66 delegates at stake, the second-most of any state voting on Super Tuesday, Ohio will be an important state for all the candidates. It could also be a swing state in the general election. Ohio voters may be familiar with Santorum, who represented neighboring Pennsylvania in the US Senate. But voters could also be swayed by the outcome of the vote in neighboring Michigan, Romney’s home state, which holds its primary today.

Romney had been ahead in the polls in Ohio until this month, when Santorum pulled past him, enjoying a surge of momentum from victories in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota.

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As has been the trend in numerous polls, Santorum is ahead among men, Tea Party supporters, and conservatives. Romney is ahead among moderates, while women are evenly split.

The poll found that 45 percent of voters are still open to changing their minds.

The poll of 847 likely Republican voters was conducted Feb. 23 to 26 and has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points. — SHIRA SCHOENBERG