Political notebook

Super PAC ad takes swings at Mitt Romney

The super PAC ad accuses Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, of plotting to slash social programs while cutting taxes for wealthy Americans, like himself.
The super PAC ad accuses Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, of plotting to slash social programs while cutting taxes for wealthy Americans, like himself.

Priorities USA Action, a super PAC founded by a pair of former aides to President Obama, will spend $660,000 to air a television ad attacking Mitt Romney in four swing states.

The ad accuses Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, of plotting to slash social programs while cutting taxes for wealthy Americans, like himself. It will run in Ohio, Florida, Iowa, and Virginia, expected battleground states in November’s general election.

The ad buy is far and away the largest for Priorities USA, the political action committee formed last April by ex-White House staffers Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney. To date, the super PAC has spent $1.5 million on advertising, all against Romney, Federal Election Commission filings show.


Much of Priorities USA’s spending has come recently, as Romney has emerged as the clear GOP favorite. The super PAC made a $270,000 buy on April 4 for an ad linking Romney to oil companies. That spot ran in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.

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Priorities USA, however, has lagged its Republican counterparts in raising money. American Crossroads, a group advocating for Republican issues and candidates across the nation, and Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting Romney, have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in their 2012 campaigns.

Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money from donors but cannot coordinate with the campaigns of candidates. — CALLUM BORCHERS

Boehner, McConnell now stand behind Romney

A week after Rick Santorum abandoned his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell offered belated endorsements on Tuesday to Mitt Romney, now the presumptive GOP nominee.

Boehner will chair the Republican National Convention in August and had refused to back any candidate during a testy primary season. As recently as Monday evening, the representative from Ohio declined to confirm his backing of Romney.


But Boehner asserted Tuesday morning that “it’s clear now Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee.’’

“I think Mitt Romney has a set of economic policies that can put Americans back to work and, frankly, contrast sharply with the failed economic policies of President Obama,’’ Boehner said. “And I will be proud to support Mitt Romney and do everything I can to help him win.’’

The second- and third-ranking House Republicans, majority leader Eric Cantor and majority whip Kevin McCarthy, already had given Romney their endorsements. — CALLUM BORCHERS

Rubio’s immigration plan gives GOP, Romney a boost

WASHINGTON - Senator Marco Rubio’s push for a Republican version of immigration legislation looks like the answer to the election-year prayers of the GOP - and Mitt Romney.

Rubio - telegenic son of Cuban exiles and potential vice presidential pick - is pulling together a bill that would allow young illegal immigrants to remain in the United States but denies them citizenship, an initial step in the drawn-out, divisive fight over immigration policy and the fate of the 11 million people here illegally.


The freshman senator calls his evolving legislation a conservative alternative to the DREAM Act - the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors measure. That Democratic-backed bill, which is overwhelmingly popular with Hispanics, would provide a pathway to citizenship to children in the United States illegally if they attend college or join the military. The measure came close to passage in December 2010 but has languished since.

An immigration plan from Rubio, the GOP’s best-known Hispanic, could help Republicans make some headway with the fastest-growing minority group and its 21 million eligible voters, many concentrated in the contested presidential battleground states of Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado.

Democrats maintain a significant political advantage with Hispanics, numbers that were only strengthened by the harsh rhetoric from GOP presidential candidates in this year’s primary.

It is a reality the likely Republican presidential nominee clearly recognizes.

“We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party,’’ Romney said at a private fund-raiser in Florida Sunday, insisting the GOP needs an alternative to the DREAM Act. He warned that a significant number of Hispanics backing Obama “spells doom for us,’’ according to NBC News.

Rubio, who notably called on his party to tone down the anti-immigrant talk earlier this year, is working on a plan that would allow young illegal immigrants who came to the United States with their parents to apply for non-immigrant visas. They would be permitted to stay in the country to study or work and could obtain a driver’s license, but would not be able to vote. They later could apply for residency but would not have a special path to citizenship.

Rubio said he has not talked to the Romney campaign about his plan yet, but definitely intends to do so. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gingrich’s wife, Paul now stumping in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s wife and Ron Paul are campaigning in Rhode Island as voters prepare to head to the polls for the April 24 primary.

On Tuesday, Callista Gingrich visited a YMCA in Middletown and a library in East Providence, where she read from her book “Sweet Land of Liberty.’’

Paul is holding a town hall meeting Wednesday night at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown. — ASSOCIATED PRESS