MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney flexed his campaign’s organizational muscle in the key early voting state of New Hampshire on Saturday, unleashing hundreds of volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls on his behalf.
The former Massachusetts governor also criticized the attorney general, calling for Eric Holder to resign or be fired over “Fast and Furious,” the botched law enforcement action aimed at disrupting gun-trafficking networks on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Standing before a poster reading “Earn It,” Romney said his campaign had already placed 200,000 phone calls in the state of 1.3 million people, and planned to call an additional 12,000 potential voters on Saturday.
Romney has held a wide lead in most polls of likely Republican voters in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary of the 2012 presidential contest on January 10. Republican hopefuls are vying to challenge President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election.
But in a survey taken last Monday, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich pulled to within 10 percentage points of Romney following an important newspaper endorsement.
Gingrich recently added advisers in New Hampshire, but his grass-roots apparatus there pales next to that of Romney, whose volunteers aimed to “knock on 5,000 doors … and put together 10,000 yard signs” on Saturday alone.
Romney continued to draw contrasts with Gingrich, who has soared to the top of many national Republican polls.
Gingrich could benefit from the suspension of businessman Herman Cain’s campaign on Saturday after weeks of allegations of sexual impropriety against the former pizza magnate.
Romney, who has had an uneasy relationship with the conservative Tea Party movement that had been at the core of Cain’s support, made an appeal for the group’s backing by highlighting his background in the private sector.
“Speaker Gingrich is a fine person but he’s spent his life in Washington,” said Romney. “That doesn’t exactly line up with the Tea Partiers. I think when things are said and done, I’ll have good support from the Tea Party and hopefully the majority of their support.”
DEMANDS HOLDER QUIT OR BE FIRED
Romney went on the attack against Holder after the White House released documents on Friday showing how some Justice Department officials had given false denials about involvement in the “Fast and Furious” endeavor.
“I think it’s now increasingly clear that he misled Congress. It’s time for Attorney General Holder to leave office, either to resign or be removed by the president,” Romney said in an interview with Fox News.
Other Republican presidential hopefuls, including Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, have also called for Holder to quit.
Fast and Furious was a sting operation designed to stem illegal weapons traffic into Mexico. But many of the guns bought by straw purchasers in Arizona have been used for violent crimes.
The debacle came to light after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in a shootout with illegal immigrants on the border. Two of the weapons at the scene were tied to the operation, although it was not clear if they fired the fatal shot.
Holder has expressed regret over the botched operation, but said he knew about it only after the controversy erupted.
(Reporting by Jason McLure; Editing by Ros Krasny and Peter Cooney)
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Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’
On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.
As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.
Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:
1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."
Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR
British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate
Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.
The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.
In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.
Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6
President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.
Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.
Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019