Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • Where's Apollo Creed When You Need Him?

    By Holly Bailey TAMPA, Fla.--John McCain has been marching into rallies to the theme from “Rocky” in recent weeks, and now we know why. With polls showing the senator virtually tied with Mitt Romney heading into tomorrow’s Florida primary, the race has become a total slugfest, getting uglier and uglier by the minute. The animosity between the McCain and Romney camps is well known, but these days, the two are not even trying to conceal their disdain for the other. Today’s fight began just after sunrise, when Romney went after McCain’s record on campaign finance reform, immigration and global warming. “Look at the three things Sen. McCain has done as senator," Romney said. "If you want that kind of a liberal, democratic course as president, then you can vote for him. But those three pieces of legislation, those aren't conservative, those aren't Republican, those are not the kind of leadership we need as we go forward." Ouch. Naturally, it didn’t take long for...
  • The View from MittAir

     When I arrive at the rear of the aircraft, it’s there in 18-B, just as promised: “Romano-Wewsweek.” I will note that I was assigned to the second-to-last row, not the last. I will also note that there is no one assigned to the row behind me. The fewer obstacles between me and the toilet, the better. That’s what I always say. There are, of course, several benefits to flying aboard MittAir. For starters, you can work in transit. Since I cover both parties, I try to hop from one candidate to the next as frequently as possible; that means I’ll typically travel by rental car, speeding across, say, South Carolina from stop to stop. It’s considerably easier, I’ve found, to blog aboard a plane—as I’m doing right now—than at the wheel of a Chevy Impala. Also, I can eat, which is nearly impossible when I’m in roadhog mode; by the time I conduct interviews, write a post, upload photos and program my GPS, the candidate’s caravan is already halfway to the next stop (with the chauffeured press...
  • Mitt Romney, Man of Many Moods

    When the Avion hangar cleared out, Romney stepped to the side of the stage to tape an interview with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. The Q&A touched on the usual topics--Super Tuesday, McCain's economic inadequacy, whether a Giuliani withdrawal will help or hurt.  At the end, Romney's wife, Ann, stepped into the circle and, at Brzezinski.'s prodding, gave Mitt a kiss on the cheek. "I'd like to do three minutes with Ann," said Brzezinski. "That okay?" Ann asked. "That's just fine," Mitt said. "Just remember what Sen. Sam Urban once said: 'Don't lie, but whatever you do don't blurt out the truth.' Everyone chuckled. Then Ann noticed a smudge on her husband's face. "You have a little lipstick kiss on here," she said, wiping it off. "Oh, thank you very much," said Romney. "That's adorable," said Brzezinski.. "Governor, just let me see the...
  • Personally, I Prefer the Image of an Oven Mitt...

    Still SANFORD, Fla.—I love colorful metaphors as much as the next pretentious writer, but this might be a bit florid even for my tastes. From State Rep. D. Alan Hays' introduction of Romney:  "When I hear the word 'mitt,' it takes me back to my high-school days, when I was playing baseball. I was a catcher and a first baseman, and a mitt is what I always wore. And a mitt gave me assurance that I was gonna have a clean catch. Nice, clean, you can really get that ball in there and grab it. It's the same way Mitt Romney won't drop the ball as President of the United States." Hmm. I never thought of it that way.
  • From the Department of Crossing that Bridge Before You Come to It

    SANFORD, Fla.--Amid his typical remarks here at the Avion Jet Center at Sanford-Orlando International Airport----illegal immigration, the economy, taxes--Mitt Romney managed to slip in a little surprise. "John McCain is a hero," he said. "But his views on the economy are I think something summed up by his own statement: it's not really something he understands that well. He said that a couple of times and even said that when he chose his vice president, it'd have to be somebody who really understood the economy." Dramatic pause. "Well, I do understand the economy." The line earned him his loudest and longest applause of the rally. But the punchline was yet to come. Ten seconds later, when the cheering died down, Romney cracked a smile. "And I'm not going to be vice president to John McCain, either." Rejected! We're sure Mac will cry himself to sleep tonight over that one.Mike Huckabee, on the other hand... 
  • Flying the Not-So-Friendly Skies

     SANFORD, Fla.--Welcome to the tarmac-to-tarmac stage of the campaign. From here on out, it's air-time, not face-time, that counts.The real hopscotching doesn't start until Wednesday, when the final pre-Feb. 5 primary, Florida, is over. In the week between then and Super Tuesday, each campaign will make tough decisions about where best to spend its time, energy and money--meaning that time-consuming townhalls will give way to quick rallies geared toward garnering local media coverage. But today's like that in miniature, as each of the three leading Republican candidates--Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani--fly from city to city across the Sunshine State in a mad dash to reach as many voters (and media markets) as possible. I'll be spending the day with Romney and posting quick dispatches from the road... or, um, the sky. By the time I woke up this morning, the former Massachusetts governor had already held a 6:20 a.m. media availability at an Texaco...
  • The Filter: 1.28.08

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories--live from the Hilton Garden Inn in sunny Orlando....
  • Stop Four: Surf's Up, Mr. Mayor

    COCOA BEACH, Fla.--Local surfer Steve Harris--blond, tan, hoody, mustache--came to Ron Jon Surf Shop here in Cocoa Beach tonight for a wet suit. He only noticed the hordes of people filing in as he was finishing up at the register. "Must be a signing," he thought, noting that pro surfers often visit the store for promotional appearances. "Wonder who it is." It didn't take long to find out. When Harris, 39, returned to his SUV, he saw that it was blocked in--by Rudy Giuliani's massive tour bus. "I was like, 'Dude, Rudy Giuliani at Ron Jon's, you know?" he told me afterwards. "What's the connection there?" Not much, it turns out. Unlike the day's earlier events--synagogue, pizza parlor, Italian-American club--the stop at Ron Jon was less a targeted appeal to one of Rudy's natural constituencies than, well, a whim. According to the Ron Jon manager responsible for arranging the appearance, Giuliani spotted the ...
  • Stop Three: What's Cooking?

    VERO BEACH, Fla.--I spotted the sign as I pulled up to the Italian-American Civic Association here in Vero Beach, stuck in the lawn right next to a RUDY placard: "PASTA DINNER SUNDAY" and then, in Magic Marker, "4:15-7:15." At first, I was confused. The other signs said the feast was set to start at 4:00 sharp. Then it hit me.The kind men and women of the Civic Association had graciously delayed their dinner. For 15 whole minutes. For a potential president.Trust me. For us Italian-Americans--"Romano," I'm told, isn't Scandinavian--15 minutes is an eternity when you're waiting for some spaghetti. Good thing Giuliani was running right on schedule. At 3:00 on the dot, he pulled up in his "Florida is Giuliani Country" bus, the "Rudy" soundtrack blaring from the PA, and sprinted to the stage. With a "Tested. Ready. Now" banner behind him, Hizzoner shifted the spotlight from terrorism--this morning's obsession...
  • Stop Two: Hey, Paisan!

    The maverick, Reagan-era, red-bereted citizen crime fighters were out in full force at Rudy's appearance just now in Port Saint Lucie. It only added to the event's odd Big-Apple atmosphere. There was, of course, the pizza--Paisano's Gourmet, to be exact. (Giuliani didn't bother to taste any). There were also cops, showing off enough sirens and flashing lightbars to make Hizzoner feel right at home. And then there was the couple I spoke to afterwards: she with big, black hair and tight pants, he with a big black mustache--and tight pants. I asked if Rudy had said anything that special. "No," she said. "But that's only because we already know everything about him. We're big fans." Are you from Florida? I asked. (They didn't look particularly Floridian.) "New York," she said. But of course. "I lived there before Rudy, with all the crime and corruption, and I saw how he turned it around. He'll do the same thing...
  • Roadtrippin' with Rudy

    BOCA RATON, Fla.—Rudy Giuliani has seen better days.Take, for example, Dec. 16, 2007, the day CNN and Gallup released a national poll showing Giuliani crushing his rivals for the Republican nomination by 11 points. Or, for that matter, any day before Dec. 16, 2007, when he led the field by as much as 24. In every single poll. Here in Florida, one need only look to Jan. 7—a mere three weeks ago—to find Giuliani up by seven. If you scroll back to November, the margin expands to 21.But alas. Today, Giuliani trails Mitt Romney and John McCain by seven in the Sunshine State and places a distant fourth in national surveys behind McCain, Romney and Huckabee. If the early-state voters are to be trusted, Giuliani is currently a less viable contender for the GOP nod than Ron Paul. America's Mayor finished sixth in Iowa, fourth in New Hampshire and sixth again in South Carolina; Paul at least managed fifth-place finishes in the Hawkeye and Palmetto States.It's not hard to see why....
  • The Filter: 1.27.08

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories--live from the Hilton Garden Inn in lovely Boca Raton, Florida.THE NEWSWEEK ROSTER:JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF(Evan Thomas and Suzanne Smalley)Bill Clinton has morphed from statesman into attack dog. Everyone's barking back—except, perhaps, the voters.HERE AN F.O.B., THERE AN F.O.B.(Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball)Since leaving office, Bill's gotten by with a little help from his friends. Now he's re-examining his circle.I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME SNORE(Julia Baird) In a new book, 30 female writers critique Hillary Clinton. Again. And again. And still miss the point. ROMNEY: 'LOOK AT MY RECORD'(Howard Fineman)Romney wants to fix the economy and Washington, but first he has to repair his own reputation.OBAMA PLAYS OFFENSE(Jonathan Alter)The senator tells NEWSWEEK he's 'not going to back down.' But he knows he'll get knocked around.EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE(Arian Campo-Flores)As...
  • An Obama 'Rout '

    From the AP: Barack Obama routed Hillary Rodham Clinton...
  • It's Palmetto-State Primary Time!

    Dear reader(s), We almost didn't make it. A full week has passed since the last nominating contests, forcing Stumper to resort to nutty indulgences like "spending time with friends" and "taking a shower" to deal with the effects of withdrawal. But finally the day has come; while I type, South Carolina Democrats are heading to the polls to vote for their candidates of choice. As with Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Michigan and the South Carolina Republican contest, we'll spend the day looking at "what's next" for the remaining contenders as they depart Gamecock Country and fan out across the continent in advance of Feb. 5's coast-to-coast Super Tuesday bonanza.Thanks for reading,Andrew 
  • This Is What Happens When You Show Up Late to an Event on the Eve of a Primary

    You sit on the floor outside. And get your picture taken doing it.   Why, you ask, was I late? Three words: Maurice's Gourmet Barbecue. Yes, again. How can something so wrong feel so right? Photo from yesterday's John Edwards event in Columbia by Robert Willett of the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer. For the rest of his gallery, click here.
  • Ad Hawk: Quick, Mitt, Hide the Windsurfing Photos

    On Jan. 1, we noted some eerie overlap between current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his Democratic predecessor John Kerry. Both hail from the Bay State. Both speak French. Both grew up wealthy. Both lack the common touch. Both had fathers in government. And both are "rather robotic in person, with stentorian voices permanent stuck on the 'politician' setting." Two weeks later, top McCain strategist Steve Schmidt added another similarity to the list: they're both "flip-floppers. " Now the McCain camp is taking the Kerry analogy one step further--and it may be one step too far. That's right, ladies and gentlemen--they're breaking out the windsurfing (see ad above)."Where does Mitt Romney stand?" asks the voiceover. "Whichever way the wind blows." Kerry, you'll remember, was fond of the water sport, and Bush's opposition researchers soon seized on it as a devastating metaphor for his shift...
  • The (Primary Eve) Filter: 1.25.08

    A (quick) round-up of this morning's must-read stories.THE CLINTONS' PATRONIZING STRATEGY (Jonathan Alter, Newsweek)WHO'S SIDE IS JOE LIEBERMAN ON? (Jeffrey Bartholet, Newsweek) WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE GOP RACE? (RealClear Politics) GIULIANI: BIG APPLE FLAVOR AT THE FLORIDA DELI (Washington Post) HAS GIULIANI BLOWN IT? (National Review) EDWARDS RISES IN S.C. Polls (The State) FOR EDWARDS, A ROLE AS A POSSIBLE KINGMAKER (Wall Street Journal) DEMOCRATS TEST MESSAGES IN EARLY NATIONWIDE ADS (New York Times)THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN'S SILENT SHAKE-UP (New Republic)CLINTON CAMPAIGN SEES VALUE IN KEEPING FORMER PRESIDENT IN ATTACK MODE (New York Times) CLINTON, OBAMA BACK OFF ATTACKS (Washington Post) CLINTON'S DEPRESSING ASSAULT ON OBAMA (Washington Post) THE HOARSE RACE: WHEN CANDIDATES LOSE THEIR VOICES (Wall Street Journal) 
  • GOP Debate: Playing It Safe

    Here's NEWSWEEK'S Holly Bailey from Boca Raton with a report on last night's Republican snoozefest... or, um, "debate":Maybe Fred Thompson should have stayed in after all. His droll...
  • Slideshow: On the Rope Line

    BEAUFORT, S.C.--Shots from the Obama post-game show at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort: Eye to Eye: Obama spots Stumper in the crowd  Speaking of security, it's been particularly intense here in South Carolina. I followed Obama in Iowa and New Hampshire without any static, but so far today the police or Secret Service guys have... ... nearly removed and destroyed a backpack I left unattended for 15 seconds. ... barred me from returning to my car for ten full minutes because Obama was departing from the same lot. ... locked me out of both the media and public entrances to a high-school rally after I arrived five minutes late.  ... and shouted me down, pulled up beside me on motorcycle and turned me back when I walked down a driveway they'd blocked off to vehicles. I wonder if the threats that earned Obama the earliest Secret Service detail in election history are worse here than elsewhere. Or maybe it's just because Stumper looks so menacing. 
  • Rocky Onboard, McCain Informs the Country That He Is, In Fact, Gonna Fly Now

     Contributed by Holly BaileyThe biggest news on the campaign trail today is not the smackdown between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama or the almost too close to call Florida GOP primary. This morning came word that John McCain has gotten the endorsement of Sylvester Stallone. That’s right: Rambo digs the Straight Talk. “I like McCain a lot. A lot,” the actor told Fox News. “You know, things may change along the way, but there’s something about matching the character with the script. And right now, the script that’s being written and reality is pretty brutal and pretty hard edged like a rough action film, and you need somebody who’s been in that to do deal with it.” Dude! Sly does have a point: That script, I mean the world, is a scary place. It’s hard to imagine a ‘roided up Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee parachuting into the jungle with a pocketful of grenades and a makeshift crossbow and ripping the hearts out of bad guys. Rudy Giuliani, maybe. Or Ron Paul, if he ditched the blimp,...
  • Hey Hillary, Forget Iowa and New Hampshire. Welcome to New Jersey.

     HACKENSACK, NJ--The good people of the Garden State are, to borrow a phrase, "fired up." And I suppose you could say they're "ready to go" as well.Last night, Hillary Clinton came to Hackensack for her first major New Jersey rally of the cycle--and the fervor reached levels typically reserved for candidates named "Barack Obama." The queue snaked hundreds of yards from the front door of the Bergen Academies high school to the far reaches of the parking lot; dozens gave up on getting a seat and could be seen retreating to their cars even before the event began. Amped as the atmosphere was, though, I suspect that the hubbub arose less from her fame and senator-next-door status than something more fundamental: the novel allure of seeing a real, live presidential candidate--any presidential candidate--in a state that hasn't had a say in the nominating contest since... well, ever. (Or at least in my lifetime.) Losing to Obama by 12 in the Palmetto...
  • The (Headin' Back to South Carolina) Filter: 1.24.08

    A (quick) round-up of this morning's must-read stories.EDWARDS STRUGGLES FOR ATTENTION, EVEN IN NATIVE STATE (USA Today) THOMPSON: 'A LACKLUSTER CANDIDATE' (Newsweek) ROMNEY, MCCAIN TAKE LEAD IN FLORIDA; TAX TALK PERVADES (Washington Post)ROMNEY LEADS IN ILL WILL AMONG GOP CANDIDATES (New York Times) ROMNEY'S WALLET KEEPS HIM IN THE RACE (Wall Street Journal) THE CHINKS IN GIULIANI'S 9/11 ARMOR (Los Angeles Times) GIULIANI FINDS SNOWBIRD FRIENDS IN FLORIDA, BUT IS HE WINNING OVER VOTERS? (New York Times) HUCKABEE ALIENATES GOP IN ARKANSAS (Washington Times) SOME IN PARTY BRISTLE AT CLINTON'S ATTACKS (Washington Post) OBAMA PULLS PUNCHES VS. CLINTONS (Politico)