Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • The Filter: 1.31.08

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories--live from the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.*If you haven't already, make sure to check out Suzanne Smalley's Stumper item "Cracks in the Romney Facade." "THE F-WORD(Holly Bailey, Newsweek) still refuses to use the F-word—front runner, that is. Boarding his campaign plane early Wednesday, the morning after his big win in ,...
  • McCain: Is Arnold Next?

    Contributed by Karen Breslau and Holly BaileyJohn McCain will soon be basking in the glow of an endorsement from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But is another powerful supporter about to climb aboard the Straight Talk Express? California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will officially endorse McCain after Wednesday night's GOP debate, sources close to both men hint. Both the governor's office and McCain's campaign are maintaining an official silence on the subject. But if the Governator does pat Mac on the back, it would only add to McCain's momentum. Schwarzenegger maintains public approval ratings in his state in the 60s, and California is one of the biggest prizes on Super Tuesday. The two have formed a mutual admiration society over their respective efforts on climate change. Schwarzenegger's endorsement could permanently change the climate of the GOP race. UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: Romano here. I was trailing Huckabee in Orange County when Karen and...
  • Welcome to the O.C., Huck

    NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--Swimming pool. Tennis court. Lakefront vista. Bottle blondes. Valets in tuxedos parking Audis, Lexuses, Benzes and BMWs. Bartenders serving wine and champagne at 11:00 on a Wednesday morning. People actually wine and champagne at 11:00 on a Wednesday morning--instead of, you know, working. In the street, a woman wearing britches and designer sunglasses led a gorgeous chestnut mare by the reins. Nearby, Hispanic laborers picked crabgrass from the close-cropped lawns. In the immortal words of Luke Ward: "Welcome to the O.C., b***h." Or a Mike Huckabee fundraiser.   Newport Beach is not exactly Huckabee's scene. To put it mildly. As one of the poshest communities in America, it's a poor fit, in theory, for a Southern-fried Arkansan whose mother grew up with dirt floors and whose father never finished high school. "You're pretty sophisticated out here," he noted. (Eat your heart out, Ryan Atwood.) But when Huck arrived this mor...
  • Edwards Says Sayonara

    So much for all the talk of playing kingmaker at a brokered convention. ...
  • The Filter: 1.30.08

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories—live from the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.MCCAIN DEFEATS ROMNEY IN FLORIDA VOTE(Michael Cooper and Meghan Thee, New York Times)The results were a decisive turning point in the Republican race,...
  • The Florida Primary: Romney Won't Stop Believin'

    By Suzanne Smalley Mike Freese, a 59-year-old St. Petersburg resident and Romney supporter who is trying to start a movement he calls Red Necks for Romney, had already gotten two posters with the slogan signed by Romney at events over the past few days. Imagine his disappointment when Romney's advance staff stopped him from bringing a third handmade Red Necks for Romney sign into their election night event in St. Petersburg's grand Mirror Lake Lyceum, an event hall here. Freese said that while Romney has chuckled at his message each time he's autographed one of the signs, last night the staff told him only official Romney manufactured signs were allowed. How very Romney. Truth be told, the Romney folks could have used a few more signs last night. The hall at Mirror Lake was too big for the crowd of just a couple hundred, leaving about a quarter of the seats in the balcony overlooking where Romney gave his bittersweet concession speech empty. The bar was deserted all...
  • The Florida Primary: McCain Wins! Adrian!

    With 54 percent of precincts reporting, McCain leads Romney 36 to 31 percent--which is good enough for the win, according to the networks. Here's what I wrote earlier on McCain after Florida: More to come.
  • The Florida Primary: Sunshine State Update

    I just landed at Dallas-Fort Worth airport for a brief layover before flying out to Los Angeles for this week's final pre-Feb. 5 debates. A few quick thoughts before "wheels up":On Ron Paul: After posting items earlier today on what's next for Huckabee, Giuliani, Romney and McCain after Florida, I was bombarded with emails (some of them angry) asking why I was ignoring Ron Paul. "Why, sir, no mention of Ron Paul?" wrote "Mike C." "He is in better shape than some of the others, yet your blog and 99% of all the other MSM outlets omit him. Is the MSM scared of this guy? Are you scared of him?" To answer Mike: I'm not a particularly courageous guy, but, no, I'm not scared of Ron Paul. In fact, I think he's one of the most interesting things to happen to American politics in a long time. I even wrote an article about it. And you're right, Mike--the good doctor is doing better than, say, Giuliani. But here's the...
  • After Florida: Mike Huckabee

    Final Pre-Primary Polling Average: Fourth Place, 12.9 percent (1.8 behind Giuliani, 17.2 behind Romney, 17.8 behind McCain)Current National Polling Average: Third Place, 18.8 percent (1.5 behind Romney, 7.5 behind McCain)Mike Huckabee won't win Florida. He won't finish second. But the...
  • Let the Sunshine In

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.--Another day, another completely unpredictable presidential contest. Two weeks ago, it looked like the Florida primary would be a four man free-for-all: Mitt Romney vs. John McCain vs. Rudy Giuliani vs. Mike Huckabee. Since then, the field has narrowed, and as the voters of Florida finally head to the polls today, it appears they'll choose either Romney, the economic Mr. Fix-It, or McCain, the national security flyboy. That said, no one has any idea which of the two they'll choose; the latest surveys show the frontrunners neck-and-neck at about 30 percent. The stakes couldn't be higher--whomever caps the bitter Sunshine State battle with a win will ride into Super Tuesday with the last, precious piece of momentum, and in such a fractured, overdrawn field, the Big Mo could make all the difference. With the trail largely deserted, I'll spend the day posting short analyses of what's next for Romney, McCain, Giuliani and Huckabee. Stayed...
  • 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...