- - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Romney brushes off flip-flopper criticism

MANCHESTERMitt Romney is brushing aside criticism he is a flip-flopper.

The Republican presidential contender won’t pretend he’s never changed his mind on every issue he’s ever considered. He says that during his business career he learned that people have to change when facts change. If they don’t, they get fired for being stubborn and stupid.

He doesn’t cite any specific shifts, but critics point to changes on social issues and the economic stimulus package.

Mr. Romney’s comments came in response to a question during a town-hall meeting Tuesday at Saint Anselm College. He also attacked top Obama strategist David Axelrod.

The day before, Mr. Axelrod described the president’s re-election as a “titanic struggle.”

Mr. Romney said it was an appropriate phrase given that the campaign is going to sink.

PENNSYLVANIA

Poll: State voters prefer winner-take-all system

HARRISBURG — A new poll shows that most Pennsylvanians don’t want to change the way the state awards electoral votes in presidential elections.

The poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut finds that 52 percent of voters prefer the current winner-take-all system, while 40 percent favor a proposal by a top Republican state senator to award electoral votes by congressional district.

Erik Arneson, a spokesman for Sen. Dominic Pileggi, said the senator’s proposal better reflects the will of the voters, and that support for it will grow as more people become more familiar with it. Maine and Nebraska are the only states that currently use such a system.

The statewide telephone survey polled 1,370 registered voters and had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

CAMPAIGN

Candidate delivers evangelical message to Liberty students

RICHMOND — Michele Bachmann has exhorted Christian students at Liberty University to “not settle” for easy personal and political choices in life.

During a half-hour address to about 10,000 students, she briefly tied a message mostly about personal values and responsibility to an appeal to reject President Obama’s agenda, including his health care reforms. She made no mention of her GOP primary rivals in a talk laced with Scripture that took on the tone of a sermon.

Badly trailing front-runners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney and struggling in national polls, Mrs. Bachmann sought a breakout moment Wednesday with her base of support Christian conservatives.

Liberty’s chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr., said Mrs. Bachmann won a recent student straw poll over the GOP field, largely because of her evangelical roots.

WHITE HOUSE

Sharpton: Obama critics backed Clinton in 2008

The Rev. Al Sharpton says he will lead a march in Washington next month in support of President Obama’s jobs plan, and he dismisses blacks who criticize Mr. Obama over high black unemployment.

As Mr. Sharpton announced plans Wednesday for the Oct. 15 March for Jobs and Justice, he was asked whether there is a double standard in failing to hold Mr. Obama accountable for joblessness among blacks. The leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, has said there is.

The double standard, Mr. Sharpton says, is that most black politicians who publicly criticize Mr. Obama did not initially back his 2008 presidential bid they supported Hillary Clinton, who is now secretary of state.

The Oct. 15 march originally was scheduled in August, but it was postponed because of Hurricane Irene.

CAMPAIGN

Cain says he’s more than passing flavor

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain acknowledges he may be the “flavor of the month” but promises that voters will find there’s “more to that flavor than meets the eye.”

Mr. Cain’s campaign has gained momentum since his victory Saturday in Florida’s straw poll.

He told CBS’ “Early Show” on Wednesday that a “massive citizens’ movement,” with “every organization mobilizing its members,” is helping his campaign. He also said the Internet is helping more voters find out about his message.

Mr. Cain said voters are “thinking for themselves” even though rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have gotten most of the attention. He said that “in Florida, voters decided the winner, not the media.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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