- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2012

After doing the brutal math, some insist that Republican hopeful Mitt Romney is so far ahead of his campaign rivals that he remains the “inevitable candidate” and a shoo-in for the party’s presidential nomination. Always in need of a story, however, the contrary press continues to beat the war drums and declare a close race between Mr. Romney and Rick Santorum. So weary Business Insider political analyst Michael Brendan Dougherty has news for people: “Get used to it. Romney is winning.”

Mr. Dougherty talliedvotes from all previous primaries and caucuses as the quartet of candidates face a Missouri caucus and a Puerto Rico primary this weekend and, more important, the Illinois primary on Tuesday. Mr. Romney has 3,223,633 votes, or 39 percent of the votes cast, and Mr. Santorum has 2,075,781 votes, or 25 percent. So, uh, get used to it.

But are Republican voters ready to surrender the campaign spectacle, often covered as a contact sport by journalists? Well, maybe not. More numbers to consider: A Bloomberg poll released Thursday finds that 48 percent of Republican voters say the trailing candidates should stay in the race for now; 46 percent say they should drop out.

Voters, however, still appear to have pronounced loyalties. A Fox News Poll also released Thursday revealed that 52 percent of Republicans say the race can continue for months as long as “our candidate wins the Republican presidential nomination.”


Things could be worse for two of the candidates, anyway. Republican hopefuls Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney both journey to sunny Puerto Rico to woo voters who anticipate the territory’s primary on Sunday.

Though they were just getting acclimated to all things Southern a few days ago, the two hopefuls head to the Midwest for some heartland campaigning in the next 72 hours; Mr. Romney, for example, will headline an event at Pancakes Eggcetera in Rosemont, Ill., while Mr. Santorum greets fans at Schnuck’s Crossing in Wildwood, Mo. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich will be spending much time in Louisiana.

And ever the rogue candidate, Rep. Ron Paul ignores the push in Illinois before the state’s primary on Tuesday and heads to California for Tinseltown duty, sort of. He’ll host a luncheon and fundraiser in Burbank and also appear on NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”



- T-shirt motto spotted on a female jogger in Binghamton, N.Y.


The halls of ivy are rustling. It’s the time of year to track what luminary speaks where as the graduates get ready for their long march in cap and gown toward a tough job market. Just a few of the many commencement speakers so far:

President Obama (Air Force Academy; Barnard College; Joplin High School, Joplin, Mo.); Vice President Joseph R. Biden (U.S. Military Academy; Cypress Bay High School, Weston, Fla.; Tallwood High School, Virginia Beach); Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (York College of Pennsylvania); Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker (Stanford University); New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (University of North Carolina); NBC News anchorman Brian Williams (George Washington University); CNN’s Fareed Zakaria (Harvard and Duke universities); Chuck Hagel (Marymount University, Arlington, Va.); and writer-producer Aaron Sorkin (Syracuse University).


Yes, Saturday means green beer and St. Patrick’s Day. It also marks the beginning of the campaign for sainthood for Father Edward Joseph Flanagan, the Ireland-born Catholic priest who founded Boys Town in 1917, opening an orphanage in a run-down mansion in Omaha. Almost two decades later, his work was immortalized in the movie “Boys Town” with Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney and continued for another decade until he died on a mission in Berlin. He had been sent at the behest of President Truman to help orphaned and displaced children after World War II.

The Omaha Archdiocese formally opens the lengthy canonization process with a prayer service at Boys Town’s Immaculate Conception Church on Saturday morning. Father Flanagan will be officially named a “Servant of God”; the process eventually leads to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome and to the pope. For him to be canonized, the church must confirm at least two miracles associated with Father Flanagan since his death.

“For years, many in the Omaha community and beyond have venerated the memory of Father Edward Flanagan. I am happy that we can begin the process of examining the holiness that was apparent in his life and ministry,” Archbishop George J. Lucas said.

“Though the process will be investigating proven miracles associated with Father Flanagan, we know that miracles occurred every day in his work to heal children in mind, body and spirit,” notes the. Rev. Steven Boes, director of Boys Town, which has locations in 10 states and the District.


• 59 percent of Americans say sending troops to Afghanistan was “the right thing” for the U.S. to do.

• 72 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

• 35 percent overall say it was the “wrong thing”; 24 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

• 50 percent overall say the U.S. should “speed up” the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

• 40 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Democrats agree.

• 24 percent overall say the U.S. should “stick to the 2014 timetable”; 18 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

• 21 percent say U.S. troops should remain in Afghanistan until “the goals are accomplished”; 38 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A USA Today/Gallup Poll of 1,006 adults conducted March 13.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com

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