mitt romney

Romney’s wealth dwarfed by RI billionaire Jonathan Nelson’s

November 16th, 2012 at 3:21 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Why does Mitt Romney have so little money?

It’s not a question you hear asked very often, but recently it was on the mind of William D. Cohan.

Writing in The Washington Post, Cohan says that Romney’s estimated $250 million net worth is “a big number, but frankly, it seems low. Given the industry in which he made his fortune (private equity), the era when he made it (the 1980s and 1990s) and the wealth of his peers in that business (mostly billionaires), Romney should be worth a good bit more than that. Why isn’t he?”

To buttress his case, Cohan notes the example of Rhode Island’s richest man: Jonathan Nelson, who made a bundle by founding Providence Equity Partners. Forbes estimates Nelson’s net worth at $1.7 billion, or roughly $1.45 billion more than Romney’s. And they’re both mere peasants compared with Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, who’s sitting on a cool $5.2 billion.

A few of those dollars went Romney’s way this year after Nelson switched his support from President Obama to the Republican candidate, as Bloomberg TV’s Cristina Alesci reported in June:

Jonathan Nelson, the billionaire co-founder of Providence Equity Partners, supported Hillary Clinton and contributed to Barack Obama in the 2008 election. But as the private-equity executive told Bloomberg TV’s Cristina Alesci, Nelson is backing Mitt Romney this time around, saying he can’t support a candidate who attacks how he makes a living. …

Dozens of investment managers have continued to support Obama for re-election while his campaign attacks Romney’s business record at Bain Capital ….

Not Nelson, whose Rhode Island firm owns companies including Univision Communications and the cable-TV network of the New York Yankees. He has given $2,500 to Romney and $5,000 to the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, the industry’s main lobbying group in Washington. In 2008, Nelson gave Obama and Clinton $2,300 apiece.

Blackstone’s Schwarzman is today best-known as a fierce Obama critic, but Democrats have benefited from his largesse in the past – Schwarzman donated $8,800 to former Congressman Patrick Kennedy between June 2006 and March 2007, a period during which Kennedy’s party took back the House majority.

• Related: Rhode Island’s one billionaire, ProvEq’s Nelson, backs Doherty (April 16)

New WPRI 12 Poll: Obama 54%, Romney 33% in Rhode Island

October 31st, 2012 at 9:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – President Obama continues to hold a commanding lead over Mitt Romney in Rhode Island with six days to go before voters head to the polls, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Wednesday night.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Check out the complete WPRI 12 poll results breakdown

Chart: Rhode Islanders donate $1.3M to presidential candidates

October 25th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island is among President Obama’s safest states as he looks ahead to the election on Nov. 6 – and it’s also an Obama stronghold in the race for campaign cash.

Rhode Islanders have donated $1.3 million to 12 presidential candidates during the 2012 election cycle, and 59% of the money – $769,922 – has gone to the Democratic incumbent, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Republican Mitt Romney has raised $447,199 in Rhode Island, taking 34% of the state’s total donations.

The third- and fourth-biggest recipients were Republicans Ron Paul ($38,350) and – somewhat surprisingly – Rick Santorum ($16,589). Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry each got less than $10,000 from Rhode Islanders.


Watch a Newsmakers political roundtable on the poll, debates

October 7th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

New WPRI 12 Poll: Chafee rating 29%; Raimondo, Taveras 58%

October 2nd, 2012 at 5:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s approval rating remains dismal nearly halfway through his first term, while his potential 2014 rivals Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras are widely popular, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Tuesday evening.

The survey also shows Barack Obama with a 24-point lead over Mitt Romney in Rhode Island.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Check out the complete WPRI 12 poll results

Coming up at 11 p.m.: Chafee’s handling of 38 Studios; casino gambling.

What a President Romney would do first if he wins office

September 28th, 2012 at 9:32 am by under Nesi's Notes

The Republican’s advisers get specific in a Politico must-read:

Yet many of the folks who are despairing about Romney would actually love what he would do in office. Romney’s metric-obsessed transition team is fleshing out a “200-day plan” (100 days wasn’t enough time to pass a bunch of big bills) aimed at goosing the recovery and creating jobs by bringing corporate cash off the sidelines in the United States and attracting investment from abroad.

The weapons would include tax and regulatory policy and what one aide called a “very aggressive” series of executive orders, many already on the drawing board. Two of Romney’s friends told POLITICO he would be eager to sign a bipartisan grand bargain in the first four months in office to calm markets and ease partisan tensions.

Silver: Obama on track to beat his RI blowout margin of 2008

September 27th, 2012 at 2:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

It’s hard to imagine Barack Obama doing better in Rhode Island this year than he did back in 2008, when the future president won 63% of the vote locally. Only his home state of Hawaii and nearby Vermont gave him a larger landslide four years ago.

Yet New York Times numbers guru Nate Silver says the president is on track to do just that.

Silver’s “now-cast” forecast model projects that if the election were held today Obama would beat Romney in Rhode Island by 29.7 percentage points, improving on his 27.8-point margin of victory over John McCain here in 2008. Only three states – Alaska, Arizona and Tennessee – are projected to shift in the president’s favor more than Rhode Island; they are among 14 states where Obama’s margin is currently projected to grow.

“There is an interesting split this year among the six New England states, with Mr. Obama running very well in [Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island], which are poorer, but not as well in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where voters are better off,” Silver noted in his analysis.

Right now Silver’s Electoral College model gives Obama an 81.9% chance of winning on Nov. 6. He also sees “about a 20% chance that Mr. Romney will win, but also about a 20% chance that Mr. Obama will actually beat his 2008 margin in the popular vote.”

• Related: Silver: GOP may refocus on Whitehouse in push to win Senate (Sept. 18)

(photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Paul Ryan jumps into the race – between Cicilline and Doherty

August 13th, 2012 at 12:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island Democrats could barely contain their glee on Saturday morning when Republican Mitt Romney announced that his running mate would be Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the GOP’s arch-conservative top wonk – and none more so than David Cicilline.

Cicilline was running against Ryan before Brendan Doherty, and the Democrat’s campaign immediately declared that Ryan’s selection made the 1st District race “even more critical.” Doherty offered a far more subdued reaction, praising Ryan as “articulate, intelligent, and open-minded” but distancing himself from his Medicare proposal and opposition to Simpson-Bowles.

Cicilline knows his only hope of winning this fall is to nationalize the race and run as a generic Democrat, reminding 1st District voters that a majority of them are, at heart, center-left on federal matters. Doherty, like Ron Machtley in 1988, needs to keep voters thinking about how much they dislike the incumbent.

Romney’s choice of Ryan instantly gives Cicilline a powerful new way to portray the national GOP as a radical group out to shrink the federal government, cut taxes on wealthy Americans and phase out traditional Medicare. Doherty’s statement revealed the fine line he has to walk – distance himself from Ryan, but not quite so much that conservatives desert him.


In Warwick, Romney slams Obama and sings Carcieri’s praises

April 11th, 2012 at 9:04 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney visited Rhode Island on Wednesday for a town-hall meeting where he slammed President Obama’s economic record ahead of the state’s April 24 primary.

“I’d like to win this state in November,” Romney told a cheering crowd estimated at more than 300, plus dozens of members of the national and local press, at a ballroom in the Warwick Crowne Plaza. A Republican hasn’t won Rhode Island since Ronald Reagan did back in 1984.

Romney spent most of his speech criticizing Obama for spending too much money, failing to turn around the economy, burdening businesses with regulations and not doing enough for women. But he also made a number of references specific to the Ocean State.

“I love your former governor, Governor [Don] Carcieri – I just love that man,” Romney said of his fellow Republican, who endorsed him in 2008 and this year. “Is he around here?” Carcieri did not attend Romney’s event.

“I’m from Massachusetts and you must have a border security problem to let me in,” Romney joked at one point. He also noted Carcieri managed to woo Fidelity Investments from Massachusetts to Rhode Island while they were both governors.

Read the rest of this story »

(photo: Susan Campbell/WPRI)

Waiting for Mitt Romney at the Warwick Crowne Plaza

April 11th, 2012 at 4:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

WARWICK – My colleague Susan Campbell and I are in place, along with a bunch of other Rhode Island and Massachusetts reporters, as we wait for Mitt Romney to arrive for his rally at the Crowne Plaza hotel this afternoon.

Outside there was a big truck with Virginia plates and lots of Romney signs, but other than that it was pretty subdued. In fact, at first everyone I saw was a Democrat: state chairman Ed Pacheco, state Rep. Teresa Tanzi, Kate Brock of Ocean State Action and Obama’s man in Rhody, Devin Driscoll. More Republicans are here now.

Here’s the scene inside the hall now that we’re through Secret Service:

An earlier version of this post spelled reporters “repeaters,” which a regular reader described as “one hell of a Freudian slip.”

Where in RI does Romney beat Obama? Newport pocketbooks

April 11th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Romney with the Carcieris last July

Could Newport be a Mitt Romney stronghold?

Electorally, probably not: John McCain won just 31% of City by the Sea voters in 2008. But financially, this year’s Republican frontrunner is a favorite there.

Romney, who’ll be in Warwick for a campaign rally tonight, has raised $41,650 in Newport’s tony 02840 zip code this election season. That’s more than double the $16,750 Obama has harvested there so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

No doubt a lot of Romney’s success in Newport can be attributed to one event, a fundraiser last July at the $5.4 million home of Les and Carol Ballard on Beacon Hill Road. It was co-hosted by former Gov. Don Carcieri and his wife, Sue, and tickets started at $500 a couple.

Les Ballard is president of Ballard Exploration Co., an oil-and-gas firm, while Carol is the daughter of late oil tycoon Eddie Chiles, who in 1989 sold the Texas Rangers to a group that included George W. Bush. Ballard donated $2,500 to Brendan Doherty last year, but he’s also given to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.


Romney coming to Warwick for campaign event on Wednesday

April 9th, 2012 at 3:53 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) - Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign has announced the GOP frontrunner will host a campaign event in Warwick on Wednesday, less than two weeks before the state’s primary on April 24. The event will follow another one in Hartford, Conn., which also votes that day.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: RI’s GOP primary day could be a decisive one for Mitt Romney ( March 8 )

Pro-Romney Super PAC buying TV ads in RI; Paul has billboard

March 28th, 2012 at 4:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

With just under a month to go before Rhode Island’s April 24 Republican presidential primary, the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future has begun buying time to air television commercials in the state, Politico reports.

The Super PAC spent $13,615 to put pro-Romney ads on the local feed of cable network Fox News in Rhode Island, a GOP source tells Politico.

Separately, The Wall Street Journal interviewed Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Mark Zaccaria, whose 2nd Congressional District bid received a $2,500 from Romney in 2010, about his support for the former Massachusetts governor. Zaccaria is a “superdelegate” to the party’s Tampa convention.

Romney “wrote a nice check for my campaign,” Zaccaria told the WSJ’s Washington Wire blog. “You could say, what a transparent move – he’s running for president. I would say, what a well-organized political move for a guy who’s running for president.”

While Romney is expected to win the Rhode Island primary in a walk, he isn’t the only Republican candidate with a presence here.

A campaign billboard supporting Ron Paul is now up on I-95 North that shows the Texas congressman’s face alongside crossed-out photos of President Obama and former President George W. Bush. It suggests voters should support Paul to elect a candidate who will really shake things up, unlike Obama and Bush.

• Related: RI’s GOP primary day could be a decisive one for Mitt Romney ( March 8 )

This post has been updated.

(screenshot via Red Dog Report)

Projo’s John Mulligan a big hit at Washington’s Gridiron dinner

March 26th, 2012 at 9:25 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The Follies isn’t the only musical review where Projo reporters shine.

John Mulligan, a 38-year Journal veteran who’s been its D.C. bureau chief since 1981, apparently turned in one of the best performances Saturday night at the Gridiron Club dinner, the annual white-tie affair for media insiders.

Mulligan, one of 65 Gridiron members, mocked Mitt Romney for the now infamous time he strapped his dog Seamus to the roof of a car for a family trip, The Washington Post reports. He did so by singing a parody of The Drifters’ “Up on the Roof” dressed “in a dog suit, a cardboard station wagon slung around his hips.”

It’s not the first time Mulligan has demonstrated his comedic talents at the Girdiron.

In 2005, he parodied Karl Rove to the tune of The Exciters’ “Doo Wah Diddy Diddy,” and in 2000 he sang a rewrite of Bob Dylan’s immortal “John Wesley Harding” in tribute to Al Gore, “performed with an impressive Dylan drone and a mean harmonica,” The Post’s Dana Milbank reported.

Describing Mulligan as “a youngster of about 50,” Milbank added that his Dylan sendup was “the hippest performance of the night” and apparently a bit out of character for the Gridiron: “His elders seemed baffled. ‘Some of them were a little puzzled,’ says Kathy Kiely of USA Today, who, at 44, is the baby of the bunch.”


RI’s GOP primary day could be a decisive one for Mitt Romney

March 8th, 2012 at 9:54 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Could Rhode Island’s upcoming Republican presidential primary actually matter?

Sure, it won’t be decisive – nothing seems to be in this year’s race. But no less a GOP éminence grise than Karl Rove himself is now saying it’s “likely the GOP race goes on for months, not weeks.”

Rove’s timetable would take us right up through April 24, when Rhode Islanders vote to award the state’s 19 delegates as part of a five-state Northeast regional primary. Larry Sabato says that will make April 24 one of the six decisive days between now and the nominating convention in Tampa and a good day for Mitt Romney:

Of all the remaining days on the nominating calendar, [April 24] is the one best suited to Mr. Romney’s politics. Four of the five races in this Northeastern bunch – all but Pennsylvania – should almost automatically go to the former Massachusetts governor, who can expect to win most of their delegates.

Pennsylvania, where Rick Santorum’s served 16 years in public office, will dominate press coverage leading up to the April 24 primaries. That race, like the recent one in Michigan, will consume three full weeks and the pressure will be on favorite son Mr. Santorum. Pennsylvania has some demographic similarities to Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, which could produce a close contest if Mr. Romney chooses to spend heavily. Anything but a clear victory will hurt Mr. Santorum, especially given his landslide re-election loss in 2006 and fears that he couldn’t carry Pennsylvania in the general election.

Few events could end the GOP contest suddenly, but a Santorum defeat in Pennsylvania, coupled with a Romney sweep of the other April 24 states, is one of them.

OK, so maybe Pennsylvania will get a little more ink than Rhode Island ahead of April 24. But at least we’re in the right neighborhood for this one.

Rhode Island will award its delegates proportionally, and the primary will be open to independent voters. The only poll that’s been taken showed Romney winning 39% of the vote and scoring a 73% favorable rating with GOP primary voters as of last February (though it’s hard to notoriously hard to do good primary surveys in Rhode Island).

• Related: Bill Kristol looks ahead to Rhode Island’s GOP primary in April (March 7)

Brown U. prof discusses ‘Romneymania’ craze sweeping US

February 4th, 2012 at 5:38 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Of course, she did so in The Onion:

From coast to coast, town to town, and in nearly every public meeting place and private residence across America, millions have been captivated, inspired, and in some cases moved to tears by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who now finds himself campaigning before a nation in the throes of full-scale Romneymania. …

“Simply put, when Mitt Romney speaks, he inspires people to be better,” said political scientist Deborah Klein of Brown University, adding that given his effusive charisma, people are likely to follow the Republican candidate anywhere. “Anytime he meets factory workers on the campaign trail or stands at the podium in a debate, his reputation as a highly relatable man of the people is indisputable.”

“It’s easy to see why Americans can’t get enough Mitt,” Klein added.

Take that, Wendy Schiller!

How RI could become an island of ‘Obamacare’ in Romney’s US

January 19th, 2012 at 1:11 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

If Mitt Romney wins the presidency in November, could Rhode Island wind up implementing President Obama’s health care reform law while other states don’t? A new TPM report suggests it’s possible.

Rhode Island has already received more money than any other state - $64.8 million – to create the law’s new health insurance exchanges. And even if Romney wins, the officials driving the effort here – Governor Chafee and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts – will be in office through 2014, when the exchange will start up:

A closer look reveals that chipping away at Obamacare, or even repealing it altogether will be a daunting challenge ….

For instance, because so many state governments are unprepared or unwilling to build out the architecture of the law by 2014, Obamacare empowers the federal government to set up, or help set up, insurance exchanges in lagging jurisdictions. But a GOP President could put a stop to that. …

Absent Congressional action, that would leave in place many of the law’s reforms, but no way to realize them in many states — in other words, health care reform for some, and not for others.

• Related: Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts talks health reform on ‘Newsmakers’ (Dec. 30)

Doherty and Carcieri meet with Romney in New Hampshire

January 11th, 2012 at 11:13 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Doherty, right, with Bucci in N.H.

Mitt Romney and Brendan Doherty, the two men who’ll likely top the Republican ticket in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District this fall, met for the first time last weekend.

The introduction was made Sunday by former R.I. Gov. Don Carcieri after a high-profile Romney rally at the Opera House in Rochester, N.H., Robert Coupe, Doherty’s political director, told

Romney invited the two men back to his private room following the event, and Carcieri introduced Doherty, his close friend, to Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts during Carcieri’s first term. They had a five-minute conversation and discussed the campaign, Coupe said.

Romney and Doherty are looking like locks for their respective nominations this Wednesday thanks to Romney’s big win in New Hampshire and the decision by Doherty’s chief rival, John Loughlin, not to run. Doherty traveled to New Hampshire to campaign for Romney on Saturday and Sunday along with Tony Bucci, his finance chief.


When Chafee backed Romney in the New Hampshire primary

January 10th, 2012 at 2:56 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

It’s a safe bet Lincoln Chafee never planned to be in New Hampshire today getting out the vote for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Four decades ago, though, their fathers were joined at the hip ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary.

From 1966 to 1968, Rhode Island’s then-governor, John Chafee, played a pivotal role in marshaling support for the doomed presidential bid of his fellow liberal Republican, Gov. George Romney of Michigan. The very different roads their sons traveled subsequently are a reminder of the GOP’s transformation in the years since.

Both Chafee and Romney were first elected governor in 1962 and easily reelected two years later despite a Democratic landslide for candidates from LBJ on down. As leaders of the GOP’s apparently ascendant moderate wing, they were involved with the Ripon Society, a centrist Republican think tank that criticized Goldwater’s campaign.

The pair won resounding reelection victories again in 1966, a banner year for Republicans, and Chafee emerged immediately as one of Romney’s strongest backers for president – as well as a potential vice presidential nominee in his own right. He even penned the foreword to a biography of the Michigan governor.


Did you know Rep. Joe Trillo is a Republican superdelegate?

January 10th, 2012 at 1:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

State Rep. Joe Trillo is more than just a staunch advocate of building a casino at Quonset Point. He’s also a so-called superdelegate to the Republican National Convention.

Trillo is one of three GOP superdelegates from Rhode Island, according to, which tracks such things. And he’s the only one who has thrown his support behind a candidate: Mitt Romney.

Rhode Island’s other two superdelegates - former party chairman Mark Zaccaria and former state Rep. Carol Mumford – haven’t announced their endorsements yet, the site says.

Update: Tim White correctly suggested that the second superdelegate slot is for the party chairman, not Ken McKay himself, which means that vote now belongs to his successor Mark Zaccaria – a Romney supporter. (The guys at now say the same.)

Pensions end at Attleboro’s Sensata, bought by Romney’s Bain

December 19th, 2011 at 1:33 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Sensata Technologies, the former sensors-and-controls division of Texas Instruments spun off in 2006 by Mitt Romney’s old company, will freeze its pension plan and scale back 401k contributions next month, has learned.

Sensata employees will no longer get pension credit for additional years of work or future raises after Jan. 31, with exceptions for initial vesting and early retirement eligibility, Sensata CEO Tom Wroe told employees last week in an email obtained by

Sensata was part of Texas Instruments until 2006, when it was taken private and renamed by a group led by the private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC, which was co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The company went public last year. A spokeswoman for Sensata declined to comment beyond the letter.

Texas Instruments employed about 5,000 workers in Attleboro and Mansfield at its height before moving most of its manufacturing operations to Asia. Sensata now employs about 945 workers in the U.S., down from 1,585 in 2008, according to regulatory filings.

Read the rest of this story »

Chafee says Romney ‘a different person’ as he woos GOP base

October 12th, 2011 at 6:09 pm by under Nesi's Notes

R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee says former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney is “a completely different person” as a presidential candidate than the man who was once a fellow member of the Republican Party’s moderate wing in the Northeast.

“It’s the same thing I saw with John McCain, and I saw with George Pataki and with Rudy Giuliani,” Chafee told during an interview at his office Wednesday.

Referencing a speech on foreign policy Romney gave last week at The Citadel, Chafee said: “The appeal you have to make to the Republican primary audience – that’s just alien to what’s in our best interests as a country.”

Chafee recalled that he used to share many of the same views as those men, noting that he and McCain were the only two Republican senators who voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and that the Arizona senator “was good on climate change, he was good on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

“And I heard George Pataki, who was a three-term governor of New York, and was good on immigration, who attracted all sorts of Latino votes, he was good on the environment – and Rudy Giuliani, he was mayor of New York City,” Chafee said.

“But when I heard them with national ambitions, it was a different person – a completely different person,” he continued. “It’s true in all their cases. And to hear Rudy Giuliani talking to a Republican primary audience is just – and that’s true with Mitt Romney. You just get pulled so far off.”


GOP state representative in Mass. holds beer pong fundraiser

September 28th, 2011 at 2:01 pm by under Nesi's Notes

Beer pong – a.k.a. Beirut – is the sport of champions, if you define “champions” as “intoxicated, sloppy undergraduates.” And now it’s also helping politicians collect cash from the younger set, the Taunton Daily Gazette reports:

Outfitted with four regulation-length beer pong tables, Medfield Rep. Dan Winslow asked constituents to try on a new side of politics Tuesday at his Beer Pong and Politics fundraiser.

In the first-ever event of its kind in Massachusetts, Winslow called upon the group marketing website to sell discounted tickets to the event, a move he said was aimed at drawing a younger crowd. …

In the alley at Boston’s Battery Park Bar and Lounge Tuesday, over 80 Winslow supporters lined up for their turn at the beer pong table. …

Winslow’s version was a “game of skill” using water instead of beer. …

The unusual political event not only drew the attention of several local media outlets, it created a buzz across the country, according to president Bill Yucatonis.

Winslow is no gadfly – he’s one of the highest-profile Republicans in Massachusetts, having served as a senior aide to Gov. Mitt Romney and then chief legal counsel during U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s victorious upset campaign last year. CommonWealth magazine ran a lengthy profile of Winslow in April that said he is “shaking up the State House with a flurry of policy proposals and a scathing critique of the Beacon Hill status quo.”

The more important question: Who will be the first Rhode Island politician to hold a beer pong fundraiser? I say freshman state Sen. Nick Kettle should plan one for Oct. 18, to mark the day he turns 21.

Sorry, Tim Pawlenty – RI is the most liberal state

March 30th, 2011 at 9:52 am by under General Talk, Nesi's Notes

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has been reading former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s new book, “Courage to Stand,” and reports the following:

Pawlenty repeatedly makes a strange claim: that as governor of Minnesota, he’s been a conservative running the most liberal state in the nation.

“I took the job of leading Minnesotans through one of the most trying and difficult periods of change the state has ever known. And guess what? We did pretty well in what is arguably the most liberal state in the nation,” he says in the forward. A few pages later, he admits that “I’m not sure I ever fully expected to win. Running on a truly conservative platform, promising not to raise taxes in the bluest of blue states?”

Ezra goes on to question whether Minnesota is really “the bluest of blue states,” compared with, say, Massachusetts, which also has a former Republican governor eyeing the White House: Mitt Romney. He gives Massachusetts – and Mitt – the edge after graphing the Democratic share of the popular vote in the two states for the last four presidential elections.

Now, far be it for me to disagree with Ezra, whose meteoric rise has given me a complex since we were born the same month. But I do feel the need to stand up for Rhode Island in any battle for the “most liberal” crown. This, after all, is the state that bucked two national waves by electing a Kennedy in 1994 and a Rockefeller Republican in 2010.

Here’s Exhibit A – I redid Ezra’s chart with Rhode Island added:

OK, we’ll call that one a tie. (Pawlenty, though, is clearly delusional.)

That leads me to Exhibit B – a national Gallup poll I reported on last year showed 32% of Rhode Islanders describe themselves as politically liberal, the most in any state. Massachusetts lagged behind at 28%, and Minnesota wasn’t even close at 22%.

In fact, all this makes me wonder whether Don Carcieri should consider a presidential run. After all, he too is a Republican who won two terms – managing, like Pawlenty, to withstand the Democratic wave of 2006 – and accomplished a decent amount despite long odds. If the case for Romney and Pawlenty rests on their electoral successes in blue states, Carcieri could be right there with them. Plus, he never passed anything that could be dubbed “CarcieriCare.” And he already owns a home in the key swing state of Florida, too.

Carcieri 2012? You heard it here first.

Shock poll: Sarah Palin unpopular in Rhode Island

February 28th, 2011 at 10:06 am by under General Talk

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Sarah Palin is far from beloved here in the nation’s most liberal state.

That’s according to new results from the Public Policy Polling survey, which also found President Obama is on track to easily defeat four of his potential Republican opponents in Rhode Island next year.

Rhode Island voters are overwhelmingly down on Palin, with 69% having an unfavorable opinion of her against just 24% with a favorable one. She’s polarizing, too; slightly more people – 8% – were unsure how they felt about President Obama than Palin (7%).

Palin is also extremely unpopular among young Rhode Islanders – a whopping 80% of voters ages 18-29 have an unfavorable opinion of her, compared with about 68% among those 30 and up. Obama would defeat Palin 77%-13% among those youngest voters in a presidential race.

Of the four Republicans examined, only former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney came close to being in positive territory. Rhode Islanders were basically split about him, at 41% favorable and 42% unfavorable.

Still, Obama would defeat Romney by 17 points in a head-to-head matchup here. And the local landslides for Obama would be even larger against Mike Huckabee (56%-31%), Newt Gingrich (60%-27%) and Palin (65%-24%).

That’s partly because Obama is still in decent shape among Rhode Island’s strongly Democratic electorate, despite the state’s double-digit unemployment rate. His approval rating was 53% in this month’s PPP survey, compared with 45% in our WPRI 12 poll last September. But his numbers are lower among the state’s independents, at 48% approval and 43% disapproval.

Obama defeated John McCain 63%-35% in Rhode Island two years ago. The only places where he won a larger share of the vote were Washington, D.C. (93%), Vermont (68%) and New York (63%).

The automated telephone survey of 544 Rhode Island voters was conducted Feb. 16 to Feb. 22 by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-affiliated firm in Raleigh, N.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. Last week the company released its findings for next year’s Senate race and local approval ratings.

(photo: Wikipedia/Therealbs2002)