Mitt Romney has followed the playbook for winning the Republican presidential nomination to the letter. He raised more money than his opponents and built a national organization. He piled up endorsements from prominent party insiders. He proved he could win in a bellwether primary in New Hampshire and a major state in Florida.
Neel Kashkari, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive chosen by ex-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to help rescue the U.S. banking system, is readying a challenge to California Governor Jerry Brown even as the world’s 10th-largest economy reaches its highest level in more than three decades.
Democrats have turned to an agenda that Republicans are calling class warfare, as President Barack Obama presses a “Buffett Rule” to tax the rich, Senate Democrats offer a millionaires’ tax instead and party leaders fulminate against Bank of America’s $5 debit-card service fee.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is predicting an election-year economy that’s neither here nor there: growth that disappoints yet keeps the U.S. from slipping back into the recession billionaire Bill Gross has indicated may happen.
Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, who has cast the 2012 presidential campaign as “free enterprise on trial,” finds himself in a struggle over the role of capitalism in an unlikely place: within his own party.
The Republican war with President Barack Obama over funding the government and the new health-care law will play out in the coming days and months. The conflict now exposed within the party may shape its future for years.