Dispatch from BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller:
GREENVILLE, South Carolina—The two candidates were scheduled to be at Tommy’s Country Ham House at 10:45 a.m. this morning, a conflict deemed “coincidence” by the Romney campaign.
Romney arrived nearly an hour before his scheduled arrival time and briefly addressed the packed restaurant from a hastily assembled platform of plastic crates.
Romney lowered expectations for the primary, which he is now likely to lose, saying that “we’ve got a long way to go.”
The Gingrich campaign charged Romney with stacking the venue with out-of-state volunteers — which was at least true of dozens of college students holding signs outside the restaurant.
Romney spokesman Rick Gorka acknowledged that “like everyone else,” Romney has out of state volunteers that show up at events. He added that many in attendance were overflow from a packed headquarters event earlier in the day.
The Gingrich campaign, which looked forward to the showdown, hammered Romney for arriving early.
“We’re going to be here at the time scheduled,” said Gingrich traveling press secretary Nathan Naidu. “We’re not going to avoid a showdown like him.”
- The White House defended rolling back Obama-era transgender protections, with Sean Spicer repeatedly insisting it's a "states' rights issue."
- Recreational marijuana needs "greater enforcement" of federal law, said Spicer, pitting the White House against eight states that legalized its use.
- A researcher with Human Rights Watch was denied entry into Israel earlier this week with the country's government calling the human rights organization "propaganda."
- Beyoncé has pulled out of performing at Coachella, citing doctors' advice about keeping a less rigorous schedule while pregnant 🐝😭