Last November, just two percent of California Republicans supported Rick Santorum. Now that number has jumped to 25 percent, within striking distance of Mitt Romney. As the race drags on, will the California GOP have a voice in the nomination process after all, even though this state's primary is not until June? Also, a special investigator says the Fullerton Police Department did not intend to deceive the public about Kelly Thomas, the mentally ill homeless man beaten to death by officers last July. We talk with investigator Michael Gennaco and with Kelly Thomas' father. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, gasoline prices make for a long, hot political summer.
FROM THIS EPISODE
It's conventional wisdom that California Republicans won't have a voice in selecting their nominee because the winner will be chosen before the state's primary, which isn't until June. But Newt Gingrich is the only presidential candidate on the Party's convention schedule this coming weekend. Meanwhile, the presidential preferences of the state's Republicans have undergone a dramatic change, not just in the past few months, but in the past few days. In November, Rick Santorum had the support of just one or two percent of likely Republican voters. Now he has 25 percent, hot on the trail of Mitt Romney who still leads with 31 percent. Much of that happened while the poll was being taken during the past two weeks.
Two Fullerton police officers face criminal charges in last July's beating death of Kelly Thomas, who was homeless and mentally ill. In the aftermath, police officials released a two-year old booking photo of Thomas, looking dirty and disheveled with long, shaggy hair. They also said he had a history of violence, and that two officers had suffered broken bones during the deadly altercation. Neither turned out to be true. Community leaders and local activists accused the police of trying to win sympathy for their accused colleagues, and the City Council hired watchdog attorney Michael Gennaco to conduct an independent investigation. We hear from him and from Thomas' father, Ron, who has been highly critical of the Fullerton police.
Republicans are blaming the President, and he's announcing new energy strategies, as the price of gasoline is up to more than $4 a gallon in parts of the country for the first time since 2008. The average increase is 30 cents since the start of the year. A top House Republican says, "Gas prices will be the number one issue by summertime." What are the real reasons for the increase? How long is it likely to last? We talk with Daniel Yergin, a leading authority on the topic, and others.