Romney wins Michigan by 41% to 38% and Arizona by 47% to 27% - Detroit Free Press
Romney's BIG Arizona win
EXIT POLL: ROMNEY SEEN AS LIKELIEST WINNER; SANTORUM TRUEST CONSERVATIVE
See full exit poll details in USA Today.
"Someone tweeted last night, quoting Churchill, that nothing is so exhilarating as being shot at with consequence. For now, Mitt Romney is experiencing the thrill of a bullet having barely missed." - Rich Lowry for Fox
New delegate count: Romney 137, Santorum 54, Gingrich 32, Paul 20 - RCP
"Exit polls showed that 54% of Michigan voters judged the economy the most important issue in the race. Of those, 45% chose Mr. Romney, compared with 29% for Mr. Santorum. Far down the list of issues important to voters was abortion. Only 14% considered abortion to be the overriding issue." - WSJ
"Romney was far better organized and financed and able to sell himself as the candidate with the experience and skills needed to turn around the slumping economy." - Washington Examiner
Jennifer Rubin notes that Romney is moving from leading on his biography to a more economics-focused message.
Santorum's chief strategist continues to raise concerns about Romney-Paul alliance - NRO
Onwards to Super Tuesday...
"Romney faces a two-front war next week on Super Tuesday with its seven primaries and three caucuses. Santorum will concentrate on beating Romney in Ohio, a pivotal state, while Newt Gingrich is angling to win in Georgia and Tennessee. Romney can count on winning in Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia. A win in Ohio would all but finish off Santorum, who has opened up a strong lead in polls. But dramatic victories in one week’s contest tend to influence the next week’s. So Romney may quickly close Santorum’s lead in Ohio and may even get a boost against Gingrich in the Southern states." - Fred Barnes for the Weekly Standard
Mitt managed to win in Michigan after a hellish week on the campaign trail. Good for him. But daunting obstacles—like Ohio and Georgia—remain in his path - Daily Beast
Obama used a speech at the United Auto Workers conference for a wide ranging attack on the candidates vying for the Republican nomination to oppose him, bashing their views on the auto bailout, organized labor and values - Politico
Senator Snowe's retirement makes the Maine seat a likely pick-up target for Democrats in their bid to retain control of the Senate - WSJ
Boehner's often laissez-faire approach has encouraged dissension and open defiance among the rank and file - Roll Call
Reagan knew that diplomacy and development policy neutralize threats before they become crises
"Foreign assistance programs that vaccinate children against polio, engage at-risk youth in Central America, give young girls in Afghanistan the opportunity to go to school, or provide HIV/AIDS treatments to millions in sub-Saharan Africa do more than just ease suffering and increase opportunity around the world. They also promote core U.S. national security interests by stabilizing regions that could otherwise become incubators for radicalism." - John Kerry for the Wall Street Journal
Welfare reform worked: The success story among poor mothers shows how public policy can reduce poverty by encouraging individuals to work - Peter H. Schuck and Ron Haskins for LA Times
John O'Sullivan: Journalism would be uniformly, monoculturally and suffocatingly liberal without Rupert Murdoch - NRO
Conservative leaders demand apology from Huffington over anti-Catholic column - Fox
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Romney returns to core economic message
"Romney is dropping his recent focus on social issues and returning to his core message on the economy. After two weeks of talking about abortion, religious liberty and gay marriage to appeal to recalcitrant GOP conservatives ahead of Tuesday’s Michigan and Arizona primaries, Romney is signaling that he will leave those hot-button subjects to to the rival campaign of Rick Santorum in the upcoming states." - Washington Post
Michigan is too close to call: Romney leads by 2 points in polls by Rasmussen and Public Policy Polling, while Santorum leads by 2 points in the latest Mitchell-Rosetta Stone survey - The Hill
Polls split on how Romney, Santorum perform against Obama in swing states, with voters - Weekly Standard
Libertarians should vote for Gingrich says Bob Barr - Daily Caller
"“It’s a huge distraction not just for me, but the legislature. It’s $9 million of taxpayer money just to run this,” said Walker on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Think about the number of kids, think of the number of seniors we could help in our state with $9 million we didn’t have to waste on this frivolous recall election.” - Politico
Warren Buffett shot back at Christie Christie in a CNBC interview today, after the New Jersey governor told CNN's Piers Morgan last week that Buffett should "write a check and shut up" because he's "tired" of hearing the billionaire investor talk about how he's not paying enough in taxes - USA Today
"Where have these party leaders been over the past five years, when all the forces that distort the G.O.P. were metastasizing? Where were they during the rise of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck? Where were they when Arizona passed its beyond-the-fringe immigration law? Where were they in the summer of 2011 when the House Republicans rejected even the possibility of budget compromise? They were lying low, hoping the unpleasantness would pass." - David Brooks in the New York Times
A BBC documentary on the Republican Party...
"The American primaries - Justin Webb explores what they reveal about the state of the right in the US. Is the Republican party really split? Has a radical wing taken over? What does the American right offer in the post financial crisis world - that might enthuse Americans and perhaps the rest of us too? And is the party ready to lead again?" Access via this page.
The number of Americans who say they strongly approve of Obama has been creeping up, but that group has not exceeded 30% in more than a year - PowerLine
The contraceptives battle is a fight Democrats are perfectly pleased to have - New York Times
Jennifer Granholm's message to Republicans: "The version of Republicanism you are offering is a gift to Democrats looking for recruits. The anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, anti-Muslim, anti-Europe (particularly the French and the Greeks), anti-labor, anti-poor, anti-99 percent and now anti-college graduate rhetoric enables us to eagerly welcome your castoffs into the Democratic Party — where inclusivity is celebrated and their contributions are welcome." - Politico
"59% of moderate Republicans support gay unions; 63% of independents do. Those voters might be sympathetic to a candidate who opposes civil unions, but they will be strongly against someone who tells them their position on the issue makes them part of the country’s moral collapse." - TIME
Word leaked Monday that former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) is strongly reconsidering a comeback Senate bid in Nebraska - Roll Call
The Obama administration says it will not change its strategy of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan despite anti-American violence - The Hill
"The overthrow of the Assad regime will not automatically end the country’s civil war. More likely, that will reverse the dynamic, with Alawites and other rebels next fighting a Sunni Islamist regime" - Daniel Pipes for NRO
Why is school prayer only allowed during tragedies? - Todd Starnes for Fox
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After being 10% behind in Gallup tracker survey, Romney is now 2% ahead
"Gallup's survey finds Romney garnering 50 percent support in a hypothetical matchup with Obama to the president's 46 percent. Romney's support is up two percent from the organization's last survey of a hypothetical general election between the president and the former Massachusetts governor. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, draws 48 percent in a hypothetical matchup of himself against Obama, compared to the president's 49 percent." - The Hill
Santorum 32.9%, Romey 29.0%, Gingrich 14.4%, Paul 12.4% - RCP national average
Some more good news for Romney...
Rick Santorum: We need bold tax reform, but Mitt Romney wants to tinker at the margins
In the Wall Street Journal Senator Santorum lists a ten point economic agenda, including: "I'll submit to Congress comprehensive tax policies to strengthen opportunity in our country, with only two income tax rates of 10% and 28%. To help families, I'll triple the personal deduction for children and eliminate the marriage tax penalty."
Romney defends the progressive tax code - Fox
Rick Santorum says the notion of religion not playing role in politics “makes me want to throw up" - Politico
The NRO Editors warn Santorum to exercise more "discrimination and tact" in how he expresses himself.
Romney, Santorum Represent Different White Americas - Michael Barone for RCP
Ron Paul is denying reports that he is teaming up with opponent Mitt Romney to defeat Romney's chief rival, Rick Santorum, in Tuesday's primary - Washington Examiner
Gingrich says he is staking the future of his presidential campaign on a win in his home state, Georgia - MSNBC
Obama is in a stronger position but economy and early end to GOP race could still defeat him - E J Dionne in the Washington Post
Why Apologize to Afghanistan? The reaction to an accidental Koran-burning was inexcusable - Andrew McCarthy for NRO
"The facts surrounding the incident are somewhat murky; apparently a number of books were being used by Taliban prisoners to smuggle messages, and 60 or 70 books were confiscated and destroyed, some of which turned out to be Korans. The Korans’ burning is generally described as “accidental.” I assume that means, not that the destruction was unintended, but that the troops who carried it out did not realize that some of the volumes were Korans–not surprising, since they were not in English. What we do know for sure is that the response of many Afghans was outrageous. Dozens of people have been killed or wounded, including a number of American servicemen." - PowerLine
US Ambassador to Iraq has only been able to meet with Maliki twice since troops pullout, despite repeated attempts - Politico
Many Oscar nominees are big donors to Democrats - USA Today
And finally... Should Ann Romney be the candidate? - The Washington Post looks at a long list of wives who might have often made the superior candidates.
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Michigan polling points to a toss-up
What if Romney wins?
"Republican strategists say that although they would restore Romney to front-runner status in the race, they could still leave the party looking at a long nomination battle. They also say that winning both states Tuesday wouldn’t be enough to resolve many of the doubts that still surround Romney. ... Even if Romney were to win Michigan and Arizona, he will face a difficult landscape on Super Tuesday, March 6. A victory in Michigan would boost his prospects in Ohio, but Santorum, who is from neighboring Pennsylvania, is a serious threat there." - Washington Post
The negative campaign moves to Michigan
"So with the Arizona debate over, the increasingly contentious campaign moves to Michigan, where Romney has been running ads attacking Santorum, and on Thursday Santorum introduced two new ads attacking Romney. The first hit Romney for supporting Wall Street bailouts and "turning his back on Michigan workers."" - Byron York
Team Romney's anti-Santorum strategy: paint him as a Washington insider
"And now, team Romney sees a lucky break in swatting away the latest would-be alternative to his candidacy, banking that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has exposed himself as a Washington insider incapable of delivering the jolt so many Republicans believe the political system needs." - Washington Examiner
Is there an alliance between Ron Paul and Romney?
"Rick Santorum’s campaign suggested that there may be a covert alliance between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, especially in view of their behavior at the debate in Arizona. ... there does seem to be something, prima facie, to their conduct during debates, if one assumes that the alliance would preclude Paul from criticizing Romney in debates. In the previous seven debates, going back to the January 7 New Hampshire debate, Ron Paul has only attacked Mitt Romney once." - National Review
What Democrats can learn from Santorum
"Santorum’s detractors cite his unusual opinions on the politics of gender and “artificial birth control” to paint him as extreme. But the source of Santorum’s appeal is his skill at waging class warfare, Republican-style. His grandfather was a coal miner, he explains: “Those hands dug freedom for me.” He wants to revive real jobs—blue-collar jobs—with zero corporate taxes on manufacturing. He’s a Pennsylvania guy who’s OK with declaring trade war on China." - Clive Crook
Gingrich faces questions over travel payments - WSJ
Not again: a Republican not currently running could STILL win the nomination - Washington Examiner
Former Gov. Buddy Roemer leaves GOP race to run on third-party platform - RCP
Democrats have most to lose in 2012 gubernatorial elections
"While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is highly vulnerable, Democrats are facing a fierce primary to recall him. And in four other gubernatorial races, Democratic incumbents are retiring, leaving open seats in competitive states like North Carolina and Montana." - More from Politico, including details on the individual races
Boehner may scale back highway bill amid Republican opposition
Poll: 50% now say Obama doesn’t deserve reelection - Hot Air
Obama slams energy critics... but campaigned on lower energy prices himself in 2008
"It's the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices," Obama told a crowd at the University of Miami. "What's harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem that may not be solved in one year or one term or even one decade."" - LA Times
Obama apologizes to Afghanistan for Quran burning - CNN
Comedian Bill Maher gives $1m to Obama Super PAC - Politico
David Brooks: America is not that different to Europe
"We Americans cherish our myths. One myth is that there is more social mobility in the United States than in Europe. That’s false. Another myth is that the government is smaller here than in Europe. That’s largely false, too. The U.S. does not have a significantly smaller welfare state than the European nations. We’re just better at hiding it. The Europeans provide welfare provisions through direct government payments. We do it through the back door via tax breaks." - David Brooks
Maryland Senate passes same-sex marriage bill - Washington Post
LAST NIGHT'S BIG DEBATE: CONTENT
Declining audiences for debates mean there'll be no encores - New York Times
Polls seem to suggest that Santorum is as electable as Romney - WSJ
38% see Santorum as too conservative; 51% see Obama as too liberal
A USA Today poll finds a rock landscape for both Democrats and Republicans.
Oklahoma's Tom Coburn is the most conservative member of the Senate, while New Yorker Kirsten Gillibrand and Oregon's Jeff Merkley share the title of top liberals, according to National Journal's 2011 Congressional Vote Ratings - National Journal
Romney is getting less support from small donors than other GOP candidates - Washington Post
Neither Romney nor Santorum looks like a formidable candidate for November - George Will for the Washington Post
"GOP leaders are watching with rising dismay as the 2012 presidential campaign has featured excursions into social issues like contraception and a sprint by the candidates to strike the toughest stance against illegal immigration, which they say are far removed from the workaday concerns of the independent voters Republicans need to evict Barack Obama from the White House." - Politico
...More on social conservatism...
Only Ron Paul would keep debt in check says survey
"The national debt would increase, perhaps dramatically, under the tax and spending plans of the leading Republican presidential candidates, according to an independent budget watchdog group. Leading the way with the most expensive plan is former House speaker Newt Gingrich, followed by former Pennsylvania sennator Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, says the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Only Rep. Ron Paul of Texas would keep the national debt in check as a percentage of the economy, the group found, because he has proposed by far the largest spending cuts." - USA Today
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh wondered today whether the hosts of tonight’s GOP presidential nomination debate will ask Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) about repeatedly being double reimbursed for flights - Roll Call
Meanwhile Rand Paul says it would be an honour to be considered for Romney's VP - Daily Caller
Pro-Obama Super-PAC hits Romney on auto bailout - NPR
Lots at stake in first debate in nearly a month
"A lot has changed in the battle for the GOP nomination since the last debate, a CNN-Republican Party of Florida showdown in Jacksonville on January 26. Romney went on to win big in Florida and Nevada, while Gingrich, who had just scored an impressive victory in South Carolina, faded fast. Then Santorum surged in state and national polling after sweeping the February 7th contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. The debate Wednesday is the last time the candidates will share a stage before primaries in Arizona and Michigan on Tuesday" - CNN
Poll shows Romney back on top in Michigan
"It’s just one poll, but that’s the first time he’s led in the state in nearly three weeks — and the same poll had him trailing Santorum by nine just a week ago. Another poll out today has the race tied and PPP’s new one, while showing Santorum still ahead by four, has Romney roaring back from a 15-point deficit over the past seven days." - Hot Air
Romney, in an attempt to step on Santorum's territory, gets tough on social issues
"Romney [said] his vice presidential pick would be anti-abortion... pledging to pick strict constructionists to serve on the Supreme Court and castigating the Obama administration for launching a war against religion. “I can tell you as someone who has understood very personally the significance of religious tolerance and religious freedom and the right to one's own conscience, I will make sure that we never again attack religious liberty in the United States of America if I’m president," Romney said, in a rare reference to his Mormon faith." - LA Times
Santorum comments on "Satan" attract controversy
"A 2008 speech by Rick Santorum at Ave Maria University is making waves this week, in large part because Santorum said Satan had his sights set on America and the country was facing spiritual warfare." - CNN
Byron York investigates why Santorum lost Pennsylvania by 19% in 2006
"The biggest policy reason was Santorum's outspoken support for the war in Iraq. By November 2006, the war was going badly and threatened to turn into a full-scale catastrophe. President Bush resisted calls to change course. While Santorum's Democratic opponent, Bob Casey, called for a new policy, Santorum stuck with the president, and with the war. He even made it his primary focus in the last days of the campaign." - Byron York
Gingrich campaigning on low gas prices
"Down in the polls and increasingly overlooked in the Republican nominating contest, Mr. Gingrich's campaign is betting it can claw its way back into the conversation with a focus on rising gas prices, an issue that is viewed as an increasing liability for the White House. "There's no reason we can't get gasoline down to $2 and $2.50 a gallon," Mr. Gingrich said Monday in Tulsa." - WSJ ($)
The Washington Post reviews Rep. Darrell Issa's first year as House oversight chairman
"Since assuming the chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in January 2011, the California Republican has held hundreds of hearings, made more than 700 requests for information and issued almost two dozen subpoenas." - More at the Washington Post
Smart donations make Sen. John Cornyn favorite in race to become Senate Republican whip
"Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) gave more than $100,000 to colleagues though his leadership political action committee (PAC) last year... His rival in the race, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), has given $60,000 through his leadership fund, the Next Century Fund, to Senate GOP colleagues and $45,000 to Senate Republican candidates such as George Allen in Virginia and Jeff Flake in Arizona." - The Hill
Serious conservative primary challenge to 36-year incumbent, Sen. Dick Lugar - Weekly Standard
Obama to offer corporate tax plan
"Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told a Senate panel last week the plan will be an effort to find "common ground" on broad principles between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. ... Senior administration officials Tuesday would not provide details of the president's plan. They said it will be consistent with his commitment to fairness and the message he laid out in the State of the Union address." - CNN
Democratic senators want super PAC crackdown - Politico
Supreme Court adds more time for oral arguments on Obama healthcare law - The Hill
And finally... Biden’s office circulates press release to promote veep’s trip to “Road Island” - Hot Air
Why is Romney struggling in Michigan? Reagan Democrats.
"Blame the frosty homecoming on the Independent Voters Formerly Known as Reagan Democrats. Economically populist and socially conservative, these blue-collar, largely Catholic, largely unionized workers tend to swing. In 2008 they helped put Barack Obama over the top. In 2010 they returned to the GOP... As talk of his paltry 14 percent tax rate and “I like to be able to fire people”–style gaffes came to dominate the airwaves in January, Mitt’s unfavorable rating among working-class whites jumped 20 points nationwide." - Daily Beast
Despite polls, Romney confident of Michigan win
"The campaign has good reason to be skeptical of the media's recent narrative of doom for Romney. A week ago, the worst poll for Romney... had him down 15 points to Rick Santorum in Michigan. Today, after adjusting its initial, less-than-realistic turnout projections, the same polling company has Romney down just four points. And given that Romney's ads just went on the air in the middle of last week, there's still plenty of time for his message to sink in and get him over the hump." - BuzzFeed
Donald Trump hitting Michigan airwaves for Mitt - ABC
"What’s the prescription for a famously brilliant venture capitalist who has trouble connecting with blue-collar voters in his native state? How about bringing in a far more controversial venture capitalist who’s claim to recent fame is in firing people on national television?" - Hot Air
Santorum and Gingrich focus attacks on Obama's religious liberty record
Looking ahead: Santorum has big polling leads in Texas and Oklahoma - Hot Air
Romney tops January funding figures
Republican Presidential campaigns are becoming reliant upon SuperPAC money
"[O]ver all, super PACs backing the four leading Republican contenders raised $22.1 million in January, slightly more than the candidates themselves, and ended the month with $19.4 million in cash on hand, about $5 million more than the candidates had." - New York Times
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson says he might give $100M to Newt Gingrich - Forbes
Sen. Rubio tops poll on vice presidential picks - USA Today
Some Republicans still clamoring for a "Plan B" candidate
"[O]ne knowledgeable GOP source confirms that some Republicans are circulating the deadlines and the basic math that would allow another candidate to get into the nomination fight and take it all the way to the convention... A majority of the delegates to the national convention are still up for grabs." - CNN
The price of a Romney endorsement: how Tim Pawlenty paid off his campaign debt
"According to Politic, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican front-runner, and his family members joined with several Bain Capital officials to assist Mr. Pawlenty in retiring his debt last year, federal records show." - The State Column
Why did Obama tell Democrats SuperPAC fundraising is okay? Because the pro-Obama SuperPAC raised only $59K in January (and $50K of that was from one guy) - Politico
The next debt fight will be ugly, but will come after the election
"The fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. Whether the debt limit is reached before the presidential election (a third of Senate seats and all House seats will also be at stake and control of one or both could change, setting up a particularly nasty fight along party lines) depends on how well the economy performs. But even if the recovery slows down, or simply doesn't speed up, and the limit is reached before the election, the Treasury Department can—and likely will—use "extraordinary measures" to push back the drop-dead deadline for raising it." - National Journal
US and Mexico announce accord to boost offshore oil, gas exploration - The Hill
Obama to meet with Netanyahu next month as concern grows on Iran response - Bloomberg
David Brooks: Talented people can thrive in our individualistic society. The less fortunate find it harder
"Over all, we’ve made life richer for the people who have the social capital to create their own worlds. We’ve also made it harder for the people who don’t — especially poorer children. ... So maybe it’s time to acknowledge a core reality: People with skills can really thrive in this tenuous, networked society. People without those advantages would probably be better off if we could build new versions of the settled, stable and thick arrangements we’ve left behind." - David Brooks
And finally... John Ensign used to be a Senator. Now he's back to his old job... as a vet - CNN
Latest RCP national average: Santorum 33.8%, Romney 28.4%, Gingrich 14.0%, Paul 12.2%
McCain warns that negativity of primary campaign could help re-elect Obama - Politico
He probably meant attacks like...
"Voter say they don't like negative campaigning. But, although they may reject such ads consciously, that doesn't mean they aren't unconsciously affected" - Drew Westen for the LA Times
Santorum picking up very few endorsements from former Congressional colleagues - USA Today
BUT, reports USA Today: "Former Ohio senator Mike DeWine switched his support to Rick Santorum today, saying he could no longer back Mitt Romney because of his "astounding inability" to give people a reason to vote for him." Also see the American Spectator.
Ron Paul says Santorum's social issues are a 'losing position' for the GOP - National Journal
Santorum faces full on media scrutiny of his social conservatism - The Hill
"With Santorum launching one social issues bomb after another, there is no time to talk about the economy. Is this the Democratic Party’s dream, or what?" - PowerLine
"Rick Santorum is sharpening his rhetoric against President Obama on the campaign trail, painting a picture of a president out of touch with the American people that seems aimed at tapping into fear and anger among Republican primary voters." - CBS
Jennifer Rubin issues stark warning against Santorum
"Santorum is no Marco Rubio. Whereas Rubio expands the party’s base of support, Santorum shrinks it. Whereas women, independents and young people see Rubio as a forward-looking reformer, Santorum seems stuck in a time warp from a different era, someone chasing issues that were “lost” decades ago." - Rubin in the Washington Post
Gingrich piles on Michigan pressure
"Newt Gingrich said Sunday that a primary loss by any of the Republican presidential candidates in their home states would be devastating to that campaign. "If any of the three of us lose our home state, if Santorum loses Pennsylvania, Romney loses Michigan or I lose Georgia, I think you have a very, very badly weakened candidacy, for any one of the three of us," Gingrich said on "Fox News Sunday." "I think it's extraordinarily important to carry your own state."" - Politico
The New York Times previews Wednesday night's debate - the first since Santorum leapfrogged Romney in Michigan and national polls.
"About the only argument that still works for Romney among GOP insiders is that he would be less of a drag on the ticket than the strident Santorum or the mercurial Newt Gingrich." - Walter Shapiro for TNR
"There are growing calls for an alternative to Mitt Romney as the Republican standard-bearer, with the names of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie again being seen as the most likely saviors." - Politico
Majority Leader Eric Cantor said House Republicans will push for two measures to benefit small-business owners in the coming weeks - Roll Call
Payroll tax cut agreement pushes nation closer to hitting debt ceiling
"The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that in the short term, the payroll package will add $101 billion to the deficit, which effectively erases a month of wiggle room under the $16.394 trillion debt cap. The government’s public debt currently sits at $15.39 trillion." - The Hill
Obama Goes Soft on Iran - Weekly Standard
Monica Lewinsky at center of four hour documentary on Bill Clinton - New York Times
A universal birth-control mandate is a curious priority for a dying republic - Mark Steyn at NRO says the mandate is like handing out condoms on the Titantic.
Presidential candidates are always saying THIS is the most important election ever but which one really did matter most? - David Mayhew in the Washington Post
And finally... HotAir goes in search of a new slogan for the Obama campaign...
The truth about Obama's stimulus and unemployment
"I have written many times that inefficient spending cannot create jobs. Rather, wasteful spending destroys wealth and thereby destroys jobs, too. That thesis is amply borne out by the experience of recent years." - PowerLine
Rick Synder, Governor of Michigan, endorses Romney
"Our country has never elected a president born and raised in Michigan. Mitt Romney was born in Detroit. His father served with distinction as governor. Before that, he was president of American Motors. Mitt grew up with the prospects of the auto industry and of Michigan discussed around the dinner table. He has deep ties to our state. Mitt understands the challenges confronting Michigan as few Americans do." - Synder in the Detroit News
Elections expert Larry Sabato calls the Feb. 28 Michigan Republican primary a "must-win" for Mitt Romney - WSJ
Don't lurch right; Don't unveil a new Mitt, Don't stop attacking - Michael Crowley's advice for Romney in TIME
Santorum could beat Gingrich in his home state of Georgia - RCP
Gerson: Santorum is Romney's most serious challenger
"Santorum combines a deeply held social conservatism with an authentic blue-collar appeal. Romney has trouble competing in either category. While Santorum is very conservative, he avoids being a conservative caricature. He was one of the Senate’s main advocates of global health programs and a champion of faith-based anti-poverty efforts." - Mike Gerson in the Washington Post
The 18% question: Why did Santorum lose his Senate seat by 18%?
"The reasons for Santorum's defeat are too complicated for a 30-second ad or a brief answer at a debate. He can blame a lot of factors, but in the end he was most responsible for his own fate. Now, if Santorum's presidential campaign continues to soar, he'll likely have to discuss the '06 defeat more. The Romney campaign will point to it as proof that Santorum can't win the White House. Santorum's job is to tell voters -- and prove to them with his actions -- that he has learned from his loss, and that he's a better candidate for it." - Byron York for the Washington Examiner
The uncharitable Santorum?
"The Santorums actually gave less than two percent of their income to charity, a smaller percentage than the average for people in their income group though not extremely so. The average is slightly more than three percent." - NPR
"Rick Santorum, whose humble coal-country biography is central to his political message, made more than $3.6 million in recent years as a Washington consultant" - Washington Post
Could Ron Paul come to Romney's rescue?
"In a Republican presidential contest known for its angry rivalries, the Romney-Paul relationship stands out for its behind-the-scenes civility. It is a friendship that, by Mr. Paul’s telling, Mr. Romney has worked to cultivate." - New York Times
Republicans in Washington need to stop acting like Democrats, says … Mitt Romney - HotAir
"The small fraction of Americans who are trying to pick the Republican nominee are old, white, uniformly Christian and unrepresentative of the nation at large" - Timothy Egan at the New York Times
Perry plans new PAC with unused campaign money - USA Today
Payroll-Tax Cut Pact a Rare Sign of Bipartisanship - WSJ
"While House GOP leaders are reluctantly backing the agreement, most Senate Republicans are expected to vote against it. This will be the first time that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his lieutenants will be voting differently than their Senate counterparts on a high-profile issue in the 112th Congress." - The Hill
Jennifer Rubin's verdict on the deal: "After folding at the end of last year, Republicans plainly don’t have the votes or the nerve to hold up a deal. On one hand, it does damage to the president’s argument that the Republicans are obstructionists. That said, fiscal hawks are not going to be pleased. Once again, the president and Congress simply kicked the can down the road."
Hispanic delegation in Congress set to grow to over 30, from 25 - Politico
"In some good news for Republicans in a marquee Senate race, a new poll shows GOP Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts enjoying a wide lead over his premier Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren. A poll by Suffolk University/7NEWS released Thursday night found Mr. Brown leading Ms. Warren, 49% to 40%." - WSJ
GOP says "drill. drill, drill" is answer to higher gas prices - Politico
The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages, setting the stage for an anticipated veto by Gov. Chris Christie - NPR
Obama approval drops to 43% in latest Gallup poll - Fox
Rep. Dennis Kucinich faces tough redistricting battle against Democratic primary challengers - Roll Call
And finally... "They call him 'Honest Abe.' But he's just another Springfield insider."
Peggy Noonan draws up an attack ad against Abraham Lincoln - WSJ
Mitt Romney can't count on home-state advantage in Michigan
""Michigan's been my home, and this is personal," Romney says in a new TV ad that features vintage black-and-white photos, including one of a teen-aged Mitt and his square-jawed father, the state's late governor, George Romney. ... Polls indicate that Michigan could go either way, making Romney's attempt at repositioning himself a particularly acute task in this state, the first in the industrial Midwest to award delegates and a place where a loss could be shattering. ... Romney is reverting to the formula that worked earlier this year: He's going negative against his main opponent and leveling an intense media barrage that the other side hasn't got the resources to counter." - LA Times
Latest polling shows Santorum with a big lead
"A new Rasmussen survey shows Rick Santorum has jumped to a 12-point lead over Mitt Romney nationally in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Santorum leads with with 39%, followed by Mitt Romney at 27%, Newt Gingrich at 15% and Ron Paul at 10%. Key finding: "Perhaps more tellingly, Santorum now trounces Romney 55% to 34% in a one-on-one matchup among likely GOP primary voters. This is the first time any challenger has led Romney nationally in a head-to-head match-up."" - PoliticalWire
Gingrich trying to win delegates in Michigan
"“My prediction is that if Mitt Romney goes and attacks Santorum as negatively as he attacked me in Florida and elsewhere, that what you’re going to see is he’ll peel votes off Santorum, but they’re going to come to me, they’re not going to go to Romney,” Gingrich said on the FOX News show, “On The Record.”" - CNN
Congressional negotiators reach payroll deal
"Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) emerged from a Capitol meeting room to say the agreement — hashed out by a bicameral, bipartisan conference committee — would garner enough support to move forward in both chambers." - Politico
House Republicans delay vote on transportation bill
"House Speaker John Boehner told his Republican caucus Wednesday that the House will postpone voting on a massive transportation and energy bill... The move was a sign that GOP leaders were still struggling to put together the votes to pass the measure that funds highway programs and includes several energy measures, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline." - CNN
Sen. Marco Rubio taking an active role in opposing Obama's diplomatic record
"Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t waiting for a vice presidential offer to go after President Barack Obama: He’s been locked in a quiet battle with the White House for months, blocking key diplomatic appointments in hopes of getting his say on foreign policy. The Rubio-Obama administration skirmish — sloppy, confusing and still largely unresolved — could presage an even bigger, sloppier and more confusing Rubio-Obama political battle this fall." - Politico
Rep. Allen West: Democratic handouts an 'insidious form of slavery'
""Our party firmly believes in the safety net," West said in a late Wednesday floor speech. "We reject the idea of the safety net becoming a hammock. "For this reason, the Republican value of minimizing government dependence is particularly beneficial to the poorest among us," he continued. "Conversely, the Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today, and it does not promote economic freedom."" - The Hill
Some Senate candidates are held back by House membership
"In the 15 races ranked as most competitive... Republicans could field current or recently departed House members in eight of them; Democratic House members are top candidates in four Senate races. Races that were not supposed to be all that close are looking more like barn-burners, in large part because one of the standard-bearers carries the millstone of his or her current position: member of the House." - New York Times
Chris Christie defends lower flags for Whitney Houston - Politico
Obama is busy campaigning in California again
"At the posh home of a Hollywood soap opera producer, the president urged Democrats to mobilize, telling supporters... "People out there are hurting and they need us to do more," Obama said on a star-studded night that included a performance by the Foo Fighters and appearances by actors Jack Black and Rashida Jones."- AP
Pentagon eyeing future cuts to nuclear arsenal
"Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee there are internal discussions under way about the number of nuclear weapons America will have in the future. The talks, Dempsey said in his testimony before the committee, were in preparation for upcoming meetings with Russia on the matter. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, called the idea "reckless lunacy." Rep. William "Mac" Thornberry, R-Texas, said the concept has him "very concerned."" - CNN
California Congresswoman calls conservative leaders 'demons'
"California Congresswoman Maxine Waters' rant last weekend at the California Democrats State Convention in San Diego... described House Majority leader Eric Cantor and Speaker of the House John Boehner as “demons” who are “destroying this country”" - Nile Gardiner
George Will: Supreme Court should take on New York City’s rent control laws - Washington Post
Polling: Conservatives would support Israeli military action on Iran
"Fully 71% of conservative Republicans think the U.S. should support Israel’s military action if they attack Iran, compared with 43% of moderate and liberal Republicans. A majority of independents and Democrats (including both liberal and more moderate Democrats) think the U.S. should stay neutral." - Weekly Standard