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Newslinks for Wednesday Feb 15: The battle for Michigan begins as Romney and Santorum draw contrasts

Posted on 02/15/2012

The battle for Michigan

685px-Flag_of_Michigan.svg"Amid signs Rick Santorum could win an upset victory in Michigan, Mitt Romney escalated his campaign to win the state's Republican primary by taking on the powerful auto union and reigniting the debate over the federal bailouts of two Detroit auto makers." - WSJ ($)

  • "Romney’s national campaign [has] deployed top operatives to the state and on Tuesday reserved nearly $1.3 million in airtime in the run-up to the Feb. 28 primary, according to a media-buying source. The pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future is also putting big bucks behind a new negative ad on Santorum that starts Wednesday." - Politico
  • "As Mitt Romney faces a newly energized Rick Santorum, the super PAC supporting Romney, Restore Our Future, is weighing in this week with a major ad buy of more than $1.5 million, the group told CNN Tuesday." - CNN
  • "Asked about his expectations for Michigan... Santorum said Michigan was a lot like Pennsylvania, where he's had political success. Santorum said he will "hopefully finish a good strong second" to Romney. "We think we can plant our flag there and do well," he said." - AP

Romney and Santorum start to draw contrasts

Romney Santorum
"An air war has broken out over Michigan between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, but the opening salvos are largely positive spots that present each candidate as the savior of a state once on the brink of collapse." - WSJ

  • "In the coming weeks, Santorum’s record in Congress, his writings, his past interviews — everything — will be dissected as never before. Romney’s campaign and the super PAC backing him will make certain of that, as will the media. Gingrich will use the debates to draw his own distinctions with Santorum." - Washington Post
  • Romney narrows in on Santorum's voting history - Commentary
  • Female voters could be a problem for Santorum in general election contest - The Hill

How Romney's attacks are backfiring - his supporters are as guilty of over-spending as Santorum - Washington Examiner

  • "A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday indicates Romney's popularity has especially taken a tumble among Republicans, with a 13-point decline in positive reviews from his own party." - CNN

Gingrich is staying in the race, for now

"The former House speaker, who is on a three-day fund-raising swing in California, has said he is committed to staying in the race, despite skeptics who are counting him out. "Well they did twice before, and both times I came back ahead in the polls," Gingrich said Tuesday." - CNN

Are the Maine GOP caucus results in doubt?

Paul Ron""The Bangor Daily News in Maine reports "pressure is on" the state Republican Party to "reconsider its weekend declaration that Mitt Romney won" the Maine caucuses. Romney edged out Ron Paul by 194 votes. ... Paul's campaign has been saying since Saturday that the Texas congressman could end up winning more delegates than Romney when all is said and done. " - USA Today

  • Santorum may not qualify for the Indiana primary - WSJ

Santorum exploring Secret Service protection following Occupy protests at one of his rallies AP

Rick Perry appears to be serious about a future White House race

"Rick Perry may "absolutely" run for president again and described the debates in the 2012 primary as good practice." - CNN

Payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits: Tentative deal reached

Screen shot 2011-08-29 at 08.57.02"A tentative deal reached by senior House and Senate leaders, which appears poised to pass absent a last-minute snag, would prolong a payroll tax cut that benefits 160 million Americans, extend unemployment benefits and forestall rate cuts to doctors who treat Medicare patients." - Politico

  • "In the Senate, senior Democratic aides told Fox News that Democrats are putting aside their push for a millionaire surtax now that Republicans have offered to extend the tax cut with no strings attached. One aide added, "To be sure, it will live to see another day."" - Fox News
  • "McConnell declined to endorse a proposal announced by Boehner on Monday to extend the payroll tax holiday without paying for it." - The Hill

GOP negative about Boehner's transport bill

Screen shot 2010-11-17 at 20.42.02"Some tea party folks didn’t come to Washington to build roads, much less bridges; suburban Republicans have a full menu of complaints, from oil drilling to shifting transit funding away from a dedicated source; and some of those who represent government employees aren’t thrilled with a pay-for that cuts the federal contribution to their constituents’ pensions." - Politico

  • Sen. Jim DeMint: "The highway bill is the latest example of Washington's bipartisan addiction to big spending. ... A serious highway bill would at least live within the means of the highway trust fund. But Republicans and Democrats have surrendered to the status quo of unsustainable spending." - WSJ ($)
  • "The White House cited its unhappiness with many of the transportation provisions in the much-criticized $260 billion bill, along with GOP-backed energy language that includes an attempt to hasten approval for the Keystone XL pipeline." - Politico

Dana Milbank: Does the GOP care about Latino voters?

"What else but a death wish could explain the party’s treatment of the fastest-growing voting bloc in the nation? First was the wave of Arizona-style immigration laws. Then came the anti-immigrant rhetoric from the GOP presidential candidates. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans roughed up Adalberto Jose Jordan — because, well, just because they could." - Dana Milbank for the Washington Post

Rep. Darrell Issa takes step toward holding Holder in contempt of Congress

"In a Jan. 31 letter, Issa had threatened Holder with such a move if he failed to provide all the subpoenaed documents relating to the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal by Feb. 9. That deadline has come and gone, and Holder’s Department of Justice still hasn’t provided most of those documents. Issa’s subpoena dates back to Oct. 12, 2011." - Daily Caller

Sen. John Cornyn favorite to win No.2 spot in the Senate GOP leadership - Roll Call

Michelle Malkin: The tea party isn't dead. It's just looking down ballot - Town Hall

Obama could be hurt by defense cuts

Obama (1)"The biggest political threat that President Barack Obama could face in military towns like Norfolk and Fayetteville and Tampa isn’t criticism that he’s pulling out of Afghanistan or Iraq too early. It’s his refusal, so far, to roll back automatic cuts to the Pentagon that could damage local economies already bracing for a drawdown in defense funding. Republicans are using almost $1 trillion in potential defense cuts as a wedge issue with a jobs twist, aiming to weaken Obama where it could hurt him most: in a handful of top-tier battleground states such as Virginia, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina." - Politico

Democrats in tough races turn critical of Obama’s 2013 budget

Screen shot 2011-08-27 at 16.01.13"In the Senate, Jon Tester (Mont.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.)... said Obama’s proposal had fallen short of what was necessary to rein in federal debt. “Unfortunately, this budget still includes unacceptable deficit levels, and I’m ready to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to tackle this problem,” McCaskill said. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has kept quiet on the budget, declining to give it the full-throated praise that Democratic leaders in the House have poured onto the proposal." - The Hill

And finally... Herman Cain turns down "Dancing with the Stars"

"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says it got confirmation from a Cain aide that the former pizza company executive nixed his chance for the Mirror Ball trophy. "He can't dance in an eight count. He can only dance in a nine-count," Lisa Reichert is quoted as saying about Cain." - USA Today

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