1. David Dayen has a good update on that Maine Senate race and Chellie Pingree’s decision to drop out.
2. Seth Masket on how Mitt Romney is doing and media expectations.
3. A Southern problem? Ed Kilgore argues in a very nice column that Romney doesn’t have to win in the South to get the nomination, and there is no reason to think that his nomination difficulties there will hurt him in November.
4. Endorsement of the Day: Frequently mocked former New York governor George Pataki endorses Mitt Romney, but I suspect Romney might not appreciate the accompanying comments. Azi Paybarah has it:
“Mitt is not a perfect candidate,” Pataki said, adding that Romney “has a number of problems. It’s hard for blue-collar families like mine to identify with him. It’s hard for economic conservatives to identify with him. He needs to do more to reach out to Latinos.”
5. More on the Republican problem with Latinos, from Jonathan Cohn.
6. Veepstakes time: Tim Noah considers Rick Santorum for the second spot.
7. An early look at the uphill road for the GOP to begin electing more women to the House in 2012, from David S. Bernstein.
8. In Utero Veritas?
9. Excellent summary from Amanda Marcotte of the recent contraception wars and how Republicans totally missed the ways that gender, income and ethnicity play into it.
10. Sarah Kliff reports that it’s going to be another record year for new abortion restrictions introduced in state legislatures.
11. Marcotte tweets: “The most critical takeaway re: GOP reproductive rights losses, is that they overstep when attacking middle-class women.” My question for her: If the Supreme Court ends affirmative action, how will those same middle-class women react? Are the likely dynamics similar, or no?
12. Those three Iowa state judges who decided in favor of marriage equality and then were bounced in the next election? They will receive a JFK Profile in Courage Award, as Neal Broverman reports (via must-follow Lithwick).
13. Stacy Dean of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looks at extreme poverty in the United States and how food stamps are critical to relieving it.
14. And a good Purim-eve look at the dangers for Israel in seeing the apocalypse everywhere, from Marc Tracy. Don’t tell Sarah Palin.