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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 03/12/2012

Morning Bits

Unexpected. “As a devout Mormon, Mitt Romney was the presidential candidate who experts anticipated could have a problem with winning over Roman Catholic voters. Instead, exit polling from recent primaries shows Rick Santorum, a staunch Catholic who often references his religion as a factor in his political views, is winning far less of the Catholic vote than Romney. The former senator from Pennsylvania has yet to achieve outright victory among Catholics in any state for which data are available, according to Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life analysis.”

Expected. The media are underplaying Romney’s success. “The fact that Romney is still viewed to be in danger of losing the nomination says less about him than it does about the media. We have turned him into Candidate Sisyphus, providing him with a plentiful supply of boulders to push uphill. First it was make-or-break New Hampshire, then must-win Florida, then do-or-die Michigan and game-changing Ohio. Each time Romney prevails, we assign him a new test.”

Unexpected. Joe Biden got one right. “Good Call: In 2008, Biden Said Bin Laden Was Hiding In Pakistan.”

Expected. Santorum’s “snob” comment makes no sense when you look at the earnings gap. “And yet, Santorum notwithstanding, a four-year college degree marks the divide between the top one-third of Americans who have most easily weathered the downturn and the bottom two-thirds who are still mired in it. Unemployment among college graduates is just under 5 percent nationally. It’s over 9 percent for those without college degrees. The median annual pay of people with a bachelor’s degree is 70 percent higher than those with a high school diploma, according to the latest available census data.”

Expected. He ran down the surge in Iraq, so naturally he’s anxious to join the “bring them home” crowd on Afghanistan. “GOP presidential hopeful and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich expressed pessimism about the U.S. mission in Afghanistan on Sunday, saying the U.S. goals in the region might not be ‘doable.’”

Unexpected. Romney is doing very well in polling in Alabama and Mississippi. Chip Saltsman explains why: “Well, he’s got great organization. He’s got a lot of people on the ground. He’s spending money. He’s done mail. He’s done radio. He’s done everything that a campaign’s supposed to do in all these states, where the other campaigns have lagged behind on all those resources and are just getting in the game. And it’s not any different than any other states he’s been in. . . . Look, if — if your social issues are the only reason you’re voting, Mitt Romney is probably not your first choice in this group. But if it’s jobs, if it’s the economy, Mitt Romney is going to compete for your vote, and that’s what he’s doing in Mississippi and Alabama, and the polls seem to support that.”

Expected. The media are beginning to grasp the delegate math. “Few had expected the Republican primary race, at this stage, to come down to the math. Yet that’s exactly where the GOP presidential contest remains right now, mired in a daily back-and-forth about whether Mitt Romney’s clear delegate lead can be overcome by the two rivals vying to be the conservative alternative, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. The reality of the situation? Probably not. It’s a point that Romney’s campaign has been drumming hard — a campaign adviser asserted that it would take an ‘act of God’ to reverse his trajectory last week. And it has the added benefit of being true, thanks to his organizational superiority and the map ahead — a series of primaries.”

Unexpected. David Gregory didn’t nail Santorum on his claim that he has “voted always to cut spending — repeatedly, consistently.” Club for Growth has him dead to rights in its white paper. “His record is plagued by the big-spending habits that Republicans adopted during the Bush years of 2001-2006. Some of those high profile votes include his support for No Child Left Behind in 2001, which greatly expanded the federal government’s role in education. He supported the massive new Medicare drug entitlement in 2003 that now costs taxpayers over $60 billion a year and has almost $16 trillion in unfunded liabilities. He voted for the 2005 highway bill that included thousands of wasteful earmarks, including the Bridge to Nowhere. In fact, in a separate vote, Santorum had the audacity to vote to continue funding the Bridge to Nowhere rather than send the money to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.”

Expected. “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday there’s no need for a super PAC supporting President Barack Obama’s re-election to return $1 million from comedian Bill Maher in light of sexist remarks he’s made about 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and other women.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 03/12/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign, Morning Bits

 
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