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Alan Simpson: Rick Santorum ‘rigid and a homophobic’

at 05:53 PM ET, 02/22/2012

Former GOP senator calls Rick Santorum “rigid and a homophobic,” Rand Paul would be honored if Romney asked him to be his running mate, Romney and Obama both released tax plans and Newt Gingrich is going longform.

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EARLIER ON THE FIX:

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Former senator and reliable quote-machine Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.)tells CBS what he really thinks about former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. “He is rigid and a homophobic,” said Simpson, who is backing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. “We’re all human beings, we all know or love somebody who’s gay or lesbian so what the hell is that about? To me it’s startling and borders on disgust.”

* Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), the co-chairman of Romney’s state campaign, says “it looks like Santorum may be caught up” in the state and that it could come down to a “neck-and-neck race.”

* Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R), son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, told a local radio station he’d be honored if Romney asked him to be his running-mate. “I don’t know if I can answer that question, but I can say it would be an honor to be considered,” he said.

* Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has reversed course on a controversial sonogram bill passed by the state legislature, one he previously supported. “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure,” he said. As the bill stands, some women would have been forced to have transvaginal sonograms. An amended version would require only external sonograms.

* Obama and Romney both released tax plans today. Romney proposed slashing individual income rates across the board by 20 percent; Obama would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent while banning some deductions loopholes that corporations use to keep their tax bills down.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Santorum is closing in on Romney in a Field Poll of California Republican voters. He’s gone from 2 percent in the state in November to 25 percent now; Romney is at 31 percent.

* Forget 30 seconds: former House speaker Newt Gingrich is going on air with a 30-minute ad about his energy policy, detailing his promise to bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon. The campaign infomercial will air in “key cities” of Super Tuesday states between now and March 6th, the campaign says; no word on the size of the buy. It’s reminiscint of President Obama’s 30-minute ad before the 2008 election.

* The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching a new round of Spanish-language radio ads targeting Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) that calls the senator “another Sharron Angle” running “an anti-Latino campaign” — tying him to a former Senate candidate who was unpopular with voters in general and Latinos in particular. Heller faces Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) this fall for the seat he was appointed to last year.

* Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson (R) beats Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) in a head-to-head Senate matchup 48 percent to 42 percent, according to a new Marquette Law School poll. No other Republican challenger beats Baldwin.

* Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette (D) is moving towards a run for a governor against Sen. Scott Walker (R) should a recall campaign against the incumbent succeed. He will file the papers this week, he said, but has has not completely made up his mind.

* It’s a debate night! We’re shaking things up a little bit this time — instead of a live chat, we’ll be liveblogging on The Fix. That means no Cover It Live, but more real-time updates from us. We hope you like it. Here’s what you need to know.

THE FIX MIX:

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