* Karen Tumulty has a great piece on female defections from the GOP over contraception and other issues, including this:
When the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey asked last summer which party should control Congress, a slim 46-42 percent plurality of women said it should be the Democrats. But in a survey released Monday, compiling polling since the beginning of the year, that figure had widened considerably to a 15-point advantage for the Democrats.
This will cheer Dems who are hoping birth control will resonate in Congressional and Senate races, though Republicans still insist it plays their way in states like Missouri, Nebraska and Montana.
* Good stuff from the National Journal, which quotes experts testifying that Romney’s job creation record as Governor of Massachusetts was lackluster at best.
For all of Romney’s silver-foot-in-mouth trouble, Dems still have not undermined his aura of competence. This will become a key data point.
* Steve Benen’s Friday tally of Romney’s most ostentatious falsehoods of the week.
* Brad Plumer digs into the jobs report and finds lots of good news, and very little bad. And the labor market is healing faster than we thought, with a caveat:
The U.S. economy is still in a large hole. Right now, we’re adding around 250,000 jobs per month. If that trend keeps up, it’s enough to get us to 8 percent unemployment by election day. That would bode well for President Obama’s reelection chances. But 8 percent unemployment is still unnervingly high.
* Jared Bernstein finds more reasons for optimism: We’re seeing consistent improvements in the job market that could drive unemployment down and are dispursed across key industries.
* Rick Santorum and his allies slowly increase the pressure on Newt to drop out, and the Mississippi and Alabama primaries may decide whether Santorum gets to go head to head against Romney.
* Andrew Sullivan nicely deconstructs what Obama’s allegedly controversial Derrick Bell speech really tells us about the man and his supposed radical tendencies.
* No, the hugely controversial Bell does not appear to have visited the White House or met with President Obama.
* The Bell controversy suggests that in 2012 we may see a reprise of the 2010 summer of hate. Amidst a presidential election on full boil.
* Scott Walker sets up a legal defense fund to deal with an ongoing probe, which only appears to be legal if you are being investigated for or charged with campaign finance or election law violations.
* AFSCME endorses Leslie Knope for City Council on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” Why not endores a fictional candidate, if she’s giving public workers a good name in front of a huge TV audience?
* A race to watch: In Illinois’ 10th District, liberals are raising big bucks for liberal candidate Ilya Sherman against a more moderate Dem, a test for groups out to elect unabashed progressives to Congress.
* Rush Limbaugh’s Web site appears to have been mysteriously scrubbed of his “slut” remarks. Mega-cave to the liberal media?
* And sadly enough, Limbaugh is still trying to blame the White House for the “slut” fiasco — and even hoodwinking his poor listeners into believing an “army of people on the right” has won this battle.