Rubio objects to a Gingrich ad and it gets pulled, Romney is not Mexican-American, Gabrielle Giffords cast her last vote, and Linda Lingle raised a lot of money.

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* He hasn’t endorsed, but Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) went to bat for Mitt Romney today, saying a radio ad from former House speaker Newt Gingrich that called the former Massachusetts governor “anti-immigrant” was “inaccurate” and “inflammatory.” Gingrich promptly pulled the offending ad off the airwaves.

* Both Gingrich and Romney sat down with Univision today. Gingrich called Romney’s self-deportation plan “an Obama-level fantasy." Romney pointed out that Gingrich used to support “self-deportation” and declared that he is not Mexican-American, though he’d “love to be able to convince people of that, particularly in a Florida primary." Santorum said he couldn’t make his schedule work with the Spanish-language TV network; Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) wasn’t in the state.

* Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has cast her last vote in the House, on a bill giving federal law enforcement greater authority to fight cross-border drug trafficking — a bill she had championed. It passed. At the end of the day, she will no longer be a member of Congress.

* On a conference call for Romney this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) went a little off-message, calling super PACs “disgraceful” and that “I predict to you there will be a major scandal associated with the Supreme Court decision” allowing the unlimited-fundraising groups because “there is too much money washing around.” Romney has criticized super PACs too, but he enjoys substantial support from them and wants unlimited fundraising to be legal.

* Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he’s not likely to stay on if President Obama is reelected. “He’s not going to ask me to stay on, I’m pretty confident,” Geithner told Bloomberg News. “I’m confident he’ll be president. But I’m also confident he’s going to have the privilege of having another secretary of the Treasury… Something else for me.”


* Hawaii Senate candidate (and former governor) Linda Lingle (R) raised a truly amazing amount of money in the fourth quarter of 2011 — over $1.7 million. She’s still a Republican running in a very Democratic state, but this haul puts Rep. Mazie Hirono (D), who raised $624,363 last quarter for the race, on notice.

* A poll commissioned by Tammy Duckworth finds the former Veterans Affairs official very well-positioned in her race for Illinois’ 8th district. She leads former Illinois Deputy treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi 59 percent to 17 percent in the primary, and she has 83 percent name-recognition and 67 percent favorability in the district. Of course, its an internal poll, but if these numbers are even close to accurate Duckworth will be the one facing Rep. Joe Walsh (R).

* Former Rep. Chris Shays (R) has made his Connecticut Senate campaign official. He’s already been hitting former WWE executive Linda McMahon (R) hard — last week he said “she’s basically in the soft porn business.” The primary winner will likely face Rep. Chris Murphy (D) for the open seat, though he faces a primary with former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz.

* New regional chairs for NewDEAL, a group headed by Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) that highlights pro-business progressives: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.


Boots and cats, together at last.

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake