Romney doesn’t want to be in the contraception fight, Paul is going after everyone, Santorum has a big lead in Tennessee and Gingrich has a Kasich ally.

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* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney supports a Senate bill that would allows employers to refuse to cover contraception. He earlier told the Ohio News Network that he did not back the legislation; spokeswoman Andrea Saul sent out a statement explaining that “the way the question was asked was confusing.”

* Texas Rep. Ron Paul is airing an ad in Washington State, “Three of a Kind,” that goes after former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. It’s not a new ad, but the fact that he’s using it now suggests that Paul’s “truce” with Romney — however real it ever was — is over.

* Santorum might have a chance at winning “if he could speak English,” the spokesman for a pro-Gingrich super PAC said today. Rick Tyler, the spokesman for Winning Our Future, was referencing a flub in Santorum’s Michigan speech last night. “A month ago, they didn’t knew who we are. They do now,” Santorum said.

* Chuck Hassebrook still hasn’t heard directly from former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D), who officially entered the state’s Senate race today. Hassebrook, who left his University of Nebraska Board of Regents post to run back when Kerrey passed, says he’s staying in despite his high-profile primary competition. “I’m disappointed that Bob broke his word on this but he does have a right to run,” Hassebrook said. “At least now we know what the target is – it’s a primary election.”


* A Middle Tennessee State University poll gives Santorum a big lead over Romney in Tennessee among Republicans going into Super Tuesday, 40 percent to 19 percent. But it was not a poll of likely voters and a lot can change in a week. The state has 58 delegates.

* Gingrich has tapped a close ally of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Franklin County Republican Party Chairman Doug Preisse, for his Ohio leadership team. A spokesman for the governor told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Preisse’s involvement should not be read as an endorsement from Kasich, who has not backed a candidate.

* Former Maine Gov. John Baldacci and Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree have all taken out papers to potentially run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R). All three are Democrats; Republicans will have a tough time keeping this seat, especially given the March 15th filing deadline.

* Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson (R) has launched his first ad in the GOP primary for the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D). The ad emphasizes his record, saying “let’s do for America what we did for Wisconsin.” It includes a promise to “repeal Obamacare,” as rivals attack Thompson for his initial support of the health-care reform effort.

* Missouri Speaker Steve Tilley is backing state Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the GOP Senate primary. The endorsement from a prolific fundraiser could help Steelman with donors in a crowded primary field hoping to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).


Happy leap year!

With Rachel Weiner