A vendor hawks piñatas in Tijuana, Mexico, yesterday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Good morning from an Acela train bound for New Haven. Here’s a preview of the message I’ll deliver later to a seminar at Yale.

THE BIG IDEA:

The Republican establishment is not monolithic.

Thought leaders from the party’s governing class – legislators, donors, operatives, think tankers, lobbyists – are coping in very different ways with Donald Trump’s victories in 10 of the first 15 nominating contests.

It is remarkable how much of the reaction to the Super Tuesday results fits neatly into Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief. It’s like a psychiatry experiment playing out in real time, except without the approval of an Institutional Review Board. 

It took nine months, but party elites are finally past the denial phase. No one thinks the first-time candidate can be ignored or that he’s someone else’s problem. Other than that, they’re all over the place!

Mitt Romney (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Step 2 (after denial) is ANGER.

Some key figures who basically stayed on the sidelines for the past year are now rushing to raise money and get ads up on the air that will drive up Trump’s negatives before the winner-take-all primaries begin on March 15.

-- Mitt Romney is not ready to endorse anyone yet, and associates say he’s not going to jump into the race, but he’ll deliver a high-profile speech at the University of Utah today decrying Trump and warning his 2012 supporters that it would be dangerous to nominate him.

Trump attacked the "failed" candidate (and misspelled the president's name):

He also released a video mocking Romney:

-- A group of more than 50 conservative foreign policy experts signed onto an open letter, saying Trump’s rhetoric about national security has “crossed a line” and rendered him unfit for office. “As Republicans, we are unable to support a party ticket with Trump at its head,” says the letter, which hits Trump on everything from his nonchalance about torture to his anti-Muslim rhetoric. “We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent [his] election.” (Thomas Gibbons-Neff has a list of who signed the letter.)

-- Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker became the latest prominent Republican to say he cannot vote for Trump in November. (Boston Globe)

Step 3 is BARGAINING.

John Kasich in Warren, Michigan, yesterday. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Activists are trying to come up with very unlikely ways to stop Trump, including unity tickets that just aren’t going to happen.

-- The establishment is also trying to make the case that they totally get the anger that’s out there, and that they’ll adjust to tap into what Trump represents. John Kasich had plane trouble, so he couldn’t fly from New York to Michigan and he phoned into an event yesterday in Ann Arbor. His comments were emblematic: “To be honest with you, I do understand a lot of the appeal of Donald Trump because people are frustrated," he said, per the Ann Arbor News. 

Kasich then reiterated his promise not to get out of the race until after Ohio, at the earliest, on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. Asked if he’s a spoiler for Rubio, the governor replied: “They won some caucus somewhere. Where was it, Minnesota or something?” The comments underscore the degree to which the field will stay splintered, despite abstract calls for unity.

Step 4 is DEPRESSION.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) (File)

“Despite some vague talk of rallying around a Trump alternative, Capitol Hill Republicans said Wednesday that no such effort is afoot and that anyone in Washington trying to execute such a plan was on a fool’s errand,” reports congressional correspondent Paul Kane.

“One of the reasons there’s not a whole lot of pressure to do something here is there’s a general sense that’s there’s probably not a whole lot you can do,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the leadership facing re-election in the fall. “Nobody thinks our involvement is particularly helpful, as it might’ve once been.”

“If you don’t see a donor rush, it’s because people are seeing what I’m seeing: Show me how Trump can be beaten,” said Al Cardenas, a Miami-based lobbyist who backed Jeb Bush and is holding off on becoming a bundler for Rubio. For now, Cardenas told Ed O’Keefe, “I’m off the grid. I put my heart and soul into helping Jeb and I’m just not ready to get back into this thing anytime soon. I might. I’m just not making that decision today.”

Mike Murphy, who ran the pro-Bush super PAC, said the Trump “train may have left the station.” “I don’t want to be a critic of what’s being tried, but after millions of dollars in ads, it’s more important to narrow the field than to air more ads against him,” he said.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a former senior adviser to Romney, said it has become almost “impossible for (Trump’s) opponents to catch up to him.” (Both Mike and Eric are quoted in a meaty front-page story today on the GOP being in “a state of pandemonium” by my colleagues Matea Gold, Philip Rucker and Tom Hamburger.)

Step 5 is ACCEPTANCE.

Alex Castellanos (R) on CNN in 2012. 

Alex Castellanos, the legendary ad man, last year tried unsuccessfully to raise money for an anti-Trump advertising effort. Yesterday he called on the party to rally around Trump. “A fantasy effort to stop Trump...exists only as the denial stage of grief,” he said. “Trump has earned the nomination,” Castellanos emailed The Post yesterday. “Trump whipped the establishment and it is too late for the limp GOP establishment to ask their mommy to step in and rewrite the rules because they were humiliated for their impotence.” (Read more choice quotes in a story by Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger here.)

William J. Bennett, a former Reagan education secretary, similarly said he cannot support the anti-Trump movement. “I’m used to being the moral scold, but Trump is winning fair and square, so why should the nomination be grabbed from him?” asked Bennett, now a conservative radio host, per Robert Costa. “We’ve been trying to get white working-class people into the party for a long time. Now they’re here in huge numbers because of Trump and we’re going to alienate them? I don’t get it. Too many people are on their high horse.”

Economist Stephen Moore, a former member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, said he is considering an endorsement: “For me, Trump potentially represents a big expansion of the Republican Party, a way to bring in those blue-collar Reagan Democrats.”

And Ben Ginsberg, the veteran lawyer who knows the ins-and-outs of RNC rules as well as anyone, declared the chances are good that Trump will win the nomination outright. He told Greg Sargent that a contested convention wresting the nomination from Trump is unlikely. “The odds are still pretty long that we’ll get to a contested convention,” Ginsberg said. “The history of Republican primaries is that Trump as the front-runner with the delegates he’s won is going to get a majority of the delegates.”

Trump is on the cover of the new issue of Time.

-- Against this backdrop: The Republicans debate for the 11th time tonight. The two-hour debate in Detroit airs on Fox News at 9 p.m. Eastern. Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace return as moderators.

-- It seems almost certain that Trump will win Michigan next Tuesday. He leads by 10 points in a new poll from the Detroit Free Press, with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio tied just under 20 percent. “Trump’s going to win Michigan,” John Weaver, the chief strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said as his candidate talked to 150 voters at a Ukrainian cultural center. “He’s around 35 percent, and nobody’s going to catch him. And you’ve got some economic angst here, which he preys on.” (David Weigel and Steve Friess report from the ground that Trump’s message resonates in an industrial state with a large working class battered by economic stagnation. Their story is here.) 

-- To be sure: Trump can still be stopped. Just like someone working through the stages of a grief after breaking up with a significant other sometimes gets back together with their ex. The Donald does NOT have a lock on the nomination, but he is the front-runner and still has momentum (despite the all-out assault). His adversaries in the establishment are now trying to block him from getting the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination. That would push an ultimate decision to the Republican National Convention in July.

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@b_deppy) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck)

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

-- The Justice Department granted immunity to a former State Department staffer who previously worked on Clinton’s private email server. Adam Goldman reports: “The FBI secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign and set up the server in her New York home in 2009, in exchange for not facing possible criminal charges. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said the campaign is ‘pleased’ that Pagliano, who invoked his Fifth Amendment rights before a congressional panel in September, is cooperating with prosecutors.”

-- “As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation, agents likely want to interview Clinton and aides about the private server: how it was set up, and whether participants knew [about it]. Clinton’s team described the probe as a security review … But FBI and Justice Department officials said they’re trying to determine whether a crime was committed. So far, there is no indication that prosecutors have convened a grand jury in the investigation to subpoena testimony or documents.”

A man watches a TV news program showing a file footage of the missile launch conducted by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul a few hours ago. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

-- North Korea fired six short-range projectiles into the sea off its east coast, just hours after the U.N. Security Council approved its toughest sanctions against Pyongyang in two decades. The projectiles reportedly flew 60 to 90 miles before landing in the sea, and were seen as a “low level response” to the heightened sanctions, the AP reports. The Security Council’s vote yesterday was unanimous, which signals closer cooperation between the U.S. and China on containing the regime. (Carol Morello and Steven Mufson)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. The police chief of Baltimore City public schools was placed on administrative leave after he was recorded striking and kicking a young man on video. (Elahe Izadi)
  2. Former Chesapeake Energy chief executive Aubrey McClendon died in a car crash one day after he was indicted in an Oklahoma bid-rigging conspiracy. McClendon’s car was reportedly crashed directly into a bridge overpass wall “at a high rate of speed.” (Drew Harwell and Steven Mufson)
  3. Researchers studying the effects of climate change on agricultural production found that global food availability could decrease by 3.2 percent in the year 2050 -- translating into hundreds of thousands of otherwise-preventable deaths. (Chelsea Harvey)
  4. Senate Democrats lost a bid to add $600 million to a bill to combat heroin and prescription drug abuse, but said they won’t block the legislation over the funding fight. (Karoun Demirjian)
  5. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) dramatically raised the minimum wage, to $14.75 an hour in Portland and $12.50 in rural areas by 2022. (Oregonian) 
  6. The Utah Senate narrowly approved a bill to ban the death penalty, though it is unclear whether it will be approved by the House or Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R), a capital punishment supporter. (Mark Berman)
  7. Sporting goods retailer Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy protection and will close 140 stores over the next three months. (Jacob Bogage)
  8. Army recruits in India are forced to take entrance exams in their underwear to deter cheating; a practice implemented after police arrested some 1,000 aspiring officers for paying people take their tests for them. (Valerie Strauss)

-- Correction: Yesterday’s edition said that Israeli troops led attacks in a Palestinian area using the Waze app. In fact, the satellite navigation app mistakenly routed two Israeli soldiers to a Palestinian neighborhood outside Jerusalem, leading to a clash after Israeli search forces waged a rescue mission. The resulting gun battle left at least one dead and ten injured.

POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:

  1. The White House is vetting appellate court judge Jane L. Kelly as a potential nominee for the Supreme Court. (New York Times)
  2. The Des Moines Register’s lead political columnist, Kathie Obradovich, criticized Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley for not holding hearings to consider the president’s nominee. She notes that the senator said this in 1992: “We have put too much emphasis on litmus test-type questions on current political issues as if a Supreme Court justice were running a campaign to be elected. … We ought to concentrate entirely upon the (nominees’) integrity, their qualifications and background. … Somewhere, in my mind, there's got to be a happy medium between no hearing and the circus atmosphere of the Thomas hearings.”
  3. President Obama and Vice President Biden endorsed former Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio for Senate. (Catherine Ho)
  4. Bill Cosby’s attorneys now claim he is legally and functionally blind, leading some to wonder how – or if – this will affect his defense against criminal charges of sexual assault. (Karen Heller)

MORE ON THE REPUBLICAN RACE:

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

-- Ben Carson won’t debate tonight and is likely to drop out Friday: “The retired neurosurgeon did not formally suspend his campaign, but said in the statement that he has decided to make a speech about his political future on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. ‘I do not see a political path forward in light of Super Tuesday’s results,’ he said. The announcement served as an acknowledgment that Carson’s candidacy is all but over following a disappointing showing in the 11 states that held contests Tuesday. (Robert Costa and Ben Terris)

-- Trump published a blog for his now-defunct Trump University in 2005 with the headline “Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run,” the kind of thing that would be devastating for any conventional candidate. (Buzzfeed)

-- Ted Cruz said he would have dropped out on Tuesday night had he lost Texas. (CNN)

-- Cruz’s campaign announced that it raised nearly $12 million in February, with 225,000 donations.

-- Cruz hired Ron Nehring, California’s former Republican Party chair and candidate for lieutenant governor, as his new national spokesman. Tyler, who was fired from the post just ten days before for promoting a false video about Rubio’s faith, has since joined MSNBC as an analyst. (Politico)

-- Maine Gov. Paul LePage said Cruz is unable to be president since he was born in Canada. LePage, who endorsed Trump last week, likened Cruz to his own Canadian-born daughters, whom he said “also cannot be president.” “I know,” said LePage. “I’ve already checked.” (Buzzfeed)

Rubio poses for selfies after in Shelby Township, Michigan, yesterday. (EPA/Jeff Kowalsky)

WHITHER RUBIO?

-- Fox News chief Roger Ailes has told people he's lost confidence in Rubio's ability to win, New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reports. “We're finished with Rubio,” Ailes reportedly told a Fox host recently. “We can't do the Rubio thing anymore.”

Why? “Ailes was already concerned about Rubio's lackluster performance in GOP primaries and caucuses … But the more proximate cause for the flip was an embarrassing New York Times article revealing that Rubio and Ailes had a secret dinner meeting in 2013 during which the Florida senator successfully lobbied the Fox News chief to throw his support behind the ‘Gang of 8’ comprehensive immigration-reform bill.” 

“Already, there are on-air signs that Fox's attitude toward Rubio has cooled. (Wednesday) morning, anchor Martha MacCallum grilled Rubio about his poor Super Tuesday performance. ‘Is that a viable excuse at this point?’ she asked, when he tried spinning his second-place finish in Virginia. … Ailes is now back to searching for a candidate the channel can rally behind.”

This is from the owner of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal:

-- A FLORIDA FIREWALL? The junior senator needs all 99 of the Sunshine State’s delegates to have a rationale to continue his campaign. Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said the campaign has “only begun to expose this guy for the fraud that he is. In Florida, people know who con artists are. Here, you either have been the victim of a con artist or know someone who has been. This is a state riddled with con artists, and unfortunately, now one of them is running for president.”

BAD BLOOD: Jeb Bush has no plans to endorse his former protégé, a spokeswoman says, and Rubio is struggling to consolidate his ex-mentor’s top supporters. From Ed O’Keefe and Jose A. DelReal: “Rubio has recruited some of Bush’s former fundraising bundlers, but others are holding out. In most cases, they doubt Rubio will prevail and don’t want to spend more time and money fighting an opponent they’ve already failed to stop.”

Bill Kunkler, a Chicago-based private-equity executive who helped raise millions for Bush, said Rubio “has got no record. There’s nothing there in his record,” and so he will be “sitting it out. . . . I’m just not going to waste my time and come up short.”

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) represents a swath of Central Florida and predicted last week that Trump will win 40 to 45 percent of his congressional district. “Cruz will be very strong and then probably Rubio third,” he said.

-- Florida Gov. Rick Scott has publicly praised Trump, though he has not endorsed him.

-- Rubio today gets the endorsement of the Miami Herald, who agree with widespread consensus that Florida is do-or-die for Rubio. “A first place finish in Florida could put the wind to his back,” the paper says.

-- New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez also endorsed Rubio. “The stakes for our great country are too high -- and the differences between the candidates too great -- for me to remain neutral in this race,” she said in a statement.

-- The Rubio super PAC is carpet bombing Trump on Miami and Tampa TV: “One serious problem for Rubio is money: His campaign had only about $5.1 million as of Feb. 1 — not nearly enough to run an effective statewide ad campaign across the state’s 10 media markets. … Conservative Solutions PAC has spent roughly $7.5 million in Florida as of Wednesday, most of it opposing Trump, and all the spending has come in the past week. Spanish-language ads are airing in South Florida.”

-- The Club for Growth launched a $1.5 million buy against Trump in Florida yesterday, with an ad that calls him a fraud and says “he even tried to kick an elderly woman out of her home using eminent domain.” 

Watch their ad:

THE LATEST ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:

Bernie at Michigan State University yesterday. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

-- “Each campaign claimed Wednesday that the math and the calendar work in their favor. But it is in big, delegate-rich states in the industrial Midwest that each campaign sees opportunity, and a showdown … ‘We still think we have a winning hand in the game … we’re gonna continue to play it,’ said top Sanders strategist Tad Devine. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, however, claimed that Clinton's lead is prohibitive and will only get larger. ‘By virtue of Secretary Clinton’s eight wins on Super Tuesday — most of which were by significant margins — we now have a lead of more than 180 pledged delegates over Sen. Sanders,’ said Mook. Devine argued that the demographics of Tuesday’s contests –half a dozen Southern states with sizable African American populations – were more favorable to Clinton than any other day on the nominating calendar going forward. ‘We have to win a lot of places beginning this weekend, said Devine. ‘And that’s what we intend to do.’” (John Wagner and Anne Gearan)

-- Clinton raised $30 million during February -- doubling that of her January haul. Sanders collected $42.7 million. (USA Today)

-- Sanders is running an ad in Michigan that says “only one candidate has consistently fought trade deals that ship Michigan jobs overseas,” including NAFTA and TPP. “While others waffle, Bernie is fighting hundreds of thousands of new job losses,” a narrator says.

Watch the ad:

--Clinton is almost guaranteed to win the Florida primary on March 15, according to Democratic strategist Steve Schale (who directed Obama’s campaign in the state and helped with the Draft Biden effort). “Unless something dramatic changes, Clinton has a solid wind at her back.” He says the four things working in Clinton’s favor are diversity, voting age, momentum from earlier wins, and a “home field advantage” with roots going back to her husband’s presidency. 

Hillary waves to supporters during a rally in New York yesterday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE GENERAL :

-- The nation is on a path toward an ugly and contentious fall election, “pitting a pair of major-party presidential candidates saddled with vulnerabilities in a contest that will be decided by a fearful and angry electorate divided along racial, cultural and ideological lines,” Dan Balz explains in an important column this morning on what a Trump vs. Clinton contest would look like. “For millions of voters, the motivating emotions in such a race would be largely negative — driven by stop-Trump or stop-Clinton sentiments as well as fears that the other party’s candidate might prevail and general distress over the state of the country. What the presidential campaign has shown is that positive messages and uplifting visions have barely resonated with the voters. The odds suggest that the general election would be an extension of that pattern.”

Trump with Scott Brown in New Hampshire last month. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Could Trump put Massachusetts in play if he’s the nominee? After he won the GOP primary there by 31 points, Annie Linskey explores the question on the front page of  today’s Boston Globe. “Trump may not have a pickup truck, but he is riding a similar wave as Scott Brown (in 2010) … Brown and other Trump boosters say they can imagine a Ronald Reagan-type scenario that sweeps through the nation on the backs of dormant white, working-class voters who either stay home each year or typically trend Democratic. ‘Those Reagan Democrats have woken up again,’ said Brown, who predicted that pro-union, anti-free trade Democrats along with a healthy chunk of independents would flock to the reality TV star in a general election. ‘They are ready to be re-energized.’ The tsunami of GOP establishment rebukes directed against Trump, Brown said, only make him stronger with downtrodden supporters who feel crushed by the system. ‘When you are dissing Trump, they get more and more angry,’ Brown said.”

“Strategists warn against underestimating Trump. At the very least, selecting Trump as the Republican standard bearer could scramble the roster of swing states,” Linskey notes. But it cuts both ways: “If Trump make inroads in states that typically vote for Democrats, he would also be playing defense in others states that are typically red. Those would include place like Arizona … One Democratic strategist close to the Clinton campaign listed more: Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa -- and even Tennessee and Missouri.”

A voter casts her ballot in Herndon, Virginia, on Tuesday. (Photo by Allison Shelley/For The Washington Post)

Studying the Virginia primary returns and talking with voters, there’s a lot that should make Republicans nervous about having Trump at the top of the ticket in the fall. Rachel Weiner says Trump would struggle to win over Rubio and Kasich voters in Loudoun, Prince William and Fairfax counties. There’s also this from our exit poll: “A majority of Virginia Republican voters — 55 percent— said they would be dissatisfied with Trump as their party’s nominee. By contrast, 78 percent of Democratic voters said they would be satisfied with Clinton as their party’s nominee. Her victory in the state crossed all demographic lines: She won among men and women, among low-income and high-income voters, and in every region but the rural west. She also won with every age group except 17-to-29-year-olds.”

Trump’s disorganization would catch up with him in a general election, Politico argues. Ben Schreckinger and Kenneth P. Vogel: “In south Georgia, Donald Trump’s field coordinator is a convicted felon who recently slammed the businessman as greedy, self-centered and “solipsistic.” In Iowa, the campaign official tasked with picking Trump’s convention delegates is a former contestant on Trump’s television show “The Apprentice” with no prior political experience. In the upcoming caucus states, Trump’s field operation is trying to organize without the help of his top two staffers from Iowa, who dropped off the campaign’s payroll in mid-February when their contracts weren’t renewed. And in Florida, Trump’s team is trying to woo mail-in voters, but they’re using outdated data to do it. In short, Trump’s campaign remains the ramshackle, build-as-you-go organization that it has been from the beginning. ‘If it doesn’t explode in the primary, then it will in the general,’ said a person intimately involved in Trump’s political operation.

ABORTION BATTLES -- ON AND OFF THE HILL:

Supporters of legal access to abortion, as well as anti-abortion activists, rally outside the Supreme Court yesterday. (AFP/Saul Loeb)

-- Yesterday the Supreme Court head oral arguments for the most important Supreme Court case in a generation. The case in question is to determine whether recently-passed regulations in Texas place an undue burden on women’s access to reproductive resources. Here’s what you need to know:

Kennedy, whom both sides consider the pivotal vote in the current eight-member court, wondered whether there was sufficient evidence to determine a connection between the 2013 law and abortion clinic closures. But he seemed concerned that a lack clinics of might cause women to undergo abortions later in their pregnancies, something that ‘may not be medically wise.’ … If Kennedy does side with liberals in this case, it will have national implications, cutting off what abortion opponents had seen as a promising way to make abortion rarer – and effectively overturning more than 200 restrictions. If he does not, and the court ties 4-4, no national precedent would be set.” (Robert Barnes)

-- Just across the street at the Capitol, the committee of House Republican created to go after Planned Parenthood had its first hearing. Nominally, it was to explore the ethical implications of using fetal tissue in biomedical research. Democrats, meanwhile, sought to portray the GOP’s probe as a witch hunt – aggressively questioning document requests and subpoenas that Republicans have issued to more than 30 entities, which demanded names of personnel involved in fetal tissue handling.  (Mike DeBonis)

-- Meanwhile in Minneapolis, a man admitted to threatening two of the city’s reproductive health clinics over the phone, vowing to shoot everyone present at one, and cut a person’s head off at another. The man admitted to making the threats in order to “intimidate people from obtaining or providing reproductive health services.” He faces up to two years in prison. (Matt Zapotosky)

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Elton John, Katy Perry and Andra Day performed at a concert for Hillary Clinton at Radio City Music Hall:

Julianne Moore was one celebrity who spoke:

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to earth after a year in space:

President Obama honored the University of Alabama at the White House:

POTUS even got Coach Saban to crack a very rare smile:

Obama holds a game ball in the East Room (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Ted Cruz's father is going to perform Dinesh D'Souza's wedding:

Greta Van Susteren taped an interview with Melania Trump in the Trumps' New York City penthouse:

Here's a look out the window:

And a shot of the set-up (note the booties: no shoes on the carpet!):

Let's check in with Trump's celebrity critics. Miley Cyrus literally wept over his Super Tuesday wins:

Evan Rachel Wood sounded defeated:

Dax Shepard put a positive spin on things:

While Kerry Washington directed fans to John Oliver's Trump takedown:

Even author Stephen King weighed in:

San Francisco named a tunnel after Robin Williams:

Were you among the people who Googled "how can I move to Canada" on Super Tuesday?

The Wall Street Journal's Jon Ostrower unearthed this frightening passage about Adolf Hitler:

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) snapped this selfie with Newt Gingrich and a group of interns:

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) loves spam and uses a plastic glove as a wrapper for his open cans:

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) celebrated National Pig Day:

Carlos Curbelo received birthday greetings from Ryan and Obama:

HOT ON THE LEFT

Texas county GOP implodes over newly-elected chairman's crude tweets. From Talking Points Memo: "The vice chair of the Republican Party in Travis County, Texas wants to remove the newly-elected chairman of the chapter from his post over comments he tweeted Tuesday about the Clintons having sex and jailing members of the Bush family. Robert Morrow won the position with 54 percent of the vote, according to the Texas Tribune. GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak, the local party's vice chair, tweeted shortly after Morrow's win that he was 'exploring' options to remove him before he takes over that position in June."

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT

February was the third-biggest month ever for gun background checks. From CNNMoney: "February was the third-biggest month on record for gun background checks, according to data released Wednesday by the FBI. Background checks, which the FBI conducts every time someone tries to buy a gun from a federally licensed dealer, rose to 2.6 million in February, according to the bureau. February's total falls short of the record set in December, 2015, when 3.3 million background checks were recorded. The second biggest month was in December, 2012, the month of the Sandy Hook school massacre that killed 26."

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: The Republican candidates debate in Detroit. Here are a few other scheduled campaign stops:

  • Sanders: Lincoln, Neb.; Lawrence, Kan.; Lansing, Mich.
  • Trump: Portland, Maine

At the White House: President Obama travels to Milwaukee to deliver remarks on the Affordable Care Act.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. to work on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. The House meets at 9 a.m. for legislative business, with first votes on the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act expected between 10 and 11 a.m.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Trump is like the grizzly bear in ‘The Revenant,’” Newt Gingrich told the Boston Globe. “When you attack him he goes crazy, and he does everything he can to pound you into the ground. And in every blue collar bar in America they cheer. Because that’s exactly what they want in a leader.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

--Looks like we’re officially back to winter – The Capital Weather Gang reports: “The gale is over and calm winds prevail through the day. Sunshine should dominate much of the morning but clouds are likely to start increasing by midday. While a light rain-snow mix could occur as early as late afternoon the more likely arrival is in the evening, likely after the bulk of the rush. Highs only reach the upper 30s to lower 40s giving the day a wintry feel.”

--Cherry Blossom season is (almost) upon us -- D.C. can expect peak bloom between March 31 and April 3.

--Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced the state has hired a company to build the light-rail Purple Line. Construction will begin later this year, with the lines’ projected opening in spring of 2022. (Katherine Shaver)

-- A doctor-assisted suicide bill is “unlikely to pass” in the Maryland Senate, according to Sen. Ronald N. Young (D-Frederick), who added: “I have a feeling we don’t have the votes to get it to the floor.” (Arelis R. Hernández and Ovetta Wiggins)

-- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have required the state Board of Education to seek approval from the General Assembly to adopt the Common Core. (Moriah Balingit)

-- Nuts: A one room, single-family, 315-square-foot brick home in Bethesda could be yours – for the modest asking price of $475,000. The one-room dwelling was standing long before today’s “tiny house trend” caught on, and was a Pepco substation until 1980! (Michele Lerner)

 

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

People in Los Angeles claimed they voted on Super Tuesday ... when there was no election in California. They even described the mood and the scene at their polling place:

Thieves tied a chain to the entrance of a Houston gun store and used a pick-up truck to pry its security doors off. More than ten suspects streamed into the store and stole at least 50 weapons. Watch footage from the bold heist:

Ben Carson taped this message to the haters who want him to drop out (click below for video):

Catch some of the more mystifying moments from Carson's campaign:

Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa called Trump "a clown, a demagogue and a racist":

President Obama praised Dr. Seuss:

CNN contributors Van Jones and Jeffrey Lord got into a heated debate Tuesday night when each accused the other's side of stoking racial tensions.

And finally, in case you missed it, here is our favorite Vine of Chris Christie's expression during Trump's Super Tuesday speech: