Gay Marriage Back on Ballot in Maine

“Advocates for same-sex marriage turned in enough valid signatures to get a question on the November ballot,” the Portland Press Herald reports.

“Maine voters rejected gay marriage by a 53-47 percent vote in 2009. But recent polling shows more Mainers and Americans support gay marriage than they did three years ago.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post notes a same-sex marriage bill passed the Maryland Senate, sending it to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) who said he’ll sign the bill into law.

Bretton Woods Uncovered

Daily Telegraph: “Students of economic history are in for a treat. An official studying deep in the bowels of the US Treasury library has recently uncovered a prize of truly startling proportions — an 800 page plus transcript of the Bretton Woods conference in July 1944, the meeting of nations which established the foundations of today’s international monetary system.”

“All previous accounts of Bretton Woods have been second hand, with historians apparently completely unaware that a full, and one must presume faithful, transcript of proceedings, had been taken.”

Leaker of White House Memo Identified?

Jake Tapper reports the memo White House economic adviser Larry Summers didn’t want President Obama to see was almost certainly leaked to journalist Noam Scheiber by former budget director Peter Orszag.

By making the original memo available to readers on the web, Scheiber also allowed people to see the document properties which indicate the document last resided on Orszag’s computer.

Whose World View is Closer to Yours?

A new SurveyUSA poll finds that 49% think President Obama’s view of the world is closer to theirs while 35% pick Mitt Romney’s world view.

Asked to choose between Obama and Rick Santorum, Obama’s view of the world is seen as closer to their own by 52%, while Santorum’s was chosen by 37%.

Of those who chose both Romney and Santorum, 51% of these voters said Santorum’s view of the world was closer to their own while 43% said Romney’s.

Romney Mocks Santorum

In an appearance in Arizona, Mitt Romney mocked Rick Santorum for his attempts to “explain why he repeatedly voted against his conscience while in Congress,” theWashington Post reports.

Said Romney: “We saw Senator Santorum explain most of the night why he did or voted for things he disagreed with. And he talked about this as taking one for the team. I wonder what team he was taking it for. My team is the American people.”

Expect to see the “taking one for the team” line in an advertisement very soon.

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Gingrich Still Holds Small Lead in Georgia

A new Rasmussen survey in Georgia finds Newt Gingrich with a small lead in the GOP presidential race with 33%, followed by Rick Santorum at 28%, Mitt Romney at 20% and Ron Paul at 9%.

The Georgia primary is on March 6.

Strickland Could Seek Rematch

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) has not ruled out a rematch with current Gov. John Kasich (R), the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Said Strickland: “I haven’t ruled it out, haven’t ruled it in. I continue to be interested in, engaged in Ohio politics. I certainly want to keep my options open at this point.”

Rubio’s Mormon Past

Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) forthcoming memoir has a title: An American Son: A Memoir.

The Miami Herald has an interesting tidbit from the book: “When Marco was 8 years old and living in Las Vegas, the Rubio family attended a Mormon church for a few years.”

BuzzFeed confirms Rubio was baptized in the Mormon church and says it “could complicate his political future at a time when many Republicans see him as the odds-on favorite for the 2012 vice presidential nod. Vice presidential candidates are traditionally chosen to provide ethnic and religious balance to a ticket. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and Rubio’s Catholic faith would already mean the first two members of minority traditions on a Republican ticket in American history. Rubio’s Mormon roots could further complicate that calculation.”

Santorum Goes Negative in Michigan

Rick Santorum launched a new negative ad in Michigan hitting Romney on his past statements on abortion, guns, taxes, earmarks and RomneyCare.

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How Obama Won

Here’s a must-read: The Magic Number: Inside Obama’s Chase for the Presidential Nomination by Jeff Berman, who led the effort to create and execute the delegate plan that Barack Obama used to capture the presidential nomination in 2008.

Ben Smith: “Rich in procedural detail, the book will be a textbook for the small cadre of mechanics who steer the arcane process of delegate selection. But The Magic Number …is also a kind of secret history of the Obama campaign and an antidote to the sweeping narratives that suggest Obama was the inevitable product of historical forces. Berman’s account is the tale of the little things that could have gone wrong but didn’t, and the small but crucial victories that, taken together, won the White House.”

Obama Goes After Republicans in Michigan

President Obama “is highlighting his support for the federal assistance plan that helped rescue Detroit automakers in a new television commercial that accuses Republican presidential candidates of abandoning the industry in its darkest hour,” the New York Timesreports.

The 30-second commercial also mentions Mitt Romney’s now well-known opinion article that carried the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

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Santorum Keeps Lead in Michigan

A new American Research Group poll in Michigan finds Rick Santorum continues to lead the GOP presidential field with 38%, followed by Mitt Romney at 34%, Ron Paul at 12% and Newt Gingrich at 7%.

Will McDonnell’s Shift Hurt Republicans?

First Read points out that the retreat by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and other state Republicans on that ‘transvaginal’ ultrasound bill “was the worst of all worlds for the GOP in this very important battleground state.”

“The good news for Republicans: It’s over; they’ve folded. The bad news: The retreat has disappointed their base, the original legislation fired up Democrats, and the whole matter took Republicans away from the one issue that won them success from 2009-2011: the economy.”

King Sees a Vilsack Plot

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) speculated that Christie Vilsack’s (D) campaign against him has as much to do with her husband’s political ambitions as her own, the Des Moines Registerreports.

Said King: “I’ll just tell you what I’m being told, and that is that it’s likely that Tom Vilsack is positioning himself to run for United States Senate here in Iowa in 2014. That means that if Christie Vilsack wins this race, they have now knocked down a guy that could be a potential challenger.”

Romney Aide Guarantees Michigan Victory

Mitt Romney campaign adviser Stuart Stevens was so confident after the GOP debate last night that he guaranteed his candidate would win the Michigan primary next week, CNNreports.

Said Stevens: “We are going to win Michigan. We are going to win Michigan.”

“He also dismissed as a ‘parlor game’ the chatter among some Washington insiders that a savior candidate might swoop in at the Republican National Convention in Tampa and rescue the party from doom in November.”

Lawmaker Caught Voting for Absent Member

Wisconsin state Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R) was caught on video voting on behalf of an absent lawmaker despite a rule that only the members present in the Assembly Chamber may vote.

WTMJ confronted Kleefisch who responded, “It depends on how you interpret the rule. The rule says you have to be present in the chamber. The bathroom counts as the chamber. And the parlor counts as a chamber if you are going to eat.”

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Florida Senate Race Gets Testy

Florida’s Republican U.S. Senate primary is off to a nasty start.

The Miami Herald reports former Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL) ripped into Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) after a report showed he had a history of financial troubles and fights.

Said LeMieux: “Connie Mack IV is the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics. Mack IV does not have the temperament or the character to serve in the United States Senate.”

He also drew attention to what he called Mack’s “rap sheet:” four physical confrontations when he was in his early 20s, one arrest and then a host of financial troubles that became clear during his divorce shortly after he was elected to Congress.

Do Romney and Paul Have a Deal?

After a debate in which he was attacked from two sides, Rick Santorum told Byron York he suspects something is up between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Said Santorum: “You have to ask Congressman Paul and Gov. Romney what they’ve got going together. Their commercials look a lot alike, and so do their attacks.”

Santorum aides are convinced Romney and Paul have some sort of deal by which they attack other candidates but not each other.

Said strategist John Brabender: “Clearly there is a tag-team strategy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. There’ve been 20 debates, right? Why don’t you go back and see how many times Ron Paul has ever criticized anything Mitt Romney has done.”

Quote of the Day

“My greatest fear is it seems that Mr. Romney has set his path to the nomination based on carpet-bombing his opponents to oblivion with false negative advertising… that’s the kind of thing that engenders a third-party candidacy, which would be a disaster for us.”

— Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), quoted by Politico.

More Debate Reaction

Miss the GOP presidential debate? I thought it was easily one of the worst of the campaign.

The Daily Beast has video clips of the seven best moments.

Paul Begala: “Santorum was clearly thrilled to be in the spotlight. But he spent way too much time splitting hairs and explaining the protocol and procedures of Washington in defense of earmarks and defending his support for Specter. As he has done in the past, he couldn’t resist picking a gratuitous fight with Ron Paul. That’s called punching down, and it rarely works. He played too much defense and too little offense. His job should have been to use every opportunity to define Romney as a feckless liberal and himself as a principled conservative. He didn’t accomplish that.”

Roger Simon: “This was the first debate in which Santorum sat atop the national polls. And he was nervous. Very nervous. So nervous that he looked like a graduate of the Bob Dole School of Debating, in which you are allowed to speak only in the impenetrable language of Capitol Hill.”

Howard Kurtz: “In the end, the debate did little to shake up the race, perhaps because the candidates–seated this time, close to one another–muted their criticism in what was the last such face-off before Super Tuesday. Even moderator John King, famously roughed up by Gingrich in their last encounter, emerged unscathed.”

Andrew Sullivan: “Maybe I’ve lost my mind after all these debates, or maybe I secretly want him to win (because he would finally expose all the insanity that has been building in this party and needs venting). But I thought Santorum was on form tonight. My sense is that he will not lose his current momentum after tonight. I didn’t feel Newt tonight. Romney doesn’t wear well. Paul was great and funny and human.”

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