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Hotline Sort: Romney Leads Obama In New Hampshire Hotline Sort: Romney Leads Obama In New Hampshire

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Hotline Sort: Romney Leads Obama In New Hampshire

7) Meanwhile, AP reports: the New Hampshire Democratic Party is filing a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission questioning whether Romney illegally used money from his state political action committees to fund his presidential campaign. Democrats are seeking an investigation into whether Romney was in violation of the law by using committees in five states to raise money in excess of federal limits and by spending it on building his campaign. 6) We reported Thursday that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's spokesperson said that he is not likely to qualify for the first presidential debate, which is slated to take place in South Carolina on May 5. Pawlenty said Friday morning he is planning on attending. "I appreciate the hard work by the South Carolina GOP and FOX News to organize this debate," Pawlenty said in a statement. "My Presidential exploratory committee will file the necessary papers and fees with the South Carolina Secretary of State next Tuesday because it's important that Republicans show up now, talk about their records, and begin the debate on how best we can defeat this President." 5) Who's ready for seconds? A day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will vote on the Ryan budget plan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday the Senate will vote on President Obama's budget alongside a vote on the Ryan plan. 4) The space shuttle Endeavour is set to lift off in Florida at 3:47 p.m. on its final voyage today. Rep Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and Obama will be there. 3) This should be a fun primary to watch in Arizona, a state where internal GOP battles have been fierce in recent years. Former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams (R) entered the race to replace Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) Thursday and Sen. Jon Kyl (R) is already backing him, announcing he will serve as honorary campaign chair. Meanwhile, Rep. Trent Franks (R) is backing former Rep. Matt Salmon (R), who is also running. 2) The focus in the Nevada Senate race is squarely on Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) and Rep. Dean Heller (R), who will soon be filling the vacancy that Sen. John Ensign (R) created. But another Democrat, Byron Georgiou, is staffing up in the Silver State, bringing high-profile operatives including Joe Trippi, pollster Paul Maslin and longtime Nevada political adviser Dan Hart onto his team. Josh Morrow, Sterling Clifford and Tom RossMeissl are also joining the team. Georgiou has already demonstrated an ability to self-fund, putting in $500,000 of his own money into the race during the first quarter of 2011. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already endorsed Berkley in the race. 1) Obama's approval rating in New Hampshire is at its lowest point in his presidency, and now trails Republican Mitt Romney by seven points (50 to 43 percent) in a new WMUR-TV Granite State Poll released late Thursday. Just 44 percent of adults in the state approve of Obama, while a majority -- 52 percent -- disapproves, according to the poll, conducted this month by the University of New Hampshire. It's a striking figure, given that Obama carried New Hampshire in 2008 by nine points over Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.). Obama has slight leads against former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Pawlenty, but in both cases, Obama is held in the mid-40s in a New England state that has been trending Democratic but retains a fiscally conservative streak. --Steven Shepard contributed to this post

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