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Hotline Sort: Connie Mack's Money

4) Nebraska Republican Attorney General Jon Bruning says election year politics are behind Democratic criticism that he awarded a $100,000 grant to a farm group for political reasons. The time it took to approve that grant has prompted scrutiny. The Omaha World-Herald:

Email records released by Bruning's office indicated the grant was approved 32 minutes after a formal application was received, and five days before the Farm Bureau convention, where the attorney general presented the check. ... He said he had discussed the ag group grant for several weeks before the 32-minute approval, which he said "mischaracterized" the approval process.

3) The Boston Globe has endorsed Jon Huntsman, so it should give him a boost in New Hampshire. That said, he has a very long way to go to catch frontrunning Mitt Romney. 2) Rick Santorum, meanwhile, has raised $2 million ... in two days. 1) But the picture is not all rosy for Santorum. A consequence of fighting to a virtual tie in Iowa is the uptick in media scrutiny he is facing, as well as the oppo hits and pitches that will keep rolling in. Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that he became a millionaire after losing his Senate race in 2006. Today the Wall Street Journal has a story on his record as an earmarker. The New York Times gives Santorum the front page treatment today, with a story that includes this nugget:

When he left office he was not especially wealthy, but records show he wasted little time fashioning a lucrative post-government career based largely on income from businesses that had benefited from his work in Congress.

The coming days will be crucial in determining whether Santorum can effectively bat back criticism and stand up to the increased scrutiny.

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