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Politics

Hotline Sort: Battleground Wisconsin

February 22, 2012
3) Good news here for Rick Santorum: Newt Gingrich is canceling plans to appear in Michigan at the end of the week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, instead setting his sights on Georgia (where he'll be next Tuesday). Bad news for Santorum: He had to play defense on Tuesday, after comments he made in 2008 about Satan attacking the United States were dug up. 2) New national polling shows fresh sings of encouragement for Santorum, and should worry Mitt Romney. A new Quinnipiac national poll released on Wednesday morning shows Santorum leading Romney 35 to 26 percent. An NBC News/Marist poll shows a tight race in Michigan, with Romney holding a statistically insignificant 37 to 35 percent lead. There are differing polls out in Arizona: A CNN/Time/ORC poll shows Romney leading Santorum 36 to 32 percent -- within the margin of error while NBC News/Marist shows Romney leading 43 to 27 percent. 1) The candidates will debate once again tonight in Mesa, Ariz., with competitive races in the Grand Canyon State and Michigan coming next week. Matt Cooper previews the action:

So what happens at the debate? Each side will go into battle trying to tear the others down and using their opponents as a foil. Whereas Gingrich once lavished praise on Santorum, expect the former House speaker to fire his guns at the Pennsylvanian so that he can reclaim the mantle of being the true conservative in the race. Santorum will continue to pound Romney as he has been--decrying the health care plan that Romney enacted in Massachusetts as the model for Obama's health care plan. And he'll also chip at Romney's conservative credentials on social issues. Romney is sure to try and use Gingrich as a foil on immigration. The Georgian has taken a softer line on illegal immigration than Romney, and so poking at Gingrich will allow Romney to get to the right on at least one issue.

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