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Hotline Sort: Taking Aim At Lugar

4) With early voting kicking off in Indiana, Sen. Richard Lugar is taking more hits: Politico reports that the Club for Growth is launching TV and radio ads against the incumbent, while the NRA is hitting him with with TV, radio and direct mail buys. Lugar's hoping his ground game game can beat the air war his opponents are waging against him. It's a big week for Lugar, who debates Treasurer Richard Mourdock for the only time on Wednesday. Its opportunity for Lugar to shift the momentum in the race, which has turned against him the last month. Simply holding his own won't be enough. 3) Rick Santorum is taking Monday off of the campaign trail to be with his daughter Bella, who was hospitalized on Friday. Santorum will resume his campaign on Tuesday in Pennsylvania. 2) Elsewhere in the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney is going up with a $2.9 million ad campaign in the Keystone State while Newt Gingrich on Sunday all but conceded to Romney. 1) Welcome to the general election campaign: American Crossroads, which will be among the most influential outside groups in federal races this cycle, tells the New York Times it is getting ready to launch its first major ad campaign against Obama. Per the NYT write-up:

With an anticipated bank account of more than $200 million, officials at American Crossroads said they would probably begin their campaign this month. But they said they would focus the bulk of the first phase from May through July, which they believe is a critical period for making an impression on voters, before summer vacations and the party conventions take place. Steven J. Law, the group's leader, said the ads would address the challenge of unseating a president who polls show is viewed favorably even though many people disapprove of his handling of the economy. Basically, Mr. Law said, "how to dislodge voters from him."

The Obama campaign is gearing up, though some old Chicago allies fear it is getting too cocky.

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