Divining the intentions of the nine folks in black robes gobbled up much of Monday and especially today, the political media behaving much like a baseball team trying to read the signs of the opposition’s third-base coach: What's it mean if Kennedy scratches his ear? If Scalia shifts on his bench, is it in approval or because he feels insulted?
More germane to the 2012 Republican field than judicial fidgetry is how, if the Supreme Court opts to strike down the 2010 health care expansion, Mitt Romney would handle his position in a general election as the campaign’s only auteur of a surviving individual mandate.
Romney has expended the time and energy dispelling the notion that he’s a Big Health Care Republican that John Kerry should have deployed fighting the Swift Boat attacks in 2004. Conservative tremors not yet assuaged are unlikely to be in the future.
That’s why Rick Santorum was at the Court on East Capitol Street on Monday, ranting about Romney’s unfitness for nomination. Santorum is backpedaling into the last ditch, but doing so loudly.
-- Jim O'Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Santorum on Romney: ‘Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain’
[National Review, 3/26/12] In a sit-down interview with the conservative magazine, Santorum discusses the Republican establishment slowly coalescing around Romney, and quips of the front-runner: “It’s 'Wizard of Oz' Time.”
Mitt Romney Earns GOP Health Care Truce
[Roll Call, 3/27/12] Even as Santorum steps up his attacks on Romney over health care, Senate Republicans are expressing confidence in the GOP presidential front-runner and his ability to lead their party on this crucial issue come November.
Santorum Faces Choices on His Next Steps
[Wall Street Journal, 3/27/12] Santorum is staying in the race and adding to his delegate totals, despite his receding chances at victory. And while maintaining that path could show the full measure of his support within the party, it risks alienating the growing number of GOP leaders calling for the candidates to close ranks behind Romney.
Gingrich Admits Money Problems Are Plaguing His Campaign
[National Journal, 3/27/12] Newt Gingrich insisted on Tuesday that he has enough campaign cash to see him through to the Republican convention in August, even as he hinted that some staff pay cuts may be imminent. “We’re gonna have to go on a fairly tight budget to get from here to Tampa,” he said.
Romney, Obama Vie for Female Support
[Boston Globe, 3/27/12] Female voters shifted from supporting Democrats in 2008 to Republicans in 2010, and while the Obama campaign is banking on another shift, Romney is trying to keep women in his court. To do so, both campaigns are targeting women on different issues, most notably, health care and the economy.
Swing-State Battle Picks Up
[Wall Street Journal, 3/26/12] The Obama re-election campaign has a head start on the GOP nominee with its swing-state organization, but Republican leaders won't let it hold that lead for long. As the nomination battle rages on, national and state Republican groups are building on-the-ground organizations in those must-win states to get ready in advance for their eventual nominee.
In Wisconsin, Santorum Hits Obama on Hot-Mic Episode
[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/27/12] Santorum, in Beaver Dam, Wisc., today, had tough words for President Obama’s hot-mic remarks to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday about gaining foreign policy “flexibility” after the election. Santorum called them “very disturbing,” and said they “[suggested] that he is willing to sacrifice American security, willing to sacrifice the security of our allies.”
Romney’s Four-Car Fantasy Home
[Politico, 3/27/12] At Mitt Romney’s proposed California beach house, the cars will have their own separate elevator. There’s also a 3,600-square-foot basement. Those are just some of the amenities planned for the massive renovation of the Romneys’ home in San Diego, according to plans on file with the city. The Romneys have also hired a lobbyist to shepherd the plans through the approval process.
Two Rubio Books Due Out in June
[Politico, 3/27/12] The Marco Rubio book race moved into a dead heat, as the publishers of a critical take on the Florida Republican’s life announced that it would bump up its publication date to match the release of the senator’s memoir. A biography of Rubio by The Washington Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia, The Rise of Marco Rubio, was scheduled for a July 3 release but was bumped up to June 19 to coincide with the Rubio memoir.
As Pressure Builds, Santorum Shows a Dark Side
[Reuters, 3/26/12] With no end in sight to his primary campaign and calls growing for him to drop out, Rick Santorum is under substantial pressure--and showing it, by lashing out at reporters and revealing a darker side on the campaign trail as he warns voters of the loss of freedom they're suffering under Obama.
Romney's Fundraisers Are Quietly Amassing Millions
[Associated Press, 3/27/12] AP looks into Romney's bundlers, a group his campaign keeps particularly private, and finds a network of business leaders supporting him by bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars per fundraising event. Romney's largest source of campaign funds? Goldman Sachs employees.
Gingrich Begins Charging $50 for Photos at Events
[National Journal, 3/26/12] Gingrich has more debt than cash on hand coming out of February, which may explain why he's charging supporters to take photos with him, which were previously free.
Romney Visits California as Candidates Slam Obama on Health Care
[Los Angeles Times, 3/27/12] California doesn't vote until June 5, but with its 172 delegates, the state could decide Romney's nomination hopes. That's why he's campaigning there now, in the lull before the next primary states vote, and trying to distance himself from Obama's health care reform law, which is currently under scrutiny in the Supreme Court.
Ron Paul: Dropping Out Is 'Silly Question'
[National Journal, 3/26/12] Ron Paul got perturbed when asked on CNN if he should drop out, telling host Piers Morgan on Monday night that it would be "decent" of him to "not pester me with silly questions."
Romney’s Well-Rehearsed Case Against Obama and the Russians
[Time, 3/27/12] Romney has said it before, and he's saying it again now: Obama is caving to global rivals like Russia. But after the "hot mic" incident, the attack that might resonate with voters has less to do with Russia and more to do with stoking fears that Obama has a hidden agenda for his second term.