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N2K Presidential Race

Renegade Rick

No delegates at stake, just the intangibles.

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum leaves after a campaign stop Tuesday in Colorado Springs, Colo.(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

How many times does Rick Santorum get to say, “Game on”?

With tripleheader wins Tuesday night in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, Santorum has distinguished himself as the unquestioned monarch of electoral contests that furnish zero delegates.

 

The next Republican debate is Feb. 22, with the Maine caucus results on Feb. 11 in the interim, and Santorum has clinched a spot beside Mitt Romney at center stage. That’s two weeks of Santorum’s re-coronation as the Right’s answer to Romney.

Then there’s Arizona on Feb. 28 (Michigan, the same day, is Romney’s home state), which could offer Romney the chance to do what he did in Florida: answer the doubters. Or it could give Santorum a fresh momentum injection.

And maybe, if can pull off another upset, a few of those delegates that have been eluding him.

 

—Jim O’Sullivan 


NATIONAL JOURNAL
’S PRIMARY REPORT

Santorum Wins in Missouri and Minnesota
       
In a remarkable rout, Santorum wins both Missouri and Minnesota, which may not give him delegates to the Republican National Convention, but will certainly provide him with momentum behind his attempt to fashion himself as the anti-Romney candidate.

Romney Hits Speed Bump Named Santorum in Missouri
National Journal's Beth Reinhard writes that Santorum's Missouri win will give Romney's rivals an opening to keep contesting the nomination.

What Happens if Santorum Beats Romney in the Midwest?  
If Santorum wins a couple of states today, he can look forward to facing the full strength of the "Romney juggernaut.” Romney is already attacking Santorum in exactly the same way he attacked Gingrich – as a corrupt faux conservative. We know how that worked out for Newt.

 

Romney Downplays Expectations in States Voting Today
The Romney campaign released a memo reminding folks that no actual delegates are at stake tonight, and his campaign took pains to emphasize that nobody can win every contest. This comes on the heels of polling that shows Santorum surging in Missouri and Minnesota.

Contraception Issue Heats Up as Santorum Makes Headway  
The relatively sudden and intense interest in the thorny issue of contraceptives and the Roman Catholic Church by Romney and Gingrich may be aimed at curbing the momentum of rival Santorum, who is more closely aligned with the Christian conservative leg of the GOP on reproductive health issues and has gained strength in the states voting today.

Survey: More Republicans Watching Debates  
Although the Republican presidential candidates have had just as many debates this cycle as they did during the 2008 election, more Republicans are tuning in than ever before, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Research Center. And if you're wondering whether there's a GOP debate tonight, check here.

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GOP Candidates Blast 9th Circuit Decision on Gay Marriage
In California, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage – and Romney and Gingrich aren't happy about it.

Obama Bucks Teddy Roosevelt for Second Time
Obama's flip-flop on his support of super PACs shows that he is no Teddy Roosevelt, even though we're living in times quite like Teddy's.

Is Rick Santorum Still a Factor in the GOP Race?  
Santorum appears poised to replace Gingrich as the standard-bearer of the Anybody-But-Romney movement, with polls and expert assessments indicating that he might just clinch both Minnesota and Missouri today.

Obama Approves Plan to Assist Democratic Super PAC 
Four years after denouncing the influence of big money in campaigns, President Obama has reversed course and given the go-ahead to his supporters to assist the leading super PAC supporting his reelection, National Journal’s George Condon writes. On MSNBC this morning, Obama's chief political strategist David Axelrod defended the decision.

Two Major Obama Fundraisers Tied to Mexican Fugitive Report 
The New York Times reports that two American brothers of a fugitive who jumped bail in Iowa in 1994 and "has since been linked to violence and corruption in Mexico" have emerged as major donors to President Obama's reelection campaign.

Romney Joins Fight on Contraception Rule
Romney took aim on Monday at recent regulations requiring women’s contraceptive services to be covered by insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act, representing a shift away from economic issues in his attacks on Obama.

Gay Rights Protesters Interrupt Gingrich  
Gingrich was interrupted on Monday by two high school-aged protesters who stood up and accused the former House speaker of discriminating against gays and lesbians. Before a fight could break out, police escorted the protesters from the room.

Romney Allies on Both Sides of Immigration Debate
Some of Romney's big endorsements are anti-illegal immigration, including his most recent, former California Gov. Pete Wilson. But National Journal's Beth Reinhard points out that Romney's supporters also include some of the Republican Party's few and most prominent backers of a pathway to citizenship.

Santorum Looks for 'Strong Showing' on Tuesday
In an attempt to manage expectations going into the three contests today, Santorum said he believes he has "a chance of winning one or more of those states."

Bachmann the Invisible Woman in Minnesota
Bachmann will not endorse anyone in Minnesota this week, underscoring her attempts to lay low and remain out of the national spotlight following her choice to drop out of the race.

Romney Ties Obama to Jimmy Carter
Echoing a new line of attack introduced by Gingrich earlier, Romney said Obama's administration is "the most anti-jobs, anti-investment, antigrowth administration" that he's seen since the Carter administration.

Gingrich Drops Bid to Get on Va. Ballot — Report
Gingrich dropped his suit that questioned Virginia's primary rules, ending his fight to get on the ballot there.


PRESIDENTIAL RACE NEWS SUMMARY

Missouri's Meaningless Primary? Not Anymore
[Washington Post, 2/7/12] Missouri, with zero delegates awarded Tuesday night, was supposed to have no impact. But it showed the Republican primary something instead. 

Santorum Is Revitalized in Tuesday's Results
[New York Times, 2/7/12] Rick Santorum's victories in Missouri and Minnesota raised fresh doubts about Mitt Romney's durability as a front-runner, per The Gray Lady. 

Colorado Republicans Expect Big Caucus Turnout Tonight
[Denver Post, 2/7/12] In 2008, about 70,000 people participated in the Colorado GOP caucuses, but tonight officials predict they may see even higher turnout than four years ago. To keep track of the caucus results, check out the Colorado GOP's interactive site, and learn a little more about the candidates' Colorado strategies with this Washington Post interactive.

Bain Execs Spent Nearly $5 Million on Romney's White House Runs
[McClatchy, 2/7/12] According to a Center for Public Integrity investigation, Bain executives and their family members have given almost 4.7 million to Romney's campaign and PACs in support of his run since 2004.

15 Fun Facts About the Politics of Minnesota, Colorado and Mississippi
[The Daily Beast, 2/7/12] There's a lot you didn't know about the three states in which tonight's GOP contests are taking place, but don't worry, The Daily Beast gathered up all the fun facts you could possibly need to win your weekly trivia game.

A Santorum-Romney Smackdown in Minnesota  
[Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/6/12] Although Romney is the presumed front-runner in many contests, his campaign took aim at Santorum in advance of today's Minnesota caucuses, where the former Pennsylvania senator may squeak out a win.

Romney Support Falls Back in States He Won
[Real Clear Politics, 2/7/12] Although he's been victorious in New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada, he came out of those races esteemed lower than when he went into them, in part due to the high volume of negative campaigning ocurring in those races.

Newt Gingrich's Last Comeback
[Politico, 2/7/12] On the small scale, Gingrich may not be able to make another comeback in the GOP primary race. But looking at the bigger picture, Gingrich's run for president may herald his comeback into the political limelight, one that is unlikely to end any time soon.

Colo. Caucuses Allow a View of Support Out West  
[Associated Press, 2/7/12] Colorado's decision to move their caucuses up has brought more attention to the contest there, as the state now offers an early view of what the rest of the West may look like for the GOP.

The Republican Primary in Six Charts  
[BuzzFeed, 2/7/12] Here's the Republican primary at a glance, with quick and easy charts to show you who raised the most, who had the best fundraising operation and when spikes in fundraising occurred.

For Mormon Voters, Romney’s Faith Is but One Factor
[New York Times, 2/6/12] There has been much talk of the Mormon sweep that helped Romney win Nevada, but there's more than just religion that attracts Mormon voters to the former Massachusetts governor.

What Santorum Can Win on Tuesday
[The Washington Post, 2/7/12] Santorum may actually win a state or two when Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota vote today – but does it really mean anything? None of the states are awarding delegates based on today's results.

Gingrich Predicts ‘Bad Day’ for Mitt Romney  
[Politico, 2/7/12] On an interview with Fox News this morning, Gingrich made some predictions for the Republican contests – namely that they're going to be disappointing for rival Romney. “I think it’s going to be a good day for Santorum and a relatively bad day for Romney," he said. No word on whether this game-changer will help his chances.

Romney Super PAC Buying Ads in Ohio
[BuzzFeed, 2/7/12] Romney’s super PAC, Restore Our Future, has begun buying television and broadcast ad time in Ohio. Early voting starts in the state on Wednesday. The Buckeye State primary is on Super Tuesday, March 6, where Romney clearly wants to wrap up the nomination.

Ron Paul Glitterbombed at Minneapolis Convention Center
[Minneapolis City Pages, 2/7/12] Paul became the last major GOP candidate to get “glitterbombed” last night. At a campaign rally at the Minneapolis Convention Center, a member of the crowd threw a box of glitter on the 76-year-old congressman – usually a message from gay rights activists.

Why the GOP Nomination Process Still Matters  
[The Washington Post, 2/6/12] Since Romney took Nevada, common knowledge says that he's basically going to cakewalk to the nomination. So why watch the rest of the primary contests? Greg Sargent writes that Romney's showing in the next few weeks will reveal a lot about how the nomination will play out. 

Romney Finds Support Where Women Hold Sway
[The Wall Street Journal, 2/7/12] Romney’s mildness, seen as a demerit by many conservatives, is a plus for him in swing areas such as voter-rich Arapahoe County, Colo., a place where women dominate the electoral rolls.

Messy Caucuses in Nevada, Iowa Raise Questions

[Associated Press, 2/7/12] The call for the abolition of the caucus system has grown louder following the chaos of Nevada's most recent caucus, and while party leaders nationwide have yet to speak publicly about getting rid of caucuses, they worry that the system may be the cause of the decreases in turnout they've been seeing.

After Beleaguered Caucus, Nev. Leaders Consider Switching to Primary
[The Las Vegas Sun, 2/7/12] After Saturday’s troubled Republican caucuses – with final results unavailable until Monday, and turnout falling well below expectations – the Silver State’s political leaders are now suggesting they’re ready to switch to a primary.

5 Things To Watch Tonight  
[Politico, 2/7/12] While Romney appears to be in solid shape in Colorado, Santorum could deliver a surprise performance in Minnesota and Missouri. Gingrich is poised to flunk in all three states, while the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses offer a rebound opportunity for Paul.

Paul Unites Very Different Backers
[The Wall Street Journal, 2/7/12] Paul’s ability to coalesce such disparate groups of voters under his libertarian banner explains why he has been able to press forward despite a lack of support from the GOP establishment.

Mike Huckabee’s PAC Still Tapping Small Donors  
[Politico, 2/7/12] Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee continues to raise money for his super PAC, Huck PAC, raising $459,000 last year. The PAC, however, has yet to give to any GOP campaign, even though its stated purpose is to defeat President Obama.

The Sweet Meteor of Death 2012   
[Red State, 2/6/12] Conservative commentator Erick Erickson writes that he will not endorse any of the major Republican candidates remaining in the field, preferring a “sweet meteor of death” instead – the only thing, he says, that can stop Romney and Obama. He’s holding out hope for another candidate to emerge in the GOP.

 


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