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Sweep Home Alabama (and Mississippi) – Rick Santorum swept two Southern states last night, dealing a severe blow to conservative rival Newt Gingrich and raising the same old questions about Mitt Romney’s inability to seal the deal with the heart of the Republican party. In defeat last night, Gingrich vowed to press on, but his campaign needed to win down South – the only region his campaign has proved remotely viable. He didn’t, and if he drops out, he’d give Santorum the one-on-one chance to beat Romney in the upcoming contests in Illinois and Louisiana. Santorum said it’s time for conservatives to ‘pull together’, but will Gingrich let them? Will Sheldon Adelson?


Politico notes that Romney finished third in both Southern states (even though he won the Hawaii caucuses) and Jonathan Martin says Romney needs to explain why – with all his money and organization – he can’t put away underfunded competition like Santorum. Romney’s going back to his old playbook in Illinois – by spending big bucks in hopes for a win.


On Monday and Tuesday of this week, we saw two polls with worse than expected numbers for President Obama. Now we’re seeing two polls where his standing is just fine, thank you very much. Check out the new numbers from Reuters/Ipsos (where he’s at 50% approval) and later today, look out for Pew.


Embattled House Financial Services committee chairman Spencer Bachus survived his primary challenge in Alabama last night.


Hardball - Let Me Start

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