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Fight Night! Rick Santorum got treated like a frontrunner last night – he was under siege by the three other candidates on the debate stage in Mesa, Arizona. The hottest exchange in a debate that lacked a truly signature moment was when Romney challenged Santorum on his record in Congress, and his past support for earmarks. Did Romney do enough to stanch the bleeding? Did he slow Santorum’s surge heading into the biggest primary fight yet – Tuesday night’s contests in Michigan and Arizona?


The candidates were asked a rather innocuous question about the one word they would use to describe themselves. Ron Paul said “consistent”. Mitt Romney said “resolute”. Newt Gingrich got a laugh by saying “cheerful”. And Rick Santorum said “courage.” Yet earlier in the debate he explained away some of his votes in the Senate by saying “politics is a team sport” and that sometimes you have to take one for the team. Was that a smart answer? Was it courageous? These are the questions undecided voters will be asking about Santorum as they make up their minds.


Nate Silver analyzes how the Mormon population in Arizona should give Mitt Romney the edge in that winner-take-all state. Still, the battle is really in Michigan – Romney’s birth state. Silver gives Santorum a 52% chance of winning Michigan. If Romney loses his home state, all bets are off.


Politico reports that fears are rising among the Republican establishment that they might well be kicking this election away.


And how about this: Mitt Romney won the endorsement of the Detroit News, but his campaign raised the paper’s ire by sending out an abridged version of the editorial. The Romney campaign actually edited the paper’s endorsement to make their guy look better and to cut out some of the mild criticism.


And good news for President Obama: A new Quinnipiac poll finds a majority of Americans back the White House position on coverage for birth control.






Hardball - Let Me Start

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