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One week to go before the all-important Michigan Primary. And it’s perhaps the most important week in Mitt Romney’s political life. If he can’t win Michigan - the state he grew up in and carried in 2008 - Republicans will clamor for someone else - anyone else - to get in this race. And if that doesn’t happen - and it’s not likely - we could see a brokered or contested convention this summer in Tampa. The stakes are high – Can Mitt close the deal?

 

Rick Santorum has caught fire with the Republican base, in part because he’s throwing a lot of red meat their way. From the theology comment to the Hitler comparison, he’s giving the angry right wingers what they wants. Remember, he’s the fighter in the race – the pugilist to Mitt Romney’s “I’ll say what they want to hear” pragmatist.

 

Here’s a fun fact: The Romney campaign is blowing through money. As First Read points out this morning, “the Romney campaign reported raising $6.5 million in primary funds for the month of January. Yet more importantly, its burn rate was more than 287% (spending $18 million-plus last month, versus raising $6.5 million).” And that means Romney has about $7.7 million in the bank, versus President Obama’s $76 million. Win or lose in Michigan, this protracted primary fight will leave Romney weakened and vulnerable in a general election.

 

Check out what the Rev. Franklin Graham said on “Morning Joe” this morning: He hedged when asked whether he believes President Obama is a Christian. Yet when asked whether Rick Santorum - a Roman Catholic - is a Christian, he was quick to answer yes. And he didn’t even recognize his own hypocrisy.

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Hardball - Let Me Start

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