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Justice Dept backs equal benefits for gay couples in military

Justice Dept backs equal benefits for gay couples in military

02/20/12 02:20PM

This news came late last week, but it'd be a shame if it got lost in the shuffle.The Obama administration on Friday said it would not defend the constitutionality of statutes blocking same-sex military spouses from receiving marriage benefits -- including rights to visitation in military hospitals, survivor benefits, and burial together in military cemeteries.In a letter to the House speaker, John A. Boehner, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. read more

Silent protest outside, Virginia House puts off ultrasound vote

Silent protest outside, Virginia House puts off ultrasound vote

02/20/12 01:14PM

What appears to be a crowd of several hundred people gathered today at the Virginia state capitol. Standing silently in the cold, they lined the walkway used by the legislators who have been voting on -- and voting away -- women's rights in Virginia.From their Facebook page:The Capitol ground rules say that we cannot assemble, hold signs, chant, yell or protest. We think silence in the face of this struggle and their unconstitutional rules presents the strongest response to their assault on women. read more

Romney's gold-plated resume

02/20/12 12:35PM

Mitt Romney was in Utah over the weekend for a celebration of sorts: it was the 10th anniversary of the Olympic games he helped lead. This is, of course, a story Romney and his presidential campaign are eager to tell, because it reinforces the "turnaround artist" narrative -- the Salt Lake City games were in trouble; Romney came in and applied his business expertise; and the Olympics were saved.The truth, however, tells a less flattering story, at least as far as the politics is concerned. read more

Monday's campaign round-up

02/20/12 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:* In Michigan, Public Policy Polling shows a much tighter Republican presidential primary than it did a week ago. read more

On Afghanistan, these two aren't on the same page.

McCain breaks with Romney on Taliban talks

02/20/12 11:30AM

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) talked with ABC's Jake Tapper yesterday via satellite from Afghanistan, and one exchange, in particular, stood out for me.TAPPER: Let's turn now to Afghanistan, where you're sitting right now. The big news is that Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has confirmed that the United States, the Afghan government, are in three-way talks with the Taliban. Are those talks a mistake?MCCAIN: No, I think it's important to have talks wherever you can.This is not at all an unusual position for the senator to take. read more

The anti-pre-natal testing candidate.

Why would a politician attack pre-natal testing?

02/20/12 10:50AM

Over the last few years, there's been no shortage of attacks from the right against the Affordable Care Act, but going after provisions related to pre-natal testing appears to be a new one.Rick Santorum accused President Obama of requiring free prenatal testing in the health care plan he signed in 2010 because it would detect if children were disabled, encourage more abortions and save money."One of the things that you don't know about ObamaCare in one of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing," Santorum began telling about 400 people here. "Why? read more

Right rallies to defend Va. ultrasound bill

02/20/12 10:00AM

As controversial culture-war measures in Virginia generate national attention, conservative defenses of the far-right efforts are becoming more common.The most notable measure is a proposal to require women who wish to terminate a pregnancy to undergo a medically-unnecessary ultrasound. read more

As Santorum gains more attention, he raises the rhetorical temperature.

What Santorum considers a 'phony theology'

02/20/12 09:15AM

Like all Republican presidential candidates, Rick Santorum tends to be unrelenting in his daily criticisms of President Obama. But over the weekend, the former senator broke some new and unsettling ground.At another stop in Ohio on Saturday, Mr. Santorum waded into what he called the "phony theology" of Mr. Obama's agenda."It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology," he said. "But no less a theology."In later comments to reporters, Mr. read more

Romney's Trump card?

Romney's Trump card?

02/20/12 08:30AM

As recently as three weeks ago, Gallup's daily tracking poll showed Mitt Romney leading Rick Santorum by 20 points nationally. As of yesterday, Santorum had opened up an 8-point lead over Romney -- the former senator's largest lead to date.At the same time, Real Clear Politics' polling averages now have President Obama leading Romney nationwide 49.1% to 43.4%, after having been nearly tied in early February. read more

Morning Maddow: February 20

02/20/12 07:41AM

 Rick Santorum is against the government mandating that women get free amniocentesis. He's also against a lot more.That oughta help Mitt Romney in Michigan. And this oughta help in Arizona.A Koch brother speaks!I'll give you two guesses why: A North Carolina Catholic church fires a long-time employee for getting married. The state of Voter ID laws in the nation (with a handy, interactive map!).The attempt to recast fracking as a good thing.Yemen is about to elect a new president.Geekiest photo op ever?  read more

Republican caucus-goers gather in Maine.

The gap narrows in Maine

02/19/12 10:33AM

Following up on a story we've been reporting on all week, several communities in Maine hosted Republican presidential caucuses yesterday, unsure how their preferences would be tallied by the state party. read more

Ahead on the 2/17 Maddow show

02/17/12 07:19PM

Tonight's guests include:Steve Schmidt, senior strategist for the McCain campaign, political analyst and msnbc contributorFred Karger, Candidate for Republican Presidential Nomination, and the first openly gay candidate for PresidentHere's executive producer Bill Wolff's preview and tonight's accompanying soundtrack. read more