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Friday's Mini-Report

02/17/12 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:* It's important to catch would-be bad guys early: "The FBI and Capitol police arrested a man Friday who thought he was going to carry out a bombing attack on the U.S. Capitol but was in fact dealing with FBI undercover operatives for the past few months."* Quite a scene: "A small private plane carrying a load of marijuana strayed into President Obama's no-fly zone over Los Angeles on Thursday and was forced to land at Long Beach Airport after being intercepted by U.S. read more

Chronicling Mitt's mendacity

Chronicling Mitt's mendacity

02/17/12 02:56PM

Several weeks ago, I launched a new Friday afternoon feature, highlighting the most offensive Mitt Romney falsehoods of the week. It moved to Maddow Blog a couple of weeks ago, so let's keep this going with this week's installment.1. At CPAC, Romney vowed, "I will finally balance the American budget, and as I'm sure you know, that will start with the easiest cut of all: I will eliminate Obamacare."This is just bizarre. The Affordable Care Act cuts the deficit considerably; trying to balance the budget by killing the law is ridiculous.2. read more

Why DeWine's switch matters

Why DeWine's switch matters

02/17/12 02:04PM

When Rick Santorum picks up a high-profile endorsement in a key state, it's a relatively big deal. When that supporter backed Mitt Romney up until yesterday, it's a bigger deal.Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will endorse Rick Santorum this afternoon, Ohio Republicans confirm.DeWine, a Romney endorser, will announce his decision to change endorsements in remarks at the Ohio State House in Columbus, OH. read more

Best noon thing*

02/17/12 01:08PM

A genius figures out how to get a gorilla's attention and get great video. Enjoy.Update: I am an idiot. Of course those are orangutans. (h/t: Wired)*Central time. read more

Friday's campaign round-up

02/17/12 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:* As discussed on the show last night, the Maine Republican Party is re-canvassing counties and municipalities to recount vote totals, and Washington County will still hold its caucus tomorrow.* The CNN debate scheduled for March 1 in Atlanta has been canceled.* Tricia noted earlier that a new Suffolk University/WHDH-TV poll in Massachusetts shows Sen. Scott Brown (R) leading Elizabeth Warren (D) by nine, 49% to 40%. read more

Issa adds insult to injury

Issa adds insult to injury

02/17/12 11:29AM

In case House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) anti-contraception hearing wasn't quite offensive enough yesterday, the Republican congressman added insult to injury last night by equating his opposition to birth control to Dr. Martin Luther King's fight for civil rights. (via Alex Seitz-Wald)In what universe does this comparison make sense? Issa invited a series of religious leaders to tell him what he wanted to hear about access to contraception, which the committee chairman realizes is at odds with mainstream public attitudes. read more

Will the GOP take Limbaugh's culture-war advice?

The wrong 'war' at the wrong time

02/17/12 10:56AM

In nearly every instance, the political world operates on a hair trigger -- rapid-response teams, which used to be limited to campaigns, now exist year round, operating in both parties on a 24-7 basis.It's worth noting, then, just how quiet the political world was, at least initially, when the Obama administration announced that American health insurance plans would have to cover contraception as part of preventive care. When the decision was made public on Jan. 20, the Republicans' rapid-response teams were relatively -- and uncharacteristically -- quiet. read more

Michael Grimm's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month

Michael Grimm's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month

02/17/12 10:12AM

I've noted a couple of instances in which Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) has struggled with the basics of health care policy, but as it turns out, those are the least of the congressman's problems.One might think a former FBI agent and U.S. Marine would be the last person to find himself in the midst of uncomfortable ethical reports. But that's the position Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. finds himself in. read more

Lin's 'biggest anomaly'?

Lin's 'biggest anomaly'?

02/17/12 09:32AM

I have a hunch New York Times columnist David Brooks, upon further reflection, might regret writing this lede to his latest piece.Jeremy Lin is anomalous in all sorts of ways. He's a Harvard grad in the N.B.A., an Asian-American man in professional sports. But we shouldn't neglect the biggest anomaly. He's a religious person in professional sports.I won't claim to be an expert on such matters -- though I know a certain executive producer of "The Rachel Maddow Show" who can speak to this in more detail -- but Brooks' observation strikes me as deeply odd. read more

Romney digs deeper against auto-industry rescue

02/17/12 08:45AM

Mitt Romney has earned a well-deserved reputation for taking both sides of several dozen issues. As a rule, however, the Republican presidential hopeful tries to take these positions one at a time.Romney's position on President Obama's rescue of the American automotive industry is a little more complicated. On the one hand, Romney wants to take credit for the policy, since he suggested managed bankruptcy. read more

'A Terri Schiavo moment'

'A Terri Schiavo moment'

02/17/12 08:01AM

Seven years ago, there was an unexpected political hullabaloo surrounding Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who'd been in a vegetative state for 15 years. When there was a disagreement among family members about her fate, it touched off a national controversy and unprecedented intervention from Washington.Indeed, Congress took steps to prolong Schiavo's life -- passing legislation related to literally just this one person -- and President Bush even cut short a vacation to address the issue. read more

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