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Ahead on the 3/14 Maddow show

03/14/12 06:16PM

Tonight's guests include:Jeffrey Berman, served as President Obama’s national delegate director during the 2008 campaign, author of the book “The Magic Number” about that year’s tumultuous Clark County convention in NevadaSen. read more

When Rush Limbaugh turned the tide

03/14/12 06:12PM

Two years into President Clinton's first term, Republicans swept to power in the House and Senate both. The "Republican Revolution" of 1994 was led by Newt Gingrich, at least in political terms.In this video unearthed by James Carter, the women of the 1994 Republican freshman class then met at the Heritage Foundation and made a special presentation of gratitude to another hero of theirs, Rush Limbaugh. Congresswoman Barbara Cubin of Wyoming told Limbaugh:"Talk radio, with you in the lead, is what turned the tide, Rush, and we know that. read more

Wednesday's Mini-Report

03/14/12 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:* Afghanistan: "An Afghan civilian stole a military pickup truck, rammed through a fence and crashed into a ditch by a runway around the time that a plane carrying Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta landed at an airfield in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, U.S. officials said. read more

Tommy Thompson, professional politician.

You might be a politician if...

03/14/12 04:54PM

Campaigning in Alabama the other day, Mitt Romney initially told voters, "I'm not really a politician," before walking it back, adding, "I guess I kinda am.""Kinda" doesn't quite work. In 1994, Romney ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. In 2002, Romney was elected governor. Two years later, he formed his first political action committee, and two years after that, he became chairman of the Republican Governors Association. In 2007, Romney ran for president, and in 2008, after failing, he created another political action committee. read more

Why the highway bill matters

Why the highway bill matters

03/14/12 03:43PM

It's been an unusually busy afternoon for the U.S. Senate. A deal was struck on judicial nominees; the "JOBS Act" is set to advance; and an important highway bill cleared the chamber with ease.A two-year, $109 billion measure providing federal funding for the nation's roads, rails bridges and airports for the next two years passed the Senate on a 74 to 22 vote Wednesday with broad bipartisan support. read more

Mostly cloudy, slight chance of inspiration

03/14/12 02:44PM

The Florida state legislature recently passed a bill that would allow Florida students to give "inspirational messages" at school assemblies and ceremonies. Because school should be an inspirational experience, yes? Except that critics see this as a thinly disguised Trojan horse (gator?) designed to squeeze aggressive Christian proselytizing inside the schoolhouse door. As Jack Romberg, a Rabbi, told WEAR TV: read more

Reid's hardball pays off on judicial nominees

Reid's hardball pays off on judicial nominees

03/14/12 02:36PM

This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) decided to put judicial nominations on the front-burner, much to the chagrin of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has made obstructionism one of his top priorities. Reid played some procedural hardball, and as of this afternoon, it's paid off.To briefly recap, Reid wanted to move 17 stalled, non-controversial judicial nominees -- and said everything else, including action on the poorly-named "JOBS Act" -- would have to wait. read more

Taking polls with a grain of salt

Taking polls with a grain of salt

03/14/12 01:00PM

Much of the political world gasped this week when the latest New York Times/CBS News poll found President Obama's approval rating down sharply over the last month, dropping from 50% to 41% for no apparent reason. Though the same poll still showed Obama leading the Republican field, the nine-point drop in support was one of the largest drops any president has seen in the poll in the last 15 years, and reversed a general positive trend for the president.In many circles, Democrats had to resist the urge to panic, while Republicans started walking with a spring in their step. read more

The IPRC of the University of Hawaii tracks the debris daily. Here, we see the debris cloud from March 14, 2012.

Watching the beach for reminders of Japan

03/14/12 12:27PM

Just over a year ago, Japan experienced one of the worst tragedies in modern history: the terrible 8.9-magnitude earthquake, followed by a devastating tsunami that took the lives of thousands, injured even more, and destroyed coastal towns. Japan is still dealing with the aftermath -- a 12-mile "exclusion zone" around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant remains under lockdown -- and the threat of radiation remains fresh. Houses and stores in the area have been abandoned. read more

Wednesday's campaign round-up

03/14/12 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:* A new national poll from the Pew Research Center shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney in a hypothetical matchup by 12 points. read more

Has Daniels actually read the Simpson-Bowles budget plan?

Daniels wants Simpson-Bowles 'reunion tour'

03/14/12 11:30AM

If Republican Mitch Daniels has any lingering national ambitions, he might want to explain his debt-reduction plans in more detail.Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on Tuesday urged Congress to reconsider sweeping changes called for in a federal debt report he says has fallen by the wayside in the past year.Daniels said he would like to see a "reunion tour" of the sweeping report drafted by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton aide Erskine Bowles in 2010. read more

Romney fibs about gas prices at a stop in Missouri.

Romney tries his hand at energy policy

03/14/12 11:02AM

Republicans haven't had much luck lately trying to talk about energy policy, but that didn't stop Mitt Romney from weighing in on the subject yesterday. His comments, delivered at a playground in Missouri, were so wildly off-base, it's probably best if I just annotate them."Yesterday, he said the reason we have high gasoline prices is, and then he was seeking -- What could it be? What could it be? -- I have some suggestions for him," Romney said. "Maybe it's related to the fact that you stopped drilling in the, in the Gulf Obama didn't blame Republicans for gas prices. read more

Allen West has it all figured out

Allen West has it all figured out

03/14/12 10:23AM

As the domestic economy has improved in recent months, so too have the major Wall Street indexes. The Dow Jones industrial average soared yesterday, closing at its highest level since before the start of the Great Recession. The Nasdaq composite index, meanwhile, closed yesterday at its highest level in more than 11 years.Rep. read more

Romney vows end to Planned Parenthood funding

03/14/12 09:30AM

It didn't generate much attention at the time, but Mitt Romney had an op-ed in USA Today five months ago, talking about the spending cuts he'd make while slashing taxes on the wealthy. Among the cuts: "Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood."As the former governor sees it, the way to improve the deficit is to cut taxes, increase military spending, and block access to contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases.Yesterday, in an interview with the NBC affiliate in St. read more

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