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Struggling to prepare for prime time

Struggling to prepare for prime time

02/16/12 12:40PM

Given all of the discouraging trends of late for Mitt Romney, why do so many continue to assume he'll win the Republican presidential nomination? Jon Chait flagged some interesting tidbits about the former governor's principal rival.Here are some things to keep in mind when assessing Rick Santorum's chances of beating Mitt Romney. He has no pollster, no campaign headquarters, and no paid advance staff. He's currently getting outspent on television in Michigan by a ratio of 29-1.You know the part of the campaign ad where the candidate identifies himself and says he approves this message? read more

Thursday's campaign round-up

02/16/12 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:* With Rick Santorum releasing four years of tax returns, won't Mitt Romney feel a little more pressure to release more than one year? read more

Maloney asks, 'Where are the women?'

Maloney asks, 'Where are the women?'

02/16/12 11:36AM

Following up on an earlier item, here was the witness table at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as discussion about contraception access and health care got underway.You'll notice, of course, that all of the witnesses are men. read more

Romney's poorly-timed criticism of the auto rescue

02/16/12 10:50AM

Just two days ago, Mitt Romney published a lengthy condemnation of the Obama administration's rescue of the American auto industry. With General Motors announcing its largest annual profit in company history this morning, the Republican presidential candidate's timing clearly could have been better.For all of 2011, G.M. earned $7.6 billion, nearly all of it from North America. read more

Chairman Issa isn't exactly fair and balanced.

Issa to keep contraception fight going

02/16/12 10:16AM

Republican efforts to combat contraception access have failed rather spectacularly. After a pointless culture-war fight, the American mainstream -- including Roman Catholics and self-identified Republican voters -- agrees that the GOP is wrong and the Obama administration is right.The smart move for congressional Republicans would be to simply move on to other issues, since the GOP probably can't force a legislative change anyway. read more

Declaration of independents

Declaration of independents

02/16/12 09:23AM

For much of 2011, when pundits claimed President Obama's re-election prospects were poor, one area in particular was frequently cited: Obama was struggling with independents, with whom he'd done quite well in 2008. If the president has lost the independents, the argument goes, he's lost a chance at a second term.Putting aside the fact that independents are not a single, like-minded group of voters, the observation was not without merit. read more

Jobless claims reach four-year low

Jobless claims reach four-year low

02/16/12 08:40AM

The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, despite occasional setbacks, and most analysts expected this morning's report to show a modest uptick in filings.The good news is, that didn't happen. The better news is, initial jobless claims have reached a level so low, the numbers haven't been this good in four years.Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Feb. 11, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the lowest level since March 2008, when the U.S. read more

Congress strikes a deal on payroll cut

02/16/12 08:00AM

It wasn't easy, and there were times yesterday when the deal was in doubt, but shortly after midnight, as Tricia noted earlier, bipartisan talks produced an agreement on extending the payroll tax break through the end of the year.Members of a House-Senate committee charged with writing a measure to extend a payroll tax reduction said Wednesday that their work was done, just shy of an hour before their deadline to get a bill ready for a Friday vote.After fighting until the very final hour over how to pay for parts of a $150 billion plan that would also extend unemployment benefits and prevent a read more

Morning Maddow: February 16

02/16/12 07:44AM

The deal to extend the payroll tax cuts is finalized.Santorum releases his tax returns.New Jersey's Assembly votes on same-sex marriage today, and after a procedural delay so does Maryland's House.The Daily Kos announces Operation Hilarity.The actress in that awful Pete Hoekstra ad apologizes.Want to know what's going wrong in Yemen? Start here.Humans and robots can get along! read more

Commemorative Bob McDonnell vaginal  ultrasound probes!

Commemorative Bob McDonnell vaginal ultrasound probes!

02/16/12 01:26AM

As featured in tonight's segment on Virginia's pending law to require transvaginal ultrasounds of women seeking abortions, commemorative vaginal probes like these could one day be collectors' items should Virginia governor Bob McDonnell join the Republican ticket as the vice presidential candidate in 2012:*Special thanks to Ali Davis and Jess Idres for their contributions.  read more

Funniest thing millions of people have apparently already seen before me but I'm sharing just in case you also missed it:

02/15/12 09:06PM

This chipper gal explaining to Chinese people how to say "boogers" and other stuff that comes out of your face as part of an educational series on American slang:The Atlantic interviewed her last week and the Washington Post profiled her last fall. The short version: She's Jessica Beinecke, a 24-year-old midwestern American of naturally lively disposition who works for Voice of America. read more

Ahead on the 2/15 Maddow show

02/15/12 07:23PM

Bill Nemitz, columnist for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram State Delegate David Englin, (D) Virginia, proposed Amendment to Virginia Ultrasound BillRep. Tammy Baldwin, (D) WisconsinWhile watching tonight's video preview, take a listen to tonight's soundtrack. (Just make sure the ad below plays out entirely, before starting the video)Executive producer Bill Wolff shares a preview of tonight's show: read more

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