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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

Gingrich has something in common with Bruce Willis' character from "The Sixth Sense."

Weighing Gingrich's future

03/14/12 08:48AM

Before the full results from Alabama and Mississippi were available last night, Rachel asked Republican strategist Steve Schmidt if Newt Gingrich can remain a viable candidate if he failed to win either primary."No," Schmidt said. "The race will be in the final stages for him, and he'll have some tough decisions to make in the days ahead. He's talked about putting together a 'Southern strategy' to remain viable. That means he has to win these states, not come in second, not come in third."The "Southern strategy" was not, on its face, ridiculous. read more

'Inevitability' gets deep fried in Alabama, Mississippi

'Inevitability' gets deep fried in Alabama, Mississippi

03/14/12 08:00AM

Mitt Romney had vowed to win Alabama, expected to put up a strong showing in Mississippi, and invested heavily to excel in yesterday's Deep South primaries. In effect, the former governor placed an expensive bet, assuming that victories here would end the nominating race altogether.As the dust settled, it became clear that Romney lost that bet.The night belonged to Rick Santorum, who eked out narrow wins in both Alabama and Mississippi, despite being outspent, and despite lacking meaningful campaign organizations. read more

Morning Maddow: March 14

03/14/12 07:47AM

Romney loses Alabama and Mississippi but wins Hawaii and American Samoa.Maybe there's a limit to what Chuck Norris can do?AL and MS Congressional incumbents survive their primary challenges.News you can use: how to pronounce Missouri like a native.Sen. Orrin Hatch: Elect me this year and I'll retire in 2018.A Goldman Sachs Executive Director quits in the pages of the New York Times.  read more

Tonight's other race

03/14/12 01:31AM

The fine folks at the Last Word blog caught Rachel's mad dash from the TRMS studio to the Last Word desk to join Lawrence at the top of the 10pm hour: read more

Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt, former senior advisors to the McCain/Palin campaign, backstage at The Rachel Maddow Show, March 12, 2012.

'Coo coo for Cocoa-puffs' hard to overcome in a candidate

03/13/12 09:12PM

At the show meeting yesterday, while discussing the coming interview with Nicolle Wallace and the segment to introduce it, producer Mike Yarvitz pointed out that after seeing HBO's "Game Change" he went back and re-watched Rachel's September 27, 2011 interview with Wallace and Steve Schmidt and realized a new depth to their answers.If you tried to find that old segment (this is the direct link), you may have had some difficulty because it was actually preceded by a discussion of whether Chris Christie would or should join the Republican nomination race. read more

Election season in full swing

Election season in full swing

03/13/12 08:00PM

Bill Wolff, executive producer for the Rachel Maddow Show, shares a preview of tonight’s show – the latest on tonight’s primaries in Alabama, Mississippi and... watch

Ahead on the 3/13 Maddow show

03/13/12 06:55PM

ADDING: Special Schedule tonight: Rachel will be a guest with Lawrence at 10pm ET. Then the Ed Show is live and new at 11 and Rachel will be a guest for part of that, and then there will be some additional live Rachel Maddow coverage at midnight. So it's a full night ahead.Tonight's guests include:Steve Schmidt, McCain-Palin campaign senior strategist and msnbc political analystJohn Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and political writer for The New York TimesRev. read more

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