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Marriage equality reaches Washington

02/13/12 04:08PM

As of this afternoon, the arc of history is bending towards justice in the state of Washington.Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a measure legalizing gay marriage in a ceremony in Olympia on Monday. It made Washington the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage.A tearful Gregoire announced: "We're here to make history here in the great state of Washington. This is a very proud day ... read more

GOP backpedals on payroll fight

02/13/12 03:02PM

Democrats learned a valuable lesson in December, during the payroll-tax fight that was going their way: when Republicans are losing, their negotiating posture can and will change.Indeed, during that initial round of the dispute, GOP negotiators quickly lost all leverage because Democrats simply didn't believe Republicans were prepared to shoot the proverbial hostage. As of this afternoon, the same dynamic appears to have played out once more.We talked earlier about the looming deadline for the payroll tax break, and the poor odds of success unless the GOP became more flexible. read more

Challenge: Fill out Gingrich's timeline

Challenge: Fill out Gingrich's timeline

02/13/12 02:06PM

This Newt Gingrich status update appeared in my Facebook news feed this afternoon. Today I am proud to become the first major Presidential candidate to utilize Facebook's "Timeline" to showcase important events in my life and a history of promoting the conservative cause.Now there's a campaign milestone: first to hit the "Timeline" upgrade button!Here's Gingrich's new timeline. Hmmm. It seems to be missing some events. Help Newt remember, will you? read more

White House unveils budget plan

White House unveils budget plan

02/13/12 01:32PM

At a certain level, it's understandable to think the new White House budget plan is unimportant, or at a minimum, political theater. Given the far-right Republican majority in the House, there's simply no way this budget will be approved by Congress, making the new White House document more of an opening bid than a realistic plan.But don't dismiss it too quickly. read more

Virginia Dems say they can't stop GOP tide

Virginia Dems say they can't stop GOP tide

02/13/12 12:42PM

With Republicans controlling the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature, Virginia Democrats are saying they don't have the votes to stop a wave of far-right legislation.Virginia Republicans have so far pushed through a bill requiring a medically unnecessary, invasive sonogram before a woman exercises her constitutional right to end a pregnancy happening in her own body. read more

Monday's campaign round-up

02/13/12 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:* Rick Santorum argued yesterday, "We think this is a two-person race right now." There's certainly evidence to back that up.* Mitt Romney appears to have narrowly won the Maine caucuses, edging past Ron Paul by three percentage points, but some county caucuses were postponed due to a snow storm. read more

What if Santorum wins Michigan?

What if Santorum wins Michigan?

02/13/12 11:22AM

We talked earlier about Rick Santorum positioning himself as the top GOP rival to Mitt Romney at the national level. That also increasingly appears to be the case in key states.Public Policy Polling just released these results from the state of Michigan.Rick Santorum's taken a large lead in Michigan's upcoming Republican primary. He's at 39% to 24% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Ron Paul, and 11% for Newt Gingrich.Santorum's rise is attributable to two major factors: his own personal popularity (a stellar 67/23 favorability) and GOP voters increasingly souring on Gingrich. read more

What drives the debt

What drives the debt

02/13/12 10:46AM

With the White House budget poised to be released, we're likely to see a reprise of a familiar Washington fight: the president and his team will focus on short-term economic gains, delaying deficit-reduction efforts, while Republican policymakers will demand the opposite.As this new round of the debate gets underway in earnest, reader F.B. read more

Those who buy what they can't earn

Those who buy what they can't earn

02/13/12 10:15AM

In a bit of a surprise over the weekend, Mitt Romney won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, picking up 38% of the vote, ahead of Rick Santorum's 31%. Yesterday, the former senator sounded rather annoyed about the results, saying, "I don't try to rig straw polls."Was this just sour grapes, or does Santorum have a legitimate beef? read more

The Santorum Surge

The Santorum Surge

02/13/12 09:38AM

Rick Santorum spent much of 2011 as an electoral afterthought, struggling to compete in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. He enjoyed a brief surge in support in early January, when the former senator managed to eke out a win in the Iowa caucuses, but it soon subsided.The GOP race has, however, changed quite a bit over the last 10 days. read more

What is Mitch McConnell's problem with contraception?

Dropping the pretense in the war on contraception

02/13/12 08:46AM

As far as the White House is concerned, Friday's compromise on contraception coverage effectively ends the matter. Religiously affiliated institutions won't be required to pay for birth control, but women who work for these employers will still have access to the same preventive care as everyone else. As Tricia noted earlier, the West Wing doesn't see anything else to talk about.Congressional Republicans strongly disagree. read more

The 'drama' of the payroll tax-cut fight

02/13/12 08:01AM

It's understandable to have a sense of deja vu when it comes to the fight in Washington over a payroll tax break. In December, Democrats pushed to leave the tax cut in place; Republicans balked; and it led to a fairly intense showdown the week before Christmas. read more

Morning Maddow: February 13

02/13/12 07:47AM

The President sends his budget to Congress today.Surprise! Catholic Bishops aren't happy with the contraception compromise. The White House says too bad.Ron Paul's delegate strategy at work in Maine.Rick Perry asks his bundlers to make it rain for Newt Gingrich.Today in same-sex marriage: New Jersey legislators vote on legalization, while Washington's Governor signs it into law.Kris Kobach calls "self-deportation" a sign of success in Alabama, Arizona. read more

Romney speaks at a Maine GOP caucus yesterday.

Romney's underwhelming win in Maine

02/12/12 09:24AM

After a surprisingly poor showing in Tuesday's contests, and growing intra-party doubts about his candidacy, Mitt Romney needed a win to help change the larger conversation. Last night in Maine, he got one.Mitt Romney averted embarrassment on Saturday when he was declared the winner of a presidential straw poll in Maine's nonbinding caucuses.He won 39 percent of the vote, barely edging out Representative Ron Paul of Texas, the only other Republican candidate to campaign actively in the state. Mr. Paul drew 36 percent. Mr. Romney scraped by Mr. Paul by just 194 votes. read more

Parsing the President's Spotify Playlist

Parsing the President's Spotify Playlist

02/11/12 01:11AM

Until now, the music-streaming service Spotify served two primary purposes: providing a cheap and easy way to find and sample songs you would never actually buy, and allowing a peek into the terrible musical tastes of your Facebook friends. (Seriously, you guys, lay off the Hall & Oates.) And now we have a third: to get a look at what our president is listening to these days. read more