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Bearing no resemblance to the Obama-Clinton race

Bearing no resemblance to the Obama-Clinton race

02/29/12 12:38PM

In theory, an extended presidential nominating race doesn't have to be a disaster for the candidates or their party. The process, at least on paper, can force the candidates to hone their message, sharpen responses to common attacks, and avoid complacency. read more

Wednesday's campaign round-up

02/29/12 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:* Though much of the political world's focus has been on Michigan and Arizona, nearly $5 million has already been spent on the GOP presidential race in Ohio.* Speaking of the Buckeye State, Rick Santorum appears to have the edge, leading Mitt Romney by seven points in a Quinnipiac poll, and by 12 points in a University of Cincinnati poll.* A federal three-judge panel approved Texas' new redistricting map, though both parties seem to hate it.* New read more

Food stamp 'reform'

02/29/12 11:33AM

A piece from the Daily Caller made the rounds yesterday, but I dismissed it as a parody when a few readers sent it my way. But as Simon Maloy noted, "t seems too earnestly argued to be parody, and nowhere is it identified as such."The opinion piece, published by author Brion McClanahan, calls for what he describes as "reform" of the food-stamp program. read more

Parties and markets and bears, oh my

Parties and markets and bears, oh my

02/29/12 10:53AM

The Dow Jones closed yesterday above 13,000 for the first time in nearly four years. This isn't exactly an economic breakthrough -- the Dow is just one index, and there's nothing magical about the 13k plateau -- but it offers something of a morale boost.It doesn't, however, help conservative arguments that the Obama administration's agenda would ruin the markets, terrify investors, and send the major indexes spiraling downward. read more

Like it or not, algae is part of the energy debate.

From tire gauges to algae

02/29/12 10:16AM

A few months before the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama gave a speech on energy policy and his sweeping plans related to alternative fuels, efficiency programs, smart-grid technology, etc. In the subsequent Q&A, a voter asked what individuals can do to help, and the candidate recommended a few simple steps, including keeping tires inflated.It seemed wholly unremarkable, until Republicans decided this was hilarious. The McCain campaign began waving tire gauges at campaign rallies, insisting that properly-inflated tires represented the entirety of the Obama energy plan. read more

Signs of economic life

Signs of economic life

02/29/12 09:30AM

About a month ago, preliminary reports showed the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.8% in the fourth quarter. The GDP numbers weren't bad, necessarily, but they fell short of expectations.The revised data, published this morning, brought more encouraging news.The United States economy grew at a slightly faster pace in the final three months of last year, and Americans earned more income than previously reported. That could set the stage for stronger growth this year.The Commerce Department said the economy expanded at a 3 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter.... read more

Snowe's stunning surprise

Snowe's stunning surprise

02/29/12 08:53AM

When prominent members of Congress are considering retirement, there's nearly always some kind of hint in advance of the announcement. Maybe they stop raising money; perhaps they're slow to put a campaign organization together; maybe key staffers are seen moving to new jobs elsewhere; something.But with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine, all of the evidence pointed in the other direction. read more

Romney survives, but race continues

Romney survives, but race continues

02/29/12 08:00AM

At a certain level, it's hard to see how Tuesday could have gone much better for Mitt Romney. After a few very rough weeks and surprising setbacks, the former governor cruised to an easy win in Arizona's primary, and hung on to win in Michigan, preventing panic and chaos within the Republican Party ranks.And yet, as the dust settles, Romney and his supporters appear more relieved than satisfied. There's a good reason for that.It's easy to forget, but as recently as three months ago, Romney led Rick Santorum in Michigan by 32 points. read more

Morning Maddow: February 29

02/29/12 07:34AM

You know you want to: read the exit polls from yesterday's Michigan and Arizona primaries.Santorum's strategy: pick off Newt.Does Ron Paul still think he has a shot? Apparently so.Virginia is for lovers gunners.A suspected al-Qaeda leader has been arrested in Egypt (UPDATE: it's likely a case of mistaken identity).Tonight the President has dinner with Iraq War vets.Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine has had it with partisan gridlock and is retiring.Bob Kerrey has to decide today if he's really running for Senate in Nebraska.The NFL moves its kickoff game to avoid President Obama. read more

The Steinbeck Center's evening with Rachel Maddow

02/29/12 12:00AM

The folks at the Steinbeck Center honored Rachel with a Steinbeck Award this past weekend and were not only nice enough to provide us with a live stream that night, but they've also provided a recording of the event. The whole thing is more than an hour long so I've broken it up a little. The basic format is a lengthy interview of Rachel by KGO Radio host Pat Thurston, followed by some audience questions, and then the bestowing of the award at the end. Enjoy. The next four parts after the jump... read more

Tuesday night's plan

02/28/12 07:21PM

Don't forget, tonight is special coverage of the Michigan and Arizona Republican primaries, so we're in "live rolling coverage" formation beginning at 8 p.m. ET. That means Rachel leads coverage with Chris Matthews, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Steve Schmidt. Plus there will be other guests throughout the night (I just heard Thaddeus McCotter is a possibility, so that should be fun).We'll be cutting clips of the coverage all night, so while there won't be a podcast, there will at least be video for the web watchers.PLUS... read more