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Friday's campaign round-up

02/17/12 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:* As discussed on the show last night, the Maine Republican Party is re-canvassing counties and municipalities to recount vote totals, and Washington County will still hold its caucus tomorrow.* The CNN debate scheduled for March 1 in Atlanta has been canceled.* Tricia noted earlier that a new Suffolk University/WHDH-TV poll in Massachusetts shows Sen. Scott Brown (R) leading Elizabeth Warren (D) by nine, 49% to 40%. read more

Issa adds insult to injury

Issa adds insult to injury

02/17/12 11:29AM

In case House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) anti-contraception hearing wasn't quite offensive enough yesterday, the Republican congressman added insult to injury last night by equating his opposition to birth control to Dr. Martin Luther King's fight for civil rights. (via Alex Seitz-Wald)In what universe does this comparison make sense? Issa invited a series of religious leaders to tell him what he wanted to hear about access to contraception, which the committee chairman realizes is at odds with mainstream public attitudes. read more

Will the GOP take Limbaugh's culture-war advice?

The wrong 'war' at the wrong time

02/17/12 10:56AM

In nearly every instance, the political world operates on a hair trigger -- rapid-response teams, which used to be limited to campaigns, now exist year round, operating in both parties on a 24-7 basis.It's worth noting, then, just how quiet the political world was, at least initially, when the Obama administration announced that American health insurance plans would have to cover contraception as part of preventive care. When the decision was made public on Jan. 20, the Republicans' rapid-response teams were relatively -- and uncharacteristically -- quiet. read more

Michael Grimm's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month

Michael Grimm's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month

02/17/12 10:12AM

I've noted a couple of instances in which Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) has struggled with the basics of health care policy, but as it turns out, those are the least of the congressman's problems.One might think a former FBI agent and U.S. Marine would be the last person to find himself in the midst of uncomfortable ethical reports. But that's the position Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. finds himself in. read more

Lin's 'biggest anomaly'?

Lin's 'biggest anomaly'?

02/17/12 09:32AM

I have a hunch New York Times columnist David Brooks, upon further reflection, might regret writing this lede to his latest piece.Jeremy Lin is anomalous in all sorts of ways. He's a Harvard grad in the N.B.A., an Asian-American man in professional sports. But we shouldn't neglect the biggest anomaly. He's a religious person in professional sports.I won't claim to be an expert on such matters -- though I know a certain executive producer of "The Rachel Maddow Show" who can speak to this in more detail -- but Brooks' observation strikes me as deeply odd. read more

Romney digs deeper against auto-industry rescue

02/17/12 08:45AM

Mitt Romney has earned a well-deserved reputation for taking both sides of several dozen issues. As a rule, however, the Republican presidential hopeful tries to take these positions one at a time.Romney's position on President Obama's rescue of the American automotive industry is a little more complicated. On the one hand, Romney wants to take credit for the policy, since he suggested managed bankruptcy. read more

'A Terri Schiavo moment'

'A Terri Schiavo moment'

02/17/12 08:01AM

Seven years ago, there was an unexpected political hullabaloo surrounding Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who'd been in a vegetative state for 15 years. When there was a disagreement among family members about her fate, it touched off a national controversy and unprecedented intervention from Washington.Indeed, Congress took steps to prolong Schiavo's life -- passing legislation related to literally just this one person -- and President Bush even cut short a vacation to address the issue. read more

Morning Maddow: February 17

02/17/12 07:36AM

Santorum says his billionaire's joke about aspirin between the knees was 'in bad taste.' Meanwhile, Foster Friess thinks that the younguns who were offended just didn't get why it was funny.If you were curious about the NH Rep who said there's a link between the pill and prostate cancer, here's where she got that.New poll puts Sen. read more

Ahead on the 2/16 Maddow show

02/16/12 06:47PM

Tonight's guests include:Elizabeth Warren, (D) Massachusetts Senate candidate, chair of TARP Congressional Oversight panel, helped create Consumer Financial Protection BureauChris Gardner, Washington County, Maine  GOP Committee ChairmanWhile we wait for tonigh'ts video preview, take a listen to tonight's soundtrack. (Just be sure to let the ad play out entirely before starting the song!)Executive producer Bill Wolff shares a preview of tonight's show: read more

Bass Ball

02/16/12 06:32PM

Even though Republicans will be flocking into Tampa for the big convention August 27 through 30, it is still very much in doubt whether they will have a clear presidential contender by then.What's not in doubt is that the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team -- they dropped the Devil a while back — will have a funky new mascot, DJ Kitty.No telling whether Mitt Romney would make DJ Kitty ride in a cage on top of his car, but when he gets to Tampa, he should definitely arrange a photo op with the beat master, ASAP. read more

Thursday's Mini-Report

02/16/12 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:* By an overwhelming margin, the United Nations General Assembly condemned Syria this afternoon. The resolution, however, was nonbinding.* According to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, "initial three-way talks between the United States, Afghanistan and the Taliban have begun."* Marriage equality has now been approved by both chambers of the New Jersey legislature. Gov. read more

Rachel Maddow on the thesis of 'Drift'

02/16/12 04:45PM

While going through some links in preparation for next month's release of Drift, I came upon this clip of Rachel's interview with Slate's Jacob Weisberg in which she talks about the book's themes and how the U.S. can reintegrate the military with the population at large. read more

Scott Brown stumbles on policy basics

Scott Brown stumbles on policy basics

02/16/12 04:22PM

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) surprised a lot of people earlier this week when he endorsed an unpopular, far-right proposal on contraception. Inexplicably, the ostensible moderate threw his support behind a plan to allow all private-sector employers to deny any health services that businesses might find morally objectionable, including access to birth control.Brown talked to NECN, a regional network that covers Massachusetts, about his position, but failed to read up on the proposal he'd already endorsed. read more