First, the (not so) breaking news: per NBC News campaign embed Alex Moe, Newt Gingrich is dropping out of the race. In six days. As we get the official reason for him prolonging the inevitable, we'll update you here. Now, on to what prodded him to make that decision.
Gingrich did say last night, "I do think it is pretty clear that Governor Romney is ultimately going to be the nominee." That the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, became even more so last night when he swept all five Northeast Corridor primaries, isn't so much news, either. These primaries are no longer so much the event as the speeches which follow them -- and Romney's last night was noteworthy for its lack of details and plethora of flag-waving and dog-whistling ("There was a time -- not so long ago -- when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans.").
Ezra Klein, in the Washington Post's Wonkbook, seemed thoroughly bummed by the speech, seeing it as a harbinger for the campaign to come:
I'm not a pollster. I don't know if the American people want to hear about policy. Perhaps they prefer gauzy generalities. Perhaps they're more interested in what candidates think of America than what they want to do for America. But if this is what the general election is going to be like, then it's not going to be a clash of visions. It's going to be a clash of adjectives. And in that case, it really will be the economy, stupid, as the American people will have nothing in particular to vote for.
The few details Romney did offer seemed quite questionable (to be kind) to Steve Benen of The Maddow Blog, who asked, "Has Mitt Romney met Mitt Romney?" But perhaps the point, since Romney's speech made it clear that not only is he relying upon his electorate to buy his etch-a-sketched platform, moving away from his earlier, far-Right positions on topics such as immigration to pivot towards the center.
He's tried to put out to pasture two of the architects of Arizona's SB 1070, which is being bandied about before the Supreme Court starting today, aren't exactly staying out of the spotlight.
Pearce was on Capitol Hill Tuesday to defend 1070 at a Senate hearing that was boycotted by the GOP. The law, and Pearce by extension, have become a focal point of presidential campaign politics, as the Supreme Court weighs its constitutionality and Democrats using the case to tie Romney to the legislation and the man behind it...“His immigration policy is identical to mine,” Pearce told the Washington Post. “Attrition by enforcement. It’s identical to mine — enforce the laws. We have good laws, just enforce them.”
Second: Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who Romney's campaign recently demoted from "adviser" to "supporter," is slamming the watered-down DREAM Act that Republican Senator Marco Rubio is offering up, of which Romney has spoken out in favor. Not only did Kobach predict Romney would flip-flop and not support that plan -- he also said this:
“I think he can embrace both of us [Kobach and Rubio] and go merrily along to win the election in November,” Kobach told the Topeka Capitol-Journal Thursday.
If folks like Pearce and Kobach keep holding Romney to account for his past positions, perhaps we'll find out.
Other things we're reading about today:
- Tennessee's state legislature passed an anti-abortion bill that would make miscarriage illegal.
- Previous "MHP" guest Mona Eltahawy's stirring cover story in Foreign Policy about the war on women in the Middle East.
- House Republicans want their own Violence Against Women Act, since the one we've had now is somehow unacceptable.
- Pennsylvania last night elected Brian Sims, its first openly gay legislator.
- He'll be serving in Philadelphia, whose school district just dissolved.
- New York's senior senator, Chuck Schumer, plans to try to kill SB 1070 if the Supreme Court doesn't.
- The Vatican is now going after nuns.
- The first person arrested in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case is a BP engineer.
- Why HBO's all-white "Girls" is hardly the only example of monochromatic television (series).
- Last but not least: after getting good news on his student-loan initiative, President Obama went on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" to slow-jam said news. And then he dropped the mic. Watch it below.