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4:30 PM ET, February 8, 2012


 Top Items: 
Trump: 'I don't get Rick Santorum;' talks Romney cabinet position  —  Donald Trump sits down with CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield to discuss GOP candidates for president as well as what position he would want in Mitt Romney's cabinet.  —  Trump says, “Rick Santorum was a sitting senator …
Quinnipiac University:
Obama Inches Past Romney In Virginia Presidential Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Senate Race Still Tied  —  For the first time in this election cycle, President Barack Obama inches ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the leading Republican candidate, 47 - 43 percent in Virginia …
Jim Rutenberg / New York Times:
Santorum Upsets G.O.P. Race With Three Victories  —  His candidacy all but dismissed just days ago, Rick Santorum won the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and a nonbinding primary in Missouri on Tuesday, an unexpected trifecta that raised fresh questions about Mitt Romney's ability to corral conservative support.
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
G.O.P. Race Has Hallmarks of Prolonged Battle  —  Whatever your perspective on how likely Mitt Romney was to lose the Republican nomination race prior to Tuesday evening, it should be acknowledged that he had about the worst results conceivable.  —  In Minnesota, a state which Mr. Romney carried easily …
Mj Lee / Politico:
Rush Limbaugh mocks GOP establishment  —  Rush Limbaugh mocked the Republican establishment on his radio show Wednesday for being “shocked” by Rick Santorum's three-state win, saying, “I can't believe how insulated they are.”  —  “They're literally shocked.  The Republican establishment had no idea this was percolating out there.
Discussion: Rush Limbaugh and Riehl World View
Washington Wire:
Santorum: Romney's Money, Organization Didn't Matter
Discussion: The Hill
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
The Incredible Shrinking Mitt: Romney's 2008 Support Crumbles In Three Key States
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Top Romney adviser expects prolonged GOP fight
Discussion: Reuters and Daily Kos
Jonathan Easley / Ballot Box:
Fresh off GOP victories, Santorum goes on attack against Romney
Discussion: CNN, Politico, GOP 12 and National Review
Laurie Kellman / Associated Press:
Santorum: I won and raised about $250K Tues night
Discussion: The Hill and New York Magazine
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Santorum Sweep Sets Stage for New Battle in Republican Race
Discussion: Guardian, The Monkey Cage and Truthdig
Ronald Brownstein / The Atlantic Online:
Romney's Squeeze: Struggles With the Base and Independents Alike
Discussion: Prairie Weather
Washington Post:
Santorum revives campaign with wins in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota
Ashley Parker / The Caucus:
Romney Campaign Tries to Put an Optimistic Face on a Disappointing Night
Sarah Kliff / Washington Post:
Why White House sees political opportunity in the contraception battle  —  (Public Religion Research Institute) The controversy over the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation's decision to eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood—and subsequent reversal— continues.
New York Times:
Obama Tries to Ease Ire on Contraception Rule  —  WASHINGTON — Facing vocal opposition from religious leaders and an escalating political fight, the White House sought on Tuesday to ease mounting objections to a new administration rule that would require health insurance plans …
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Boehner, GOP pledge to reverse Obama birth-control mandate
Discussion: Politico and ThinkProgress
Obama Weighed Faith Politics in Contraceptives
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
CNN's Roland Martin suspended for homophobic tweets  —  On Super Bowl Sunday, Roland Martin of CNN issued some homophobic tweets that got him in trouble with gay organizations and this blog.  CNN stayed silent on the matter, until just moments ago, when it issued this statement:
ROLAND MARTIN SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ANTI-LGBT VIOLENCE; GLAAD CALLS ON HIM TO MEET WITH ADVOCATES  —  CNN Remains Silent after Calls for a Statement  —  CNN political analyst Roland Martin posted an apology on his website following calls from GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) …
Heritage Foundation:
The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government  —  Abstract: The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time—dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in 2010 and 2011.
Mackenzie Weinger / Politico:   Report: Gov't dependence soars
Eugene Volokh / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Thoughts on the Ninth Circuit's Same-Sex Marriage Decision  —  1. This is going up to the Supreme Court.  I suspect that the backers of Prop. 8 won't even ask for en banc review by the Ninth Circuit, since they're unlikely to win there.  Depending on how quickly they file their petition for certiorari …
David Badash / The New Civil Rights Movement:
Prop 8 Supporters Announce U.S. Supreme Court Appeal
Discussion: Firedoglake
Daniel Strauss / Ballot Box:
In wake of Proposition 8 ruling, Santorum attacks Obama
Discussion: Daily Kos
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Congress' Job Approval at New Low of 10%  —  Republicans and Democrats equally negative  —  PRINCETON, NJ — A record-low 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, down from 13% in January and the previous low of 11%, recorded in December 2011.
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Republican Enthusiasm Issue is Real  —  The paltry turnout in the Republican Presidential contests over the last week reflects what we've seen in our recent national polling: Democrats are now more excited about voting this fall than Republicans are, reversing the enthusiasm gap that plagued the party in 2010.
Paul Bond / Hollywood Reporter:
Study: ‘Conservative’ Movies Make More Money Than ‘Liberal’ Movies (Exclusive)  —  Patriotism and traditional values, like those displayed in “Thor,” “The Artist,” “Soul Surfer” and “Hugo,” are what moviegoers want, says a group that will honor such films at an awards gala Friday.
Terry L. Turnipseed / Slate:
Maybe.  But it is also a good way to shield his fortune from the law.  —  John Goodman's attorney recommended that the he adopt his girlfriend, Heather Laruso Hutchins, thus making her a beneficiary of a trust he set up for his children  —  Photograph courtesy Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Peter Schroeder / The Hill:
Grassley: House GOP doing Wall Street's bidding on STOCK Act  —  Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) accused his Republican counterparts in the House of doing the bidding of Wall Street by removing a provision from the STOCK Act that would have required political intelligence firms to register in a similar fashion to lobbyists.
David Frum / The Daily Beast:
What the Founders Would Tell Charles Murray  —  The Founding Fathers were strongly opposed to high concentrations of wealth.  —  Postcard of ‘The Signing of the Declaration of Independence’, painted by John Trumbull, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania., Hulton Archive / Getty Images
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 More Items: 
Brian Tashman / Right Wing Watch:
CPAC Set to Host White Nationalist Leader
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
The Gasoline “Bubble”?
Christopher Goins / CNSNews:
Hoyer: 'The Fact Is You Don't Need a Budget'
Discussion: Michelle Malkin and Weasel Zippers
Josh Lederman / Ballot Box:
Dem follows Rep. Allen West to new district, averts tough primary
Discussion: Politico
Michael Brendan Dougherty / Business Insider:
FORGET JOBS: The 2012 Election Is About The Culture War
Discussion: Campaign Stops and Rod Dreher
 Earlier Items:
‘Poster couple’ for gay rights in California is divorcing
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
Santorum Invents New Front In Fake War On Religion: Obama Wants Female Catholic Priests
Reihan Salam / National Review:
If You're Going to Accept Direct Loans and Pell Grants, You Should Tell Us If Students Are Actually Learning Something
Discussion: EconLog