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11:20 AM ET, February 13, 2012


 Top Items: 
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Severe Conservative Syndrome  —  Mitt Romney has a gift for words — self-destructive words.  On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.”  —  As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.”
National Review:
Santorum's Turn  —  At the moment Rick Santorum appears to be overtaking Newt Gingrich as the principal challenger to Mitt Romney.  Santorum has won more contests than Gingrich (who has won only one), has more delegates, and leads him in the polls.  In at least one poll, he also leads Romney.
Trip Gabriel / New York Times:
Gingrich Money Hunt Faces Obstacles  —  Newt Gingrich recently joined Gov. Rick Perry of Texas on a conference call with more than 50 “bundlers” who had powered Mr. Perry's formidable campaign-cash machine.  —  Mr. Perry asked his top financial rainmakers to raise money for Mr. Gingrich …
American Research Group:
Presidential Primary Preference:  —  Michigan  —  Rick Santorum leads the Michigan Republican presidential primary with 33%.  Santorum is followed by Mitt Romney with 27%, Newt Gingrich with 21%, and Ron Paul with 12%.  —  Santorum leads Gingrich 42% to 24% among self-identified Republicans …
Neil King Jr / Wall Street Journal:
GOP Momentum Is Michigan's Prize
Tucker Carlson / The Daily Caller:
Inside Media Matters: Sources, memos reveal erratic behavior, close coordination with White House and news organizations  —  This is the first in a Daily Caller investigative series on Media Matters For America.  Daily Caller reporters Alex Pappas and Will Rahn contributed to this report.
The Daily Caller:   Inside Media Matters: Sources, memos reveal erratic behavior, close coordination with White House and news organizations
Jake Tapper / ABCNEWS:
WH Chief of Staff Errs on Senate Budget Rules  —  As President Obama prepares to unveil his FY2013 budget Monday, White House chief of staff Jack Lew this morning was asked by CNN to defend the Senate's refusal to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days.  —  “You can't pass a budget in the Senate …
Meghashyam Mali / The Hill:
Dem lawmaker: Obama budget is a ‘nervous breakdown on paper’  —  Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) expressed concern President Obama's budget would go too far to rein in government spending in the midst of an economic recovery, calling the forthcoming proposal a ‘nervous breakdown on paper.’
Discussion: Politico and Weasel Zippers
Glenn Kessler / Washington Post:
Jack Lew's misleading claim about the Senate's failure to pass a budget resolution  —  “But we also need to be honest.  You can't pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes and you can't get 60 votes without bipartisan support.  So unless Republicans are willing to work …
Colorado GOP Chair tells CNN: Santorum wins
Discussion: Michelle Malkin and Hot Air
New York Times:
Greek Parliament Passes Austerity Plan After Riots Rage  —  ATHENS — After violent protests left dozens of buildings aflame in Athens, the Greek Parliament voted early on Monday to approve a package of harsh austerity measures demanded by the country's foreign lenders in exchange for new loans …
Greek lawmakers pass austerity bill as Athens burns
Discussion: Mashable!, Power Line and The Raw Story
Greece approves austerity cuts to secure eurozone bailout and avoid debt default
Discussion: Via Meadia
E.J. Dionne Jr / Washington Post:
Contraception and the cost of culture wars  —  Politicized culture wars are debilitating because they almost always require partisans to denigrate the moral legitimacy of their opponents, and sometimes to deny their very humanity.  It's often not enough to defeat a foe.
John Holbo / Crooked Timber:
Religious Freedom and Contraception (among other things)  —  I'm amazed by the turns this issue has taken.  I posted about it two weeks ago.  My post had problems.  Among other things, I slighted legal issues to focus on what I took to be really going on, motivation-wise.
Sahil Kapur /
TPMDC  —  McConnell: GOP Will Fight To Let ANY Employer Deny Birth Control Coverage
Mike Lillis / The Hill:
McConnell: Birth-control debate will continue until Obama ‘backs down’
Richard Florida / The Atlantic Cities:
Why America Keeps Getting More Conservative  —  Even with the president's approval rating showing signs of life and the Republicans busily bashing themselves over the head — “one is a practicing polygamist and he's not even the Mormon,” retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently quipped …
Discussion: The Reaction and Althouse
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Cronyism 101  —  I wrote about my participation in the Koch brothers' semi-annual seminar in Palm Springs two weekends ago here.  Along with Peter Schweizer, I did a presentation on cronyism.  My speech focused on corporate cronyism, while Peter's centered on the sort of political cronyism …
Discussion: Balloon Juice
First Thoughts: Didn't we almost have it all?  —  Romney survives over the weekend by winning Maine caucuses and CPAC straw poll... His struggle so far: an “excitement deficit”... Breaking down the 18 different contests over a 15-day period... Paul campaign disputes Romney's Maine victory …
Discussion: Washington Post and New York Times
Dan Williams / Reuters:
Israel says bombs target embassies in India, Georgia  —  (Reuters) - Bombers targeted staff at Israel's embassies in India and Georgia on Monday, wounding four people, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of involvement.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and National Review
Associated Press:
Israeli missions in India, Georgia targeted  —  Explosion heard near Israeli Embassy in New Delhi; diplomat's wife injured.  Explosives found near Israeli embassy building in Tbilisi neutralized safely.  Lieberman: Israel knows how to identity those responsible
Yaakov Katz / Jerusalem Post:
Attacks target Israeli embassies in Georgia, India
Discussion: The Atlantic Online
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 More Items: 
Ben White / Politico:
Wall Street turns wrath — and cash — on Obama
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Peter Nicholas / Wall Street Journal:
Romney, Birth Control: A Shift
Discussion: National Review
David Kravets /
Congress Left in Dark on DOJ Wiretaps
Discussion: The Raw Story and emptywheel
New York Times:
Expanded Role Proposed for Elite Military Forces
 Earlier Items: 
Trevor Kavanagh / The Sun:
The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh: Witch-hunt puts us behind ex-Soviet states on Press freedom
Jeremy W. Peters / New York Times:
A Newspaper, and a Legacy, Reordered
John Bresnahan / Politico:
Ethics issues tarnish congressional image
Discussion: The Page