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2:55 PM ET, February 13, 2012


 Top Items: 
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.
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Santorum moves ahead in Michigan  —  Rick Santorum's taken a large lead in Michigan's upcoming Republican primary.  He's at 39% to 24% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Ron Paul, and 11% for Newt Gingrich.  —  Santorum's rise is attributable to two major factors: his own personal popularity …
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.”
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press:
Santorum Catches Romney in GOP Race  —  Obama Leads Both in General Election Matchups  —  OVERVIEW  —  Rick Santorum's support among Tea Party Republicans and white evangelicals is surging, and he now has pulled into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Bob McDonnell / CNN:
McDonnell hits Santorum over ‘emotions’ remarks  —  Washington (CNN) - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell chided Rick Santorum on Monday for expressing concerns about women serving in military combat roles.  —  Santorum told CNN last week that having women on the front lines could lead to a …
American Research Group:
Presidential Primary Preference:
Discussion: Hot Air, GOP 12 and CNN
Robert Costa / National Review:
Romney's Case  —  Last week, Rick Santorum's three-state sweep …
Discussion: Boston Globe, GOP 12 and
Daniel Strauss / The Hill:   Sen. Inhofe says Santorum has ‘better’ record on defense, economy, energy
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.’
Susan Cornwell / Reuters:
Obama proposes $800 million in aid for “Arab Spring”  —  (Reuters) - The White House announced plans on Monday to help “Arab Spring” countries swept by revolutions with more than $800 million in economic aid, while maintaining U.S. military aid to Egypt.  —  In his annual budget message to Congress …
David Rogers / Politico:
Obama budget slated for $3.8 trillion  —  The White House rolled out its new $3.8 trillion budget Monday, promising major investments to spur a manufacturing revival in the U.S. while walking a fine line between the August debt accords and President Barack Obama's fear that too much austerity …
Discussion: CNN
Jake Tapper / ABCNEWS:
Obama's Broken Deficit Promise  —  “This is big,” wrote White House director of new media Macon Phillips in a February 23, 2009 blog post, “the President today promised that by the end of his first term, he will cut in half the massive federal deficit we've inherited.  And we'll do it in a new way: honestly and candidly.”
Discussion: Washington Post
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
Republicans See Broken Promises and Gimmicks in Obama Budget
Alister Bull / Reuters:
Obama's election-year budget to target rich
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.
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 …
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.
Discussion: Wonkette, Pundit & Pundette and Stinque
Lydia McGrew / What's Wrong with the World:
How to lie with statistics, example umpteen [Updated]
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
Obama budget: National debt will be $1 trillion higher in a decade than forecast  —  President Obama on Monday unveiled a $3.8 trillion spending plan that seeks to pump billions of dollars into the economy while raising taxes on the rich to tame a soaring national debt now projected to grow significantly faster than previously forecast.
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.
New York Times:
Israel Blames Iran for Attacks in India and Georgia
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.
Mike / Rortybomb:
Ludwig Von Mises Makes the Libertarian Case against “Free Love” (and Implicitly Against Birth Control)  —  UPDATE at end.  —  Huh.  So apparently the GOP is going all-in on the birth control stuff.  TPM: “Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) …
Josh Halliday / Guardian:
Whitney Houston album price hike sparks controversy  —  Sony Music under fire after cost of greatest hits set on iTunes rises by more than 60% after singer's death  —  Sony Music has come under fire after it increased the price of a Whitney Houston album on Apple's iTunes Store hours after the singer was found dead.
Ben White / Politico:
Wall Street turns wrath — and cash — on Obama  —  NEW YORK — Profits and bonuses are down across Wall Street.  Banks are slicing jobs and shuttering once profitable trading units in the face of new regulations.  —  But the financial services industry is poised to set records in one arena in 2012: politics.
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Business Insider
Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute:
We Hear From The Department Of Good Ideas And False Choices  —  Nick Kristof joins in on the contraception debate.  No prizes for guessing what side he is on - he trivializes the opposition, presents reams of information documenting the notion that contraception care is a good idea …
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 More Items: 
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Obama campaign launches ‘Truth Teams’ to fight misinformation
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Damian Paletta / Washington Wire:
White House Bets on Revenue Surge in 2013
Discussion: Swampland
Fran Spielman / Chicago Sun Times:
Inside team Rahm: Emanuel taps best minds in country for advice
Geneva Sands-Sadowitz / The Hill:
First lady says president has ‘weakness’ for guacamole
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Michelle Obama says it's the president's job to plan Valentine's Day
Discussion: CNN
Ben Geman / The Hill:
Senate GOP pushes for Keystone vote on highway measure
Robert Barnes / Washington Post:
Supreme Court justices are being served on late-night television
Discussion: Law Blog
 Earlier Items: 
Pro-choice group thanks Obama in new ads
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Jake Shermanand Manu Raju / Politico:
Weekend payroll-tax-cut talks fail
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
First Thoughts: Didn't we almost have it all?  —  Robert F. Bukaty / AP
Discussion: Washington Post and ABCNEWS
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Cronyism 101  —  I wrote about my participation in the Koch …
Discussion: Balloon Juice