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1:50 PM ET, February 20, 2012


 Top Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Michigan GOP race tightens  —  The Republican race for President in Michigan has tightened considerably over the last week, with what was a 15 point lead for Rick Santorum down to 4.  He leads with 37% to 33% for Mitt Romney, 15% for Ron Paul, and 10% for Newt Gingrich.
Walter Shapiro / The New Republic:
Why Mitt Romney's Presidential Prospects May Not Be Salvageable  —  Business School Case Study: Company R has the financial resources, the professional staff, the marketing know-how, and the business expertise to dominate its competition.  But despite the near-universal familiarity of its signature product …
Ross Ramsey / The Texas Tribune:
UT/TT Poll: Santorum Crushing GOP Hopefuls in Texas … Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has a commanding lead among Republican presidential candidates in Texas, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.  —  Santorum would get the votes of 45 percent of the respondents …
Maggie Habermanand Jonathan Martin / Politico:
Worry over Mitt Romney sparks talk of Tampa  —  There are growing calls for an alternative to Mitt Romney as the Republican standard-bearer, with the names of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie again being seen as the most likely saviors.
Discussion: ABCNEWS, Booman Tribune and Daily Kos
Donald Trump Hitting The Michigan Airwaves For Mitt Romney  —  ABC News' Michael Falcone reports:  —  With just over a week to go before Michigan voters head to the polls, Mitt Romney is enlisting the help of one of his highest-wattage surrogates: Donald Trump.
Alicia M. Cohn / Ballot Box:
Slouching toward nomination, Romney needs win in Michigan
Discussion: Politico, CNN and Prairie Weather
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Romney adviser says Michigan not a ‘must-win’ for campaign
Rick Santorum / CNN:
Santorum spokesman: Michigan is Romney territory
Discussion: The Page
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Is Santorum the Sharon Angle of 2012?
NY Daily News:
Jeremy Lin headline slur was ‘honest mistake,’ fired ESPN editor Anthony Federico claims  —  EXCLUSIVE: ‘This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny’  —  Jeremy Lin looks on during Knicks' victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.  —  The ESPN editor fired Sunday for using …
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Pain Without Gain  —  Last week the European Commission confirmed what everyone suspected: the economies it surveys are shrinking, not growing.  It's not an official recession yet, but the only real question is how deep the downturn will be.  —  And this downturn is hitting nations that have never recovered from the last recession.
New York Post:
H'wood snubs Muslim Stone  —  Sean Stone, son of controversial director Oliver Stone, converted to Islam in Iran last week and says he's already experiencing a Hollywood backlash.  —  The ceremony was held in Isfahan, where he is researching a documentary.  He now goes by the name of Sean Christopher Ali Stone.
Jeffrey Goldberg / The Atlantic Online:
Pakistan Can't Seem to Figure Out Why Bin Laden Was Hiding There  —  The Pakistani commission appointed to investigate just how Osama bin Laden came to be living in Abbottabad, in a large house adjacent to Pakistan's military academy (a house built by an architect regularly employed …
Discussion: The Jawa Report
CBS News:
Rising gas prices and the 2012 election … PLAY CBS NEWS VIDEO  —  On another front in campaign 2012 : Rising gasoline prices are getting the attention of both the White House and its Republican challengers.  Gasoline is now the costliest it's ever been this time of year — an average $3.56 per gallon, up 40 cents in a year.
Discussion: CBS Dallas
Mackenzie Weinger / Politico:
Poll: 32% say Iran greatest enemy  —  A record number of Americans believe the United States's public enemy number one is Iran, according to a new poll out Monday.  —  About three in ten Americans, or 32 percent, say Iran is the one country in the world they consider to be the U.S's greatest enemy today, according to the Gallup poll.
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Americans Still Rate Iran Top U.S. Enemy
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Robert Stacy McCain / The Other McCain:
Notes on an Unfinished Letter of Apology (Or, Does Ed Morrissey Torture Cats?) … When the draft of the e-mail passed the 3,000-word mark, and was still clearly not half-finished, I gave it up.  What had begun as a mea culpa had metamorphosed into a treatise explaining the entire history …
Discussion: Thoughts and Rantings
Ryan Jones / Israel Today:
Muslims stone Christians on Temple Mount  —  A mob of some 50 Palestinian Muslims stoned a group of Christian tourists atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount on Sunday morning.  Three of the Israeli police officers who acted to protect the Christian group were wounded by the stone-throwers.
Elisabeth Bumiller / New York Times:
Iran Raid Seen as a Huge Task for Israeli Jets  —  WASHINGTON — Should Israel decide to launch a strike on Iran, its pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran's air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously — and use at least 100 planes.
Mark Leibovich / New York Times:
Plouffe, Obama Aide, Lends Firm Hand to Campaign  —  WASHINGTON — David Plouffe is not a hugger, crier or someone who gets all gaga every time he walks into his West Wing office, just a few feet from that of the president.  He disdains doomsayers as “bed-wetters,” press hordes as “jackals” …
Discussion: Politico and The PJ Tatler
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
House Republicans plot repeal of Obama education regulations  —  House Republicans are looking to move legislation as early as next week that would repeal two Education Department regulations that the GOP say intrude on the authority of states to set education policy.
Michael Kirkland / UPI:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg stepping down in 2015  —  PresidPresident Barack Obama hugs Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, prior to delivering his State of the Union address.  From left are, Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy …
Janet Whitman / New York Post:
Jobless disability claims soar to record $200B as of January  —  Standing too many months on the unemployment line is driving Americans crazy — literally — and it's costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.  —  With their unemployment-insurance checks running out …
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 More Items: 
Kevin Drum / Political Mojo:
Chart of the Day: The Surprisingly Stable Cost of Presidential Elections
Discussion: Obsidian Wings and Hullabaloo
Geneva Sands-Sadowitz / The Hill:
Sen. Conrad: GOP suffers from ‘convenient amnesia’ on budget matters
Discussion: Hot Air
Ronald E. Neumann / Washington Post:
U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014
Discussion: Daily Kos
Barak Ravid / Haaretz:
Diplomania  —  Netanyahu's border proposal: Israel …
New York Times:
Questions for and About Congressman Grimm
Discussion: The Hill, Runnin' Scared and Gothamist
 Earlier Items: 
Jerry Markon / Washington Post:
Gingrich archives show his public praise, private criticism of Reagan
Robin Bravender / Reuters:
PayPal founder Peter Thiel donates $1.7M to Ron Paul PAC
Discussion: CNN, Lists and Mediaite
Center for Defense Information:
Biography:  —  Winslow T. Wheeler worked on national security issues …
Discussion: The Atlantic Online
Steven Mufson / Washington Post:
GOP presidential candidates bring Founding Fathers back into political spotlight