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2:45 PM ET, March 19, 2012


 Top Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Romney up big in Illinois  —  Mitt Romney is headed for a blowout victory in Illinois on Tuesday.  He leads with 45% to 30% for Rick Santorum, 12% for Newt Gingrich, and 10% for Ron Paul.  —  Romney's particularly strong among voters who live in suburban areas (50-29) and with those who live in urban areas (46-23).
Reid J. Epstein / Politico:
No ‘spark’ for Mitt Romney in Illinois  —  VERNON HILLS, Ill. - Same story, different state.  —  Mitt Romney has a roster of blue chip GOP supporters here, more resources and a superior organization in a state that seems a good fit to his brand of Republicanism.
Rick Santorum / CNN:
Santorum dings Romney while defending contraception stance
Ashley Parker / New York Times:
Romneys Court Women Put Off by Birth Control Issue
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Santorum: Brokered convention more likely, hard for rivals to hit ‘magic number’
Discussion: Politico, Shakesville, GOP 12 and Swampland
Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute:
Krugman On ObamaCare - Just Make Stuff Up Faster Than The Opponents  —  Paul Krugman has decided to fight fiction with fiction in the health care debate, and when the opposition spreads BS, he will spread BS twice as hard.  Waddya expect from a former Enron adviser?  —  He correctly notes this Republican miscue:
Discussion: PERRspectives
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Hurray for Health Reform  —  It's said that you can judge a man by the quality of his enemies.  If the same principle applies to legislation, the Affordable Care Act — which was signed into law two years ago, but for the most part has yet to take effect — sits in a place of high honor.
Republicans ramp up efforts to slam Obama health law
Discussion: Politico
Greg Holyk / ABCNEWS:
As Health Care Law's Trial Approaches, Two-Thirds Say Ditch Individual Mandate
Bristol Palin:
Mr. President, When Should I Expect Your Call?  —  You don't know my telephone number, but I hope your staff is busy trying to find it.  Ever since you called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, I figured I might be next.  You explained to reporters you called …
Nobel peace prize winner defends law criminalising homosexuality in Liberia  —  Exclusive: In joint interview, Tony Blair refuses to comment on Liberian president's remarks supporting anti-gay laws  —  The Nobel peace prize winner and president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf …
Daily Mail:
THE TSA'S GREATEST HITS  — The TSA issued apologies to two grandmothers in their late 80s who said they were strip searched at New York's JFK Airport in January.  — In October, a TSA inspector found a vibrator in lawyer and feminist blogger Jill Filipovic's luggage …
Mackenzie Weinger / Politico:
Obama blamed troubles on Fox News, book says  —  President Barack Obama blamed Fox News for his political woes in a private meeting with labor leaders in 2010, saying he was “losing white males” who tune into the cable outlet and “hear Obama is a Muslim 24/7,” according to journalist David Corn's new book, “Showdown.”
Elise Viebeck / The Hill:
The Hill Poll: Voter gloom on Obama's jobs, gas, debt policies  —  Half of likely voters expect the Supreme Court to strike down President Obama's signature healthcare law, and strong majorities see other major policies coming from the White House making life more difficult for themselves and the country …
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
A lion in winter  —  What's riveting about the documents taken from Osama bin Laden's compound, beyond the headline items about plots to kill American leaders, is the way they allow the reader to get inside the terrorist mastermind's head.  —  I've only seen a small sample of the thousands …
Robert Kuttner / American Prospect:
The Age of Double Standards  —  “But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way.”  —  “Then,” said Yossarian, “I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?”  —Joseph Heller, Catch-22  —  Last November 29, American Airlines declared bankruptcy under Chapter 11 …
Discussion: Suburban Guerrilla
Alexander Burns / Politico:
Romney: ‘The economy is coming back’  —  So he said at a campaign stop in Springfield, Ill., this morning.  POLITICO's Reid Epstein:
Discussion: Daily Kos and Swampland
Greg Wyshynski / Yahoo! Sports:
She's a Sens fan, her girlfriend's a Leafs fan and their marriage proposal during NHL game was adorable (VIDEO)  —  On Saturday night at Scotiabank Place, a Toronto Maple Leafs fan named Alicia stood on the ice during the second intermission wearing a blindfold.
Alex Spillius / Telegraph:
Syria: ‘I am the real dictator’, declares Asma al-Assad  —  Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of Syria's president, told a friend that she was the “real dictator” in the family, according to leaked emails that suggest she holds a cherished place in the leader's inner circle.
Jeffrey Sparshott / Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Made Profit on Mortgage Debt  —  In the latest sign of the government's gradual retreat from financial-crisis-related programs, the Treasury Department is expected to announce Monday that taxpayers reaped a $25 billion profit on mortgage bonds purchased at the height of the meltdown.
Discussion: FT Alphaville and ThinkProgress
The White House:
Presidential Proclamation — National Day of Honor  —  BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA  —  Nine years ago, members of the United States Armed Forces crossed the sands of the Iraq-Kuwait border and began one of the most challenging missions our military has ever known.
Discussion: ThinkProgress
The Gallup Organization / Gallup:
U.S. Unemployment Ticks Down in Mid-March  —  Underemployment is 18.6%, down from 19.1% in February  —  PRINCETON, NJ - The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, declined to 8.8% in mid-March from 9.1% in February.  —  The .3-percentage-point decline …
Discussion: US Politics
Roger Friedman /
Exclusive: Seller of Controversial Anti-Obama Sticker Says It's Not Racist  —  Exclusive: Paula Smith of Hinesville, Georgia has a company called  And they're selling their own version of an anti-Obama bumper sticker that reads “Don't Re-Nig 2012.”
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Wonkette
Andrew Restuccia / The Hill:
Republicans go on offensive over rumors Obama may tap emergency oil reserves  —  Republicans launched a preemptive strike last week against rumored plans by the White House to tap the country's emergency oil reserves.  —  Releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve …
T.W. Farnam / Washington Post:
Obama's high-dollar donations lagging  —  President Obama is struggling to draw in big-dollar donations, with half as many people writing large checks to his campaign than at this point four years ago.  —  Obama is outpacing his Republican rivals in fundraising overall …
James Dao / New York Times:
Robert Bales: From Small-Town Ohio to Afghanistan  —  Robert Bales was outgoing in high school, receiving dancing accolades in his yearbook.  Sergeant Bales is now accused of killing 16 people in Afghanistan.  More Photos »  —  He was not the star, just a well-regarded young man who seemed to try to do the right thing.
David Carr / New York Times:
Theater, Disguised as Real Journalism  —  Is it O.K. to lie on the way to telling a greater truth?  The short answer is also the right one.  —  No.  —  It's worth examining that question now that we have learned about the lies perforating the excerpt of Mike Daisey's one-man show …
Jamie Weinstein / The Daily Caller:
Media Matters for America is linked with Al-Jazeera, the anti-American and anti-Israeli cable news channel, The Daily Caller has learned.  —  Media Matters Action Network senior foreign policy fellow MJ Rosenberg's column for the liberal organization regularly appears on Al-Jazeera's website and …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Israel Matzav
Dylan Byers / Politico:
David Ignatius is national security go-to guy  —  Ignatius is also respected among White House officials because of his nonideological approach to national security, which puts him at odds with the Post's editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt.  —  “Fred sees himself as a liberal interventionist …
Discussion: The Huffington Post
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 More Items: 
David Martosko / The Daily Caller:
'Kill a cop or 2′ Occupy tweeter: I was taken out of context
Christina D. Romer / New York Times:
That Wishful Thinking About Tax Rates
Discussion: Change of Subject
Glenn Kessler / Washington Post:
'The Road We've Traveled:' A misleading account of Obama's mother and her insurance dispute
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Booman Tribune
Mickey Kaus / The Daily Caller:
Noah Buries Lede
Karoli / Crooks and Liars:
Romney Admits GOP Education Policy is Intended to Kill Unions
Barry Paddock / NY Daily News:
NYPD investigating apparent Occupy Wall St. protester's online threat
 Earlier Items: 
David Carr / Media Decoder:
Gingrich Identifies His Real Opponent: Elite Media
Discussion: Hit & Run
David Catanese / Politico:
Two polls: Mourdock within 6 of Lugar
Discussion: Ballot Box and
Joel B. Pollak / BREITBART.COM: