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11:00 AM ET, March 23, 2012


 Top Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Santorum leads in LA and other notes...  Rick Santorum is headed for a commanding win in Louisiana on Saturday.  We find him with 42% to 28% for Mitt Romney, 18% for Newt Gingrich, 8% for Ron Paul, and 2% for Buddy Roemer.  —  It's interesting to look at these numbers in the context of last week's results in Alabama and Mississippi.
First Thoughts: Health care takes center stage  —  Health care's two-year anniversary, but White House is quiet on the subject. ...  Supreme Court takes it up next week and will determine its fate by June.  Whatever the outcome, it will have a big impact on the president's legacy.
Discussion: NPR, Business Week and Prairie Weather
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Santorum up 14 points in latest Louisiana poll  —  Rick Santorum looks poised for a commanding win in Saturday's Louisiana primary, according to new poll numbers released on the eve of the Pelican State vote.  —  Santorum holds a 42 percent to 28 percent lead over Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, according to Public Policy Polling.
Discussion: CNN
NBC's Andrew Rafferty /
Santorum: GOP better off with Obama than ‘Etch A Sketch’ Republican  —  Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum told a crowd of supporters in Texas Thursday that the GOP might be better off sticking with President Obama than “taking a risk” on Mitt Romney, who he referred to as the “Etch A Sketch candidate.”
James Taranto / Wall Street Journal:
The Ineffective Greenhouse  —  A liberal legal legend's ludicrous ObamaCare defense.  —  Linda Greenhouse is something of an institution of legal journalism.  She became the New York Times's Supreme Court correspondent in 1978.  Thirty years later, when she accepted an early-retirement package …
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Obamacare: The reckoning  —  Obamacare dominated the 2010 midterms, driving its Democratic authors to a historic electoral shellacking.  But since then, the issue has slipped quietly underground.  —  Now it's back, summoned to the national stage by the confluence of three disparate events …
Dahlia Lithwick / Slate:
It's Not About the Law, Stupid  —  Forget precedent.  Ignore Scalia's musings.  Next week's health care argument before the Supreme Court is all about optics, politics, and public opinion.  —  Next week the Supreme Court will hear arguments over the Affordable Care Act, what many people know as Obamacare.
Carrie Budoff Brown / Politico:
5 things Dems got wrong on health care  —  President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies thought their political assumptions were airtight during the yearlong battle to overhaul the health care system.  —  Voters would reward them, they thought, even if Democrats muscled a bill through without Republican support.
Sarah Kliff / Ezra Klein:
Health reform at 2: Why American health care will never be the same
WSJ Blogs - WSJ:
Missing From Obama Health-Care Anniversary: Obama
Maureen O'Connor / Gawker:
James O'Keefe's Panty-Stealing ‘Rape Barn’ Sex Scandal  —  It's a right-wing rabble-rouser showdown!  Jazz-handed pimp impersonator James O'Keefe is at “#WAR” with a former Project Veritas colleague who is now blogging an O'Keefe tell-all involving stolen panties, drugged beers, a “rape barn …
New York Times:
U.S. Inches Toward Goal of Energy Independence  —  MIDLAND, Tex. — The desolate stretch of West Texas desert known as the Permian Basin is still the lonely domain of scurrying roadrunners by day and howling coyotes by night.  But the roar of scores of new oil rigs and the distinctive acrid fumes …
Andrew Restuccia / The Hill:
Obama heckled during energy speech in Ohio  —  A heckler interrupted President Obama's speech on energy policy Thursday at Ohio State University.  —  The president, looking frustrated, stopped speaking and addressed the man  —  “Sir.  Im here to speak to these folks.  You can hold your own rally.
Meenal Vamburkar / Mediaite:
Pres. Obama To Heckler: 'You Can Hold Your Own Rally. You're Being Rude'
Discussion: CBS News
Alexander Bolton / Ballot Box:
Specter says he might vote for Romney  —  Former Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) says he might vote for Mitt Romney in November, depending on which version of Romney shows up for the general election.  —  “I'm going to wait to see which Romney it is,” said Specter in an interview with The Hill at his elegant apartment in Georgetown.
Florida governor appoints new prosecutor in Trayvon Martin case  —  Gun control advocates say the Florida law that authorizes using deadly force to stop someone from committing a serious crime also encourages violent behavior.  NBC's Pete Williams reports.  —  By staff
Daily Mail:
SUSPECT ‘KIDNAPPED MAN’ AND THEN ‘WALKED AROUND CITY WITH SWORD IN HIS HAND’  —  Suspected serial killer Mohammad Mera, who broke out of an Afghanistan jail in 2008 as part of a mass Taliban escape, once kidnapped another man, it has been reported.  —  A close family friend …
Discussion: CANNONFIRE and The Daily Caller
Josh Boak / Politico:
Obama taps new World Bank head  —  President Barack Obama nominated Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim as the new president of the World Bank Friday.  —  Citing Kim's record working on international health in the Rose Garden Friday, Obama said, “It's time for a development professional …
Discussion: CNN
Obama's First Ford ‘Rattled and Shook’  —  President Obama kicked his PR campaign on gas prices into a higher gear Wednesday, giving what is believed to be the first ever presidential interview to AAA.  —  “I understand what folks are going through because it wasn't that long ago that I was having …
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Bachmann: GOP primary has created ‘a lot of fatigue’ among Republican voters  —  Former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said that the grueling Republican primary had created “a lot of fatigue” among Republican voters, although emphasized again that she did not plan to endorse before the primary was settled.
Discussion: Politico
Nick Timiraos / Wall Street Journal:
BofA Tests an Option to Foreclosure  —  Lender Lets Owners Stay in Homes, Rent From the Bank  —  Bank of America Corp. is launching a pilot program that will allow homeowners at risk of foreclosure to hand over deeds to their houses and sign leases that will let them rent the houses back from the bank at a market rate.
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 More Items: 
Barbara / The News Star:
Teacher fired after claims 3rd-graders had sex
Discussion: The Raw Story
Shira Toeplitz / Roll Call:
Roll Call - The Newspaper of Capitol Hill Since 1955 At the Races
Discussion: Politico and The Daily Caller
Neil Munro / The Daily Caller:
Obama touts energy policy, flubs fuel fact [VIDEO]
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
Ian Swanson / The Hill:
Republican leaders racking up ‘yes’ votes on Rep. Ryan's budget
Self-sustaining stimulus  —  Larry Summers says fiscal stimulus can pay for itself
Marty Graham / Reuters:
Marine sergeant faces discipline for Facebook critique of Obama
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
E. Donald Elliott / The Atlantic Online:
The Case for Trimming the EPA
 Earlier Items: 
Mike Lillis / Ballot Box:
Rep. King: GOP hopefuls not fighting hard enough for balanced budget
Discussion: CNN
Zeke Miller / BuzzFeed:
Democrats Have No Fear Of Romney
Discussion: Daily Kos, The Daily Dish and Hot Air
Larry J. Sabato / Sabato's Crystal Ball:
Tilting the Toss Ups - the Eight Races That Will Decide the Senate
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Erick Erickson / RedState:
Forgetting History
David Boaz / The Huffington Post:
Cal Thomas's Confusion About Freedom