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Mitt Romney steps up attacks on Rick Santorum

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign would like to be focusing its attacks on Democratic President Barack Obama around now. But after failing to seize control of the Republican nomination race on “Super Tuesday,” Romney cannot shake off rival Rick Santorum, whom he criticized on Thursday as a political insider. Opening up a new front against Santorum, the Romney campaign accused him of being a lobbyist in his home state of Pennsylvania even before he went to Washington in 1991. Romney’s campaign also attacked Santorum for holding regular meetings with lobbyists as a Senate leader, part of the Republican “K Street Project”
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Emails detail White House role in Shirley Sherrod firing

White House officials were in close contact with the Agriculture Department in the hours leading up to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack‘s decision to fire USDA employee Shirley Sherrod in 2010, according to nearly 2,000 pages of internal emails released by the administration. Emails obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act don’t contradict Vilsack’s assertion that he made the decision to oust Sherrod as the department’s director of rural development in Georgia after an edited video of her making supposed racist remarks surfaced on a conservative website. But they do show the White House and Agriculture Department
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GOP insiders worry that long primary fight will doom chances against Obama

The odds still favor Mitt Romney to capture the Republican nomination for President but that victory will most likely come only after a long, bruising battle — one tht GOP activists see as one that could severely damage GOP prospects against incumbent President Barack Obama. “Romney has the organization and the money for the long haul,” Virginia Republican Al Brannon tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “That should carry him through a long, protacted primary but it may not be enough to offset Obama’s money and organization.  Even worse, it does not help if Romney comes out of the primary season battered.”
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Is Ron Paul’s campaign in trouble?

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the maverick Republican/Libertarian known for his small but loyal legion of enthusiastic supporters, is facing increasing frustration within his campaign, wariness from a major financial contributor and concerns over a lack of wins. Frustration overflowed in a campaign conference call Wednesday after Paul’s failure to capture caucuses in North Dakota, Idaho and Alaska — venues where the candidate boldly predicted victory on national TV two days earlier. And the leader of the Endorse Liberty Super PAC said Wednesday he is rethinking the group’s multimillion-dollar financial support of Paul’s campaign. “Yes, we are reassessing our efforts,” Endorse
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Romney captures six out of ten but doesn’t seal the deal

Mitt Romney squeezed out a win in pivotal Ohio, captured five other states with ease and padded his delegate lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination but was forced to share the Super Tuesday spotlight with a resurgent Rick Santorum. “I’m going to get this nomination,” Romney told cheering supporters in Massachusetts,” pointing particularly to delegate support that was greater than the combined totals of his three rivals. On the busiest night of the campaign, he scored a home-state win in Massachusetts to go with primary victories in Vermont and in Virginia — where neither Santorum nor Newt
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What we learned from Super Tuesday

Republicans in 10 states weighed in on the GOP presidential nomination race in its busiest day yet. Mitt Romney won six states, Rick Santorum clinched three and Newt Gingrich prevailed in one. And along the way, clues were gleaned from the results about the path ahead. A look at what we learned: ___ REPUBLICANS AREN’T HOT ON ANYONE It’s almost like a bad version of Goldilocks. Nobody is just right. Listen to voters — in person and in exit polls — and it’s pretty clear Republicans aren’t all that hot on any of the candidates. Only in three states did
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Romney pads delegate lead but still has long way to go

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney padded his lead in the race for delegates Tuesday by winning Republican presidential contests in six states. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum added delegates by winning contests three states, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won the primary in Georgia, the state he used to represent in Congress. Romney won at least 212 Super Tuesday delegates and Santorum won at least 84. Gingrich won at least 72 delegates and Texas Rep. Ron Paul got at least 22. So far, Romney is winning 54 percent of the Super Tuesday delegates; Santorum is winning 22 percent. A
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Gingrich wins Georgia but future still looks shaky

Newt Gingrich kept his presidential bid alive on Tuesday with a landslide win in his home state of Georgia, but his southern strategy to fight back to the top in the Republican White House race looked shaky. The former House of Representatives speaker won the Georgia primary – one of ten “Super Tuesday” contests – by 47 percent of the vote against second-placed Rick Santorum with 20 percent. But Gingrich’s plan to become the southern candidate and recalibrate his flagging campaign took a hit when he slumped to third place in both Tennessee and Oklahoma. In a victory speech in
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Georgia win might not be enough to save Gingrich

Newt Gingrich appears likely to win the Republican presidential primary in his home state of Georgia on Tuesday but his plan to launch a wider “Southern Strategy” to recover his front-runner status looks less of a sure thing. Gingrich spent much of the last week campaigning on his home turf while main rivals Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney concentrated on trying to win Ohio in the runup to “Super Tuesday,” when 10 states hold Republican nominating contests. A poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research showed Gingrich well ahead of his competitors in Georgia, with 38 percent of likely Republican voters
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Rick Santorum’s risky running game

As Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum fought for his political life in 2006, his ally Senator Arlen Specter offered a word of advice: Just stop talking. What Specter meant was that Santorum should stop talking about social issues, according to Adrienne Baker Green, a Specter aide who witnessed the exchange. Santorum’s outspoken style on issues such as abortion and women in the workplace, which had once made him a star among social conservatives, appeared to be alienating more moderate Pennsylvania voters who would decide his fate in November 2006. Santorum responded: “I can’t stop. Everyone is listening,” says Baker Green. Specter
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