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Romney banking on key win in Illinois

There will be no knockout punch, but an increasingly confident Mitt Romney expects to tighten his grasp on the Republican presidential nomination with the Illinois primary. Romney is surging in Illinois polls after the race was seen as a statistical tie just a week ago. He’s riding momentum from a lopsided weekend victory in Puerto Rico punctuated by apparent missteps from rival rick Santorum on the eve of Tuesday’s Illinois contest. Romney’s wife, Ann, suggested in recent days that Illinois voters could send a strong message that now is the time to coalesce behind one candidate. Romney is eager to
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Santorum’s stumbles could cost him in Illinois primary

As they await an Illinois primary vote whose outcome is hardly assured, Mitt Romney is betting his message of economic proficiency will resonate with Republican voters more than Rick Santorum‘s sharply honed conservatism. Both men were competing for the 54 delegates at stake Tuesday in Illinois. They were looking to score a victory in a state that was not only home to President Barack Obama but is also one of the last major battlegrounds before a three-week lull in April. Romney’s confidence was on display Monday, while Santorum was forced on the defensive for first declaring that the economy was
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Four GOP justices control the fate of Obamacare

Here’s a thought that can’t comfort President Barack Obama: The fate of his health care overhaul rests with four Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices. His most sweeping domestic achievement could be struck down if they stand together with Justice Clarence Thomas, another GOP appointee who is the likeliest vote against. But the good news for Obama is that he probably needs only one of the four to side with him to win approval of the law’s crucial centerpiece, the requirement that almost everyone in this country has insurance or pays a penalty. Lawyers with opposing views of the issue uniformly agree
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McCain: 2012 GOP primary ‘the nastiest’ ever

The Republican campaign to choose a candidate to take on President Barack Obama in November is “the nastiest” ever, presidential campaign veteran John McCain said Sunday. McCain should know — he was the target of a barrage of destructive rumors himself in his losing 2000 campaign against George Bush to become the Republican presidential candidate. In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he blamed the mudslinging on the so-called “super PACs,” which can raise and spend unlimited sums in support of a candidate so long as their campaign activities are not directly coordinated. “The super PACs have played a
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Romney creams Santorum in Puerto Rico primary

Mitt Romney scored an overwhelming win Sunday in Puerto Rico’s Republican presidential primary, trouncing chief rival Rick Santorum on the Caribbean island even as the two rivals looked ahead to more competitive contests this week in Illinois and Louisiana. The victory in the U.S. territory was so convincing that Romney, the GOP front-runner, won all 20 delegates to the national convention at stake because he prevailed with more than 50 percent of the vote. That padded his comfortable lead over Santorum in the race to amass the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Nevertheless, the GOP nomination fight is
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Final Georgia, Hawaii tallies add to Romney, Gingrich delegate totals

Heading into Sunday’s presidential primary in Puerto Rico, all four GOP hopefuls added delegates when results were finalized from contests that happened days ago. Mitt Romney added six delegates from Georgia’s March 6 primary and Newt Gingrich added five. In Hawaii, which voted last week, Ron Paul added two delegates and Rick Santorum added one. The Georgia GOP says the final tally is Gingrich with 52 delegates, Romney with 21 and Santorum with three. The Hawaii GOP says the final tally is Romney with nine delegates, Santorum with five and Paul with, three. Romney leads the overall race for delegates
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Racist anti-Obama bumper sticker sparks debate, disappears from web site selling it

A racist anti-Obama bumper sticker that triggered a contentious debate on Facebook has been pulled from the web site of the company that sold and promoted the item, Capitol Hill Blue learned Saturday. Stumpy’s Stickers, which redirects to another web site, removed the “Don’t Re-Nig” sticker from its web site late Friday and a web site connected with the sticker, Dontre-nig.com, was shut down by its web hosting provider for exceeding its bandwidth. The sticker shouts “Don’t Re-Nig in 2012” in large letters, followed by “Stop repeat offenders. Don’t reelect Obama” in smaller type in the next line. Obama’s campaign
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Santorum: Illinois can ‘shake up’ GOP race

Playing for another upset, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum urged conservatives Friday to further upend the nominating contest by putting Illinois in his column. Swamped in the state’s ad battle, Santorum told thousands in a Christian high school’s gymnasium that they can “shake up this race like no state can shake it up.” The former Pennsylvania senator appealed to social and tea party conservatives to take out their frustration in a place where the Republican Party has had a poor track record and tilts toward the moderate. “No one is expecting us to do well here in Illinois,” he said.
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Army identifies suspect in Afghan massacre

The U.S. Army identified the soldier implicated in the massacre of 16 villagers in Afghanistan this week as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, and said he arrived on Friday at a Kansas base where he will be held in a solitary cell. Bales, a four-tour veteran, is suspected of walking off his base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday and gunning down the 16 civilians, including nine children and three women, in a massacre that sent American-Afghan relations into a tailspin. “The Army confirms that Staff Sergeant Robert Bales was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Bales is being held in pre-trial confinement,”
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Gingrich vows to ‘probably’ stay in the Presidential race.

When it comes to getting out the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has a simple message for all: Hell no, he won’t go. But now Gingrich appears to be hedging his bets, saying there is “probably” no circumstances that will cause him to withdraw from the race before the party’s convention in Tampa in August. “I’ll be with you in Tampa,” Gingrich said Friday in CBS’s “This Morning” show. “Gingrich is caught in a situation where he can’t, at the moment, withdraw gracefully and his ego won’t let him quit,’ a long-time
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