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Santorum wins Kansas but Romney scores more delegates elsewhere

Rick Santorum captured the Kansas GOP presidential caucuses with ease Saturday, scoring 51 percent of the vote. The rest of the four-man field didn’t even come close:  Mitt Romney second with 21 percent, Newt Gingrich third at 14 percent and Ron Paul bringing up the rear with 12.5 percent. Romney and Gingrich all but wrote off Kansas.  Gingrich campaigned in Mississippi and Alabama, hoping to regenerate a flagging campaign with wins in the upcoming primaries on Tuesday.  Paul’s supporters hoped for a better showing since caucuses used to be fertile ground for the maverick Texas Congressman. With a day to
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Obamacare: The long plodding road to ‘reform’

It took only a year to set up Medicare. But if President Barack Obama’s health care law survives Supreme Court scrutiny, it will be nearly a decade before all its major pieces are in place. And that means even if Obama is re-elected, he won’t be in office to oversee completion of his signature domestic policy accomplishment, assuming Republicans don’t succeed in repealing it. The law’s carefully orchestrated phase-in is evidence of what’s at stake in the Supreme Court deliberations that start March 26. The Affordable Care Act gradually reorganizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy to cover most of the
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Murder of Afghan civilians: The latest U.S. screwup in Afghanistan

The decade-long war in Afghanistan has spiraled into a series of U.S. missteps and violent outbreaks that have left few ardent political supporters. After NATO detained a U.S. soldier Sunday for allegedly killing sleeping Afghan villagers, Republicans and Democrats alike pointed to the stress on troops after years of fighting and reiterated calls to leave by the end of 2014 as promised, if not sooner. Afghanistan, once the must-fight war for America, is becoming a public relations headache for the nation’s leaders, especially for President Barack Obama. And there’s recognition of that problem on both sides. “It’s just not a
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Romney’s Southern act: That dog won’t hunt

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — a child of privilege raised in the shielded confines of wealth far from the poverty and working class lifestyles of many Southerners — now feels that saying y’all” and chowing down on grits will somehow make him palatable south of the Mason-Dixon line. There’s an old Southern saying: “That dog won’t hunt” and all Romney is doing with his pathetic attempts at a Southern drawl is proving that his nose for politics is as bad as the nose of a hound that can’t hunt. Reuters reports: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is laying it
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Hate groups, driven by extremist politics, on the rise in America

Racism driven by hatred towards America’s current African-American president, ignorance fueled by bogus conspiracy theories and anger over economic hard times has spurred an alarming growth in the number of hate and anti-government groups, a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center reveals. Spawned largely through the growth of the so-called “Patriot” movement, the rise in hate groups see the government as an enemy and talk of the need for a “race war” to correct what they see as a threat to perceived white supremacy in America. “Hate is driven by these groups as a political tool and a
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Banks drop the foreclosure hammer on churches

Banks are foreclosing on America’s churches in record numbers as lenders increasingly lose patience with religious facilities that have defaulted on their mortgages, according to new data. The surge in church foreclosures represents a new wave of distressed property seizures triggered by the 2008 financial crash, analysts say, with many banks no longer willing to grant struggling religious organizations forbearance. Since 2010, 270 churches have been sold after defaulting on their loans, with 90 percent of those sales coming after a lender-triggered foreclosure, according to the real estate information company CoStar Group. In 2011, 138 churches were sold by banks,
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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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