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Housing market shows some signs of recovery

Home sales fell in February, but upward revisions to the prior month’s pace and the first yearly increase in prices in 15 months pointed to steady improvement in the housing market. Existing home sales fell 0.9 percent in February from January but still notched their second highest level since May 2010, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday. “We are starting to improve slowly. There is some encouraging news, but the dramatic things that need to happen to really turn the market around aren’t there,” said Mitchell Hochberg, Principal at Madden Real Estate Ventures in New York. Realtors say
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GOP establishment uniting to back Romney

The Republican establishment started to coalesce around Mitt Romney in earnest on Wednesday, with Jeb Bush and other leading Republicans pressuring Rick Santorum to leave the race after a thumping in the Illinois primary. But, on what should have been a triumphant day, Romney found himself having to defend his conservative credentials anew after one of his own top advisers, Eric Fehrnstrom, remarked that “everything changes” for the fall campaign. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch,” he said. “You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.” The remark fueled criticism that Romney molds his
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Grueling campaign leaves candidates exhausted, mistake-prone

It’s a good thing the GOP presidential race slows down from here: The candidates are even more tired than the voters. And, boy, does it show. Mitt Romney, who scaled back his public schedule this week to get a break, has slept in his own bed just twice since Christmas. Rick Santorum‘s been making the kind of flubs that come with exhaustion. Newt Gingrich got caught sleeping on camera a few weeks back, and looked like he just might topple over. And then there’s 76-year-old Ron Paul, last in the delegate hunt. The oldest candidate in the race, Paul is
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Newt Gingrich’s campaign is busted financially

Newt Gingrich‘s struggling GOP Presidential campaign is more than $1.5 million in debt and vendors say the former Speaker of the House is slow in paying his bills. The Gingrich campaign will file its Federal Election Commission campaign report today and is expected to show deep debts, stagnant fundraising and a gloomy outlook for the future. “Contributors smell a dead campaign,” a highly-placed GOP political source tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “It appears that the only person on the planet who doesn’t know Newt is finished is Newt himself.” Gingrich, who continues to vow that he will fight for the nomination
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Romney sees Illinois win as turning point

Mitt Romney says he’s “almost there” in his six-year pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination after defeating Rick Santorum in the Illinois GOP primary. “Tonight’s win means we are that much closer to securing the nomination, uniting our party, and taking on President Obama,” the Republican front-runner wrote in a campaign email sent late Tuesday. He urged the party to fall in line behind his bid, saying, “We are almost there.” The former Massachusetts governor and his allies spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more than Santorum and his backers in Illinois, and it showed in the results: Romney was
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GOP primary circus: Endless campaign still looking for a winner

Mitt Romney‘s methodical accumulation of Republican delegates is no thing of beauty, and the public is reacting in kind. The 2012 presidential race thus far is drawing rather tepid interest despite high stakes that include pivotal decisions about the weak economy and the fate of President Barack Obama’s massive health care overhaul. Generally speaking, voter turnout, political fundraising and public curiosity are down compared with four years ago, when John McCain pulled away from Romney and others to secure the GOP nomination. Among Democrats, there’s no primary drama after a 2008 thriller that saw Obama battle Hillary Rodham Clinton through
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Illinois voters wanted candidate to beat Obama

Voters hunting for a candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama and with the proper experience helped vault Mitt Romney to victory Tuesday in Illinois’ presidential primary, according to results of an exit poll of voters. His win was also powered by robust margins from people worried about the economy and federal deficits. Main challenger Rick Santorum ran strongly among people who want their contender to be a true conservative and to exhibit strong moral character, and with the most religiously driven voters. But Illinois only has modest proportions of such voters, narrowing the former Pennsylvania senator’s appeal. “Romney is
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Tea party rookie beats veteran GOP congressman

A rookie Congressman with Tea Party support beat a veteran Republican twice his age on Tuesday in a primary contest between incumbents forced by Democratic gerrymandering of the electoral map designed to gain congressional seats in November. Freshman Republican Adam Kinzinger, 34, declared victory over 20-year Representative Don Manzullo, who turns 68 this month, in the second of 11 primary contests nationwide pitting incumbents against each other. “It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Washington, D.C.,” Kinzinger said in his victory speech. Kinzinger survived even though he disappointed some of his Tea Party base by voting for a
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Romney scores key victory in Illinois primary

Mitt Romney won the Illinois Republican presidential primary Tuesday night, re-establishing himself as the frontrunner. Returns show Romney beating rival Rick Santorum easily.  With 63.66 percent of the votes counted, Romney leads with 47 percent to Santorum’s 35 percent.  Ron Paul is a distant third at 9 percent and Newt Gingrich breaks up the rear with 8 percent. News organizations, analyzing exit polls, declared Romney the winner before 9 p.m. EDT. “This puts Romney back in control,” a leading GOP consultant told Capitol Hill Blue Tuesday night.  “This could be the beginning of Santorum’s fade.” A dismal finish by former
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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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