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Morning Examiner: Santorum’s blue surge fizzles

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

Almost 10 percent of those who voted in yesterday’s Michigan primary were Democrats, but those liberal votes were not enough to push Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney last night. You can easily see the influence of Santorum’s liberal voters in the exit polls. Santorum won among those who oppose the Tea Party, 39 percent to 35 percent, and union households, 45 percent to 30 percent.

Santorum also won among some regularly more social conservative demographics. Those who believe abortion should always be illegal went for Santorum 60 percent to 25 percent. And Santorum dominated among voters who picked abortion as the most important issue in 2012, 77 percent to 13 percent.

While Romney did have a good night, he beat Santorum 41 percent to 38 percent in Michigan and 47 percent to 26 percent in Arizona, he still showed some weaknesses among key groups. He lost 18-29-year-olds to Ron Paul, 37 percent to 26 percent. He lost those who never attended college, 42 percent to 36 percent. And he lost those making less than $50,000 a year, 41 percent to 36 percent.

Romney does not have a lot of time to savor these wins. Super Tuesday is next Tuesday. He is behind by double digits in Georgia, Ohio, and Oklahoma. A normal candidate would expect a big bounce out of two huge wins in different regions of the country. But Romney has proven completely incapable of sustaining any political momentum. Remember his “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” line after he won Florida?

Santorum suffered two big losses last night, but nothing big enough to knock him out of the race. Unless Romney suddenly becomes a much better campaigner, this  campaign could go all the way to the convention.

Campaign 2012
Ohio: Mike Huckabee will host a Republican primary forum on Fox News in Ohio this Saturday. Romney, Santorum, and Newt Gingrich have all agreed to come. Paul has not accepted the invitation yet.

Santorum: Santorum told Laura Ingraham that he regretted saying that he wanted to “throw up” in response to watching a video clip of President John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech about the separation of church and state. “I wish I had that particular line back,” Santorum said.

Obama: Obama attacked Romney by name yesterday at a United Auto Workers conference in Washington, D.C., yesterday. “If we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, GM and Chrysler would have gone under. In communities across the Midwest, it would have been another Great Depression.”

Maine Senate: Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced her retirement yesterday. Her departure turns an easy Republican reelection into a toss-up race.

Around the Bigs
National Journal, Despite Detroit Comeback, Public Opposes Bailout: A new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows that a majority of Americans think the federal government should not have bailed out GM and Chrysler.

The Washington Post, Housing prices fell in December, continue to hurt economic recovery: Tuesday’s Case-Shiller index of property values reported that the nation’s home prices have fallen to their lowest level since 2002, casting a troubling shadow over what has otherwise been a brightening economic recovery.

The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Pushes Target for Hiring the Disabled: Employers are trying to stop an Obama effort that calls for federal contractors to hire a minimum number of disabled workers and could penalize those who don’t by revoking their contracts.

Reuters, Virginia Senate passes ultrasound law: The Virginia state Senate on Tuesday approved a law requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion but left out a provision harshly criticized by women’s rights groups that might have required a more intrusive vaginal probe.

The Wall Street Journal, Stockton Inches Toward Possible Bankruptcy: Due to lower tax revenue and escalating costs of providing retiree benefits and paying down bond debt, Stockton, California, took the first step toward a possible bankruptcy last night.

The New York Times, Power Struggle Over Indian Tribe Splinters Into Violence in California: Tribal factions fighting over who is a real Indian (and who, therefore, is entitled to casino profits) broke into violence Tuesday after one group occupied the tribal government offices.

The New York Times, U.S. Sees Iran Attacks as Likely if Israel Strikes: U.S. analysts believe the likely Iranian responses to any attack by Israel on its nuclear program believe that Iran would retaliate by launching missiles on Israel and terrorist-style attacks on United States civilian and military personnel overseas.

The Washington Post, Ireland to become a test for Europe’s fiscal accord: Ireland declared Tuesday that it would hold a referendum on Europe’s freshly inked fiscal treaty, setting up a vote that could indicate whether the island nation is willing to accept years of tough austerity to remain within the euro zone.

Righty Playbook
The Heritage Foundation’s Jennifer Marshall writes about her recent event, “Women Speak Out: Obamacare Tramples Religious Liberty.”

At The Corner Veronique de Rugy explains why Romneycare is not working.

AEI‘s James Pethokoukis posts a reasonable defense of Santorum’s claim that high gas prices helped trigger the recession.

Lefty Playbook
The Huffington Post
reports that The Democracy Alliance, a private network of major progressive and Democratic donors, has dropped a number of prominent organizations because they did not support the Democratic Party enough.

The Maddow Blog‘s Steve Benen says Obama’s UAW speech yesterday, “will be at the heart of his re-election effort.”

Talking Points Memo‘s Sahil Kapur notes that the House GOP’s IPAB repeal bill has 17 Democratic signatories as of this writing, including Barney Frank (MA), Joe Baca (CA), Shelley Berkley (NV), Chaka Fattah (PA), and Loretta Sanchez (CA).

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