Morning Examiner: Slutgate fallout

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

House Democrats have already raised more than $1 million off of Republicans’ supposed “War on Women.” ThinkProgress has made their #standwithsandra story their permanent banner headline. Some liberals are even calling President Obama’s Friday call to Sandra Fluke the equivalent of President Kennedy’s call to Corretta King in 1960. But is any of this nonsense resonating with real American voters? It doesn’t seem like it.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius first issued her abortificiant mandate on January 20th. More than 160 Catholic bishops signed a letter protesting the mandate on February 6th. On February 16th, House Government Reform and Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., held a hearing on the issue. On February 24th, 30-year-old Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke testified that she has to spend $1000 a year on birth control. On February 29th, Rush Limbaugh called her a slut. On March 2nd, Obama personally called Fluke to offer his support. On March 3rd, Rush issued an apology. This has been a very slow burning scandal.

But over all that time, outside of some easy campaign cash for Democrats, the political fallout has been minimal. Just look at the most competitive Senate race in the nation, which just happens to be taking place in one of the most liberal states in the nation, Massachusetts. Since the HHS mandate first became an issue, three polls have been done on the race between Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and self-described Occupy Wall Street “intellectual founder,” Elizabeth Warren. And all three polls show Brown climbing to an almost double-digit lead.

No media outlet has published the results of an investigation into the truth of Fluke’s testimony or the media operation around her. And if voters in Massachusetts can pick up on that fact, the Fluke flareup seems likely to be a flame-out.

Campaign 2012
Washington: Mitt Romney won the Washington caucuses Saturday with 38 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum finished third behind Ron Paul, 24 to 25 percent.

Ohio: Three new polls all show the race in Ohio tightening A new online Reuters/Ispos poll shows Romney tied with Santorum at 32 percent. NBC News has Santorum up two, 34 percent to 32 percent. And Public Policy Polling has Romney up 37 percent to 36 percent.

Tennessee: A Rasmussen Reports poll released last night shows Santorum beating Romney 34 percent to 30 percent among likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee. A week ago, Santorum had a double-digit lead over Romney here.

National: When asked to describe the GOP nominating battle in a word or phrase by an NBC/WSJ poll, nearly 70 percent of adults – including six in 10 independents and even more than half of Republicans – answered with a negative comment. Some examples of these negative comments from Republicans: “Unenthusiastic,” “discouraged,” “lesser of two evils,” “painful,” “disappointed,” “poor choices,” “concerned,” “underwhelmed,” “uninspiring” and “depressed.”

Romney: Romney won the endorsements of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., yesterday. Both Virginia and Oklahoma Republicans go to the polls Tuesday.

Democrats: Obama’s reelection campaign has told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that they will not be receiving the same financial support from Obama and the Democratic National Committee in 2012 that they got in 2008 and 2010. In those cycles, House and Senate Democrats got around $30 million in aid from the DNC.

Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, BP Spill Saga Far From Over: Legal experts say the $7 billion civil settlement between BP and Gulf of Mexico residents suggests that, if the government pursues criminal environmental penalties against BP, the potential penalties could reach $40 billion.

The Washington Post, Holder expected to explain rationale for targeting U.S. citizens abroad: Attorney General Eric Holder today will give the most detailed account to date of the Obama administration’s legal rationale for killing American citizens who are involved in anti-U.S. terrorism groups abroad.

The Hill, Lawmakers secretly work on bipartisan deficit grand bargain: Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., is working on a secret plan to end the debt with over 100 other House members. The plan is said to cut entitlements and raise taxes.

The Washington Examiner, At AIPAC, Obama parties like it’s 2007: Obama gave a boilerplate reelection speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Sunday. “If you want to know where my heart lies, look no further than what I have done,” Obama told the crowd. But Obama failed to say how he would stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The Los Angeles Times, Putin declares victory in Russia presidential election: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared victory in the Russian presidential election last night. Election officials said Sunday that Putin, who took a constitutionally required break from being president from 2008 to 2012, held nearly 65% of the vote with almost two-thirds counted.

The Washington Post, China military spending to top $100 billion in 2012, alarming neighbors: China’s Communist Party rulers plan to boost military spending by 11 percent this year, passing the $100 billion mark for the first time and renewing questions about the country’s long-term intentions.

Righty Playbook
In the last column Andrew Breitbart wrote before he passed away last week, Breitbart recounts the time Obama took part in a panel discussion of the play The Love Song of Saul Alinsky.

Kirsten Powers calls out the liberal media for ignoring the misogyny of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz.

Legal Insurrection urges conservatives not to boycott Carbonite despite the fact that they still sponsor Ed Schultz, who called Laura Ingraham a slut.

Lefty Playbook
Paul Krugman claims that “if government employment under Mr. Obama had grown at Reagan-era rates, 1.3 million more Americans would be working.”

A Daily Kos diarist is claiming teenage girls are calling her daughter a slut because of Rush Limbaugh.

The Washington Post‘s Brad Plummer investigates why the Chevy Volt is failing.

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