It would be difficult to name two more popular rising stars in the Republican party than Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. And this week, Mitt Romney managed to nail down both of their endorsements.
First, on Hannity on Wednesday night, Rubio said, “I am going to endorse Mitt Romney and the reason why, it’s not only because he’s going to be the Republican nominee, but he offers at this point, such a stark contrast to the president’s record. … I have zero doubt in my mind of two things: No. 1, that Mitt Romney will govern as a conservative, and No. 2, that he will be head and shoulders better than the guy who’s in the White House now.” Rubio later explained the timing of his endorsement by citing President Obama’s recent hot-mic moment with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. “The stakes are so high. We have to win this election in November,” Rubio said.
Then last night, aides to Ryan phoned Rick Santorum’s campaign to inform them that Ryan would be endorsing Romney. Ryan is expected to make a formal announcement as early as 8:35 this morning. As far as Ryan’s timing goes, yesterday RNC Chairman Reince Priebus released a statement thanking Ryan for his chairmanship for RNC’s Presidential Trust, an organization that raised $21 million for the eventual nominee. With that obligation out of the way, Ryan is now free to take sides.
And NBC News has a new poll out this morning showing Romney up by seven over Santorum in Wisconsin, 40 percent to 33 percent. And that poll was taken before news of favorite son Paul Ryan’s endorsement broke. In addition to the Wisconsin primary, the District of Columbia and Maryland are also set to vote next Tuesday. Romney is expected to crush Santorum in Maryland and Santorum is not even on the ballot in D.C.
Like Newt Gingrich, who stayed in the race at least through the primary in his home state of Georgia, Santorum will probably stay in the race through Pennsylvania’s April 24th primary. But after that, it is hard seeing any reason for anybody to keep paying attention to his campaign.
Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, House Approves Ryan’s Budget Plan: After a heated two-day debate, the House of Representatives approved Rep. Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., Path to Prosperity budget, 228-191.
The Wall Street Journal, Obama Shifts View of Executive Power: Obama’s unilateral rewrite of No Child Left Behind typifies his administration’s own expansive view of going it alone, asserting new executive powers and challenging members of Congress in both parties.
The Atlantic, If Obamacare Is Overturned, Can Democrats Recover?: A Supreme Court rejection of the president’s signature domestic accomplishment would deal a severe, long-lasting blow to the progressive ideal.
The Weekly Standard‘s Jay Cost previews the April Republican primaries.
At The Corner, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., asks what exactly does Obama want “flexibility” to do on missile defense.
AEI‘s Christopher Conover explains why the individual mandate was never about saving money.
John Sides looks at existing research on predicting Supreme Court outcomes based on oral arguments and is convinced the individual mandate will fall.
Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick asks for a moment of silence for Obamacare.
Digby says that the Obama’s failure to adequately defend Obamacare in Court is just another example of the administration’s “overriding problem” — they constantly overestimate their own abilities and underestimate the opposition’s.