Newt Gingrich, Pacing Himself – The frontrunner is pacing himself and not out in public today or over the weekend. But Mitt Romney bopped from caucus state to primary state on a chartered plane with a traveling press corps on a plane they’re calling “hair force one.”
Rick Perry, Retiree – He’s still governor of Texas, but it turns out that Rick Perry technically retired way back in January. That’s helped him raise his annual salary. And Democrats are chuckling that he made the same type of maneuver more difficult for Texas teachers. “I think it’d be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned,” he told ABC’s Arlette Saenz.
Perry quote of the day – “”I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on that stage last night who’s herded cattle” – in Cherokee, Iowa today, talking about last night’s debate.
Mitt Romney, “Hair Force One” – It had a very general election feel for the Romney campaign, according to Twitter. Reporters followed him for the first time onto a chartered jet – ”Hair Force One” – a term coined by his wife.
Romney started the day in Iowa after last night’s debate. He played a bit of the prankster, encouraging people to vote for him in caucus Jan. 3rd, but wait ’til Jan. 4th to vote for his competition.
And he channeled the common man, arguing it’s tough to tell the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. That’s a distinction he later clarified he has always understood, even if he didn’t have a grasp on all the “intricacies.” More on that from Emily Friedman.
Why Can’t Mitt Romney Seem to Win Over the GOP? – Matt Jaffe tries to answer the question that has bemused politicos and experts all year.
Shutdown Averted, Now What About the Payroll Tax Cut? - And only one day late. From Miller and Parkinson on the Hill – After the Senate votes Saturday, the omnibus will be sent to the White House. Both sides in the Senate will continue to work through the weekend on the payroll tax proposal, with both parties stressing that issues still remain that need to be worked out. But today, both sides again spoke confidently that a deal is on the horizon. What’s not clear is if it will have the keystone pipeline or not. Boehner drew a pipeline in the sand today.
How Many Congressmen Does it Take to Save the Light Bulb? - Amy Bingham reports that Congress came together to save the incandescent light bulb. But it had already died. But what many Republicans are celebrating as a win for individuals’ light-bulb-choosing freedom will probably not save the energy-guzzling bulbs from disappearing off store shelves.
“The industry has moved on,” said Larry Lauck, a spokesman for the American Lighting Association. Lauck said U.S. light bulb manufacturers have already “retooled” their production lines to build more efficient bulbs, he said.
Feral Cats and Other Unexpected Tax Deductions – Our latest Top 5 examines unexpected ways to save on your taxes. Bookmark this one for April.
Will Tea Party Endorsements Help Romney? – Campaigns like to tout endorsements, but they rarely have much effect, and in some cases, can back fire, according to Matt Negrin.
Romney’s Immigration Plan – Wishful Thinking? Last night we heard a more detailed plan on immigration from Mitt Romney, including a national ID card for legal immigrants, but immigration advocates tell ABC’s Devin Dwyer that this plan might be oversimplifying the issues at hand.
Good Morning Iowa - All things Iowa from Shush Walshe live here. It’s 11 degrees there.
Michelle Bachmann Starts Bus Tour - We’re on the plane with Romney and the bus with Bachmann. Russell Goldman reports: GOP contender Michele Bachmann kicked off a whirlwind tour of Iowa today, pledging to visit all 99 of the state’s counties in 10 days, in the hopes that an old-fashioned ground assault here will help her gain in the polls just 20 days before the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Marine Wants Michelle Obama Date – While sorting donations at the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign, this afternoon First Lady Michelle Obama received an unusual request.
Across a pile of toy race cars, the Associated Press reports Lance Cpl. Aaron Leeks invited Obama to be his date for next year’s Marine Corps Ball.
Tough Talk – Rick Perry on Iran, Fannie, Freddie – Arlette Saenz reports he was squeezed into the back corner of a packed coffee house in Cherokee, Iowa, where he did not hold back on criticizing some of his Republican opponents, starting with Rep. Ron Paul for his comments on Iran in Thursday night’s debate. “You can’t make nice with the mullahs. They hate us, they hate everything about America. They hate our lifestyle, they hate our faith. They dislike us to the point that they would use a nuclear device first to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and they consider Israel to be the little Satan, they consider us to be the big Satan.”
Obama Says His Commitment to Israel is ‘Unshakeable’ – Republicans have attacked the president for his handling of the Israel/Palestine conflict, but ABC’s Mary Bruce reports that today the president made strong statements about his commitment to Israel. “I am proud to say that no U.S. administration has done more in support of Israel’s security than ours,” Obama said. “None. Don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise.”
Voting Rights Controversies Wreak Havoc in the Lone Star State – Three separate federal courts are working to resolve redistricting problems in Texas brought on by explosive population growth.