ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf (@zbyronwolf) reports:
Busy Week – 2 debates, 1 State of the Union, Mitt Romney’s taxes and Sheldon Adelson’s millions on the way.
Busy Day for Senators – Rand Paul was “detained”, so to speak, by TSA in Tennessee, John Kerry had two black eyes, Chuck Grassley’s Twitter account was hacked, and then re-hacked by a good Samaritan, and we learned that Mark Kirk had a stroke and will suffer permanent physical damage.
Power Players – Watch George Stephanopoulos kick off our new ABC News / Yahoo News Video Series – More coming from Jake Tapper, Jon Karl, John Berman, and Top Line - http://abcn.ws/xChWMW
8 Months, 18 Debates… a Viewer’s Guide Flashback – http://abcn.ws/zFLra2
Sen. Mark Kirk Suffers Stroke, Will Have Permanent Physical Damage – http://abcn.ws/yxxT6r
Gabby Giffords Held her Final Event as a Congresswoman – http://abcn.ws/yiioCs
Sen. Rand Paul’s Pat-Down Standoff with TSA – It was a short-lived affair and Paul was on his way toward D.C. by noon. But he made the most of nearly being forced to have a pat-down, holding a press conference at Reagan National in Washington to argue against the “police state.” http://abcn.ws/zRmiFr
“…they said if you talk on the phone you’ll get the full body treatment…” http://abcn.ws/x8itK8
SOTU – The Public’s Opinion – Obama also has significant vulnerabilities beyond the economy and the broad unhappiness it’s engendered. Among his lowest ratings, just 35 percent approve of his handling of the deficit. And fewer than half, 47 percent, say he’s achieved significant accomplishments as president.
Florida Ad War – (Big) Advantage Romney – Amy Walter reports that Romney and Restore our Future, the superPAC friendly to him, are up in all ten of Florida’s media markets. And Newt’s Sheldon Adelson bankrolled Winning our Future superPAC may be running out of money after the dogfight in South Carolina – http://abcn.ws/AflGZD
But that’s before reports this afternoon that Adelson will pour millions more into “Winning Our Future”.
Bipartisan Anti-SuperPAC Pact in Massachusetts - http://abcn.ws/ynwz94
Keys to Florida -
It’s Winner Take All, Despite Rick Santorum’s Frustration – http://abcn.ws/xpUnIo
The Latino Vote – and here Gingrich may have an edge – Matt Jaffe reminds us that losing Florida spelled the end of Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign - http://abcn.ws/yAyq7G
The Foreclosure Crisis – Romney’s ad released today sought to damage Gingrich over ties to Freddie Mac. The foreclosure mess is particularly bad in Florida. Reports Huma Khan – Over the last four years, Florida has consistently been among the top four states in foreclosures. In 2011, it ranked seventh in RealtyTrac’s list of states with the highest foreclosure rates. BUT Romney, who advocates a hands-off approach, will have to walk a fine line in a state that’s particularly sensitive about this issue. The former governor earned liberal ire in October for suggesting that the foreclosure process should just “run its course and hit the bottom.” “The idea of the federal government running around and saying, hey, we’re going to give you some money for trading in your old car, or we’re going to give you a few thousand bucks for buying a new house, or we’re going to keep banks from foreclosing if you can’t make your payments, these kind of actions on the part of government haven’t worked,” Romney said at a debate in Nevada, which has the highest foreclosure rate in the country.
There’s also grist here for a Romney policy reversal charge here, says Khan. Romney, however, sang a different tune in 2008, which may not only disconnect him from conservatives but is also unlikely to sit in well with Florida voters. http://abcn.ws/ypaSpi
John Kerry – Black and Blue for Blue and Yellow – http://abcn.ws/w0f5qG
Biden Talks Newt Marriages with Seacrest - http://abcn.ws/y1iFXI
Singing Obama Ring Tone – http://abcn.ws/zxXOcv
Washington State Poised to Legalize Gay Marriage – http://abcn.ws/xqC73G
SCOTUS – GPS Tracking Requires Warrant – More from Ariane de Vogue – http://abcn.ws/wO0HmD
Carney Puts on Reporter Hat, Recalls Gingrich “Bombast” – White House press secretary Jay Carney today fondly recalled his days as a journalist covering then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Asked by Fox News Channel’s Ed Henry about Gingrich’s continued suggestion that President Obama is “a classic Saul Alinsky radical,” Carney said, “have I said how much fun I had as a reporter covering Congress from 1996 to 1998? There was a certain bombast to it at the time. A lot of colorful things to cover.” Carney covered Capitol Hill for TIME Magazine, working his way up to bureau chief, until he left journalism to join the Obama Administration. (Here’s a Carney golden oldie from 1998 called “Newt’s Secret Plan: To Stay Right Where He Is.” ) http://abcn.ws/yKz0wZ
Woman Says Obama is Muslim at Santorum Event – From Shush Walshe: Rick Santorum became annoyed at reporters today for asking him why he didn’t correct a woman at a campaign event who called President Obama an “avowed Muslim.” “Why do you guys ask these ‘gotcha’ questions, like it’s my job to go out and correct everybody who says something I don’t agree with?” Santorum said to reporters after the event. “I don’t think it’s my responsibility. Why don’t you go out and correct her? It’s not my responsibility as a candidate to correct everybody who makes a statement that I disagree with.” The woman told Santorum that Obama is not “legally” the president, that he “totally ignores” the Constitution, and that “he is an avowed Muslim.” She asked Santorum why Obama is still president, and the candidate responded by saying, “I’m doing my best to get him out of the government right now.” http://abcn.ws/ydXENv