Rick Santorum, Front-runner, Romney’s Seamus Problem, Kid Gloves, U.S. Budget as Family Budget (The PM Note)

Feb 13, 2012 6:22pm

Rick Santorum, Frontrunner? – Jon Karl looks at several new polls that have Rick Santorum tied with or edging out Mitt Romney. That’s about a 15 point surge in two weeks. http://abcn.ws/x8MJsS

Unleash the Hound – Mitt Romney’s Seamus Problem – It seems silly, but Jake Tapper has a smart piece on why Democrats keep bringing up the legend of Seamus, the Romney dog, who years ago got a ride to the family vacation on the roof – http://abcn.ws/xFNXcc

Kid Gloves – Amy Walter Explains Why Romney Can’t “Newt” Santorum – As Rick Santorum surges in the polls, the conventional wisdom is that the Romney machine is warming up an all out assault on Santorum like they did against Newt Gingrich in Florida. The “nuke Newt” strategy may have worked in the short term, but recent polling shows just how problematic a purely negative campaign has been for Romney, especially among those independent voters Romney will need in November. http://abcn.ws/AdqgbP

Bubble Primary – It reminds us of Matt Jaffe’s term to describe the inflation and bursting of different GOP frontrunners – Is Santorum’s latest rise going to pop?

Scarface at the WHhttp://abcn.ws/yX4IAK

Change Isn’t – Obama’s Budget Breaks Deficit Reduction Pledge - Jake Tapper reminds us of the president’s vow in 2009 to cut his inherited deficit in half. Three years later, it hasn’t happened. http://abcn.ws/zVWps0

Obama Budget Doubles Down on Populist Proposalshttp://abcn.ws/yDz5FE  (It can’t pass the Senate, where some Democrats oppose it, it can’t pass the House, where Republicans oppose it)… so why bother? More on that later.

House GOP has Payroll Tax Backup Plan – Since the House-Senate Conference Seems to be Going Nowhere -  http://abcn.ws/ynH5Cv

Gay Marriage Legalized in Washington, 7th State - http://abcn.ws/z799O1

SCOTUS – Beyer Robbed by Machete-Wielding Intruderhttp://abcn.ws/w3WxiN

Big Government May Be Getting Smaller  – The rallying cry of Tea Party conservatives across the country has been that government has gotten too big for its britches – but could it be that the government is, in fact, shrinking? ABC News’ Amy Bingham reports, “a Gallup poll released Monday showed that the government is sloughing off jobs at every level, with local, state and federal governments  shedding about 1 percent of their combined work force last year.” http://abcn.ws/wPA45c

Surprise, Surprise: Republicans attacked the president’s budget today, whereas Democrats ran to its rescue. http://abcn.ws/whx6yp

TAPPER’s Budget Analogy – Asks Carney to Break the Numbers Down to Family Size – To break them down, it would be along the lines of a family that makes $29,000 a year spending $38,000 a year, so taking on new debt — $9,000 in new debt, with a $153,000 credit card bill that they were not able to pay down. That would be a way for — like the average American to afford – to understand it. Does that seem responsible?

CARNEY’s Response – I appreciate the analogy. I think what you know and everyone in this room knows and what every American knows based on what I’ve seen is that this economy was in freefall in January 2009. It had — the government in the previous 8 years had racked up an enormous amount of debt, although it had started the century with surpluses. And because of the freefall we were in, urgent measures needed to be taken to reverse the direction of the economy and to reverse the direction of employment in this country. Those actions were taken. Hard choices were made. And thanks to those tough choices, made by the president, working with Congress, the economy has now grown for a number of consecutive quarters. It has created private sector jobs for 23 straight months, well over 3.7 million new jobs. And we are headed in the right direction, but we have a long way to go. And what the president made clear – and the chief of staff made clear yesterday – is that we need to make sure we get it right as we move forward so that we invest where we need to, we extend the payroll tax cut for example because we need to economically, and then for the medium and long term we do the things we need to do to reduce our deficit and debt so we get our fiscal house in order. And that’s what the president’s budget does. http://abcn.ws/ACwzbC

Documentary Shows Bill Clinton’s Struggle with Lewinsky Affairhttp://abcn.ws/xPA6cI

House Republicans Working on an Alternative to Payroll Tax Credit Deal – The back-up plan would extend the tax credit, giving negotiators more time to come up with an agreement. http://abcn.ws/ynH5Cv

Racially ‘Offensive’ Pete Hoekstra Ad Brings in Big Bucks for Rival Senator Debbie Stabenowhttp://abcn.ws/wlIIA3

GE to Hire 5,000 More Veteranshttp://abcn.ws/woLauO

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