Illinois Exit Polls, The Ryan Budget and 2012, Romney as Slim Shady, Dogs and Pigs (PM NOTE)

Illinois Polls Close at 8 p.m. ET - Get all the latest at OTUS News

Exit Poll Analysis from Gary Langer: An improved sense that he understands voters' problems gave Mitt Romney hope in today's Illinois Republican primary, as did a less religiously focused, less strongly conservative electorate than he's faced in some other contests, especially to the south. Preliminary exit poll results find that six in 10 Illinois voters see Romney as the candidate with the best chance of beating Barack Obama, a bit better than his average across exit polls this year. More strikingly, Romney also leads Rick Santorum, albeit narrowly, as the candidate who "best understands the problems of average Americans."

OOPS - Election officials in Illinois are discovering that size does matter. In 26 jurisdictions across the state, the ballots are too big to fit into the scanners, sources at the Illinois State Board of Elections tell ABC News today.

Watch This Video - Mitt Romney as Slim Shady -

Paul Ryan Says GOP Nominee Will Support His Budget -

Mitt Romney weighed in after he was asked - "I'm very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It's a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it's very much consistent with what I put out earlier. I think it's amazing that we have a president who three and a half years in still hasn't put a proposal out that deals with entitlements. This president's dealing with entitlement reform - excuse me - this budget deals with entitlement reform, tax policy, which as you know is very similar to the one that I put out and efforts to reign in excessive spending. I applaud it. It's an excellent piece of work and very much needed," said Romney at Google Today.

Steven Chu Gives Himself an A on Gas Prices -

Fact Check: RNC Ad Hits Obama for 'Higher Costs' on Health Care -

Gingrich Says De Niro's 'White First Lady' Crack Is 'Inexcusable'- GOP's Top Solyndra Investigator Still Not Sold on Obama's Birth Certificate

GOP Turmoil Makes Democrats Complacent, Says Axelrod - "I know people get seduced because they watch the spectacle on the other side and they say, 'How can anybody on that side win…after witnessing these debates and this race to the right?' The truth is we need to prepare for a close contest," he said in an interview on MSNBC.

Romney on 'Obamacare' at Google - Why Does Mitt Romney Hate the National Health Law? Let Him Count the Ways… on Google… and discuss washing his own shirt in the hotel sink.

Can Romney Get 1144 By June? Hmmmm - If current polling and delegate allocation continue apace, Chris Good has crunched the numbers and finds good odds that Romney will need superdelegates to reach 1144. The Latest Math:

VA Poll - Mitt Romney is still locked in a primary, but this Q Poll from the battleground state of Virginia has to be getting noticed by him and Republicans. Writes Jake Tapper: "Not only does President Obama beat him in a head to head hypothetical match up, 50-42, but Obama leads among women by 13 points - 52-39. He leads with independent voters 46-43% President Obama's favorables in the poll are 51 - 44; Romney's are negative - 36 - 43. This poll will provide more grist for the Obama campaign argument that Romney is doing himself real damage in this primary among key constituencies, particularly women voters." -

Pigs - We're trying to decide if our favorite DC pet of the day is Scott Brown's dog Snuggles or Mark Neumann's pig Mr. Favors -

Dogs - Sunlen Miller's In-Depth Piece about the Dogs in Congress (with a cameo by Snuggles) -

Mexicali Blues - Rick Santorum criticized President Obama during a radio interview Tuesday for reportedly allowing his daughter, Malia, to go on a spring break trip to Mexico in an area of the country which Santorum believed had been placed on a warning list for American tourists by the State Department. "What I would say is that the president's actions should reflect what his administration is saying," Santorum told Beck, according to the Blaze. "If the administration is saying that it's not safe to have people down there, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn't mean you should do it. You should set an example. I think that's what presidents do. They set an example. And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don't set the example by sending your kids down there."

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