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2012: Obama, Huck hit Romney on health care

DANIELS: On NPR yesterday, Mitch Daniels discussed his role as OMB director under George W. Bush, saying that the budget surplus “was going away and it wouldn’t have mattered who was president, let alone in the supporting role of budget director.” But, the Washington Post asserts, Daniels “conveniently airbrushes out of the picture the Republican president -- George H.W. Bush -- who did the most to reduce the budget deficit… Moreover, Daniels's assertion that the surplus was bound to disappear in any case is too cute by half. The projected surplus was the main reason why George W. Bush said - repeatedly - that the nation could afford a $1.6 trillion tax cut. Certainly, when Daniels was budget director, he did not suggest that the surplus was ‘going away.’” 
GINGRICH: The Hill writes, “Newt Gingrich’s simultaneous courtship of the base of the Republican Party and Latino voters could pose major problems for his likely bid for the White House… The former House Speaker has set up a bilingual news and opinion website directed at Latinos and has staked out a nuanced position on immigration reform that some critics have labeled amnesty. At the same time, Gingrich has tried to woo conservative activists, coming out against the construction of a mosque near the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan and calling for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency. The problem, according to some observers, is that Gingrich’s stance on immigration doesn’t lend itself to an easy explanation for a conservative talk-radio audience.”

He’ll speak in Iowa March 7.

HUCKABEE: “In heavily Democratic Dubuque (IA), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee brought out many folks who want to see him in the White House,” the Dubuque Telegraph Herald wrote of his appearance yesterday. “‘I'm telling (supporters who ask) that I'm seriously considering running; I'm watching the response to my book, which lays it all out so people will know what I stand for,’ said Huckabee.” 
Yesterday afternoon in Cedar Rapids, Huckabee told reporters that he’ll run a “smarter” campaign in 2012 if he launches a bid, Radio Iowa writes. “’ I’m trying to be smarter and not be stupid enough to go out there and try to sustain a campaign for an unnecessarily long period of time,’” Huckabee said.

“At the close of a six-city book tour through the leadoff presidential caucus state, Huckabee said Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, should discuss the problems with the bill he signed in 2006 requiring all state residents to obtain health insurance,” the Des Moines Register writes. “‘States try bold things. If they don’t work, the whole country hasn’t suffered,’ Huckabee said. ‘What I don’t understand is why Obama would take a plan that didn’t work out like it’s supposed to and try to impose it on the rest of the 50 states.’” 
“Mike Huckabee is set to deliver the keynote speech at the National Rifle Association's Celebration of American Values Freedom Experience, April 30, in Pittsburgh, PA,” GOP12’s Heinze reports.

PALIN: Palin-friendly talk-show host Tammy Bruce is attacking Chris Christie for saying the former Alaska governor needs more unscripted moments to be taken seriously. She derided Christie in a Tweet as “Mr. Smug” and took a shot at him for his weight: “Mr. Smug, whose act involves screaming at people, says Palin needs more ‘unscripted moments.’ Weird how Christie says absolutely *nothing* about the current president who can't open his piehole w/o a teleprompter, but goes after Palin. And I would guess if Palin ever solicited advice from Christie it would be limited to whether Chunky Monkey is better than Cherry Garcia. @GovChristie is bad on immigration, 2nd amendment, & supports cap & tax. And he has the gall to even *talk* about Palin?”

PAWLENTY: Although the former governor now says he would support Republicans considering a government shutdown, the Minnesota Independent points out that he was singing a different tune in 2005, when, the AP reports, he said: “‘Minnesotans need to hear about and understand the real human impacts if state government shuts down. State parks will close, rest areas will be boarded up, and new drivers licenses won’t be issued. More than 15,000 state employees — hardworking, dedicated people — will essentially be locked out of their jobs…  Anyone who considers the negative impacts of a shutdown should see it as a reason to seriously get back to the negotiating table.’”

Tea-Paw, the sequel. After speaking before Tea Party Patriots in Phoenix over the weekend, Pawlenty is up with a video paying homage to the Tea Party.

Stu Rothenberg writes in Roll Call, “In a Republican presidential race that could include the likes of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and Mississippi Gov. (and former Republican National Committee Chairman) Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty’s most troublesome potential opponent could well be a fellow Minnesotan, Rep. Michele Bachmann… Although the two Minnesota Republicans don’t necessarily appeal to the same people, Bachmann’s presence in the Republican contest would undoubtedly draw some Minnesota money and support that would otherwise go to Pawlenty, even if only because he was the ‘local’ guy in the race. After all, Bachmann represents the most Republican district in the Gopher State.”

ROMNEY: During a meeting with governors at the White House, President Obama took a not-so-veiled swipe at the health care plan passed by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. “‘I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he is proud of what he accomplished on health care,’ Obama said, in a soundbite likely to be recycled over and over by the Republican's rivals for the 2012 nomination,” AFP writes.

“Mitt Romney is on top in Michigan, according to a new poll,” Politico writes. “A survey by the Lansing-based polling firm EPIC/MRA found President Barack Obama trailing the former Massachusetts governor in a hypothetical matchup by 5 points, 41 to 46 percent.