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2012: A Tale of Two Approaches

Bloomberg notes the difference in approaches between Romney and Santorum: “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney focused on the economy and government spending in Ohio yesterday, while rival Rick Santorum was in Michigan exhorting voters to back him as a way of promoting their own values with primaries approaching in both states.”

The Arizona Republic previews tomorrow night’s debate, noting that immigration as well as housing will likely come up, but likely so will social issues, given some of Santorum’s recent comments.

The New York Post looks at the stakes tomorrow, too. “Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are sharpening their jabs for a debate showdown tomorrow, their last face-to-face confrontation before the increasingly tight GOP presidential primaries in Arizona and Michigan next Tuesday. Debates have marked a turning point at several junctures in the topsy-turvy 2012 Republican race, and the debate will be Romney’s best chance to blunt Santorum’s rapid rise.”

GINGRICH: Newt Gingrich said yesterday this, per NBC’s Alex Moe: "Defeating Barack Obama becomes, in fact, a duty of national security," Gingrich told a crowd of about 4,000 people on the campus of Oral Roberts University. "Because the fact is, he is incapable of defending the United States." 

Wow. Forbes: “Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Says He Might Give $100M To Newt Gingrich Or Other Republican.”

PAUL: “In March 2005, David James called Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) Congressional office for some documentation,” Roll Call reports. “James’s nonprofit group, the Liberty Committee, had paid for one of Paul’s flights, and James needed a receipt or boarding pass to document the expense. He’d been pushing Paul for the paperwork and now, on the phone, he was ‘putting his foot down.’”

ROMNEY: The Boston Globe’s Johnson has a lengthy look at where Romney’s campaign goes from here: “Mitt Romney is entering a pivotal stretch in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. … Even members of the Romney camp concede [they’re] in uncertain territory. Whereas in the past, candidates would have to drop out of the race because they could no longer raise the money to propel their candidacies, now Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can continue thanks in large part to the support of a single backer who donates to a super PAC supporting them.” Add in Ron Paul and “All that has prevented the oft-frontrunner from decisively pulling away from the pack.”

The Hill’s headline: “Slouching toward GOP nomination, Romney needs big win in Michigan.”

“Mitt Romney is working overtime to regain his magic in his native Michigan — and there were signs Tuesday the tactic may be working,” the New York Daily News writes.

On Saturday, the Boston Globe reported: “Mitt Romney this week accused President Obama of kowtowing to ‘big labor’ and slammed Rick Santorum, one of his challengers for the Republican presidential nomination, as ‘labor’s favorite senator.’ But as governor of Massachusetts, Romney fiercely protected a costly and controversial perk for police officers after seeking and receiving the endorsement of the politically influential police unions. Even as he pushed to slash aid to cities and towns and programs for the blind and raised college tuition, he fully funded a $45 million program that awarded salary bonuses to officers who earned advanced degrees. The program, known as the Quinn bill, was under attack at the time by many taxpayer groups after a 2001 Board of Higher Education study called it an ineffective ‘cash cow’ for police.”

A co-chairman of Romney’s Arizona campaign Paul Babeu, who was in that famous McCain “complete the dang fence” ad and is running for Congress, quit the Romney campaign after a report in the Phoenix New Times alleged that he threatened to deport an ex-boyfriend if he didn’t keep quiet about their relationship. He denied that, but did come out at a press conference acknowledging he’s gay.

The New York Daily News: “Mitt Romney's Arizona co-chair quits over allegations he tried to deport a Mexican ex-boyfriend.”

NBC’s Jamie Novogrod notes National Review pushing Romney to expand child credit for middle class taxpayers.

SANTORUM: He is up 6 nationally, 50%-44%, in a USA Today-Gallup poll and 10, 36%-26%, in the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll. He also leads in a poll out of Oklahoma by 13, 39%-23%.

But, as Novogrod points out, the Detroit Free Press -- on its front page -- examines whether Santorum risks alienating moderates.

The Grand Rapids Press leads with a central dynamic of Santorum's speeches: "At campaign rallies across West Michigan Monday, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum touted spreading a positive message of the country and in campaigning.  He then took dead aim at President Barack Obama’s “radical agenda” and chief GOP competitor Mitt Romney’s “well-oiled weathervane” stand on issues critical to the presidency, like Iran…"