John Harwood writes in the New York Times: “This is the presidential primary campaign that political polarization has wrought. In recent decades, the Democratic Party has purged its conservatives and the Republican Party its liberals, leaving each almost politically homogenous. As a result, the first Republican presidential primary in the Tea Party era lacks the straightforward ideological cleavages of earlier contests.”
GINGRICH: “Traveling from hangar to gymnasium to Statehouse, and buoyed by a fresh infusion of super-PAC cash from billionaire Sheldon Adelson, Gingrich predicted a rout on March 6, when 11 states hold primaries,” Bloomberg writes. “He told the Associated Press yesterday that he will win Georgia, which has more delegates at stake than any other Super Tuesday state, ‘and win it decisively.’” But the story notes that it might not be locked up for Gingrich, who hasn’t lived in the state for years.
ROMNEY: The Boston Globe: “Amid confusion, Mitt Romney says he does support Blunt amendment.” And it makes this point: “Still, his confusion could spark controversy that the former Massachusetts governor – already distrusted by some conservatives – is not well versed enough in issues they hold dear.”
Bloomberg: “Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, shifting his attention to Ohio after twin primary wins, was distracted from his economic message by confusion he created over his stance on a contraception issue.” And: “The dust-up -- however brief -- reflected pervasive doubts many Republican rank-and-file voters have about Romney’s positions on social issues.”
The Wyoming Republican Party announced tonight that Mitt Romney has won the state’s non-binding precinct straw poll with 39 percent of the vote, a 7 point margin over runner-up Rick Santorum. Santorum came in second with 32 percent followed by Ron Paul with 21 percent and Newt Gingrich with 8 percent, NBC’s John Bailey reports. The non-binding poll was conducted at Wyoming precinct caucuses, held over a stretch of weeks between February 9 and February 29. The poll does not bind Wyoming’s delegates, but it is an indicator of how the state may vote in its upcoming County Conventions (March 6 to March 10) and State Convention (April 12 to April 14) where 26 of Wyoming’s 29 delegates will be bound. Take note that only 2,108 Wyoming Republicans participated in the poll.
Political Wire’s headline: “Romney Wins in Wyoming.”
The Washington Post: “Mitt Romney wins Wyoming caucuses.”
Money trouble? “Mitt Romney’s once bulging war chest suddenly looks a lot lighter after the costly primary battle in Michigan,” the New York Post writes. “Romney yesterday bypassed his usual deep-pocketed moneymen to hit up small-time online donors for some quick campaign cash, warning that he needs money fast to fight President Obama’s ‘kill Romney’ strategy. Coming after his narrow victory in Michigan on Tuesday, the ad signaled that Romney is bracing for an expensive state-by-state battle from Super Tuesday next week to the party convention in August. His campaign burned though $12.2 million last month while collecting just $7 million. He also has to worry about his big donors maxing out early in what has become an unexpectedly long race to the nomination.”
SANTORUM: Oops. “Rick Santorum is touting the support of Sen. James Inhofe (R) even though the Oklahoma senator has not endorsed him,” The Hill reports. A spokesman for the Oklahoma senator confirmed Inhofe hasn’t endorsed him, but the Santorum campaign is doubling down, claiming that positive things Inhofe has said about Santorum equates to “support.” "I would consider that support, however you look at it," Santorum campaign adviser John Brabender said. Oklahoma is a Super Tuesday state.
The Hill has this headline: “Santorum let his moment come, then go.” From the story: “Santorum’s loss has raised new questions about his tactics in Michigan in particular, and his vulnerabilities as a candidate more generally.”