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2012: Back in the USSR

GINGRICH: He’s charging $50 a photo and he’s “lost his last embedded print reporters," reporters on the trail confirm to Politico, Political Wire writes. "The last two print reporters covering Gingrich full-time on the trail -- from Politico and the Atlanta Journal Constitution -- pulled out on Friday. The Associated Press pulled its embed after Tuesday's Illinois primary."

ROMNEY: Romney’s drawing fire for branding Russia the U.S.’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Russia’s Medvedev said Romney’s comments “smells of Hollywood” and is stuck in another time. "Regarding ideological clichés, every time this or that side uses phrases like 'enemy number one', this always alarms me, this smells of Hollywood and certain times (of the past)," Medvedev said at the end of a nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital, per Reuters. "I would recommend all U.S. presidential candidates ... to do two things. First, when phrasing their position one needs to use one's head, one's good reason, which would not do harm to a presidential candidate. Also, (one needs to) look at his watch: we are in 2012 and not the mid-1970s."

Time’s Michael Crowley notes that Romney opened his campaign “with an argument heavy on foreign policy,” including a book called, “No Apology.” Crowley notes: It wasn’t until the recovery sputtered and Obama scored a string of foreign policy successes that Romney adopted a monomaniacal focus on the jobs picture. But some Republicans remain convinced that they can score points against Obama on foreign policy.” Crowley calls Romney’s “surprisingly harsh assessment of Russia” “a perhaps defensible position when you consider questions like U.N. Security Council vetoes, but still a tough one to square with his past remarks about Iran. (For example: ‘Right now, the greatest danger that America faces and the world faces is a nuclear Iran.’)”

And he points out: “There’s also something ironic about Romney leading this line of attack right now. Just days ago, after all, Romney was explaining for the Weekly Standard the virtue of keeping his policy positions vague until after an election, lest they be misrepresented and attacked unfairly in the heat of a campaign. (Among other things, Romney has left his plans for the war in Afghanistan extremely opaque). Perhaps Romney should show more sympathy for someone who may be following his own advice.”

The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison: “Whenever Romney speaks about foreign policy, I never rule out that it could be driven almost entirely by shameless opportunism. He sees an opening to criticize Obama on policies related to Russia, he takes it, and then predictably can’t avoid ridiculous hyperbole. However, it’s not just opportunism. This seems to reflect the bizarre, outdated hostility towards Russia that his earlier policy statements have conveyed. Sometimes the U.S. and Russia have divergent interests, and sometimes these interests may conflict, but that’s true of the U.S. and any other major power. His description of Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe” suggests that Romney has a very warped, anachronistic view of the threats to the United States. It’s a good bet that “our number one geopolitical foe” wouldn’t be permitting the resupply of our military in Central Asia through their territory and airspace. For some reason, Romney wants us to think that his Russia policy would be defined by Cold War-era paranoia.”

Is Romney getting a “health-care truce” from members of Congress, as Roll Call puts it? “Even as Rick Santorum steps up his attacks on Mitt Romney over health care, Senate Republicans are expressing confidence in the GOP presidential frontrunner and his ability to lead their party on this crucial issue come November,” the paper writes.

Rep Jeff Denham (R-CA) will endorse Mitt Romney tomorrow, according to a senior Romney aide, NBC’s Garrett Haake reports.

“Republican leaders covering much of the party’s ideological spectrum lined up behind front-runner Mitt Romney yesterday as part of an escalating effort to conclude the presidential primary battle and close ranks before the general election,” Bloomberg says. Al Cardenas of the American Conservative Union, Tea Party Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Carly Fiorina all endorsed Romney. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller said he’d bet $100 on Romney being the nominee, though he didn’t endorse and says he doesn’t have plans to.

Bloomberg calls Restore Our Future a “killing machine”: “Since the contests began, Restore Our Future has spent $35 million on commercials attacking Santorum, a former Pennsylvania U.S. senator, and Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker, the two candidates who have come closest to knocking Romney out of front-runner status, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money. The super-PAC has spent just $1.1 million promoting Romney, the data shows.”

(Romney was also pressed on CNN about the appropriateness of bringing his grandchildren to see The Hunger Games.)

SANTORUM: “Rick Santorum may be ranting about the potential for Mitt Romney to be an Etch-a-Sketch-in-Chief — but that doesn’t mean the conservative wouldn’t be his running mate,” The New York Daily News writes in response to Santorum telling CBN’s Brody: “Of course,” he’d be Romney’s VP if asked. “As I always say, this is the most important race in our country’s history. I’m going to do everything I can. I’m doing everything I can.”

Ouch. The New York Post dubs Santorum “Side-Show Rick.”