GINGRICH: “Newt Gingrich's campaign is laying off a third of its paid staff, replacing its campaign manager, and lightening the campaign schedule as he continues with poor finishes in elections and is receiving little incoming money for his campaign,” NBC’s Alex Moe reports.
Politico was the first news organization to report that development.
The New York Daily News calls Gingrich cutting staff a “last-ditch effort.”
PAUL: Remember him? The New York Times asks: “Whatever happened to Ron Paul? He came in second in the New Hampshire primary. He has raised more money than any Republican candidate except for Mitt Romney. His campaign rallies still draw thousands of fervent supporters, far more than any of his rivals’. College students give him rock-star treatment, and he is planning rallies at 30 campuses over two months. But turn those strengths into a candidacy with a real shot at the Republican presidential nomination? It never happened.”
ROMNEY: “Mitt Romney trails Barack Obama by 19 points in basic popularity as the 2012 presidential contest inches closer to the main event, with a record 50 percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll now rating Romney unfavorably overall,” ABC says. “Thirty-four percent hold a favorable opinion of Romney, the lowest for any leading presidential candidate in ABC/Post polls in primary seasons since 1984. His unfavorable score is higher than Obama ever has received.”
A Franklin and Marshall poll, though, shows Romney down just 2 points in the Pennsylvania primary now to Santorum, 30%-28%. GOP 12 notes, “Romney has shaved off 13% of Rick Santorum's lead in PA in one month.”
On The Tonight Show, Romney derided Santorum as a “press secretary.”
Romney also had this health-care exchange with Leno: "People with pre-existing conditions, as long as they have been insured before, they are going to be able to continue to have insurance," Romney said, describing his vision for health care if the Affordable Care Act were to be struck down or repealed.
"Suppose they haven't been insured," Leno countered.
"If they are 45 years old and they show up and say I want insurance because I have heart disease, it's like, ‘Hey guys. We can't play the game like that. You've got to get insurance when you are well and then if you get ill, you are going to be covered,’" Romney responded.
But when Leno pushed back, telling Romney he had friends who had worked in the auto industry who had never had insurance before and now were able to get coverage, Romney seemed to soften his stance somewhat.
"We'll look at a circumstance where someone is ill and hasn't been insured so far, but people who have the chance to be insured – if you are working in the auto business for instance, the companies carry insurance, they insure their employees, you look at the circumstances that exist – but people who have done their best to get insured are going to be able to be covered," Romney said. "But you don't want everyone saying, ‘I am going to sit back until I get sick and then go buy insurance.’ That doesn't make sense. But you get defined rules and get people in who are playing by the rules."
Norm Ornstein writes that Paul Ryan’s plan matters even if it doesn’t go anywhere now, because it’s close to being official GOP policy, since Romney’s embraced it.