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Off to the races: Romney's 'potentially awkward' CPAC speech

The Boston Globe previews Mitt Romney’s CPAC speech. It notes that Romney is not being billed as a headliner by CPAC the way Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul and even Sarah Palin are. He’s “just another face in the crowd, listed alphabetically a few screens down, among several dozen other speakers and coming just before Wayne Allyn Root, the 2008 libertarian nominee for vice president.” It also calls his speech a “potentially awkward return.”

The online Tea Party group site “Conservative HQ” is calling on Romney to apologize at CPAC with a column titled, “Romney Must Apologize at CPAC.” From the column: “He should then apologize to the assembled conservative activists, and Americans in general, for running a content-free campaign that inflicted four more years of Barack Obama and his radical secular liberal agenda on a country already being bled white by the wounds inflicted during Obama’s first term.”

So why’s he going? Eric Fehrnstrom: “CPAC has been very good to Mitt Romney over the years and this is an opportunity for him to go back and express his appreciation. Mitt won CPAC’s straw poll four times in the last six years, including in 2012, when it helped stop Rick Santorum’s momentum at a critical moment in the primary campaign.”

So what will he focus on? One adviser expects him to be “full-throated” with no office to run for, and “Former advisers expect Romney will talk about the economy, the issue that guided him during the campaign. Budget and tax issues still dominate the debate in Washington, which Romney had made a centerpiece of his campaign.”

The guy who shot the 47% video apparently was a bartender at the event. And Ed Schultz interviewed him Tuesday night. Schultz teased that the man will reveal himself tonight on the show.

Politico: “CPAC muddle mirrors GOP mess.”

MAINE: Look at another Republican governor softening their stance on the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. “Maine’s governor, Republican Paul LePage, has dialed back his staunch opposition to Medicaid expansion and entered discussions with the Obama administration over the possibility of accepting billions in federal funding to provide health insurance for the state’s poorest residents,” the Boston Globe reports. “The apparent shift comes just weeks after eight other Republican governors, once vocal critics of Obama’s national healthcare overhaul law, surprised conservatives by announcing their intent to expand Medicaid to those with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line.” More: “A Globe report last month highlighted how LePage, the sole governor in New England refusing to expand Medicaid, was going a step further and dropping current recipients from the rolls beginning in March.”

MASSACHUSETTS: What a contrast in ads in the Democratic primary in the Senate race.  Stephen Lynch goes heavy bio, emphasizing that he was an ironworker, who grew up in public housing: “In Congress, I’ve learned doing what’s right means knowing when to compromise and when to stand firm.” 

Ed Markey’s running against guns: “I’ll stand up to the gun lobby. I want these guns off our streets.” (Markey and Lynch will debate March 27.)

The Republican candidates for Senate debated.

Scott Brown’s joining a Boston law firm. The Boston Globe: “The job allows Brown to begin cashing in on his contacts with the financial services industry, which he helped oversee in the Senate. He received hefty donations from the industry during his race last year against Warren.”

MICHIGAN: The height of the trees maybe weren’t just right for Scott Romney. Mitt Romney’s brother won’t run for the open Senate seat.