With ‘Super Tuesday’ On The Horizon, GOP Presidential Candidates Embroiled In Health Policy, Social Issues
Also in the news, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds that GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is experiencing a resurgence, just as President Barack Obama's approval rating hit its highest point since last May.
The Wall Street Journal: Romney Advances As Obama Gains
The resurgence of Mr. Romney, who hadn't led the Journal poll since November, lays the path for a potential matchup against a president whose own position is strengthening. President Barack Obama's approval rate hit 50% in the poll, its highest since last May, as more voters expressed confidence in the economy. … The survey, conducted as the GOP contest has taken up contentious issues such as contraception, found signs of fatigue with the process (King, 3/5).
The Associated Press: Analysis: Social Issues Constrain GOP
Once deeply vulnerable, President Barack Obama has seen his fortunes take a dramatic turn for the better as the Republican Party splits between its historic business-friendly establishment and the powerful tug of more conservative and social issues voters... Republicans, who normally shy away from criticism of Limbaugh's powerful voice, joined in distancing themselves from words that drew bipartisan condemnation. But the issue seemed certain to deepen the concerns of many women voters, who — along with the broad spectrum of all independents — will likely determine the ultimate outcome in November (Hurst, 3/5).
USA Today: Ohio GOP Voters Grow Weary Of Social Issues In Campaign
Some Republican voters in this key swing state have grown weary of the talk of contraception and religion in the GOP primary campaign (Kucinich, 3/5).
Reuters: Santorum Blasts Romney On Healthcare Ahead Of Ohio Vote
Republican Rick Santorum lashed out at chief rival Mitt Romney on Saturday as "uniquely unqualified" to challenge President Barack Obama in November's election and urged Ohio voters to join him in rejecting the party's old-boy establishment. ... He said Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had forfeited his ability to fight Obama's federal healthcare overhaul by backing a similar plan in Massachusetts that included an individual mandate to purchase insurance (Whitesides, 3/3).
Bloomberg/The Washington Post: Romney Camp Questions Santorum's Competence Ahead Of Super Tuesday
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's advisers questioned rival Rick Santorum's competence and electability as Santorum criticized Romney for his health-care policies as Massachusetts governor ahead of contests held March 6 on so-called Super Tuesday. As the candidates competed in Ohio yesterday, the Romney campaign said Santorum's failure to qualify for some of the 66 Ohio delegates up for grabs is a symbol of broader troubles, arguing that it shows the former Pennsylvania senator has a disorganized campaign and couldn't compete with President Barack Obama in the general election (Davis and McCormick, 3/4).
The Washington Post: Santorum Moves To Shore Up Support Before Super Tuesday
Santorum is expected to do well in Oklahoma and in Tennessee, where he attended a church service Sunday morning. … About 500 people showed up at a rally in front of the state capitol, but protesters interrupted Santorum, forcing him to shout his attacks on President Obama and Romney, whom he criticized for enacting Massachusetts’s health-care law when he was governor (Henderson and Rucker 3/4).
In the background, candidates face fallout from Rush Limbaugh's remarks (for more coverage, see related Daily Report item) -
Boston Globe: Romney Is Criticized For Response To Limbaugh's Remarks
Mitt Romney was criticized this morning for not more forcefully denouncing Rush Limbaugh's comments that a Georgetown law student was a "slut" for advocating for expanded birth control coverage. ... "I'll just say this, which is, it's not the language I would have used," Romney said on Friday, while signing autographs after an event in Cleveland. "I'm focusing on the issues that I think are significant in the country today, and that's why I'm here talking about jobs and Ohio" (Viser, 3/4).
The Associated Press: Santorum: Limbaugh 'Entertainer,' Comment 'Absurd'
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says radio host Rush Limbaugh was "being absurd" when he suggested a college student record sex tapes and share them in exchange for contraception. Santorum told CNN on Friday that Limbaugh is an "entertainer" taking an absurd point of view (3/2).
The Associated Press: Republican Hopefuls Sprint To Super Tuesday
Ten states across all regions of the country will hold GOP nominating contests Tuesday, presenting a critical test of momentum and organization for the GOP hopefuls in what's become a prolonged battle for the right to take on Democratic President Barack Obama in November. ... The GOP framed the [contraception coverage] issue as one of religious liberty. But Obama's chief political strategist suggested that Limbaugh's comments — and Republicans' slow repudiation of them — would benefit Democrats in the general election this fall (Hunt and Peoples, 3/5).