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After a drug war that's killed some 50,000 people, Mexico is now beginning a three-month presidential campaign. Is there any way to reduce the violence? What about legalization?  Will the election results have consequences for the United States? Also, George Zimmerman's bail hearing, and prostitutes in Colombia, bureaucrats in Las Vegas pose distracting embarrassments for the Obama campaign.

Banner image: A marijuana themed belt adorns the victim of an apparent drug-related execution on February 29, 2012 in Acapulco, Mexico. Drug violence surged in the coastal resort last year, making Acapulco Mexico's second most deadly city after Juarez. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Making News George Zimmerman Bail Hearing 7 MIN, 35 SEC

The shooter in the Trayvon Martin killing will be set free on $150,000 bond. George Zimmerman spoke directly to Martin's family during today's bail hearing in Sanford, Florida. Apologizing, he said he didn't know whether Martin was armed. Judge Kenneth Lester said that GPS monitoring will be required and that Zimmerman might be allowed to leave Florida for his own safety. Speaking on behalf of Martin's family, attorney Benjamin Crump expressed outrage that Zimmerman "got to give a self-serving apology to help him get a bond." Jeff Weiner is covering the story for the Orlando Sentinel.

Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel (@jeffweineros)

Main Topic Mexico's Presidential Election and the War on Drugs 35 MIN, 58 SEC

When Felipe Calderón was elected President six years ago, he declared a military offensive against Mexico's murderous drug cartels. Since then, 50,000 people have died. Calderón's term is over and he is barred from seeking a second six-year term. Former President Vicente Fox has called for drug legalization, and although all three major candidates in the July election have pledged to reduce the violence, none has been specific so early in a three-month campaign. Enrique Peña Nieto, the leading candidate, belongs to the PRI, which ran the country for 70 years; Calderón's conservative PAN party is running Josefina Vázquez Mota, the first woman candidate of a major party; and the left-leaning PRD has nominated Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the former Mayor of Mexico City. We hear about a nation of disillusioned voters, and what the election results could mean for the US.

David Luhnow, Wall Street Journal
Andres Rozental, veteran career diplomat in Mexico
John Ackerman, National Autonomous University of Mexico (@JohnMAckerman)
Mark Kleiman, New York University (@MarkARKleiman)

Marijuana Legalization

Jonathan P. Caulkins

Reporter's Notebook Will the Sexy Scandals Blow Back on the President? 7 MIN, 27 SEC

While President Obama talks about oil-market manipulation and international relations, the media have been reporting about the Secret Service misbehaving with prostitutes in Colombia and General Services Administration bureaucrats partying in Las Vegas. American soldiers posing with the body parts of dead Afghan insurgents are also on top of the news. Michelle Cottle, Washington correspondent for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, has more on the juicy scandals that are interfering with Obama's campaign message.

Michelle Cottle, Newsweek/Daily Beast


Warren Olney

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