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Mitt Romney dropped out of the Republican race for President today, making John McCain's nomination a virtual certainty.  We hear what Romney said and where Republicans go from here.  Also, Alaskan oil leases and polar bears.

Main Topic Romney Says Goodbye at CPAC 22 MIN, 8 SEC

John McCain will address a traditionally hostile crowd of conservatives today at the Conservative Political Action Committee in hopes of building support from the base of his party. But in the meantime, Mitt Romney has stolen the moment by dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. After a series of applause lines the CPAC audience wanted to hear, he explained, "I entered this race because I love America. And because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I now have to stand aside for our party and for our country." Romney's "suspended" campaign leaves Mike Huckabee as McCain's only remaining obstacle, whether conservatives like it or not. We hear what Romney said, consider the consequences and look at McCain's failure to vote yes or no on economic stimulus.

Michael Scherer, Time Magazine (@michaelscherer)
John Hawkins, RightWingNews.com (@johnhawkinsrwn)
Charlie Mahtesian, Politico (@PoliticoCharlie)
Frank Phillips, State House Bureau Chief, Boston Globe

Main Topic The Pending Economic Stimulus Plan 17 MIN, 38 SEC

Last night, John McCain passed up a chance to vote for--or against--the Senate's version of a "stimulus package," which would have included tax rebates for 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton interrupted campaigning to provide their votes, but the measure fell one vote short. Now there appears to be a compromise. Will it give the economy a needed boost?  Is it a cure that could be worse than the disease?

Jason Furman, Harvard Kennedy School of Government (@jasonfurman)
Andrew Samwick, former Chief Economist, President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers
Sarah Lueck, Congressional Reporter, Wall Street Journal

Reporter's Notebook Polar Bear Habitat Threatened by Drilling Leases in Alaska 9 MIN, 8 SEC

It's been said that polar bears are now the poster-species for global warming. The Bush Administration may declare them endangered. But while that decision is pending, the Minerals Management Service has sold oil leases in marine habitat used by one of Alaska's two polar bear populations. Royal Dutch Shell was the high bidder today for oil leases in the Chuckchi Sea off the northwest shore of Alaska, an area slightly smaller than the State of Pennsylvania. Brad Knickerbocker writes for the Christian Science Monitor.

Brad Knickerbocker, Reporter, Christian Science Monitor

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