FROM John Hawkins
Did Super Tuesday Make Any Difference? In six out of 10 states on Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney was the ultimate winner. But in Virginia — where Santorum and Gingrich weren't on the ballot — Ron Paul got 41 percent of the vote. In the big Midwest showdown in Ohio, Romney only defeated Santorum by one point. Super Tuesday is over, but the Republicans still don't have an "inevitable" nominee. We look at yesterday's numbers and the issues that might or might not unite the party against the Democratic incumbent come November.
Did Super Tuesday Make Any Difference? On Monday, former First Lady Barbara Bush told a conference that this year's Republicans are running " the worst campaign I've ever seen in my life ." Yesterday, in ten states around the country, Republican voters told exit pollsters they were frustrated by their own candidates' attacks on each other. In six out of 10 states on Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney was the ultimate winner. But in Virginia — where Santorum and Gingrich weren't on the ballot — Ron Paul got 41 percent of the vote, and in the big Midwest showdown in Ohio, Romney only defeated Santorum by one point. Romney still leads, but his staff is telling reporters he might not be able to sew it up before the primaries are over in June. What are yesterday's lessons for the GOP nomination and the chances against Obama in November?
A Last Ditch Debate before a Crucial Primary Newt Gingrich says Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee if he wins South Carolina tomorrow. But last night's debate started with Gingrich's past sex-life . Rick Santorum called Gingrich "grandiose," and Gingrich retorted that Santorum had "small" ideas. Romney struggled over releasing his tax returns and dodged questions on Bain Capital . Santorum said Romney wasn't reliably "pro-life." Will Gingrich's lead in current polls mean a victory tomorrow? Does Santorum have a chance to be the "anti-Romney" in Florida later this month?
Chris Christie: The Man Who Didn't Say 'No' Rick Perry 's performance in last week's debate of GOP presidential candidates has been called a "train wreck," and "close to disqualifying" by fellow Republicans cool to Mitt Romney . GOP pundits, professionals and political donors are looking for somebody new, but after denying any interest, the Governor of New Jersey is now playing it coy. What did he say, and what didn't he say last night at the Reagan Library in California. If he did get in, who would he hurt most? Could he mount an effective campaign in time for next year's primaries? Can anybody unite the Republican Party?
Can Republicans Keep Their Party Together? House Speaker John Boehner has said that taking control of Congress was "the first big adult moment" in years for the Republican Party. Now the very same Tea Partiers and other movement conservatives that helped Republicans win control of the Congress are challenging the GOP establishment, starting with Michele Bachmann. The controversial Minnesota Congresswoman says she's not Boehner's rival, but she got national attention with a televised response to the State of the Union speech even though Wisconsin's Paul Ryan had just provided the official rebuttal . Veteran Senators Hatch, Lugar and Snowe face challenges in next year's GOP primaries, and Presidential hopefuls may face a right-wing litmus test in New Hampshire. Is the Party divided between pragmatists who want to work within the system and ideologues who want to blow it up? Michele Bachmann responds to State of the Union
Will Big Money Save a Divided Republican Party? In Alaska, Utah, Nevada and now New Hampshire, Tea Party-backed candidates for the US Senate have defeated party stalwarts in this year's Republican primaries. But the poster child may be Christine O'Donnell , who defeated former governor and incumbent Congressman Mike Castle this week in Delaware. Even Karl Rove calls her too “nutty” to beat Democrat Chris Coons in November, in a race that could decide which party controls the Senate.
Will Big Money Save a Divided Republican Party? In Alaska, Utah, Nevada and now New Hampshire, Tea Party-backed candidates for the US Senate have defeated party stalwarts in this year's Republican primaries. But the poster child may be Christine O'Donnell . The right-winger, who's made an issue of masturbation , defeated former governor and incumbent Congressman Mike Castle this week in Delaware. Democrats may think the Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot, but veteran GOP operatives, including Karl Rove, are not lying down. We hear about massive, coordinated spending plans, backed by the very mainstream establishment Tea Partiers love to hate. Karl Rove discusses O'Donnell on Fox News
Can Tea Parties Brew Real Political Change? Some polls show hypothetical Tea Party candidates with more support than Democrats or Republicans, but the key word is “hypothetical.” As the Tea Party Convention begins today in Nashville, it's not clear that any candidate could get away with claiming “Tea Party” association. Republicans are trying to focus their anger, but tea-partiers lump both major parties into one, hated Establishment. Why have so many original organizers pulled out of this week's convention? Will Sarah Palin damage her image by appearing and taking a big fee? Will the convention define a political movement or dramatize differences that can't be resolved?
Romney Says Goodbye at CPAC 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.
Rudolph Giuliani: The Image and the Reality For political pundits, the big surprise of this year's presidential campaigns has been the continuing lead among Republicans of Rudolph Giuliani . Conventional wisdom has it that the former Mayor of New York is liberal on social issues and conservative on foreign policy. Polls show that moral issues don't matter as much this year as they did in the last two campaigns, and that Giuliani leads with Republican voters because they think he's a strong leader without knowing just what he stands for. With President Bush talking tough about Iran's nuclear development, where does Giuliani come down on another invasion? What about the indictment of a former top aide? We look at foreign policy and hear what polls show about Giuliani's popularity among social conservatives.
Progress Report on the Presidential Campaigns With six months left until primary voters go to the polls, Democrats are raising more money than Republicans and seem to like their available options. For Republicans, it's " none of the above ." Clinton continues to lead Obama and Edwards , but among Giuliani , McCain , Romney and Thompson , there's no clear front-runner. What's happened to John McCain? Who is Fred Thompson ? Is the Iraq war still the defining issue? What about immigration? Will the political center finally make the difference or has the electorate evolved into warring extremes? We look at the candidates in both parties.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.