It’s the start of Presidents’ Day weekend. Here are ten things you need to know today.
- Watch for DeWine endorsement switch fallout: State Attorney General and former US Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) switched his presidential endorsement from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Friday, but it’s the fallout to watch. Predictably, the Romney camp shrugged it off and the Santorum himself touted it. The real question is whether the Republican establishment is straying at all from Romney — if no one else follows DeWine, it’s a blip on the way to the nod for the former governor. If he’s still behind in Michigan as the February 28th primary vote there approaches, and other start hedging, Romney has (another) real problem.
- Democrats react to DeWine Never missing an opportunity to stoke the fires of the messy GOP primary process, Ohio Democrats mocked the DeWine switch in a press release on Friday. “As is true for countless Ohioans, the more Mike DeWine learned about Mitt Romney, the less he liked,” Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Seth Bringman said. For Romney’s part, campaign surrogate Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) tried to turn the tables on Santorum, saying he doesn’t have “the basic level of comptence” to run for president.
- DSCC says the culture war will backfire: National Republicans are employing a coordinated push on the the new Heath and Human Services rules on contraception coverage, defining it as an attack on religious freedom on the campaign trail and holding hearings on Capitol Hill. But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an email to reporters on Friday saying that the whole strategy will backfire. Look at the Sen. Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) re-election campaign in 2010, or the personhood referendum in Mississippi, two races in which conservative forces clung hard to social issues, they said. “If it played well for Democrats in Mississippi,” the DSCC wrote, “How will in play in Northern Virginia?”
- DCCC outraises GOP counterpart, but has less in the bank: In the campaign for control of the other House of Congress, the Democratic Congressional Committee had its best fundraising month ever, hauling in $6.02 million. Republicans brought in $4.8 million, and touted the fact that they still have a cash on hand advantage over the Dems of 4.5 million.
- Santorum campaigns across Ohio Saturday: Rick Santorum is having a good run in Ohio — leading in the polls for the Republican primary there, and of course winning DeWine to his side — and he’ll be in the state all Saturday. He starts out the day at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, heads across town to the Ohio Christian Alliance 2012 Freedom Luncheon, and makes an appearance at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Akron later in the day.
- Dems fundraise off of Congressional contraception hearing: The House Oversight Committee’s hearing on the Obama administration’s new contraception rule made an enormous splash this week, and both sides think they have a winning issue. But it’s Democrats that are using the hearing as a platform to fundraise — citing the fact that no women were asked to testify at hearing on an issue involving women’s health. The DSCC, DCCC and Emily’s List all sent out emails to supporters asking for contributions featuring references to the hearing. “I feel like I woke up this morning on the set of ‘Mad Men,” wrote DSCC chariwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
- Romney heads to Utah for Olympics event: Mitt Romney will attend an event marking the 10th anniversary of the successful Winter Olympic Games that Romney shepherded in 2002. He’ll attend a Team 2002 Reception and a Stars on Ice performance.
- Judge: Walker recall is going forward: A judge ruled late Friday that the campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) will not get extra time to review the all signatures submitted to trigger a recall election, and thus will not be delayed. The Walker team had hoped for more time to review all one million signatures Democrats had submitted to trigger the recall, which could have pushed back the election. But they failed to show a reason for an extension, the judge ruled, as the Walker team wasn’t able to find a high enough rate of error rate in the signatures Dems had submitted, and therefore it’s unlikely they will nix enough to get the recall election cancelled. Read more here.
- Paul makes a play for caucus states: Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has largely faded from the presidential race as Romney and Santorum duke it out, but the libertarian is focusing on the small caucus states rather than the larger primaries in Michigan and Arizona on February 28th. “Right now, Washington, North Dakota, and Alaska are the top priorities,” Paul wrote in an email to supporters on Friday.
- Christie vetoes gay marriage bill: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) did what he said he would — veto a bill passed by the state legislature that legalized gay marriage within its borders late on Friday. “I am adhering to what I’ve said since this bill was first introduced — an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide,” Christie said in a statement, referring to his position that the issue should be decided by a referendum vote. Supporters argue that civil rights shouldn’t be decided by popular votes, but guaranteed through the legislative process.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.