The short take on the Louisiana primary on Saturday: Pollsters predict that Mitt Romney will lose this one to Rick Santorum, who’s already wooed the Deep South with much down-home success. Numbers from a new Rasmussen Reports survey find Mr. Santorum in the lead with 43 percent of voter support, followed by Mr. Romney at 31 percent, Newt Gingrich at 16 percent and Rep. Ron Paul at 5 percent.
There will be cozy talk, and justifiably so, that Mr. Santorum still commands respect and strong sentiment from voters who admire the man’s tenacity, faith and family values. Mr. Romney is not “inevitable,” they say, fingers crossed. Yeah, well. Then along comes the latest Gallup daily tracking poll revealing Mr. Romney’s highest positive review yet: He’s got 38 percent of Republican support nationwide, with Mr. Santorum garnering 27 percent.
Rick Santorum will revel in the friendly territory of Louisiana for just a spell this weekend. He’ll fire a few at a shooting range in Ouachita Parish and whoop it up at Rally for Rick gatherings in Shreveport and Pineville before departing for a single stop in Pennsylvania — and five more in Wisconsin in the next 48 hours.
An undaunted Ron Paul also journeys to the Pelican State for raucous rallies at college campuses in Pineville and Hammond. Mr. Paul does not appear poised to drop out of the White House derby anytime soon, either. He’ll host a private fundraiser in a swanky Bel Air, Calif., home at $2,500 a plate with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the 2007 best-seller “The Black Swan,” which aptly predicted the coming economic crisis. The date? May 1.
Also undaunted, Newt Gingrich will preside over 10 events in Louisiana before he, too, departs to campaign in Pennsylvania. Mitt Romney has a handful of meet-and-greets scheduled in Louisiana, then roars off for a fundraiser in Redwood, Calif.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is not off the radar yet. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips points out that Mr. Perry registered a noisy little blip during the Illinois primary, and the activist says it has significance.
“The governor of Texas, who dropped out of the race months ago, still pulled over 1 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney got roughly 428,000 votes. Perry got almost 5,500 votes. Perry, who is out of the race, who did not make an appearance in Illinois, who has endorsed another candidate, still pulled in 1 percent of the vote,” Mr. Phillips says, adding that the phenomenon is a “foreshadowing” of future disaster.
“Even with that massive spending,” Mr. Romney did not get 50 percent of the vote, Mr. Phillips warns, and that does not bode well should he face President Obama on the November ballot, he says.
ME, UH, CULPA
“Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize … I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada.”
- HBO host Bill Maher in a New York Times op-ed titled “Please Stop Apologizing”
WEEKEND WONK READING
Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, has produced a follow-up analysis of the spending blueprint marked up earlier this week; the analysis shows that his plan actually could balance the budget in a decade. This according to an analysis of the analysis by Americans for Tax Reform. See it online at this lengthy but exact address): http://budget.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Altgrowthscenario3222012.pdf
TEA AND TRUMPETS
This is no tepid brew: Adamant lawmakers, tea partyers and limited-government lovers will invade Capitol Hill in the next three days to bring their own case to the attention of the Supreme Court — and everyone else, for that matter — as the justices hear three days of arguments over the constitutionality of health care reform, beginning Monday.
The Road to Repeal Rally, organized by the Tea Party Patriots and scheduled for nigh noon Saturday in upper Senate Park, draws some big names. Among the main repealers of the day: Herman Cain, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Dan Benishek of Michigan, filmmaker and newly appointed president of Breitbart Media Stephen K. Bannon, Faith & Freedom Coalition Director Ken Blackwell, 60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin and a dozen regional tea party groups.
Things get louder Tuesday when Americans for Prosperity stages a Hands Off My Health Care rally in the very same park, with an even grander cast. Among the many speakers: Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Republican Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Allen B. West of Florida.
An eager phalanx of interest groups also will be on hand, from Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council and Heartland Institute to the Institute for Liberty, Judicial Action Group, Let Freedom Ring and Smart Girl Politics.
POLL DU JOUR
• 60 percent of Americans give the overall job President Obama is doing a negative rating; 93 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats agree.
• 40 percent give Mr. Obama’s job performance a positive rating; 7 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of Democrats agree.
• 50 percent overall think President Obama will be re-elected; 19 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats agree.
• 32 percent say he will not win re-election; 58 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of Democrats agree.
• 49 percent overall say if the election were today, it is “unlikely” they would vote for Mr. Obama; 89 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of “swing state voters” agree.
Source: A Harris Poll of 2,451 U.S. adults conducted March 12 to 19.
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