Noam Scheiber

Senior Editor

The good news for Mitt Romney is that he comes out of Tuesday night with a boatload of delegates and a symbolically important win in Wisconsin, where it was once tempting to imagine Rick Santorum pulling off an upset.

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By this point in the primary season, everyone has his or her preferred metric for predicting the outcome of a given contest. We’ve all noticed that Mitt Romney tends to perform well in states with small evangelical and rural populations, and in states with large numbers of college grads and affluent voters, while the opposite is generally true for Rick Santorum.  Since Wisconsin’s smallish evangelical population cuts the opposite way of its large-ish rural population, let’s keep things simple and take the final two demographic factors. According to the U.S.

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Don't get me wrong, I see the appeal of nailing down George HW Bush's endorsement. It signals to the GOP establishment and the media that the nomination is effectively over, probably helps Romney raise some money, and maybe gets a few more fence-sitting Republican elites on board. Still, I'm not entirely sure that outweighs the negatives in Romney's case. After all, Romney is doing fine in the GHW Bush wing of the Republican Party.

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There was something slightly poignant, slightly comical about George H.W. Bush's endorsement of Romney yesterday. This sequence in particular (via Mike Allen's replay of the pool report): As your pool was being ushered out, Romney pointed to a portrait, of the two presidents Bush staring off into a distance, that hung in the far corner of the office. ‘I love that picture over there of the two presidents,’ he said. ‘Father and son. That’s quite a, that’s quite a legacy.’ Bush pointed to the same wall, where a blue flag was encased in glass.

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Reid Cherlin, a former Obama White House spokesman whose portfolio included health care, had an interesting post up at GQ.com yesterday about why the Affordable Care Act is so damn hard to sell. The gist: It would have been easy for Verrilli—or any of us—to explain single-payer health care. "Look," we could have said, "the government is paying for everyone to have coverage." End of story. But single-payer is not what our brilliant, world-leading political system gave us.

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After reading this Rolling Stone piece about Dartmouth (via Felix Salmon), I now see why the school's president, Jim Yong Kim, who Obama just tapped to head the World Bank, made such a good impression on Tim Geithner: They have very similar views on cultural humility--by which I mean how much you can impose your own values on a foreign culture.

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Matt Bai’s long-awaited, 10,000-word opus on the rise and fall of last summer’s deficit grand-bargain is finally out and very much worth a read. Bai adds a lot of new detail affirming what we thought we knew—which is that Obama was ready to do a deal and Boehner wasn’t—but which got much hazier in recent weeks amid Team Boehner’s furious spin.  Still, for my money, Bai puts too little emphasis on the much deeper problem looming over the whole exercise, which is that it didn’t actually matter whether Boehner was willing to strike a deal.

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I'm not sure this is sign number one, but it definitely makes my top ten list. Over at National Review, Charlotte Hays sides with New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny in his now-notorious exchange with the former Pennsylvania senator: On the video of Rick Santorum’s lashing out at Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, Zeleny appears to be trying to do something we wish more reporters would do: ask the follow-up question. He wants to make sure he heard right: Did Santorum really say that Mitt Romney is the “worst Republican in the country” to go up against Obama?

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Bloomberg has an absolutely terrific piece of reporting out today about how the big banks have mobilized to water down the Volcker Rule—the reform measure designed to prevent federally-backed banks from placing bets for their own bottom line. Here’s the gist: To make their case in Washington, banks and trade associations have been pressing a coordinated campaign to get regulators from five federal agencies to scale back the draft of the proprietary-trading rule issued in October, according to public and internal documents and interviews.

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Last week I wrote about how Karl Rove’s Wall Street Journal rebuttal of the recent Obama campaign documentary was a masterpiece in projection. Of particular interest was this paragraph, in which Rove downplayed Obama’s biggest foreign policy achievement: As for the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film "I hope that's the call I would have made" [emphasis added].

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