Washington Extra – Looking for love

February 7, 2012

Is three a crowd?

Republican candidates wooing voters are hoping for a “Yes” in three nominating contests tonight.

Mitt Romney went looking for votes in Loveland, hoping Colorado will give him an early Valentine.

The walls were lined with stuffed animals including a bobcat and raccoon and the candidate kept ’em waiting.

Our Steve Holland was on-site and reports the following exchange.

“What are we 15, 20 minutes late?” Romney asked on arrival. “An hour,” a woman shouted back. (Doesn’t sound like much love lost there).

Whoever wins the Missouri “beauty contest” doesn’t get a real commitment because the results are non-binding.

As for who caught the voter’s eye most recently, see the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Here are our top stories from Washington…

Romney’s lead dips despite wins-Reuters/Ipsos poll

Despite his strong showing in early state contests in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney’s support nationwide has dipped slightly during the past month, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. The former Massachusetts governor’s three rivals in the race to oppose President Obama in November were in a virtual tie for second, the poll showed. The gaps between the three were within the poll’s margin of error.

For more of this story by Patricia Zengerle, read here.

Santorum eyes revival in US Republican contests

Rick Santorum is gunning for a victory in at least one of the three states holding presidential nominating contests on Tuesday in a bid to slow front-runner Mitt Romney and revive his fading White House hopes. The former senator narrowly won Iowa’s caucuses but his drive to become the main conservative alternative to the more moderate Romney has not played out the way he had hoped. He has had weak showings in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada, the states that have voted since Iowa.

For more of this story by Steve Holland, read here.

Komen VP steps down after Planned Parenthood flap

A senior executive of breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure resigned a week after the group became the target of a public furor for cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. Karen Handel, a Republican who once ran for governor of Georgia on a platform calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, stepped down from her role as senior vice president for public policy and chief lobbyist, the organization said.

For more of this story by David Morgan, read here.

White House says open to compromise over contraception rules

The Obama administration is willing to work with Catholic universities and hospitals in implementing rules that require health insurance to cover birth control. David Axelrod said such institutions have a grace period to find a way to include health insurance coverage for contraception as part of the healthcare overhaul without going against church doctrine.

For more of this story by Susan Heavey, read here.

Key House panel advances Keystone pipeline plan

A plan to fast-track the stalled Keystone XL pipeline passed a key committee in the House of Representatives, as Republicans made yet another attempt to spur approval of the project that has become a major issue in the 2012 elections. The bill would wrest decision-making on the pipeline from the Obama administration and hand it to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which would be compelled to quickly issue approval permits.

For more of this story by Roberta Rampton, read here.

Bernanke urges Congress to address Bush tax cuts

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress that putting off a decision on the fate of expiring Bush administration tax cuts could unsettle businesses and households, undercutting the economic recovery. With elections looming, many analysts think Congress is unlikely to act until the final months of the year. The tax cuts expire on Jan. 1.

For more of this story by Mark Felsenthal, read here.

Obama proposes money for math, science education

President Obama proposed $80 million in new government funding for a program to boost science and math education in schools. Obama, who is running for re-election at a time when the economy is voters’ top concern, has sought to emphasize math and science education as key to a robust recovery. Many business leaders have complained that a shortage of workers with strong math and science skills has forced them to look abroad.

For more of this story by Samson Reiny, read here.

‘ShePAC’ rallies for conservative Republican women

An adviser to Sarah Palin, a Tea Party leader and a Republican politician are starting a super PAC to endorse conservative women running for office and gather women’s support for the Republican nominee in the presidential election. ShePAC is the brainchild of Tim Crawford, who has advised Palin and former President Ronald Reagan; Teri Christoph, one of the original Tea Party activists; and Suzanne Haik Terrell, former Senate candidate from Louisiana who now runs a group that encourages Republican women to run for office.

For more of this story by Alina Selyukh, read here.

From elsewhere…

California gay marriage ban overturned, appeal planned

A U.S. appeals court found California’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional in a case that is likely to lead to a showdown on the issue in the Supreme Court. Proponents of the ban said they would appeal the ruling. The appeal is likely to keep gay marriage on hold pending future proceedings. But gay marriage supporters celebrated.

For more of this story, read here.

For more stories from our Washington correspondents visit www.reuters.com and stay informed.

Photo Credits: REUTERS/Rick Wilking (Romney at camapign event in Loveland, Colorado); (Santorum in Golden, Colorado)

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