Rick Perry goes back to Texas diminished by his Iowa flameout, but his ally Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal impressed many in Iowa with a more compelling stump speech than any of the candidates'...Michele Bachmann just might return to Congress less in demand by the grassroots and conservative media...Rick Santorum's campaign manager, Michael Biundo, learned his politics in New Hampshire working for Pat Buchanan's underdog primary win in 1996...Will Jon Huntsman show some last-minute fight in New Hampshire, or is his eye now trained on 2016 and beyond? His shot at a job in any Republican Cabinet is probably gone.
As the Romney bandwagon becomes standing room only, Mitt Romney should thank George H.W. Bush, John McCain and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte for their early endorsements. Each has extra clout with key elements of the GOP ... Watch Republicans make nicey-nice with Ron Paul to court his supporters and keep him from running as an independent ... As Romney gets closer to the nomination, look for signs that he is moving toward the center, making plays for Hispanic and female voters. Listen to conservative talk-radio hosts to see if they go to war with the GOP front runner--or embrace him.
Obama's aides have been itching for the fight against Romney for months, if only to divert the spotlight from the ailing economy. To stay ahead of the fall matchup, follow Obama's David Axelrod and Romney's Eric Fehrnstrom on Twitter. The only politician luckier than Romney is Obama, who believes the long Republican fight in 2011 has revived his chances to keep his job.
New Voter-ID Laws
Voting is starting to look like flying: you may need a government ID to participate. Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas enacted ballot-security laws in 2011. Nearly 30 other states considered enhanced ID checks at the polls. Advocates say the new measures prevent fraud; the Obama Justice Department has raised concerns that the rules may dampen turnout among minorities and the elderly.
What to bring to the ballot box
PHOTO ID REQUIRED
PHOTO ID PREFERRED
NO VOTER-ID LAW
SOURCE: NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES
Number of U.S. banks that failed in 2011, an improvement over 2010, when 157 banks were wiped out, and 2009, when 140 went bust
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has begun a yearlong campaign to prevent lawmakers from cutting any more than $450 billion from the Pentagon's nearly $6 trillion 10-year spending plan. Military reformers believe the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines could weather budget cuts of twice that amount, paring weapons and personnel costs back to the 2007 levels now that one war is over and another is winding down. Panetta says his $450 billion in cuts are "manageable" but warns that deeper reductions are unacceptable.
Ohio has permitted 194 wells for fracking wastewater