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Some Wednesday Political Stories To Ponder

Feb 22, 2012

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Obama Embraces His Inner Republican: In what some will no doubt see as a cynical attempt to co-opt a traditionally Republican issue, President Obama will propose Wednesday that the top corporate tax rate be reduced to 28 percent from 35 percent with a concurrent reduction in loopholes.

In fairness to the president, he has in the past stated his support for the idea of reforming the tax code by lowering rates while ending certain tax breaks. But with all the remaining Republican presidential candidates arguing for tax cuts, Obama's proposal should allow him to better rebut GOP charges that he's a tax-hiking liberal who's bad for the economy.

Republicans Debate Yet Again: Republican presidential candidates will have their 20th debate, this one with less than a week to go before primaries in Michigan and Arizona. Some are frankly sick of these encounters though Wednesday night's rendition in Mesa, AZ may be the most important yet.

It finds Rick Santorum either tied or ahead of Mitt Romney in polls of voters in key states or nationally. Santorum has surged in part on the strength of his culture-warrior message even as his opponents have attacked him for not being conservative enough on fiscal issues.

Students of presidential politics will be watching closely to see how his opponents, especially Romney, attempt to neutralize him. Politico's Mike Allen asks an interesting question: "Will Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have ash on their foreheads?" both men being Catholics, this being Ash Wednesday and religion having risen to become an important part of the political campaign.

Billionaires United: Both the New York Times and the Washington Post focus on the millionaires and billionaires who have reshaped the 2012 presidential contest by funneling millions of dollars into Republican superPACs. Both the Times and the Post cite Harold Simmons of Texas who alone has given $14 million to GOP superPACs this election cycle.

Simmons and his fellow superwealthy supergivers to GOP political causes have given more than $50 million to superPACs so far this cycle, according to the NYT. Superwealthy Democrats haven't come close to this kind of superPAC giving. The Post uses a quote, already an instant classic, from Newt Gingrich backer Sheldon Adelson's Forbes interview: "I'm against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it's doable, I'm going to do it."

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