- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2012

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.

CANDIDATE TRACKER

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.

PERRYFIED

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

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