Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
OurFuture.org's Terrance Heath:  "As Mitt Romney positioned himself to win a primary contest that should have been over by now, he adopted or reiterated eight positions that hold devastating consequences for Americans struggling through this recession ... Across-The-Board Tax Cut ... Embrace Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan ... Veto the DREAM Act ... Give Student Loan Money Back to Wall Street ... Oppose Contraception Coverage ... Drug-Test Welfare Recipients ... Cut Federal Workers' Pay ...Support National 'Right-To-Work' Law"
Money and negative ads help Romney eke out Ohio. NYT:  "Mr. Santorum complained on Monday that Mr. Romney and his “super PAC” outspent him 12 to 1; the Kantar Media Campaign Media Analysis Group has estimated that at least in television commercials, Mr. Romney’s advantage was more like 3 to 1. One particularly effective commercial that saturated the local airwaves showed Mr. Santorum struggling to explain his position on birth control."
Protracted primary forcing Romney out of the mainstream, argues TNR's Jonathan Cohn:  "Just consider an episode that ... got surprisingly little attention. It happened during a town hall in Youngstown, on Monday, when a college student asked Romney what he would do about rising tuition costs. In response, Romney said ... 'It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that. ... don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.' ... that’s no way to win a general election. Most Americans support government programs that help young people pay for college. The longer this race goes on, the more desperate Romney becomes to protect his right flank, the more he will position himself outside the mainstream."
Republican voters dissatisfied with their candidates. W. Post:  "Barely more than four out of 10 voters in Ohio said they were strongly behind their candidate, according to exit polls."
Romney may not be able to secure of majority of delegates before the convention. McClatchy:  "Looking ahead, Romney is the early favorite in 11 states with a total of 571 delegates up for grabs ... He's a likely underdog in 12 states with a total of 668 delegates ... The longer [his opponents] stay in the campaign and divide the anti-Romney vote, the easier it is for him to win the plurality, if not a majority, of delegates."
Speaker Boehner to hold caucus meeting today to pressure conservatives to back transportation bill. Politico:  "... top Republicans are going to deliver a tough but simple message: Continue to stand against the bill and you’re opposing conservative policy that will fix the flawed way Congress funds road-building and energy production. Join the team — support leadership’s plan to pass a House bill — and you can be part of the solution ... Short of shaking loose a big pile of support — a hefty lift, most concede — House Republican leaders will wave the white flag on a massive plan and are likely to offer the Senate’s legislation — if it passes — or a clean extension of the current highway funding."
Former Gov. Ed Rendell says divided GOP may lead to stronger transportation bill, in Politico oped:  "The original Republican bill, now being revised, was too small to have any real impact on our systems or employment, didn’t adequately address the need for transit investment, weakened Buy America requirements, prohibited using gas tax funds to pay for mass-transit projects and hardly dented the down payment we need to update our crumbling infrastructure systems."
House GOP to move on small biz bills, with WH support, but some Dem queasiness. NYT:  "[Today,] the House is to begin debate on six minor measures to help small businesses raise capital and take their companies public, all packaged together under the title the JOBS Act ... the White House released an official statement of administration policy urging House passage of the Republican bill ... . Democratic aides say Republicans boxed them out of major legislative efforts, like the continuing struggle to fashion a transportation bill, which really could have an impact on the economy. But now they want Democrats to serve as window dressing for a bill whose significance is being greatly exaggerated."
House passes China tariff bill. Reuters:  "The House voted on Tuesday to ensure that the United States could impose duties on subsidized goods from China and Vietnam, overwhelmingly rejecting a conservative group’s attempt to portray it as a tax increase ... The Obama administration helped draw up the bipartisan bill after an appeals court ruled in December that the Commerce Department did not have authority to impose countervailing — or antisubsidy — duties on goods from 'nonmarket economies.'"
President directs housing regulators to cut refi costs. Politico:  "The president announced a new plan to cut refinancing fees for any government-backed mortgage, along with new protections for service members harmed by 'unscrupulous' banks and lenders. The refinancing discounts for FHA-backed mortgages potentially can 'save the typical family an extra $1,000 a year,' the president said, speaking Tuesday in his first news conference in four months. 'It’s like another tax cut that will put more money in people’s pockets.'"
Also announces new program to protect military personnel from illegal foreclosures. ThinkProgress:  "Obama’s plan seeks to remedy those problems by providing relief to members who sold their homes at a loss due to a permanent change in station, and provides $10 billion from mortgage servicers to bolster the Veterans Housing Benefits Program. It also draws on the recent mortgage fraud settlement between the government and major lenders to force banks to compensate servicemembers who were improperly foreclosed upon by paying lost equity, plus interest, and $116,785."
"Economists Project Eight Percent Unemployment by Election Day" reports American Prospect's Jamelle Bouie:  "That’s from a recently released survey of economists from the Associated Press ... With job growth like that—absent a major scandal, economic shock, or foreign policy disaster—Barack Obama becomes a much more likely candidate for reelection."
Bernanke seen as willing to accept higher inflation to create jobs  reports Bloomberg.
OH Gov. Kasich relents on accepting federal disaster assistance. NYT's David Firestone:  "Late Monday, confronted with growing criticism from his own constituents, Mr. Kasich agreed to let FEMA teams into the state, though he has not said whether he will request federal dollars. Refusing federal aid is a familiar theme among those on the right who equate assistance with morally corrupting dependency ... Mitt Romney said last year that disaster aid was part of the 'immoral' debt the country was piling up ... The rugged blather about self-reliance, however, usually stops when the cameras focus on a weeping homeowner, sitting in front of a pile of rubble, without a federal official anywhere in sight."
34 companies have dropped ads from the Rush Limbaugh show  reports ThinkProgress.