WASHINGTON — A political tip sheet for the rest of us outside the Washington Beltway, for Super Tuesday, March 6:
YOUR SUPER TUESDAY CHEAT SHEET: And the stakes couldn't be higher, says Associated Press national political editor Liz Sidoti. Will Mitt Romney sweep all 10 contests? Does chief rival Rick Santorum falter? Will Newt Gingrich rise again? Does Ron Paul finally get a win?
Her list of things to watch:
— Ohio: The mother of all states where Romney and Santorum are locked in a close race.
— Georgia: Do or die for Gingrich, who basically has said so himself.
— Tennessee: Romney's best chance to prove he can win in the South, despite his Mormon faith.
— Oklahoma: Santorum's best shot at an outright Super Tuesday victory.
— Massachusetts and Vermont: A former Massachusetts governor, Romney is all but assured victory in the pair of New England states.
— Virginia: Only Romney and Paul are on the ballot — and the latter is unlikely to win it.
— North Dakota: All the candidates have campaigned there, but who will win the state's small cache of delegates?
— Idaho: Mormons(equals)Romney is the likely winner.
— Alaska: Paul's best chance to win his first state.
OBAMA'S FEMALE APPEAL: One unmistakable thread in President Barack Obama's news conference was his overt appeal to women. He absolutely was going to get asked about Rush Limbaugh's harsh put-down of a Georgetown University student who advocated before Congress for broad insurance coverage of birth control. But it also was a chance to turn the query into an appeal for the women's vote often critical to electoral success for Democrats. Given the flap over health insurance coverage for contraception and the issue's prominent role in the GOP presidential race, Obama said he believes Democrats "have a better story to tell to women" than Republicans for the November election. During his 45-minute appearance in the White House press briefing room, Obama also managed to toss out the names of his popular wife and daughters — Michelle, Malia and Sasha — for good measure.
NEWT'S POSTCARD CAMPAIGN: Gingrich's slog through the GOP race has netted just one win thus far, but he can't complain about the campaign being all work and no play. The former House speaker and space romantic campaigned at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (aka "Space Camp") in Alabama. Last month, Gingrich, a zoo enthusiast, got a behind-the-scenes tour of the world renowned San Diego Zoo during a campaign swing through California. He even got to feed the pandas. And last year, Gingrich donned 3-D glasses and shoe covers when he visited a virtual reality room at Iowa State University, where images from "Star Wars" were flashed on walls, ceilings and floors. — Contributed by Associated Press writer Brian Bakst.
WHERE THEY'LL BE ON WEDNESDAY:
— Gingrich: Alabama
— Santorum: Kansas
— Obama: North Carolina
— Paul: Taking a day off.
Totals heading into Super Tuesday. It takes 1,144 delegates to secure the Republican nomination for president.
— Romney: 203
— Santorum: 92
— Gingrich: 33
— Paul: 25
IN THEIR WORDS:Comment on this story
— "This is a somewhat important day in my life today, but I wanted to come off the campaign trail to come here, because one of the reasons that I decided to run for president is because of the grave concern I have about the security of our country." — Santorum, speaking in Washington, to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting.
— "Hope is not a foreign policy. The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it." — Romney, addressing AIPAC via satellite.
— "For the third time, we're going to come bouncing back. With your help by the end of next week, we could really be in a totally new race." — Gingrich, looking ahead to next week's Alabama and Mississippi primaries.
— "Ronald Reagan isn't available anymore. What can I say?" — Tricia Tetreault, 49, of Edmond, Okla., on why she voted for Gingrich.