A political tip sheet for the rest of us

By Darlene Superville

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 2 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

MARCH MADNESS: Two underdogs for the GOP nomination are comparing themselves to the University of Kansas basketball team, which was down at halftime but rallied to defeat Ohio State and claim a spot in Monday's NCAA Tournament final against Kentucky. Newt Gingrich compared himself to the team during a campaign appearance in Maryland. But Rick Santorum beat him to center court, saying Sunday that to drop out of the race now would be like Kansas giving up after the first half. Santorum said the race "isn't even at halftime yet." But Kansas wasn't down by half, as Santorum is against Romney. Let's see what collegiate sports analogies the candidates make come Tuesday.

ROMNEY-RELIGION: Romney sidestepped a tough question about his Mormon faith while campaigning in Wisconsin. A Ron Paul supporter asked whether he agreed with a passage from the Book of Mormon that describes a cursing of people with a "skin of blackness." Romney's staff took the microphone away from the 28-year-old Green Bay man before he could read the passage. Romney said didn't want to talk about religion. But he returned to the subject later during the event, talking about his decade of service as a Mormon pastor in Boston. Romney said the experience taught him that most people have personal problems. He says he's running for president because he wants to lighten those burdens.

OBAMA: Obama countered a charge from Romney that he's been weak in projecting American power abroad, but he skipped a chance to blast Romney and the rest of the GOP presidential field. Speaking in the White House Rose Garden alongside leaders of Mexico and Canada, Obama played the statesman's role. He said he's cutting his GOP critics "some slack" because they're still having a primary. But Obama did take exception to Romney's weekend remark that the president doesn't believe in "American exceptionalism," a reference to the unique role of the world's only superpower. Obama reminded listeners that the 2004 Democratic convention speech that thrust him into the national spotlight was all about "American exceptionalism."


— Gingrich: North Carolina

— Paul: California

— Romney: Wisconsin

— Santorum: Pennsylvania


— "We're going to have a strong showing, maybe even sneak in and have an upset." — Santorum, on his showing in Wisconsin.

— "Gov. Romney doesn't have it locked down. And we have no obligation to back off and concede anything until he does." — Gingrich.

— "I will cut folks some slack for now, because they're still trying to get their nomination." — Obama, on Romney's criticism of him.

— "I'm still passionately in love with that woman." — Romney, referring to his wife, Ann.

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