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President Obama's senior adviser Robert Gibbs was asked Sunday to size up Rick Santorum's odds of winning the nomination -- and had a very interesting response that took some obvious shots at Mitt Romney.

"I don't think Tuesday is going to be a clarifying event in the Republican primary," Gibbs said on CNN's State of the Union. "I think, because of the way delegates are apportioned, this is going to go on for weeks and weeks. And I think he's got a legitimate change to be the Republican nominee. He's clearly somebody who has a very different economic background than Mitt Romney. He's somebody that is -- he's blue collar. He's from Pennsylvania. He's not worth 250 million dollars. And I assume his wife doesn't have several cadillacs."

"So I think he clearly brings a little bit difference challenge."

President Obama's senior adviser Robert Gibbs took a shot at Newt Gingrich when asked about the former Speaker's take on the situation in Afghanistan.

"Quite honestly, I'm not sure many people are looking to Newt Gingrich for foreign policy advice," Gibbs said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "If there's a problem on the lunar colony, he'll be among the first we call."

He was asked about Gingrich's view that the U.S. should demand an apology from President Hamid Karzai for the recent killings of two American military advisers in an Afghan ministry.

Maureen Dowd captures a remarkably candid lament from a veteran Republican strategist regarding the culture wars over birth control that have infused the national debate.

"Republicans being against sex is not good," the G.O.P. strategist Alex Castellanos told me mournfully. "Sex is popular."

TROY, MICHIGAN -- Rick Santorum's contention here Saturday that President Obama's plan to make college more accesible is really a scheme to brainwash people into becoming liberals may have struck some outside observers as a little odd.

But for the tea party crowd gathered here as part of an Americans For Prosperity rally, Santorum's words about higher education were right on point.

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The American Future Fund, a GOP independent expenditure group, will run ads targeting President Obama in nine battleground states totaling $4 million dollars, reports Politico:

The AFF television ads will run on cable in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. That’s real money going onto the airwaves in real states from a group that spent heavily in the 2010 midterms, but which has yet to fully ramp up for the 2012 general election.

TROY, MICHIGAN -- At an Americans For Prosperity-sponsored tea party rally here Saturday, Rick Santorum trumpeted his connections to the working class by attacking President Obama's plan to make college more accessible to Americans.

"President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college," Santorum said. "What a snob!"

The crowd laughed and applauded wildly. But the last time Santorum ran for public office -- his ill-fated 2006 Senate reelection campaign -- he was right there with Obama, running on his promise to make college more accessible to all Pennsylvanians.

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Reporters covering the National Governors Assoc. meeting in DC report Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) will endorse someone for president tomorrow, just days before her state's Feb. 28 presidential primary.

The Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez was the first to tweet the the news. The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny tweeted a quote. Here's his tweet:

Gov Jan Brewer of Arizona says she will endorse presidential candidate tomorrow. Who? "I'm pondering," she says.

 

TROY, MICHIGAN -- Still on a quest to prove his social conservative bona fides against chief rival Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney told a tea party crowd here Saturday that he stood tall against gay marriage and cloning while governor of Massachusetts. 

The two ideas were juxtaposed in his speech -- his fight against legalized same-sex marriage and what he called his battle against "cloning and embryo farming" came as part of a single thought -- and were received well by the crowd here, which was gathered for an Americans For Prosperity event. 

Most of Romney's speech was a standard stump speech, but he did take time out to attack Santorum by reminding the crowd Santorum had endorsed him in 2008. 

Here's the section about the gay marriage and cloning, which are part of Romney's continuing efforts to cast himself as a culture warrior since Santorum rose in the polls. 

I also faced a Supreme Court in my state that said John Adams had written into our constitution a right to marriage between people of the same gender. And I became the nation's champion to reverse that with an amendment in our state. We were on progress to do that until I saw a Democrat take over the governor's office. And then we also had the legislature pass a bill saying we will allow cloning and embryo farming in our state. They wanted to change the definition of when life began. And I stood up and said absolutely not and I vetoed that legislation. I am a pro-life governor -- I was a pro-life governor and I'm still a pro-life candidate. I was a pro-traditional marriage governor and am so as a candidate and I am a conservative. 

DETROIT -- Are clever Democratic activists really going to cost Mitt Romney his home state on Tuesday? Or is the grassroots plan to use Michigan's open primary as a means to humiliate the candidate most see as the biggest threat to President Obama in the fall just a red herring?

Romney's allies aren't worried. Democrats and Obama's campaign aren't getting involved. And yet, activists think they just might pull this thing off.

Welcome to the Michigan primary sideshow that just might play a part in the main event.

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