TPM News

Today is the Florida primary. Tune in to TPM tonight for live coverage and real-time results. Until then, here are ten things you need to know.

  • Romney has an 8-point lead heading into the Florida primary: Public Policy Polling's final survey in Florida has Mitt Romney entering election day with a sizable lead. Romney gets 39% of the GOP electorate polled, followed by Newt Gingrich at 31%, Rick Santorum at 15%, and Rep. Ron Paul at 11%. The TPM Poll Average has Romney a little further ahead with a 10-point lead.
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Experts are recommending that the underwater portion of the salvage operation on the wrecked Italian cruise ship be called off because it’s becoming too dangerous, CNN reports.

Fifteen people are still missing after the ship capsized on January 13. Salvage operations on the part of the ship that is above water will continue.

Republican Congressman Dan Burton from Indiana’s 5th district will retire, reports The Indianapolis Star’s Mary Beth Schneider. Burton was first elected to Congress in 1982.

$1.88 million of the $2.68 million that went to the super PAC that backed Jon Huntsman from its inception in November until the end of December came from his father Jon Huntsman Sr., according to a Federal Election Commission report disclosed this morning.

Our Destiny PAC’s other biggest donors were Peter D. Arnott, James R. Swartz and Jim Walton — all of whom gave over $100,000.

At campaign events — and at times over the past few years — Newt Gingrich has used “Eye of the Tiger,” the music from “Rocky III” Anthem. Now, the composer is suing Gingrich for using his song. Through his music publishing company Rude Music Inc., Frank Sullivan has asked for an injunction to prevent further use of the song as well as damages and attorney’s fees.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) raised $1.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, and has just over $5 million cash on hand, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Brown raised $1.1 million from individuals, $210,000 from PAC’s, and another $277,000 from joint fundraising with other committees.

Numbers are not yet available for his challenger, state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who has been known as a strong fundraiser in this big swing state race. In the third quarter of 2011, Mandel took in $1.47 million, and had $3.26 million on hand.

Iowa GOP Chair Matt Strawn is expected to step down shortly, reports NBC. Not only did the Iowa Republican Party announce the wrong winner on Caucus night, but 8 final precinct numbers also went missing, making the exact outcome of the Iowa caucuses still unknown.

NBC notes that the exact timing and reason for Strawn’s resignation are unknown.

Update: Strawn has announced his resignation will take effect on February 11.

A U.S. intelligence report finds that Iran is prepared to launch attacks inside the United States in response to perceived threats from America, the Washington Post reports.

Iranian officials have “changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived actions that threaten the regime,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a prepared testimony.

The federal budget deficit is projected to be $1.1 trillion in fiscal 2012, the Congressional Budget Office projected in a new report Tuesday.

The budget office summarized:

CBO projects a $1.1 trillion federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2012 if current laws remain unchanged. Measured as a share of the nation's output (gross domestic product, or GDP), that shortfall of 7.0 percent is nearly 2 percentage points below the deficit recorded in 2011, but still higher than any deficit between 1947 and 2008. Over the next few years, projected deficits in CBO’s baseline decline markedly, dropping to under $200 billion and averaging 1.5 percent of GDP over the 2013–2022 period.

In the upcoming recall election against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin faces the first ever gubernatorial recall in the state, and only the third gubernatorial recall in the country's history. Next to the presidential campaign it will likely be the biggest, most expensive race in the country, costing $100 million or more -- and that's just for one state, compared to the whole country.

In last year's state Senate recalls, when six Republicans and three Democratic incumbents were put on the ballot -- with control of the 33-seat chamber officially up for grabs -- nearly $44 million was spent on those nine races, between the candidates, their political parties, and the various third-party ad groups on both sides.

So how much will it be worth everyone's while, with the whole governorship itself, plus four additional Republican state Senate seats, all on the line?

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