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Fox News' alarmist coverage of rising gas prices extended all the way to the White House briefing room on Tuesday. During President Obama's first solo news conference since November, Fox News White House Reporter Ed Henry asked the president if he actually wants gas prices to go even higher. Obama mocked Henry's question.

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President Obama took a very hard line against the heated Iran rhetoric permeating the GOP presidential field. He suggested that his prospective GOP opponents are irresponsible and naive when it comes to their collective eagerness to consider going to war with Iran.

"This is not a game, and there is nothing casual about it," Obama said. "And, you know, when I see some of these folks who have a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk, but when you actually ask them specifically what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we've been doing over the last three years."

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Mitt Romney, speaking before the press on Super Tuesday afternoon, said he appreciates President Obama's well wishes ahead of tonight's contests across the country.

President Obama earlier wished Romney "good luck" at a White House press briefing.

"Do you think that was an endorsement?" Romney asked a reporter, jokingly. "I hope so, but I don't think so. I appreciate the good wishes, and wish him the best."

A rare apology from Rush Limbaugh has done little to quell the uproar over the radio host's "slut" comment from last week -- and Democrats are working hard to keep it that way.

At his weekly pen and pad, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) launched into an unprompted rebuke of Limbaugh for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute" for her recent testimony contraception and health insurance.

"I want to speak about an issue which was as outrageous an attack as I've seen recently," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. "Rush Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke was beyond the pale. Indefensible. Vicious. Intimidating to others. ... And it demeans the public faith."

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The new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) of the open-seat Senate race in Maine shows that Democrats -- or a Democratic-leaning independent -- could pick up the Senate seat of retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

In two-way races, both Democratic Rep. Pingree Chellie Pingree and former Gov. John Baldacci lead all potential Republican nominees, though with Pingree performing several points better than Baldacci in all cases.

In a three-way match-up of independent former Gov. Angus King -- who launched his campaign Monday night -- Pingree for the Democrats, and Republican state Secretary of State Charlie Summers, it is King who leads with 36% in a close three-way race, followed by Pingree at 31%, and Summers narrowly in third place with 28%.

In the cross-tabs for that trial heat, Democrats break out for Pingree 56%, King 35%, and Summers 4%; Republicans are Summers 65%, King 25%, Pingree 5%; and independents are at King 53%, Pingree 25%, and Summers 18%.

King's respondents were asked: "If Angus King was elected to the US Senate, would you want him to caucus with the Democrats or the Republicans?" the answer was Democrats 51%, Republicans 25%.

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Ron Paul has noticeably refrained from attacking Mitt Romney in recent weeks, prompting charges of collusion from his Republican rivals and overshadowing his own message in the press. But as voters went to the polls on Super Tuesday, Paul unleashed a rare jab at his competitor during an interview with Laura Ingraham.

Asked about past comments by Romney in print and interviews in which he appeared to support a federal health insurance mandate, Paul said it was a demonstration of "flip-flopping."

"Well I think it tells you that he is not a free-market conservative and that if the conditions are such, that you would wonder if he wouldn’t do that nationally again," Paul said. "It really raises a lot of questions because he’s been on both sides of so many issues."

Enough to quiet the conspiracy theories for now? 



Brent Bozell, the president and founder of the conservative Media Research Center, has launched a website in support of Rush Limbaugh in the wake of fallout over his attack on Sandra Fluke, because, as Bozell says, "this isn't about what Rush said last week, it's about roaring hypocrisy and it's about censorship."

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The Portland Press Herald reports:

Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree said today that she is still weighing whether to abandon her House seat to run for the Senate.

A factor in her decision is whether a three-way general election race that includes her and King could split enough Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent votes to throw the race to a Republican.

"You can imagine that people have been asking us all kinds of questions about that and we have enough experience in Maine with three-way races that I think it definitely adds a new dimension to the conversation about what to do here," Pingree said in an interview in her Capitol Hill office this afternoon. "That is the outcome I would not like to see."