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Budgetary savings from troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to be $838 billion over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday.

The large sum of projected unspent Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) money has been targeted by both parties as a potential offset for major legislative items.

President Obama wants to use part of it to fund infrastructure projects, while congressional Democrats have said it can be tapped to help pay for the payroll tax cut package.

Some Republicans have indicated interest in using the money to eliminate the Medicare “doc fix” problem, which the CBO said will now cost $316 billion to repeal. Democratic leaders have championed the idea.

Asked about the South Carolina results at a press conference in Florida Tuesday, Mitt Romney said his campaign was outspent in South Carolina: “You know, in South Carolina we were vastly outspent with negative ads attacking me and we stood back and spoke about President Obama and suffered the consequence of that.”

But as BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller notes, contrary to Romney, Mitt and his super PAC outspent Gingrich and his super PAC 2-1 in South Carolina.

Tired of the horse-race political coverage? Try a Mortal Kombat analogy on for size.

Gingrich won his advantage in South Carolina by "being kind of a huge dick" to Romney in the Palmetto State debates, Jon Stewart said Monday. But then Romney came right back and pummeled Gingrich.

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The Bachmann campaign had just $358,724 on hand at the end of the 2011, having received contributions of just $1.7 million during the last three months of the year while spending $2.6 million according to a just disclosed Federal Election Commission report.

The campaign has $1.05 million in outstanding debt, about half of which is owed to Strategic Fundraising, Inc. for telemarketing services.

Bachmann dropped out within a few days of the new year.

The Gingrich campaign is making robo-calls in Florida over Mitt Romney’s decision to veto $600,000 in funding to provide kosher meals for poor, elderly folks in senior homes. The robo-call ratchets up yesterday’s attacks over the veto by throwing in that Holocaust survivors were among those elderly “ who for the first time were forced to eat non-kosher.” The Huffington Post has the full text of the call:

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes. Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher. Where is Mitt Romney's compassion for our seniors? Tuesday you can end Mitt Romney's hypocrisy on religious freedom, with a vote for Newt Gingrich. Paid for by Newt 2012.

As the Huffington Post notes, however, the Massachusetts legislature overrode Romney’s veto and the kosher kitchens were never eliminated.

A non-binding resolution that encourages public school districts to include academic study of the Bible earned final approval in the South Dakota State Legislature on Monday.

After overwhelmingly passing in the House last week, the resolution faced greater scrutiny during the Senate’s floor debate. Nevertheless, it still passed comfortably, 25-10.

The Republican party in Hawaii had hoped that the state’s first female governor might have what it takes to claim the seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D), but recent polling shows Democrats with the inside track.

A survey conducted by Civil Beat shows former Gov. Linda Lingle ® trailing two prospective Democratic opponents.

In one matchup, former Congressman Ed Case outpolls Lingle 46 percent to 33 percent. Sitting Congressman Mazie Hirono holds a seven point advantage over Lingle, 46 percent to 39 percent.


The sea could use a few more bubbles. Robotic ones. That's at least the thinking of some folks at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University, who have come up with a small, spherical robot that can travel underwater in packs numbering in the hundreds.

The "Sensorbots" would be used for exploring for life at deep-ocean thermal vents and they could also autonomously swarm around sudden events such as earthquakes.

Lead researcher Deirdre Meldrum of the school's Center for Biosignatures Discovery has made a career of developing microscale technological systems for the health and biological sciences field, and her team cast a wide research net to develop the new submersible 'bots.

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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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