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Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

Conservative columnist George Will on Sunday tore into top Republicans for their tepid response to Rush Limbaugh's smear of Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, declaring that the GOP is "afraid" of the right-wing radio host.

"It would've been nice if they had shared that with the larger public, the Republican leaders," Will said on ABC's This Week. "Instead, Mr. Boehner comes out and says, Rush's language was inappropriate. Using a salad fork for your entree, that's inappropriate. Not this stuff. I mean, and Rick Santorum says well, what he says was absurd, but an entertainer is allowed to be absurd. No. It is the responsibility of conservatives to police the right in its excesses, just as the liberals unfailingly fail to police the excesses in their own side. And it was depressing, because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they're afraid of Rush Limbaugh."

Newt Gingrich said that Rush Limbaugh was "was right to apologize" for smearing a Georgetown law student over her testimony on birth control, before changing the topic to President Obama and his handing of the Afghanistan protests. 

"But let's talk about apologies for a second," Gingrich said. "I think the president was totally wrong as commander in chief to apologize to religious fanatics while our young men are being killed in Afghanistan, and I think it was a disaster of an apology."

Of the broader debate about the contraception mandate, Gingrich said the "elite media are so desperate to not describe this accurately," declaring that the issue is about religious liberty.

"First of all, this young lady can buy contraception all she wants to," the former Speaker said. "There is no place in America that's difficult for her to get contraception. The question is, should a religiously-affiliated institution -- not just Catholic, but for example the Christian University of -- the Ohio Christian University, which is Protestant, but is right-to-life-- finds that sterilization and abortion provisions of Obamacare totally unacceptable."

Mitt Romney took to Twitter to thank Eric Cantor for his endorsement Sunday soon after the Republican House Majority Leader announced it on NBC's Meet The Press.

Romney tweeted from his official account @MittRomney:

"Thank you @EricCantor for joining the team and helping get our message out prior to Virginia’s primary! #Mitt2012"

Newt Gingrich said Sunday on ABC's This Week that the primary is far from a done deal for Mitt Romney.

"This is going to go on for a good while. Governor Romney, who's outspent all the rest of us by multiples, is the frontrunner without any question. But I think he's not a very convincing frontrunner, and he's a long way from having closed out this race."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Congress's strongest advocates for the Afghanistan war, said the misgivings expressed by Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh are examples of frustration, but not reason to end the military operation.

"They're expressing frustration but I know why we're there," Graham said on Fox News Sunday. "Don't let this snapshot ruin the strategic importance... If we leave, and it falls back into Taliban hands and Al-Qaeda reemerges, we'll pay a heavy price."

"The key to this," he added, "is a strategic partnership agreement telling the Taliban, the Iranians, the Pakistanis we'll have a follow up military force and the Taliban will never come back."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) endorsed Mitt Romney for president Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press, describing him as the candidate best suited to improve the economy.

"Mitt Romney is the man for this year," Cantor said, predicting that he will do very well in the Super Tuesday primaries this week.

Rick Santorum insisted Sunday that the Blunt amendment is not about birth control, but about a broad exemption to ensure that employers never have to violate a religious belief.

"The issue is about whether the government can force you to do things that are against your conscience," he said on Fox News Sunday.

Santorum brushed off questions about his personal objections to contraception, declaring that that's not what his campaign has been talking about on the trail.

Two days before Super Tuesday, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are in a statistical tie among GOP voters in the important Ohio primary, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll.

Santorum had 34 percent, while Romney had 32 percent.

The poll, conducted between Feb. 29-March 2, featured 820 likely GOP primary voters in Ohio and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

The TPM Poll Average has Santorum up by 5 points:

Top Eric Cantor aide Brad Dayspring confirmed on Twitter that he's leaving the Majority Leader's office to work for a Super PAC aimed at boosting House Republicans.

Dayspring, whose unexpected departure was first reported by Politico, declared as "accurate" a National Journal article by Reid Wilson that revealed his next move.

He will leave to join a super PAC aimed at raising and spending money for House Republican candidates, National Journal has learned. ...

"It is with great enthusiasm that we're adding Brad Dayspring as a senior adviser to our team," said John Murray, Cantor's former communications director who now runs the super PAC. "When Young Guns was formed it was designed to help leaders like Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy chart a new course for the center-right movement and the House majority. Brad's years of work both on capitol hill and in the campaign world are a perfect blend to help take us to the next level."

Cantor's office emailed TPM this statement from chief of staff Steve Stombres:

"We would like to announce that our Deputy Chief of Staff Brad Dayspring has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Brad will be missed and we wish Brad all the best luck in his future endeavors.  He was a valued employee and did an outstanding job defining and defending our Republican Majority."

 

Brad Dayspring, a top aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), unexpectedly resigned on Friday, according to Politico.

Jake Sherman, Jonathan Allen and Anna Palmer report:

It’s a surprising departure. Dayspring was one of Cantor’s most trusted aides, and an outsized presence in a House Republican Conference full of personalities.

“Brad has decided to move on,” Cantor Chief of Staff Steve Stombres told POLITICO. “He has been a valuable member of our team and I wish him nothing but the best.”

Dayspring, who has led Cantor's communications operation and was recently promoted to deputy chief of staff, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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