Here are the five must-read links for your morning:
01- Looking for a quick overview of the implications of yesterday’s Illinoisprimary on the GOP race? Check out Politico’s “Illinois Republican primary results: 5 takeaways.” Maggie Haberman writes that as a result of Romney’s easy win in the state, Santorum’s “path is narrowed and there is a sense that last night may have been the beginning of the end, at least in terms of a route that keeps Romney from getting to 1,144 delegate.”
02- Major developments were made overnight in the manhunt for the shooter who is accused of killing seven people in the last ten days in France. About 300 police officers have surrounded the home of the man whom authorities called a self-styled al Qaeda jihadist, and the standoff to get him to surrender continues. For full details, read CNN’s “French police in standoff with suspect in Toulouse shootings.”
03- The killing of Trayvon Martin has drawn attention to the 2005 Florida law that allows residents to use deadly force to protect themselves no matter where they were, the full details of which are available in CNN’s “Florida shooting renews debate over ‘stand your ground’ laws.” In this article, Michael Pearson explains that the “number of justifiable homicides reported in the state has skyrocketed since the law went into effect.”
04- “What Do Republicans Believe?,” a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe that draws attention to the split in the GOP between “establishment” Republicans and the Tea Party. Armey and Kibbe write, “The party's ‘experts’ are retrenching to the defeatist view that a commitment to economic freedom and constitutionally limited government is a political liability… We have an opportunity to take control of the Senate and dramatically increase the ranks of entrepreneurial fiscal conservatives, creating a dynamic new majority within the majority. That means taking on incumbents who have abandoned their principles.”
05- How long do you think it took Twitter to reach its first billion tweets? Find out in TheNextWeb’s “Happy birthday Twitter – 6 years ago, @jack was ‘just setting up his twttr’.” Today marks the social network’s 6th anniversary and it’s certainly made an impact since its founder Jack Dorsey sent the first public tweet into the world back in 2006. Do you remember your first tweet? #happybirthday #howdidwelivewithouthashtags
Watch "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" for more on these top stories this morning at 7am Eastern.
Here are the six must-read links for your morning:
01- Check out “Romney faces another ‘must-win’ state in Illinois primary” by CNN’s John Helton to find out what’s at stake in today’s Illinois contest and to read about what the GOP candidates have been up to on the campaign trail in the days leading up to the primary.
02- Interested in the contents of the GOP’s new budget plan, set to be released today? Check out a preview of the budget in Paul Ryan’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal “The GOP Budget and America’s Future.” The House GOP budget aims to address the national deficit by “cutting debt as a share of the economy by roughly 15% over the next decade.”
03- Politico’s “Democrats to John Boehner: Don’t break debt deal,” which describes the rare joint letter sent by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee chairmen to Speaker Boehner yesterday asking him to back away from the new House GOP budget. David Rogers writes that the chairmen “warn that the revised $1.028 trillion cap only invites more delay this summer and ‘represents a breach of faith that will make it more difficult to negotiate future agreements.’”
04- With public outrage over the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin continuing to grow, the Justice Department opened an investigation into the incident Monday. Check out the Reuters article “Outrage prompts U.S. investigation of Florida teen killing” by Barbara Liston for information about the investigation and the campaign that drew attention to the case.
05- CNN’s “Suspect in Afghan massacre has memory loss, lawyer says” outlines new details about the staff sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. In an interview with CBS News yesterday, Staff Sgt. Bales’ attorney John Henry Browne explains that Bale was not drunk the night of the killings, but he does not remember what happened and is in shock.
06- New details about the attack outside a Jewish school in Franceare available in the New York Times’ “Gunman Reportedly Filmed Lethal Shooting Spree at French Jewish School.” Journalists Scott Syare and Steven Erlanger write that the “gunman seemed to be filming his actions as he coolly shot his victims to death,” according to surveillance footage from the school’s security cameras.
01- “Drifting Right, Illinois is Test for Romney” by Monica Davey for The New York Times. The article emphasizes the importance of the Illinois primary for the Romney campaign, while stressing that the candidate “seems to be struggling [in Illinois] with something he has battled everywhere: a failure, voters say, to thrill.”
02- "Romney turns up the heat on Obama energy policies” by CNN’s Tom Cohen. The article discusses Romney’s attack on President Obama’s energy policies and his call for the firing or resignation of what he labeled the “gas hike trio” of top energy and environment officials in the Obama administration.
03- “Taliban demands Afghan trial for alleged shooter” by CNN’s wire staff, which describes the Taliban’s skepticism that one soldier could carry out the massacre that occurred inAfghanistan last week, and their anger that the suspect in the killings was flown out of the country.
04- “Apple to Disclose Plans for Its Cash Stockpile” by Jessica E. Vascellaro for the Wall Street Journal. The article discusses Apple’s announcement late last night that it will hold a conference call this morning to disclose what it plans to do with its roughly $100 billion in cash.
05- “Analysis: Apple, China, Foxconn and the fabulist” by CNN’s Kevin Voigt, which examines the various fabrications in Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” about the Foxconn factory inChina. NPR’s “This American Life” retracted the episode this weekend and the incidence has “raised a number of questions about the line between drama and journalism.”
1- All anyone will talk about today is the new iPad release. CNN's wire on the new iPad release has all the details you need, including when they go on sale (8am in each time zone), how much they cost (from $499 to $829 depending on the memory you select) and how many geek points you get for standing in line to get one (just kidding...you know that can't be quantified).
2- "The New York Times" reports this morning that Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney, has a stake in a video surveillance company that is the biggest supplier to the Chinese government’s Safe Cities monitoring program. Expect to hear this story come up a lot over the next few days.
3- Daniel Yergin, author of "The Quest," writes a piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning explaining "What's Behind Rising Gas Prices?" Yergin says the rise in oil prices back in 2008 was due to "the surge in oil consumption in emerging markets, disruptions, and a belief that the world was running short of oil (the so-called peak oil crisis). In 2012, the reason is mainly geopolitics."
4- "The Seattle Times" has a piece explaining why the staff sergeant from Joint Base Lewis-McChord who went on a shooting rampage in Afghanistan was reluctant to return to war. His lawyer John Henry Browne says it was the soldier's fourth tour of duty, and the stress of returning to war may have pushed him to snap.
5- Remember just a few weeks ago when all anyone could talk about the the 'Linsanity' surrounding Jeremy Lin and his playing streak for the Knicks? As quickly as it exploded, it appears to have fizzled, according to the New York Times' headline declaring "Linsanity Has Left the Building."
For more on these headlines and other top news stories today, watch "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" live on CNN weekdays at 7am Eastern.
01- “Afghan Driver Who Crashed Truck Near Panetta’s Plane Dies” by Elisabeth Bumiller for The New York Times, which offers updates about Panetta’s visit to Afghanistan and the Afghan civilian who crashed a pickup truck into the runway where the Defense Secretary was landing.
02- “In Reactions to Two Incidents, a U.S.-Afghan Disconnect” by Rod Nordland for the New York Times. In light of the recent violence inAfghanistan, Norland writes, “After more than 10 years, many deaths and billions of dollars invested, Americans still fail to grasp the Afghans’ basic values. Faith is paramount and a death can be compensated with blood money.”
03- “Carnage continues 1 year later in Syria” by the CNN Wire Staff. Today marks a year since protests inSyria began, and this article details the continuing violence in the country and the international efforts to stop the killing.
04- “Republican rift opens over Newt Gingrich’s future” by Ginger Gibson for Politico, in which she discusses the debate over Gingrich’s continuing presence in the GOP race. The article claims that “some Gingrich backers — none of whom would go on the record to say so — are quietly starting to question if his days are numbered.”
05- “Republicans to Romney: Fix your message” by CNN’s Peter Hamby. Hamby discusses the behind-the-scenes frustration about the state of the Romney campaign among leading Republicans, writing, “some of his supporters are asking the candidate to re-calibrate his strategy and make a stronger case to voters about why he deserves to be president.”
06- “Blagojevich puts on one last show” by Bob Secter and Andy Grimm for the Chicago Tribune. The article discusses Blagojevich’s last press conference before he is due to begin his 14 year prison sentence for corruption today. The Tribune writes that Blagojevich “launched into a campaign-style monologue reciting a laundry list of accomplishments and insisting he never intentionally broke the law.”
01- “An alliance the world can count on” by President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. In this op-ed for the Washington Post, the two leaders outline the “essential relationship” between theUnited States andGreat Britain and the two countries’ cooperation on a variety of issues, including the global economic recovery, the war inAfghanistan, Iranian nuclear proliferation and the violence in Syria.
02- “U.S. Officials Debate Speeding Afghan Pullout” by Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt for the New York Times. The article outlines discussions by White House officials about accelerating the withdrawal ofU.S. forces inAfghanistan in light of Sunday’s killings. In a reflection of the “growing belief within the White House that the mission [inAfghanistan] has now reached the point of diminishing returns,” the Obama administration is discussing whether to reduce forces inAfghanistan by “at least an additional 20,000 troops by 2013.”
03- “Washington base back in spotlight after Afghan shootings” by CNN’s Ashley Hayes. The article discusses theWashington state military base Lewis-McChord, where the unidentified Army staff sergeant who is accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan was based. A handful of soldiers from the base have been involved in violent incidents in the past few years, leading lawmakers to call for a congressional investigation into the base.
04- “Will Deep South primaries deep six a candidate?” by CNN’s Paul Steinhauser. The article discusses the importance of today’sAlabama andMississippi primaries, in which forty-seven delegates are up for grabs. Steinhauser writes that for Gingrich, “doing well in theDeep South is crucial to keeping alive his hopes of winning the White House.”
05- “Voters blame president for gas prices, experts say not so fast” by Steven Mufson for The Washington Post. Mufson writes that although many Americans blame the President for the high price of gasoline, “today’s oil prices are the product of years and decades of exploration, automobile design and ingrained consumer habits combined with political events in places such as Sudan and Libya, anxiety about possible conflict with Iran, and the energy aftershocks of last year’s earthquake in Japan.”
01- “Romney’s wrong-headed assertions about Iran” by John Kerry. In this op-ed for The Washington Post, Kerry criticizes Mitt Romney’s recent criticism of President Obama’s position toward Iranian nuclear development, writing “Creating false differences with President Obama to score political points does nothing to move Iran off a dangerous nuclear course…If we are to avoid a nuclear Iran then at some point we must all act like statesmen, not candidates.”
02- “‘Iran is not telling us everything,’ U.N. atomic agency chief says” by CNN’s wire staff. The article explains the IAEA’s concerns about recent satellite images that show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at Iran’s Parchin military site, as well as the so-called Pf-plus-1’s joint statement on Iran, which will be delivered to the IAEA today.
03- “Top Pentagon Officials Stress Risks in Syria” by Elisabeth Bumiller and Rick Gladstone from The New York Times. The article discusses the testimonies made by Gen. Martin Dempsy and Defense Secretary Panetta yesterday, in which they emphasized the risk of military options inSyria and reasserted that diplomatic and economic pressures are the best way to protect Syrians from the Assad government’s repression.
04- “Rick Santorum supporters want Newt Gingrich out” by Ginger Gibson from Politico, in which Gibson discusses the comments made Wednesday by Santorum’s top allies in his super PAC for Gingrich to drop out of the race. Gibson writes, “The simple fact remains: Santorum’s chances of winning the Republican nod are significantly hampered by Gingrich’s presence in the contest. Or vice versa.”
05- “Solar storms ramp up, take aim at Earth” by Brian Vastag and Jason Samenow from The Washington Post. The article discusses this week’s solar storm, which has been disrupting some radio communications and forcing airlines to reroute. The storm is the “most intense since 2006” and is expected to intensify this morning.
1- “Romney wins 6 states, including Ohio: Santorum takes 3; Gingrich nabs Georgia” by CNN’s Paul Steinhauser and Tom Cohen. The article outlines the results of the ten Super Tuesday contests and explains what polling has revealed about Republican voters in each state.
2- “Super Tuesday primaries: 5 takeaways” by Politico’s Maggie Haberman, in which she writes that Romney “underperformed” yesterday. She contends that Tuesday’s results “basically guarantee that the [GOP] content keeps going through April 24, when a number of states, includingConnecticut,New York andPennsylvania, hold their primaries.”
3- “U.S. and North Korean officials meet to seal food aid deal” by CNN’s wire staff. The article discusses the final phase of the implementation ofU.S. food aid inNorth Korea, which is happening today against the backdrop of fiery rhetoric fromNorth Korea toward the South.
4- Curious about the new iPad that’s rumored to be revealed at today’s Apple event? Check out ‘iPad 3’: What to expect from tomorrow’s event by The Washington Post. Although the paper cautions that there’s typically a great deal of speculation and hype surrounding Apple events, the article details the potential features of the new device.
5- ESPN Chris Mortensen’s “Source: Colts to part with Peyton Manning Wednesday,” which reports that the Indianapolis Colts are holding a joint news conference at noon today to announce that the team’s star quarterback, Peyton Manning, will be leaving the team.
1- “How I would check Iran’s nuclear ambition” by Mitt Romney. In this op-ed for The Washington Post, Romney outlines the “rubric” for his “peace through strength” approach to foreign policy withIran. Among the various approaches he outlines, Romney asserts that he will “buttress [his] diplomacy with a military option” and restore the “regular presence of aircraft carrier groups in the Eastern Mediterranean and thePersian Gulf.”
2- “Rivals jostle to stymie Romney, gain momentum on Super Tuesday” by the CNN wire staff. The article notes that the momentum heading into Super Tuesday is clearly with Mitt Romney, but Ohio and Tennessee are sure to be tight races, according to recent polling.
3- Want a brief overview of each of the Super Tuesday contests? Check out “Super Tuesday, State by State” by Michael Shear from The New York Times. Shear outlines the delegates at stake in each contest and discusses who is favored in each state, emphasizing that Tuesday’s results could “dramatically shape the direction” of the GOP campaign as it moves into the spring.
4- “UN officials to visit Syria this week; Colvin’s body to return to U.S.” by the CNN wire staff. The article details the UN official Valerie Amos’s trip to Damascus this week, as well as Senator John McCain’s speech to the Senate yesterday, in which he called for the United States to conduct piloted airstrikes against the Syrian regime.
5- “Obama Presses Netanyahu to Resist Strikes on Iran by Mark Landler of the New York Times. In this piece, Landler quotes a White House official as describing the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama as “friendly, straightforward, and serious.” Nevertheless, he writes that the meeting “did not resolve basic differences between the two leaders over how to deal with the Iranian threat.”
6- “Gregg Williams meets with NFL on bounty payments, as Greg Blache says Joe Gibbs was unaware of the Redskins’ program” by Mark Maske with The Washington Post. Maske offers the latest details about the NFL controversy over the New Orleans Saints’ alleged bounty payments.
1- “Iran war draws close with little informed debate” by the USA Today editorial board, in which the board argues that it is remarkable that a war with Iran is “drawing so close with so little public discussion of the consequences.” Regarding Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu today, the board writes that given the stakes, Obama is “right not to limit his options [in Iran] by drawing the hard lines Netanyahu is expected to seek.”
2- “‘We must act soon’ on Iran” by Mike Huckabee. In an op-ed for USA Today, Huckabee argues that “the Obama administration has projected an aura of weakness and nonchalance” about Iran’s nuclear threat. At today’s meeting with Netanyahu, Huckabee writes that “Obama should boldly state that the U.S. will take military action on its own if necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
3- “Putin poised to retake Russian presidency” by CNN’s Phil Black. This article details the results of Russia’s election yesterday, as well as the accusations against Putin’s supporters of packing the polls with additional voters and committing “massive fraud.”
4- “Romney Could Win Majority of Super Tuesday Delegates” by the New York Times’ Nate Silver. Posted on Silver’s political blog “FiveThirtyEight,” this article breaks down the current polling in each Super Tuesday state and argues that Romney could secure the delegate majority tomorrow even if he wins as few as four or five states.
5- “Family dies, helpful neighbor survives after tornado ravages homes” by CNN’s Susan Candiotti. The article discusses the passing of 14-month-old Angel Babcock yesterday, whose family was killed in the fierce tornado that hit Indiana this weekend.
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