Some people can't quit obsessing over 2012. The Associated Press' Charles Babington has a reality check for Republicans:
WASHINGTON – When the news is written in D.C., it carries more weight, if you didn't already know. – This month's early, under-the-radar campaigning by potential Republican challengers to President Barack Obama is a reminder of something too easily forgotten: Running for president is harder than it looks, and Obama ultimately will stand against a flesh-and-blood nominee certain to make mistakes along the way.
Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and other possible GOP candidates stumbled over health care, taxes and other issues in December, even as Obama coped with the harsh political reality stemming from his party's "shellacking" in last month's elections.
No serious contender has officially launched a 2012 campaign. But with the Iowa caucuses less than 13 months away, at least a dozen Republicans are jockeying for position, speaking to groups throughout the country, writing op-ed columns and taking potshots at one another.
As all politicians – except Sarah Palin – learn, the more deeply they delve into contested issues, the likelier they are to stumble. ...
... Other potential GOP challengers, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, kept fairly low profiles this month. But it's clear the 2012 race is under way, even if unofficially.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about Palin's and Romney's criticism of the New START treaty with Russia and the compromise bill on tax cuts, both supported by Obama.
Americans want Washington politicians to solve big problems by finding common ground, he responded. ...
President Obama is unpopular?
For the third straight year, President Barack Obama ranks as the man most admired by people living in the U.S., according to an annual USA Today-Gallup poll.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most-admired woman for the ninth year in a row, edging out former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and TV host Oprah Winfrey, as she did last year. ...
Speaking of movies, I saw two yesterday. Tell No One is about a conspiracy that seems to hold water, that is, it's plausible. A man believes his wife was murdered. Eight years later the case is reopened and he's suspected of killing his wife (and others). I won't spoil it for you, but if you watch the Blu-ray, you should know there may be a "setup" option to get English dialog rather than subtitles. It is a French movie. On the other hand, Con Air was completely implausible, even though a lot of stuff got blown up and they crashed the plane spectacularly on the Vegas strip (after they had crashed it earlier, in the desert): The prisoners were able to carry out their plan to hijack the plane, in large part, because the authorities were forbidden from carrying guns aboard the plane (full of criminals). Imagine that! Yet you can see Air Marshals aboard commercial flights carrying guns all the time.