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Monday Political Grab Bag: Rising Gas Prices Hurt Obama's Ratings Etc

Rising gas prices have many voters looking for someone to blame and President Obama appears to be as good a target as anyone, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll suggests, with the president's approval rating falling from 50 percent last month to 46 percent recently.

The alleged killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, and any indigenous retaliation, are expected to increase pressure on Obama to accelerate the drawdown of U.S. troops from the troubled nation.

Mitt Romney's quest for the Republican presidential nomination has benefited from its organized and well-funded strategy, reminiscent of Obama's 2008 approach, of focusing on gathering delegates in every possible locale in an attempt to make it mathematically impossible for anyone to win the nod but himself.

While Mississippi and Alabama are seen as unfavorable states for Romney, some polls show him either tied or ahead in both Deep South states.

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are both looking to the Mississippi and Alabama primaries Tuesday to spur their campaigns, with the former House speaker admitting that he needs at least one strong showing and maybe more to stay in the race.

Despite the disdain lobbyists are often subjected to, with the Obama administration keeping them at arms' length, members of Congress who preparing to leave are making no secret about joining the lobbying ranks.

Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor convicted on corruption charges, begins a 14-year federal prison term this week and is likely to be shocked by the stark conditions he'll encounter, according to former politicians who became federal prison inmates.

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