The new week starts essentially where the old one ended. Santorum continues to lay claim to an important part of the Republican Party as Gingrich recedes and Romney struggles to recapture the aura of inevitability he and his campaign have counted on carrying them to the nomination.
Conventional wisdom says the presidential election will be decided on the state of the economy. But, as recent controversies attest, don't be surprised if the culture wars — battles over abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage — also play a role.
Deficit reduction takes a back seat to job growth in the federal budget President Obama will unveil Monday. Republicans criticized the spending plan for raising taxes without doing more to stem the deficit. That disagreement is likely to frame the debate between now and the November election.
The Obama administration has revised a provision of the president's health care law concerning birth control coverage. Now, religious-affiliated organizations may decline to provide the coverage, but allow the employees to get free contraceptives through their health insurer.
President Obama's health care overhaul was largely based on one that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts in 2006. Now, more than 98 percent of state residents have health insurance, and the law has drawn unexpected supporters. But controlling costs remains a challenge.
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