THE MORNING LINE -- April 24, 2012 at 9:13 AM ET
Romney Set to Take Care of Unfinished Primary Business
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, left, and Mitt Romney campaign in Aston, Pa., on Monday. Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images.
While the GOP primary battle is all but over, Mitt Romney remains 447 delegates short of the total needed to clinch the nomination.
The former Massachusetts governor is expected to put a serious dent in that number Tuesday, when voters in five states -- worth 231 delegates -- head to the polls to cast ballots in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Be sure to check our Vote 2012 Map Center for live results Tuesday night.
Prior to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's departure from the race, the Keystone State was slated to be the night's main attraction, but it might be the case that Delaware and its 17 winner-take-all delegates could turn into the contest to watch.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has made a number of campaign stops in the state over the past few weeks and told NBC News on Monday that he would have to "reassess" his campaign depending on the Delaware outcome.
"I think we need to take a deep look at what we are doing," Gingrich said. "We will be in North Carolina [Tuesday] night and we will look and see what the results are."
"This has been a good opportunity for us, we have been here seeing a lot of people," he added. "We have got really positive responses and I would hope we would do well here -- either carry it or come very, very close."
Romney will campaign Tuesday evening in the state that gave him his first win of the 2012 primary season: New Hampshire. The home of the first-in-the-nation primary is projected to be a general election battleground, but a WMUR Granite State poll released Monday found President Obama leading Romney among likely voters by nine points, 51 percent to 42 percent.
POTUS HITS THE ROAD
The president will match Romney in his general election focus Tuesday with speeches at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the University of Colorado in Boulder to urge Congress to prevent a doubling of student loan interest rates on July 1 (from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent).
Mr. Obama won those two swing states in 2008, and he is touting an issue important to a key part of his coalition four years ago: young voters.
The president holds a 60 percent to 34 percent advantage over Romney among voters between the ages of 18 and 34, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The concerning measurement for Team Obama is the number of young voters saying they are enthusiastic about the election -- 45 percent, down from 63 percent at this time in 2008.
Campaigning with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in Pennsylvania on Monday, Romney endorsed the student loan proposal being touted by the president but took a wait-and-see approach with another measure being offered by Rubio designed to help young illegal immigrants.
Romney said he supported "extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students" because of "extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market."
He also told reporters that young voters would fare better under a Romney presidency. "I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they're really thinking of what's in the best interest of the country and what's in their personal best interest."
Romney said he would "study" Rubio's version of the DREAM Act, which would allow young illegal immigrants who've graduated from high school and have no criminal background to stay in the country legally but without a path to citizenship.
It's hard to see how Romney eclipses the president's support among young voters or Latinos this fall, but that is not his likely aim. For Team Romney, preventing the Obama campaign from running up the score with those groups will help them keep the race close.
THE LANCASTER CONTINGENT
Judy Woodruff visited southeastern Pennsylvania last week and found a handful of voters who still love Santorum. But what about the Romney-philes?
"Romney becomes the ham sandwich vote," one local talk radio host said.
Some social conservatives, including pro-life voters, have moved to back Romney or say they will eventually. Judy spoke with Lancaster Tea Party leaders, bible college students and other self-described conservatives.
Watch the video here or below:
BUNNY MONEY TESTIMONY
The first day of John Edwards' trial for campaign finance violations marked another step in the long fall from grace by the former Democratic vice presidential candiate and North Carolina senator.
The case could set new precedents for campaign finance law on personal spending, said Associated Press reporter Michael Biesecker.
Edwards faces allegations that $900,000 donated by heiress Bunny Mellon and another backer was used to hide and support his mistress, Rielle Hunter.
NewsHour's Margaret Warner spoke with Biesecker in Greensboro, N.C, where he watched jury selection Monday on the first day of the trial.
Former Edwards aide Andrew Young also testified about the genesis of Edwards' affair.
Biesecker said Edwards "stared intently at Young, yet Young never looked back once in Edwards' direction."
Watch the segment here or below:
2012 LINE ITEMS
The Washington Post's Amy Gardner reports the president is expected to sidestep a public referendum restricting gay rights during his visit to North Carolina on Tuesday. Voters will decide in two weeks whether to amend the state's constitution to ban civil unions and domestic partnerships.
The Republican National Committee welcomes the president to North Carolina with a web video highlighting the recent controversy with the state's Democratic Party.
Ann Romney campaigned alone in Connecticut on Monday. She continued to shake off an image of privilege by telling voters about her personal struggles and duties as a mother.
From January to mid-April, President Obama got a harsher beating than Republican candidates from the media, writes Newsweek and The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz.
You choose Romney's vice president in this Washington Post game.
President Obama issued an executive order Monday that would sanction companies that provide technology used in human rights abuses in Syria and Iran.
The Wall Street Journal's Gerald F. Seib looks at the pseudo-loner political styles of President Obama and Romney. (Subscription only)
Gingrich may still be on the campaign trail, but NBC News gathered a collection of possible campaign epitaphs. Possible topics include "destiny in space," "pay kids to work" and the "birthday cake recipe."
Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain revisits his campaign with John Oliver of "The Daily Show."
Let's go back to Obama eating dog, plz RT @jmartpolitico: Sound of Republican heads hitting desks as Mitt riffs about his French vacations— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) April 23, 2012
Marco Rubio to deliver a "major" foreign policy speech at Brookings on Wednesday. This has nothing to do with him as a VP pick. Nothing.— The Fix (@TheFix) April 23, 2012
Gingrich campaign trip to NC will include visit to Asheboro zoo, of course #HotlineSort— Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid) April 24, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, says there's a "one-in-three" chance the House could flip to Democratic control this November. The Washington Post explains the strategy behind his doubt.
Congressional Democrats plan to force a vote on a measure to nullify the Arizona immigration law if it is upheld by the Supreme Court later this summer.
Arguments for and against the Arizona immigration law will be heard by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The New York Times surveyed a top group of opiners.
The U.S. Postal Service is a top priority in the Senate early this week, as lawmakers consider a handful of bills that could regulate, among other things, closure of rural post offices, spending on foreign trips and conferences and staff members' salaries and bonuses. Here's a preview from Roll Call. The Christian Science Monitor looks at the financial squeeze the agency faces (again).
Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli has sued Tareq Salahi, one half of the duo that crashed a state dinner at the White House, over his wine tour business. The state alleges that Salahi failed to give customers wine tours they had purchased.
If you missed it this weekend, we recommend The Washington Post's breakdown of people who are the 1 percent in the Washington, D.C., area. Hint: They don't always know they're among the loathed elite.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich washes dishes and hopes to teach classics in prison.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
President Obama honors the 2012 teacher of the year at the White House at 10:05 a.m. before traveling to the University of North Carolina for remarks at 1:15 p.m. At 2:20 p.m. the president sits down to tape a segment for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." He then travels to the University of Colorado to give a speech.
Mitt Romney holds a campaign event in Manchester, N.H., at 9 p.m.
Newt Gingrich tours the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., in 2 p.m. and attends an election night rally in Concord at 8:30 p.m.
Ron Paul has no public campaign events scheduled.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.