Wonky

Wednesday Political Grab Bag: Day 3 Of Supreme Ct Health-Law Arguments

Wednesday represented the third and last day of oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the health-care law. The day was set aside to hear arguments on whether the law could survive without the individual mandate and whether Congress can force states to expand their Medicaid programs, a key part of the new law meant to extend coverage.

President Obama led Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in three battleground states —Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania — in a poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. But Election Day is still months away and much can and likely will happen.

Meanwhile, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 53 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Obama compared with 34 percent for Romney.

Bowing to reality, at least partly, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich cut a third of his campaign staff, including his campaign manager, in an effort to keep his cash-strapped campaign going long enough to get to the August convention. He intends to have his campaign rely more heavily on the Internet.

Native son Rick Santorum has lost his large lead in Pennsylvania over Mitt Romney and is now in a statistical tie with the delegate-frontrunner, according to a new Franklin and Marshall poll. Support for the former U.S. senator from the Keystone State was put at 30 percent with the former Massachusetts governor at 28 percent. In February, Santorum led Romney by nearly 30 percentage points.

New laws in Florida have discouraged voter-registration groups from signing up voters in the state for fear that new monetary penalties could be imposed on their volunteers if the rules are violated, including turning in completed registration sheets within 48 hours.

The administration of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell reportedly didn't do a background check on Todd Schneider who was chef at the governor's mansion before recently leaving that post after it was publicly revealed that he had a past embezzlement conviction and was under investigation for irregularities in the operations of the executive-mansion's kitchen.

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