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Gingrich to Suspend Campaign

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Newt Gingrich has announced that he will suspend his campaign for the republican presidential nomination next week, according to CNN.

According to campaign staffers, the former Speaker of the House is dropping out of the race due to logistical purposes, and will formally concede the race in a speech on Wednesday. He is expected to endorse likely nominee Mitt Romney.

Gingrich originally appeared to be the chief rival to Romney back in December, when early poll numbers showed the speaker making double-digit leads over the former Massachusetts governor. Astring of primary losses, staff departures, dwindling funds and a number of campaign trail gaffes soon pushed Gingrich towards irrelevance, although he pledged to stay in the race until the republican national convention.

The New York Times reports that Gingrich's campaign is $4.3 million in debt, but Gingrich is pressing on into next week, still attending promised campaign stops with his third wife, Callista.

Zimmerman Released on $150k Bail

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CNN reports that George Zimmerman, who is currently awaiting trial for the February killing of Trayvon Martin, was released from a Florida jail Sunday night on a $150,000 bond.

The 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer exited a Sanford, Fla. jail in front of reporters on Sunday night. He got into an white BMW with another man and drove off to an unknown location.

Zimmerman was formally charged with second degree murder six weeks after he fatally shot Martin, 17, in a gated community in Sanford. Zimmerman claimed that the teen attacked him and that he killed Martin in self-defense, citing Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, which allows citizens to use deadly force if they feel threatened.

The delay in charging Zimmerman lead to widespread national outcry and sparked protests all over the United States. Because of the high-profile nature of the case, Zimmerman's location is being kept a secret, and may even be outside of Florida. He will be fitted with an electronic tracking device and given a 7 p.m. - 6 a.m. curfew.

The Associated Press reports, however, that Zimmerman's safety might not be a concern.

"The mood in Sanford has calmed down tremendously," said Sanford Commissioner Patty Mahany. "I think now that people are able to see the justice system taking place, even though they understand it's going to be quite slow, people are willing to just remain calm and really we're all getting back to our daily routines."

Santorum Suspends Campaign

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Rick Santorum announced Tuesday that he is suspending his campaign for president, the Associated Press reports.

Santorum has long held a distant second in the race for the republican presidential nomination. He showed unexpected momentum early in the year, positioning himself as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney and pushing former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich into irrelevancy. However, the former Pennsylvania senator has won less than half of the delegates of his main rival, Mitt Romney.

With Santroum's exit, Romney is on track to win the Republican nomination in the coming months, although Gingrich and Texas senator Ron Paul are still active in the race.

"Senator Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran. He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation," said Romney in a statement. "We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity."

ABC News reports that influential GOP leaders such as George H.W. Bush and Sen. Jim DeMint have been encouraging Santorum to suspend his campaign and pledge support to Romney.

60 Minutes Reporter Mike Wallace Dead at 93

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The New York Times reports that Mike Wallace, a journalist known for his long career as a "tough but fair" interviewer on died Sunday. He was 93.

CBS reported that Wallace died in a care facility in Connecticut after a long history of heart problems.

The Times called Wallace "a reporter with the presence of a performer" in their four page obituary. Earning 21 Emmys in his career, Wallace was a fixture on CBS's "60 Minutes" from its debut in 1968 to 2006, although he returned to the program to interview Mahmoud Ahmadinejad months later.

His interviews more resembled interrogations, often saying "forgive me..." before nailing an interview subject. His blunt questions were often more interesting than the answers he received. In an interview with Russian president Vladimir Putin Wallace said "This isn't a real democracy, come on!" and dared to bring up accusations that Ayatollah Khomeini was a "lunatic" in a 1979 interview with the Iranian leader.

"Many people who weathered a Mike Wallace interview grew to respect him greatly and, you know, have great regard for him because I don't recall anybody ever saying to me, 'He took a cheap shot' or 'He did the obvious,' or that he was, you know, playing some kind of game," Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes told the Associated Press. "He actually was trying to serve the audience, and that's what made him great."

Though his hard-boiled, sometimes assulting reporting style came under some heavy criticism, Wallace leaves behind a legacy as a master interviewer and great journalist.

Super Tuesday Results

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The Daily Mail reports that six of the ten states voting in caucuses and primaries on "Super Tuesday" went to Mitt Romney, although his status as the republican nominee is far from crystalized.

Romney declared "I'm going to win this nomination" in a victory speech Tuesday night, and although victories in Virginia, Ohio, Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming and his home state of Massachusetts give him roughly twice the delegates of second place hopeful Rick Santorum, but he's still far away from the 1144 required to win the Republican nomination.

Santorum's underdog campaign continued its momentum Tuesday with four wins in Kansas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Wins in these deeply conservative states continued to cement the Pennsylvania congressman as a "true conservative" alternative to Romney.

"We keep coming back," Santorum told supporters in Ohio, according to the Washington Post. "We are in this thing. We are in this thing not because I so badly want to be the most powerful man in this country. It's because I want so badly to return the power to you in this country."

Newt Gingrich enjoyed one win in his native Georgia, providing a small boost to his fledgling campaign. The former Speaker of the House made clear his intentions to carry on his campaign through the summer and littered his speech to supporters with digs at "elites," with implicit criticism aimed at Romney

Bachmann WIll Run Again in Redrawn District

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Representative Michelle Bachmann announced Tuesday that she would seek reelection in her redrawn district, even though her home suburb has been moved into a different one, reports the Associated Press.

Representative Bachmann returned home to her St. Paul suburb of Stillwater to find it moved to Minnesota's district 4 in the recent redistricting of the state. Bachmann's 6th district covers several northwest Twin Cities suburbs including Woodbury and Anoka, and stretches up to the St. Cloud area.

Despite the fact that Bachmann's home precinct has moved to the 4th district, represented by Democrat Betty McCollum, Bachmann said Tuesday that she would run for reelection in district 6, which is still home to most her base supporters. Although her presidential bid failed, Bachmann said that the national prominence gained during the election will help her in being reelected.

"I embody the voice of the 6th Congressional District," she said. "I faithfully took that voice all across the United States, and amplified that very common sense Minnesota heartland voice of not spending more money than we take in, not increasing anyone's taxes and having the government live within its means."

Bachmann is not the only Minnesota legislator facing tough decisions in the wake of the redistricting. The Star Tribune reports that as many as 46 incumbents facing off, with many being forced to run against fellow party members.

Washington State Legalizes Gay Marriage

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Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill Monday legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington, Reuters reports.

The legislation makes Washington the seventh state (along with the District of Colombia) to legalize same-sex matrimony and was met with celebration in Seattle and Olympia. Upon signing the bill, Gregoire called the day "a proud moment" for Washington.

The law will not take effect until summer because of a standard enactment period, and opponents of gay marriage are already priming repeal efforts, chiefly an attempt to add a ballot measure to general elections in November.

Marriage is society's way of bringing men and women together so that children can be raised by, and cared for by, their mother and father," Joseph Backholm, head of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, told Reuters.

"It is the most-important, child-focused institution of society, and we will fight to preserve it. Voters will have the opportunity to define marriage in our state."

Nonetheless, the new legislation represents a great victory for same-sex marriage supporters. According to the Seattle Times, the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle erupted into loud cheers, a standing ovation, and song once the law was signed.

"We (the church) believe God's love transcends all human distinctions," The Rev. Brigetta Remole told congregants. "I'd be honored to officiate at your wedding."

Car Bomb Injures Four in India, Israel Blames Iran

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Investigators in India are looking for leads Monday afternoon after a car bomb attached to an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in Delhi injured four, and a similar bomb was defused in the Geogian capital of Tbilisi, according to the Associated Press.

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to blame Iran for the bombs, calling the country "the largest terror exporter in the world." Netanyahu also said he suspected the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to be in connection with the attacks and others

The BBC reports that one of those seriously injured in the bombing was Tal Yehoshua-Koren, the wife of wife of a defense ministry official, who was in "critical but stable" condition following the blast, which happened just blocks from the Prime Minister's residence.

Iran, an ally of India and the catalyst for rising international tension, vehemently denied responsibility for the attacks.

This accusation is within the Zionist regime's psychological war against Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told Iranian state media.

Ten States Given Waivers for No Child Left Behind

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The New York Times reports that Barack Obama has lifted some crucial sanctions of the No Child Left Behind law from ten states, including Minnesota.

Minnesota, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Oklahoma were all awarded waivers that freed them from the law's requirement that they bring all students to reading and math proficiency by 2014. 28 more states are applying for the next round of waivers. Applications for this second group are due at the end of the month.

The represent a new round of compromise surrounding the controversial Bush-era law, which has been long criticized by state education officials for containing impossibly high goals (such as the reading and math proficiency requirement) and encroaching on the states' rights to regulate education.

The ten states were given waivers in exchange for keeping to the Obama administration's education policies, a condition that holds schools to keeping up consistent improvement nationwide without No Child's overarching provisions.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is pleased with the waiver. As a former teacher he is highly critical of the No Child law.

"Under 'No Child Left Behind,' teachers have been forced to teach to tests, which do not accurately measure either individual student or school progress," he told the Star Tribune. "Students spend too many hours preparing for, practicing and taking the tests."

Romney Wins Big in Nevada Caucus

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Mitt Romney enjoyed a decisive campaign in the Nevada Caucus on Saturday, distancing himself further from other GOP hopefuls and continuing a run that increasingly points to a nomination in the fall, according to the Guardian.

Romney finished in Nevada with 48% of the votes, more than twice runner-up Newt Gingrich got, and even further ahead of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, who trailed at 18.5% and 11% respectively.

This victory represents the latest in a string of strong caucus and primary showings for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney has won three of the last five votes, and took second place in Iowa by a historically slim margin.

Paul's support has been steadily declining, as has Santorum's, who hasn't been able to recapture the surprisingly strong showing in Iowa. Gingrich is attempting to appeal to far-right and evangelical voters, but his record in Washington has been hammered by Romney's super PAC, Support for Our Future, according to the Washington Post.

Gingrich expressed confidence that his campaign would remain competitive following votes from more conservative states on Super Tuesday and Texas' primary in April. In an interview with Meet The Press on Sunday Gingrich continued to position himself as the "true conservative" alternative to Romney.

"The challenge is to say: do you really want to go in to a fall election with a moderate candidate? The last two times we nominated a moderate - 1996 and 2008 - we lost badly. A conservative candidate can offer a much greater contrast with President [Barack] Obama," he said.

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