Morning Briefing: March 15, 2012

Rick Santorum tells Puerto Ricans that they must speak English if they want statehood, falsely claiming that this is required by federal law. “It’s incorrect to say that there’s a federal law imposing English as the only official language in our states,” said Del. Pedro Pierluisi.

A nationwide poll of likely Hispanic voters released last week by Fox News Latino showed that 70 percent of Hispanics would vote for President Obama, and only 14 percent would vote for Romney. Romney’s support of anti-immigrant laws like the one in Arizona, and his use of the term “self-deportation,” may appeal to the base, but they have also been a huge turnoff for Latinos across the country.

Following a damning resignation letter from Goldman whistleblower Greg Smith, Goldman’s stock plummeted 3.4 percent in trading yesterday. The company saw “$2.15 billion of its market value wiped out.”

The American League of Lobbyists is trying to lobby the Obama administration to both tone down the rhetoric from the White House and find common ground on reforms to the Lobbying Disclosure Act. And to nobody’s surprise, not everyone on K Street is on board.

The UN Human Rights Council is investigating voter identification laws in the United States. While the United Nations does not have specific jurisdiction over the United States, the NAACP is making the case that voter ID laws are a form of voter suppression.

A new Gallup poll shows that 50 percent of Americans want the United States to speed up its withdrawal from Afghanistan. The poll was conducted days after a US soldier opened fire on Afghan civilians, killing 16. An additional 24 percent are comfortable with President Obama’s proposed timetable of complete withdrawal by 2014.

The Republican war on women continues as the Senate prepares for battle over renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. Senate Republicans fear their opposition will brand them anti-women, but they nevertheless voted unanimously against the measure in committee.

And finally: During a welcoming ceremony for Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama reflected on the fact that the British burned down the White House nearly 200 years ago. “They made quite an impression,” Obama said. “They really lit the place up.” Cameron responded that he was “a little embarrassed” at what his ancestors wrought two centuries ago, but added, “I can see you’ve got the place a little better defended today.”