Morning Briefing: April 9, 2012

Newt Gingrich’s campaign is “slightly less than” $4.5 million in debt and the candidate may finally be embracing the fact that he won’t be the GOP nominee for president. On Sunday, he acknowledged that Mitt Romney is “far and away the most likely” nominee. Still, Gingrich did not drop out.

President Obama is leading Romney in a new poll of independent voters in swing states, confirming other polls that showed similar results. The poll, commissioned by the moderate think tank Third Way, shows Obama leading 44 to 38 percent among a key group of independent voters who are thought to swing between parties.

While 12.7 million people are still searching for a job, the U.S. is spending less on work force training than it did in 2006, when there were 6 million fewer people unemployed. Federal funds for the primary training program for dislocated workers has decreased by 18 percent, and funding for job search services has dropped by 13 percent.

The White House has put plans on hold to require federal contractors to disclose political giving, The Hill reports, after facing push back from conservative lawmakers. The regulation is designed to prevent contractors from using taxpayer dollars to lobby to acquire more taxpayer dollars.

Young progressive activists are starting grassroots campaigns all over the country. The National Journal reports that groups are mobilizing in smaller towns across the country to elect progressive candidates and rally around progressive legislation, mimicking the Tea Party model of organizing.

The high temperatures this year are far surpassing any previous records. Temperatures were 8.6 degrees above normal for March, and 7,700 daily temperature records were set. Climate scientist point to global warming as a contributing factor.

Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma arrested two men suspected in a deadly shooting rampage that terrorized the city’s African-American community. The massacre, which left at least three dead and two others injured, may be racially motivated, but authorities cautioned it was too early to tell.

For-profit colleges have targeted veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are eager to use their G.I. Bill benefits for education, but now lawmakers are looking to protect veterans from these for-profit institutions. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is leading a multi-state investigation into for-profit colleges to ensure the schools are not pretending to be government web sites to prey on vets.

And finally: Mitt Romney is known as being a candidate who will take whatever position is most politically expedient at that moment, so Saturday Night Live pushed that notion to its logical conclusion, with a skit in which Romney says he supports rival sports teams, body piercings, and even cock fighting while addressing interest groups for each.