Morning Briefing: February 6, 2012

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, President Obama holds a clear lead over GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. By a 2–1 margin, Americans said the more they learned about Romney, the less they liked him — likely a function of the overwhelmingly negative primary campaign the candidate has waged against his fellow contenders.

The same poll shows 68 percent of Americans think the tax code favors the wealthy, including 56 percent who strongly believe so, while two-thirds think Romney is not paying his fair share in taxes.

Egypt will put 19 Americans on trial as part of an investigation into the funding of pro-democracy groups, the government announced Sunday. One of those reportedly facing charges is Sam LaHood, the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Members of Congress are using backdoor ways to direct funding back to their districts despite a official ban on earmarks, according to a coalition of budget watchdog groups. Lawmakers are using special funds in spending and authorization bills, such as the recently approved budget for the Army Corps of Engineers, to get pork back to their districts.


Roll Call reports that records show Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was apparently reimbursed twice for travel, paid by both taxpayers and his political and non-profit organizations, in eight cases.

Many vulnerable congressional Republicans decided to back a popular ban on insider trading at the last minute. The insider trading bill now has 282 co-sponsors after a 60 Minutes report on representatives profiting from their exclusive knowledge sent members racing to show they’re clean.

The Obama administration is close to garnering support from California officials for its mortgage relief plan, which would increase the amount for mortgage relief to $25 million nationwide, up from $19 million. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who previously withheld his support, now supports the deal.

In the final tally, Mitt Romney won the Nevada caucuses with just over 50 percent of the vote, according to certified results released by the Nevada Republican Party on Monday. He received more than twice as many votes as Newt Gingrich, who came in second with 21 percent.

General Motors, the world’s largest automaker, is expected to announce record profits for 2011 on strong earnings in the final quarter of last year, reports the Wall Street Journal. They would be the third US automaker to announce healthy profits for the year, a strong indication that President Obama’s efforts to revitalize the US auto industry, which was on the verge of collapse when he took office, have been successful.


And finally: Conservative shock jock Rush Limbaugh was caught picking his nose at the Super Bowl last night. See him here.

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