A political tip sheet for the rest of us outside the Washington Beltway for Friday, March 16:
SOUND, NO IMAGE: You won't get to watch lawyers making their Supreme Court arguments on the health care overhaul. The justices nixed news organizations' request for live coverage. But you will get to listen to them later in the day. The court will post audio files and transcripts on its website (http://www.supremecourt.gov ) within two hours of the end of the proceedings on each of the three days set aside for argument, March 26-28. C-SPAN will broadcast them as soon as they're available. The decision harks back to Bush v. Gore, the case that sealed George W. Bush's election as president in 2000. That was the first time the justices provided audio of the arguments on the same day after they turned away pleas to air the proceedings live.
PROVERBS PAIR: Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich appear to have the same Bible verse bookmarked for their campaign speeches. In Illinois on Thursday, Gingrich quoted Scripture, specifically Proverbs 29:18, in making the case that voters are looking for a candidate with bold ideas. "I'm going to fine tune my message to say, without vision the people perish," the former House speaker said. On Friday it was Santorum using the line in central Missouri. "Because without vision the people will perish," he said at one point, expecting his audience to make the biblical connection. According to one version of Scripture, the passage goes, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." _ contributed by Associated Press writer Brian Bakst.
THE NEW 9-9-9 _ $2.50 GAS: Newt Gingrich is asking supporters for donations in multiples of $2.50. That's the amount he claims a gallon of gasoline will cost after he becomes president. The former House speaker told a New Orleans audience Friday that he can't raise as much money as front-runner Mitt Romney can. But he said he is gaining 500 to 1,000 new donors a day. He said many of them give small but that he welcomes amounts that might lead to larger contributions later.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK: Mitt Romney is intensifying his campaign in the economically challenged Midwest in hopes of regaining his momentum when Illinois holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday. At stake are 54 delegates in a race that's tighter than expected. Rick Santorum has risen in Illinois polls recently. And the Democrat they both hope to oust was fundraising in his adopted home state. Romney and his allies are pouring money into the state. But first Missouri will caucus on Saturday and Puerto Rico will weigh in with a primary on Sunday.
A HOLLYWOOD WHO'S FOR WHOM:
OBAMA: Tyler Perry, Cee Lo Green, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Will Smith, Magic Johnson and Antonio Banderas, Robert De Niro, Dallas Mavericks' Vince Carter, television producer Brad Bell.
ROMNEY: Jeff Foxworthy, Kidd Rock, Kiss' Gene Simmons.
GINGRICH: Chuck Norris.
SANTORUM: Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, stars of TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
PAUL: Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg, Oliver Stone, Juliette Lewis, Vince Vaughn, Joe Rogan, Jesse Ventura.
IN THEIR WORDS:
_ "How many of you knew that `algae' was the answer? I think this is a sign we're winning." _ Gingrich, criticizing Obama's call for new sources of energy, campaigning in Louisiana.
_ "I'm thinking maybe some Lincoln will rub off on them while they're here." _ Obama, at a Chicago fundraiser.
_ "In looking at Justice Sotomayor, my view was her philosophy is quite different than my own and that's the reason why I would not support her as a justice for the Supreme Court. I would be happy to have a justice of Puerto Rican descent or a Puerto Rican individual on the Supreme Court, but they would have to share my philosophy, that comes first." _ Romney, campaigning in Puerto Rico.
_ "I believe in a light touch of government where Gov. Romney believes in a very heavy touch. So he is an economic government heavyweight." _ Santorum, campaigning in Illinois.