A political tip sheet for the rest of us outside the Washington Beltway, for Friday, April 5:
ALL QUIET: With the religious holidays of Good Friday and Passover falling on the same day, it made for a very quiet day on the campaign trail. The four candidates _ Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul _ have penciled some down time into their schedules. Campaigning was expected to resume in earnest next week for the April 24 primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
SANTORUM'S DAUGHTER: Santorum's break from campaigning was interrupted when he and his wife, Karen, took their youngest daughter, Bella, to the hospital. The 3-year-old is afflicted with a rare genetic disorder and, according to her father, was not expected to live past her first birthday. She was hospitalized earlier this year with pneumonia. Santorum's spokesman asked for "prayers and privacy" but did not say where the girl was taken or why.
NEEDS A NEW PLAN: Santorum's strategy to use state party conventions to steal support from Mitt Romney stalled in North Dakota after Romney ended up with the most backing among the state's delegates to the Republican National Convention. Santorum won North Dakota's caucuses on March 6. But Romney came out of last weekend's state party convention with the most support among the state's 28 delegates to the national convention. Most of those delegates interviewed by The Associated Press said they planned to abide by the caucus results, meaning Santorum would get to keep his delegates. But Santorum's weak showing at the state convention blew a hole in the strategy he was counting on to chip away at Romney's delegate lead.
WOOING WOMEN: President Barack Obama said women shouldn't be reduced to a political interest group but should be respected as a driving force in the economy. Obama said women's issues should be viewed more broadly as matters affecting entire families and the nation's economic competitiveness. He spoke at a White House forum on women's issues amid intensifying debate about the role women will play in choosing the next president. Obama also described the matter as personal for him, having been raised by a single mother and helping raise two daughters with his wife, Michelle.
BY THE UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS:
_ 8.2 percent: U.S. unemployment rate in March.
_ 120,000: Jobs added in March.
_ 8.3 percent: U.S. unemployment rate in February.
_ 200,000: Jobs added in February.
IN THEIR WORDS:
_ "This is a weak and very troubling jobs report that shows the employment market remains stagnant. ... It is increasingly clear the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in office the president's excuses have run out." _ Romney on the March unemployment report.
_ "Rick and his wife Karen have taken their daughter Bella to the hospital. The family requests prayers and privacy as Bella works her way to recovery." _ Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley.
_ "Taking time off the trail to remember the death & resurrection of Christ w/loved ones. Hope you have time to do the same this Easter wkend." _ Gingrich, via Twitter.
_ "Women are not some monolithic bloc. Women are not an interest group. You shouldn't be treated that way. Women are over half this country and its workforce, not to mention 80 percent of my household, if you count my mother-in-law. And I always count my mother-in-law." _ Obama at White House forum on women and the economy.