What to watch for Thursday in politics

Phil Pruitt
The Ticket

President Obama is headed to Florida on Thursday where he will speak at 2:25 p.m. EST at the University of Miami. The topic: high gasoline prices and a defense of his record on energy production. Rising costs at the pump could undermine the fragile economic recovery and pose a challenge to Obama's reelection campaign. It's also worth noting that Florida will be a battleground state in the general election.

While Obama is in Florida, Vice President Biden will be at the other end of the East Coast in New England. He'll attend campaign events in Boston, Manchester, N.H., and Providence, R.I, New Hampshire will be a battleground state in the general election, but  Massachusetts and Rhode Island are considered safe for Obama and Biden.

And first lady Michelle Obama will speak at a Democratic National Committee reception at 1:30 p.m. EST in Cincinnati and another DNC reception in Louisville, Ky., at 5:30 p.m. EST.

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich will be on the stump Thursday, but Ron Paul had no Thursday events listed on his campaign web site. Romney will be start the day in Phoenix with an 8:30 a.m. MST event and then shift his focus to Michigan, where Santorum is mounting a strong challenge. The former Massachusetts governor has a tea party event in Milford at 7 p.m. EST that no doubt will provide him another opportunity to talk about how conservative he is.

Santorum will be in Dallas to speak at a fundraiser, and he'll also be on the Glenn Beck Program at 6 p.m. EST on GBTV, which is streamed live on GBTV.com.

Gingrich starts the day on the West Coast in Washington state ahead of the March 3 caucuses. He has a rally at 11 a.m. PST  in Kennewick and a stop at 2 p.m. PST in Spokane. He later travels to Idaho, which is in the March 6 Super Tuesday lineup. He has a 7:30 p.m. PST rally in Couer d'Alene.

Congress is not in session, but there still will be some action on Capitol Hill. Remember the flap last week when Rep. Darrell Issa's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the contraceptive coverage rule and called an all-male panel to testify? Democrats did request that Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke be allowed to testify, but Issa, a Republican, said Fluke could not be a witness because she was not a member of the clergy and that her name was submitted too late anyway. Well, Fluke will get a chance to testify Thursday. The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee is holding a hearing at 10 a.m. EST, and Fluke is the only witness.

And then there is this: Buddy Roemer announces an end to his GOP presidential campaign Thursday and launches a bid to seek the nomination of Americans Elect and The Reform Party.

Sources: Yahoo! News reporter Olivier Knox, ABC News, Associated Press.

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