What to watch for this weekend in politics

Phil Pruitt
The Ticket

The House and Senate are expected to vote Friday on a measure that would extend the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits and delay cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors. Passage, which seems certain, would mark a victory for President Obama. Congress breaks for the Presidents Day recess after Friday's business wraps up.

Meanwhile, Obama concludes a three-day trip Friday with an 11:25 a.m. PST speech at a Boeing plant in Everett, Wash., about "the importance of companies insourcing and investing in America." There also will be campaign stops in Seattle and Bellevue.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping ends his visit to the United States on Friday with a stop in Los Angeles where he will participate in a U.S.-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum with Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and attend a private dinner with Vice President Biden. He also is expected to announce a deal between DreamWorks and Shanghai Media Group and China Media Capital.

Rick Santorum campaigns in Michigan and Ohio on Friday. He will attend the Michigan Faith & Freedom Coalition "Road to Victory Rally '12'" in Shelby Township at 11:15 AM EST, before heading to Ohio for a 6 p.m. EST stop in Mason and an 8 p.m. EST stop in Georgetown. The Michigan primary is Feb. 28, and Ohio is March 6, Super Tuesday.

Santorum will spend all day in Ohio Saturday. He has two events in Columbus at 9:45 a.m. EST and 12 p.m. EST, and a 6:30 p.m. EST speech in Akron.

Mitt Romney knows Santorum has closed in on him in the polls, and he's not taking much time off this weekend. He'll be in Boise, Idaho, Friday for a rally and fundraisers, and he's hosting a rally Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah. Idaho's primary is March 6 and Utah's is June 26. While Romney's out West, Tim Pawlenty will be campaigning for him in Michigan on Saturday. Pawlenty will attend the Northern Michigan Reagan Day Dinner at 5 p.m. EST.

Newt Gingrich will be campaigning in his home state of Georgia this weekend. On Friday, Gingrich holds a VIP donor reception at 6:30 p.m. EST in Peachtree City and has a rally at 7:30 p.m. EST, also in Peachtree City. On Saturday, he'll attend precinct meetings in Cumming at 10 a.m. EST and in Suwanee at 11:30 a.m. EST and then head for a 3 p.m. EST rally in Atlanta. On Monday, Gingrich will speak at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., at 2 p.m. CST.

Ron Paul will be on the stump in Washington on Friday. He has a town hall meeting at 12 p.m. PST in Richland, and rallies at 4 p.m. PST in Moscow and 7:30 p.m. PST in Spokane. He will be in Idaho on Saturday for a rally in Boise at 12:30 p.m. MST, and he will then head to Missouri for a rally in Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. CST.

And then there is this: Friday marks the 40th anniversary of President Nixon setting off on his historic trip to China. He was the first serving president to visit the country.

And this: There will not be a "what to watch for post" on Monday, Presidents Day.

Sources: Yahoo! News, Associated Press

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