News roundup: Romney more 'confident' about earning GOP nod
Published: March 20, 2012 07:21AM
Updated: March 20, 2012 08:00AM
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and his wife Ann, greet people during a campaign stop at Charlie Parker's Diner, in Springfield, Ill., Monday, March 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Romney more 'confident.' Herbert's rivals smell politics in veto. Chaffetz to join Ryan for budget rollout.

Happy Tuesday. Mitt Romney could earn a nice boost tonight toward grabbing the Republican nomination with the Illinois primary looking favorably his way. Some 54 delegates are available in tonight's contest -- and Rick Santorum can't even win 10 of them because of a campaign paperwork mistake. Romney, his wife, Ann, and surrogates are becoming more confident about clinching the GOP nod. [WaPost]

-> Five things to watch for in tonight's primary. [Politico]

-> Current delegate count: Romney: 531. Santorum: 253. Newt Gingrich: 136. Ron Paul: 50. (Jon Huntsman: 2). Needed to win: 1,144. [WSJ]

Topping the news: Some of Gov. Gary Herbert's Republican opponents are accusing the governor of strategically timing the veto of HB363. [Trib]

-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz will join Budget Chairman Paul Ryan at a news conference today unveiling the group's proposed budget, which seeks to overhaul the U.S. tax code by reducing rates and various tax brackets. [BusinessWeek]

-> A daughter of longtime Democratic leader Ted Wilson -- Missy, not Jenny -- is running for office on the SL County Council -- as a Republican. [Trib]

Tweet of the day: From @ArletteSaenz: "Santorum asks crowd to say a prayer for his wife Karen who is doing an interview tonight solo with Piers Morgan."

In other news: Pat Bagley skewers the Eagle Forum's Gayle Ruzicka and Gov. Gary Herbert's veto of the change to sex-education education. [Trib]

-> SLC Council Chairman Soren Simonsen plans to run against Chaffetz in District 3. [KCPW]

-> The State Integrity project of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International gives Utah a "D" grade on its corruption risk report card -- ranking it No. 36 out of 50 states. [StateIntegrity]

-> On the flip side, Utah gets a "B+" in government spending transparency, up from last year's "C," making it among the top 10 states showing progress. [DNews]

2012 Watch: Romney weaved through tough questions from college students after speaking to Bradley University in Illinois. [LATimes] [MSNBC]

-> Santorum distances himself from a controversial statement by a pastor of the Louisiana church he attended -- that non-Christians are free to leave the country -- saying he respects the right of religious freedom. [ABCNews] [NYTimes]

-> Gingrich says President Barack Obama "crushes" Christianity and appeases radical Islam. [WaPost]

-> Romney ignored all three of his GOP rivals in a Chicago speech, instead narrowing in on the incumbent he hopes to beat in the fall. [APviaNPR]

-> Santorum shines in the minds of southern evangelical voters as thousands gather to support the Catholic candidate. [WaPost]

-> After placing second in Mississippi, Gingrich seals the backing of its former governor Haley Barbour, in what Barbour describes as an endorsement "out of friendship." [USAToday]

-> As Paul's popularity on Twitter and Facebook dwindles, NBC takes a look at how all four candidates match up on their social media ratings. [MSNBC]

-> Paul spent more than he made in February and his cash flow is drier than its been throughout his entire campaign. [Houston]

-> Buddy Roemer, a 2012 presidential candidate who officially withdrew from the race in February but now is seeking a nomination with the Reform Party, is beating out Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. [ABCNews]

-> Santorum doesn't have many words for the issue many pollsters rate as the most important of the election: the economy. [Politico]

Where are they?

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-- Thomas Burr and Laura Schmitz