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March 4th, 2012
04:55 AM ET

SOTU Early Bird for March 4th

(CNN)-It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your cup of coffee.

On our radar: Another caucus win for Mitt Romney, Gingrich is feeling confident about Georgia, and expectations for President Obama's speech to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC.

Check out what we're reading, and be sure to watch our interviews with two presidential candidates: Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. State of the Union airs today at 9am/12pm ET.


Romney wins Washington state caucuses

Mitt Romney won the Republican caucuses in Washington state, according to unofficial results early Sunday, giving the former Massachusetts governor a shot in the arm heading into Super Tuesday contests.

With 99% of the vote in, Romney had 38%. Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 25% and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had 24%. They were trailed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 10%.

At stake in the contest are 40 delegates.

Santorum, Gingrich target Obama at GOP dinner in Ohio

"The president says, 'The Republicans will tell you drill, drill, drill,' " Gingrich said. "First of all, I want to reassure the president, we should drill, drill, drill." He mocked the president for suggesting that some of the United States' energy problems would be solved with biofuels made from algae. "Americans get to decide: Would you like $10 a gallon and algae or would you like $2.50 a gallon and drilling?" he said.

Gingrich: Little to Say on Limbaugh

Asked by reporters here about Mr. Limbaugh’s comments, the former House speaker responded, “I don’t even know. I wasn’t involved in the conversation.” He continued, “I will say that the news media seems far more eager to talk about Rush Limbaugh’s language than they are to talk about the Barack Obama’s apology to the people who are killing Americans.”


U.S. Backers of Israel Pressure Obama Over Policy on Iran

Mr. Obama will not lay down new red lines on Iran, even if he discusses them with Mr. Netanyahu, administration officials said. And he is not ready to accept a central part of Israel’s strategic calculation: that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be warranted to stop it from gaining the capability to build a nuclear weapon, rather than later, to stop it from actually manufacturing one.

U.S. officials: Iran is stepping up lethal aid to Syria

Three U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports from the region described a spike in Iran­ian-supplied arms and other aid for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad at a time when the regime is mounting an unprecedented offensive to crush resistance in the key city of Homs.

“The aid from Iran is increasing, and is increasingly focused on lethal assistance,” said one of the officials, insisting on anonymity to discuss intelligence reports from the region.


Grief, resilience after storms rip through states, killing 37

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