The Daily Digest

CPAC leads the Digest today. The big question heading into the weekend was whether GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann would upstage Tim Pawlenty in the CPAC straw poll. Even though the two rely on different political universes, a stronger showing by Bachmann could have put some serious molasses in Pawlenty’s perceived 2012 mojo. In the end, both got tepid support. But Bachmann got a “winner” nod in The Fix’s Winners and Losers post. Pawlenty wasn’t mentioned. Update: Politico called Pawlenty a winner and didn’t mention Bachmann.

In the end, both tied at 4%. Ron Paul got the most votes followed by Mitt Romney, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Bachmann and Pawlenty tied at fifth.

Key question: Is the CPAC straw poll a good test of a candidate’s viability or is it more fast food (empty calories that are forgotten just minutes after you consume them?)

On Friday, Pawlenty went after Obama in his speech.

He appeared on This Week and criticized Obama for “ducking a question on the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Bachmann did some crowd sourcing at the event.

Under the Dome

Gov. Dayton releases his budget plan this week. AP says his proposed cuts will be the floor not the ceiling.

MPR talks to several experts who say jobs are going to be lost whether there are cuts or tax hikes.

AP also says the promise of low taxes hasn’t delivered in many states.

Dayton and DFL Sen. Al Franken promise flood support for Fargo and the Red River Valley.

The Iron Range delegation wants Dayton to appoint a coordinator for the PolyMet proposal.

The Star Tribune is the latest outlet to look at the growing divide between Republicans in the Legislature and public employee unions.

Congress

President Obama releases his budget plan today. It’s a $3.7 trillion dollar plan that includes cuts to many discretionary programs. It cuts $1.1 trillion to the deficit.

Obama’s budget plan includes cuts but they won’t be as deep as cuts proposed by House Republicans.

The Wall St. Journal says Obama and Republicans in the House are arguing over discretionary spending while they should be looking at the bigger cost driver: entitlement spending.

DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar backs a cap on spending.

The Star Tribune says the budget cuts could hit Minnesota hard.

The New York Times says the housing crash is hitting cities that were considered stable. Cities like Minneapolis.

The Egyptian military declares martial law.

Japan’s economy slips to third in the world.

Several lawmakers, including DFL Rep. Tim Walz, criticized JP Morgan Chase for charging soldiers more interest on their mortgages than allowed under federal law, causing many families to lose their homes.

GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack will headline the Beltrami GOP Convention next Saturday.

Special Election

Tuesday is the Special Election to see who replaces DFL Rep. Tony Sertich. Several well known Democrats campaigned for Carly Melin over the weekend.