Today's Takeaway: Primary Results from Mississippi and Alabama, Baghdad ER, and the Most Important Economic Indicator

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum greats supporters after winning the both Alabama and Mississippi primaries on March 13, 2012 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum greats supporters after winning the both Alabama and Mississippi primaries on March 13, 2012 in Lafayette, Louisiana. (Sean Gardner/Stringer/Getty)

Top of the Hour: Santorum Takes Alabama and Mississippi, Morning Headlines

Rick Santorum won both the Alabama and Mississippi Republican primaries on Tuesday, while Mitt Romney won the caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa. Gingrich finished stronger than expected, but now faces calls from the Santorum campaign to end his bid for the presidency. Delegate front-runner Mitt Romney continued his streak of Southern losses, finishing third in both Alabama and Mississippi.

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Primary Election Wrap-up: What's Next for the GOP after Alabama and Mississippi?

More than halfway through the Republican primaries, there is still no clear frontrunner. It's a three-way race with four men running, and the guy that no one paid any attention to last year keeps walking away with primary victories. Our expert political panel examines last night’s Republican primary election results and discuss what Mississippi and Alabama's wins may mean for the GOP race ahead. 

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Listeners Respond: Making a Move to Find Job Opportunities

We've been asking our listeners this week about their relationships with their jobs. One thing that's touched a nerve is the question of far young workers are willing to go to find good opportunities. Many younger listeners told us they were open to taking a risk and moving somewhere new, but it just wasn't a decision they could afford to make. However we did also hear from more than a few listeners who did manage to take a leap.

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Is the Price of Gas the Only Economic Indicator that Matters?

Most economic indicators point to America being on the upswing in 2012. The stock market is up. Unemployment is down. And the strains in the global financial markets have eased. Yet 59 percent of voters rate President Obama negatively when it comes to the economy, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll.

Could it be because of the one economic indicator that’s stubbornly not improving: gas prices?

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Panetta Visits Troops, Commanders in Afghanistan

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will meet with troops in Afghanistan today, during a visit that come days after a U.S. soldier allegedly went on a shooting spree in Kandahar that killed 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children and three women. In the trip that has been planned for months, Panetta is not scheduled to go to the district in Kandahar where the killings occurred. The Defense Secretary has stated that Sunday's shootings will not change the administration’s exit strategy from Afghanistan.

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Baghdad ER: A Unique Vantage of the War in Iraq

This Sunday marks three months since the last U.S. military convoy left Iraq. Few places were better witnesses of the effects of the war on citizens than Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad’s Green Zone, which is perhaps most familiar to Americans for its emergency room, known as Baghdad ER. Each day, the American-run Baghdad ER treated anyone who came to its door with life-threatening battle injuries. On October 1, 2009, the U.S. government returned management of the hospital to Iraq.

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Top of the Hour: Primary Results, Federal Reserve Stress Tests, Morning Headlines

All but a handful of the nation's largest banks have passed stress tests administered by the Federal Reserve. The tests sought to see how many of 19 financial institutions could withstand another recession. Fifteen banks were cleared, and four were reported to not have enough capital to stay afloat in another downturn, including Citigroup, the nation's third largest. 

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GOP Candidates Recalibrate Strategies After Primaries in Alabama and Mississippi

Rick Santorum won both GOP primaries in the South yesterday. He took 35 percent of the vote in Alabama and 33 percent in Mississippi. Do these results spell the end of the road for Newt Gingrich? And what does this mean for Tuesday's third-place winner, delegate leader Mitt Romney?

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Republican Candidates Look to Illinois Primary

Now that the Alabama and Mississippi Republican primaries are over, the candidates are setting their sights on the next big state: Illinois. Except for the densely populated area around Chicago, Illinois tends to be a fairly conservative state. With 69 delegates up for grabs and a chance to criticize President Obama on his home turf, the candidates will likely continue to ramp up their rhetoric to sway Midwestern voters.

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Human Rights Abuses Across Syrian Borders

According to new reports from Human Rights Watch, Syria is laying landmines across its borders with Lebanon and Turkey. Steve Goose, arms division director for Human Rights Watch, called the use of these weapons "unconscionable," going on to say that "there is absolutely no justification for the use of these indiscriminate weapons by any country, anywhere, for any purpose." What implications will these weapons have on the estimated 200,000 refugees still within Syrian borders?

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John Hockenberry Reports from London: Encyclopedia Britannica to Stop Print Editions

After 244 years, the oldest continually published encyclopedia in the English language, the Encyclopedia Britannica, is going out of print. The encyclopedia will now be focused on its online edition and educational curricula for schools. John Hockenberry reports from London, where he spoke with the encyclopedia's managing editor Ian Grant.

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What's Next for Newt Gingrich?

Newt Gingrich had a lot riding on last night's primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. While he did manage to beat Mitt Romney in both contests, there are questions this morning if his two second-place finishes are enough to keep his campaign fighting on.

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The Political Cost of Mitt Romney's Fundraising Prowess

No contender for the GOP nomination has been more successful raising campaign cash than Mitt Romney. Romney was just in New York City on a fundraising trip, taking checks from bankers and businessmen. But how might those big contributions harm the on-again/off-again Republican frontrunner, who's already struggling with an image problem generated by his immense wealth? And how might the Super PACs be turning the dynamics of this year's campaign on its head?

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