KETR

Ari Shapiro

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Along with Arizona, Michigan holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday. If Rick Santorum beats native son Mitt Romney in Michigan, it could throw the race into turmoil.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

The Republican race for president heads to Michigan and Arizona this week. Both states hold primaries on Tuesday. Former Governor Mitt Romney was in Michigan yesterday, his campaign bus logging more than 250 miles across the state. He's fighting the recent surge of former Senator Rick Santorum.

Romney held three events in three towns - Lansing, Troy and Flint - and NPR's Ari Shapiro was with him at all three stops.

Mitt Romney is on a bus tour across Michigan, hoping to win the votes of the state where he grew up. With primary day on Tuesday, Romney seems to have closed the gap in polls with Rick Santorum.

This trip has the feel of those early days campaigning back in New Hampshire, before any votes were actually cast: the long bus rides, the snowy landscape, even the impromptu restaurant drop-ins.

Symbolically speaking, this month's Michigan's primary may be the most important of the GOP presidential race to date. It's the state where Mitt Romney grew up, and his father was a beloved government and business leader. And now, Romney seems to have a real chance of losing the state to Rick Santorum.

Thousands of Republican activists from around the country are in Washington, D.C., listening to party leaders and conservative media stars at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The backdrop of CPAC, which wraps up Saturday, is the heated presidential race. Three of the remaining candidates spoke Friday. The fourth, Ron Paul, skipped the conference. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin headlined the final session Saturday.

Four years ago, Mitt Romney took his farewell bow at the meeting, leaving the presidential race.

There was no 11th-hour surprise in the Nevada caucuses Saturday night. The first state in the West to vote in the Republican presidential race chose Mitt Romney, who won with support from a broad base and left his rivals trailing behind.

No Thanks To You, Mr. President

Nevada has been Romney country since at least 2008. That year, he took about half the vote in the caucuses but lost the Republican nomination to John McCain.

This year, he has his sights set higher.

Saturday is caucus day in Nevada, the first state in the West to vote as Republicans go about choosing their presidential candidate.

Mitt Romney is counting on another win here to keep him on the path to the nomination. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have also been campaigning across the state, while Rick Santorum is in the Midwest looking ahead to later contests next week.

Believe it or not, Nevada leads the country in unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcy.

Mitt Romney starts the week having undergone a transformation.

For almost a year, he tried to portray himself as the grown-up in the Republican race for the presidential nomination. Now, over the course of two debates and countless Florida campaign stops, the buttoned-up businessman is showing that he can get tough.

This shift has upended the yin-yang dynamic that has been playing out for weeks between the passionate, fiery Newt Gingrich and the staid, steady Romney.

There are not many things that President Obama, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney agree on, but when it comes to job training there is common ground.

"It is time to turn our unemployment system into a re-employment system that puts people to work," Obama said during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Earlier in the week, Gingrich offered a similar solution for helping those facing long-term unemployment.

One of the biggest issues in the Florida GOP primary race is housing. Mitt Romney is attacking Newt Gingrich's work for the housing giant Freddie Mac. This issue is not just a political talking point though. Three years after the economic collapse, foreclosures continue to affect real people every day in an extremely personal way.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning in Florida following a big loss over the weekend to Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. Romney told a crowd that Gingrich resigned in disgrace after four years as speaker of the House.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It wasn't too long ago Mitt Romney looked like he was on a winning streak; that maybe if things kept going his way, he could sweep all the early primary and caucus states. Now, his record is one for three.

The GOP presidential candidate forum held Saturday in Charleston, S.C., was not exactly a debate. In fact, it was sort of the opposite of a debate.

The event was moderated by Fox News host and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. All the candidates except for Ron Paul attended, but they never actually shared the stage. They were explicitly prohibited from attacking — or even mentioning — each other.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's safe to say that plenty of Republicans would like to see a presidential candidate besides Mitt Romney.

GREENE: It's equally safe to say that at the moment they don't have one. Five of Romney's rivals are struggling to break through after he won both Iowa and New Hampshire.

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