While Republican candidates continue to slug it out for their party's White House nomination, President Obama is getting a head start on the general election.
Obama's grassroots campaign is already hard at work with volunteers hosting house parties and staffing phone banks to find and mobilize the president's supporters. The campaign has opened five offices in Virginia, and that's not counting the basement of Sue Langley's house in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Vienna, where more than a dozen volunteers assembled this past weekend.
It's Super Tuesday for the Republican presidential contenders, and 10 states are holding primaries and caucuses.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hopes he can firm up his front-runner status — a status that, an NPR analysis shows, has so far involved his campaign and a pro-Romney superPAC burying the opposition with negative messages.
With 10 states holding Republican primaries or caucuses on March 6 — Super Tuesday — a lot of money is being spent on TV ads. The superPACs supporting the remaining GOP candidates have doled out some $12 million for ads in those states.
Leading the way is Restore Our Future, the superPAC that backs former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. According to Federal Election Commission numbers, Restore Our Future has spent $6.9 million on the Super Tuesday states.
For the first time, Idaho Republicans are holding presidential preference caucuses on Tuesday. Jonathan Parker, the state party's executive director, is excited about the chance to hold party-building exercises on such a broad scale.
"For the first time, maybe ever, Idaho is relevant in the nominating process," he says.
But as much as he relishes the attention — Mitt Romney held a rally in Idaho Falls last Thursday — Parker worries that the state GOP could generate the wrong kind of publicity.