Morning Must Reads: Stage

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Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz speaks to protesters at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin on March 9. (REUTERS/Darren Hauck)

–With Wisconsin Democrats still at large, state senate Republicans passed legislation stripping many collective bargaining rights from public workers last night. Passage of the bill was always overwhelmingly likely; Republican lawmakers simply had the votes. But the procedure used to pass the bill, separating the labor measures from budget fixes so that a quorum wasn’t needed for a vote, cedes a semantic point to Democrats, who argued collective bargaining had nothing to do with Wisconsin’s fiscal health. And the political battle is far from over. As in Indiana, where Democratic lawmakers remained out of  state after defeating “right to work” legislation, Wisconsin senators may not return in protest, stymieing the rest of the legislative agenda. Democrats and union allies are also planning legal challenges to the law in the short term and recall efforts against Republican lawmakers down the road.

–There is talk of a general strike. Nate Silver thinks the whole affair will mobilize the base.

–Gov. Walker makes his case in the Wall Street Journal.

–A not-so-rosy piece on Chris Christie, which is news in itself these days.

–Good stuff in this week’s magazine: Crowley ponders whether Gingrich is ready for a transformation, we ask David Brooks 10 questions, and Joe tries to steer Republican presidential candidates clear of the weeds. Glossy trumps pixels, I assure you.

–Even as the debate has taken center stage, a poll finds that public attitudes and priorities on deficit reduction have not really changed at all in the last two years. One really interesting tidbit: “Notable on this list is that only 8 percent said we are spending too much on improving and protecting the nation’s health. It’s been in this range for the past 37 years.”

–Vivienne Walt sniffs out truth in Libya.

Team Huntsman on the Death Hug: “The president is clearly trying to meddle in the GOP primary because he wants to face the weakest possible opponent… Trying to kill Huntsman with kindness this stage benefits him. It elevates him and plays right into the electability argument.”

–Romney’s media strategy has been all about the op-eds, but I’m not sure I realized how few interviews he’s done.

Evangelical-Mormon detente in Utah?

–How to understand the no-tax pledge.

–Illinois abolishes the death penalty.

–The Obama administration says 82% of public schools in the country could fail No Child Left Behind standards.

–And David Brooks is not a big Gingrich fan: “I wouldn’t let that guy run a 7-Eleven, let alone a country.”

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