The Week Ahead: GOP field heads to Super Tuesday contests

The GOP presidential race will likely be the dominant story this week as 10 states hold their nominating contests.

Ohio will be the state all observers are watching on Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have been essentially tied in the polls there. For Romney, a win in this critical general-election state would help seal the argument he is the inevitable nominee and could shorten the GOP nomination process. For Santorum, a win there would give his campaign a big boost and help prolong the storyline that conservatives cannot coalesce around a candidate.

President Obama will visit the critical election states of North Carolina and Virginia to talk about the economy.

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Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the budget battle continues with several Cabinet secretaries testifying before committees.

And expect healthcare to remain a big issue this week. House Republicans are launching an all-out assault on the healthcare law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a cost-cutting panel created by the healthcare reform law. And it’s unlikely that the controversy around contraception will go away.


Monday, March 5

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) annual conference, which is being held at the Washington Convention Center. 

President Obama meets with Netanyahu at the White House.

First lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama on social media: You’ve got to ‘think before you tweet’ MSNBC trolls Trump with video montage of Obama saying ‘Merry Christmas’ Overnight Regulation: USDA delays healthy school lunch requirements | Senate panel advances controversial environmental pick | Drone industry pushes to ease rules | Dem commish joins energy regulator MORE travels to Missouri to hold events with veterans and then attend campaign fundraisers in Kansas City and St. Louis.

Vice President Biden travels to Mexico and Honduras through Tuesday.


Tuesday, March 6

Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta address AIPAC.

Ten states — Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia — hold their presidential nominating contests.

Obama meets with members of the Business Roundtable to discuss jobs and economic growth.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusObama cabinet official: Clinton White House doubled down on 'abusive behavior' John Roberts has tough job of keeping faith in Supreme Court Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue MORE testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on the 2013 fiscal budget request for her department. The hearing begins at 2 p.m. in 2358-C Rayburn.

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) is among those being honored at the 2012 National Council of La Raza Capital Awards Gala. The invitation-only event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the National Building Museum.


Wednesday, March 7

President Obama visits Daimler Trucks North America Mt. Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant in Mt. Holly, N.C., to deliver remarks on the economy. 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the situation in Syria. The hearing begins at 9 a.m. in 106 Dirksen.

FBI Director Robert Mueller III testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on the budget request for his agency. The hearing begins at 9 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the 2013 fiscal budget request for her department. The hearing begins at 124 Dirksen.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on the administration’s trade agenda. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 215 Dirksen.

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and actress Kristin Davis are among the speakers at Oxfam America’s "International Women's Day Sisters on the Planet Summit.” The conference begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Double Tree by Hilton.

The National Press Foundation holds its 29th annual Awards Dinner.  It begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Washington.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Reps. Cynthia LummisCynthia LummisFemale lawmakers flee House for higher office, retirement Despite a battle won, 'War on Coal' far from over Dems on offense in gubernatorial races MORE (R-Wyo.), Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment FCC votes to limit program funding internet access for low-income communities More than a dozen lawmakers put family on campaign payroll MORE (D-Wis.), Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerAds target House Republicans over tax reform Working together on children’s healthcare The Hill's Latina Leaders to Watch MORE (R-Wash.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) attend a gala hosted by the Women's Policy, Inc. celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues. It begins at 6:30 p.m. in Union Station.


Thursday, March 8

President Obama hosts President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana at the White House for a meeting.

Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderFBI director defends agency after Trump attacks: It's an 'honor to represent you' FBI agents fire back at Trump: Saying we're not dedicated is 'simply false' Holder hits back at Trump: The FBI’s reputation is not in 'tatters' MORE testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the 2013 budget request for his department. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 124 Dirksen.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the budget request for her department. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 192 Dirksen.

She then testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on the same subject at 2:30 p.m. in 342 Dirksen.

Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on the 2013 budget request for his department. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in 2358-A Rayburn.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies before the House Energy Committee on the 2013 budget request for his department. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn.

Julianne Moore and Tom Hanks are among the VIP guests at a reception and screening of HBO’s "Game Change.” The invitation-only event begins at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum at 6 p.m.


Friday, March 9

President Obama will give a speech on the economy in Prince George County, Va.

The Labor Department will release the February jobs numbers. Expectations are high after January’s good report.

— Sam Baker contributed.