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Stephen Colbert, Rick Perry, and More Sunday Talk

Colbert defends his flip-flopping, Perry defends U.S. Marines, Gingrich vows to show us the money, and more.

Stephen Colbert: I’m Exploring!

Move over Mitt Romney—there's a new flip-flopper in town. The Colbert Report host took his presidential bid a step further by appearing on This Week, where he was forced to face the tough questions before next weekend’s South Carolina primary. First up: why he made the ultimate flip-flop by switching from being a Democrat to run as a Republican. "I'm exploring right now. I'm a one-man Lewis and Clark," Colbert said. "And I'm just looking for my Sacagawea." As for his vice president: only another Stephen Colbert will do.

Perry: Obama ‘Disdains’ Marines

Controversy over the four U.S. Marines who urinated on dead Taliban fighters in a disturbing video that surfaced last week—and who now face criminal charges—raged on Sunday morning. While many, like Sen. John McCain, support their punishment, Gov. Rick Perry told CNN’s State of the Union that the soldiers made a “dumb mistake” and shouldn’t face such a harsh penalty. “What’s really disturbing to me is kind of the over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military it appears,” said the 2012 hopeful. “The idea that this administration would go after these young people for a criminal act is, again, I think it is over the top.”

Gingrich Goes Transparent

Newt Gingrich plans to show us the money! On Sunday’s Meet the Press, the GOP hopeful revealed that he’ll release his tax returns later this week. He chose to disclose his records in order to give South Carolina voters the full picture before Saturday’s primary. “This is part of the process in the American people having trust in the candidates,” said Gingrich. When asked if he thought Romney should also release his tax statements, Gingrich commented: “The country deserves accountability and they deserve transparency. These are big issues and they’re not issues you can hide from.”

Axelrod Targets Romney

Ready, aim, fire! After David Axelrod’s appearance on State of the Union, it’s pretty clear the Obama camp sees Mitt Romney as its main competition. The senior strategist of Obama’s reelection campaign repeatedly questioned Romney’s business practices while he was CEO of Bain Capital. And while he believes that Romney’s past decisions are his prerogative, Axelrod urged viewers to question whether the same strategies would work for America. “He’s entitled to do that—no one is begrudging him that,” said Axelrod. “The question is, is that the philosophy that you want in the White House?”

Santorum on the Hunt

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are in a two-man race—according to Santorum, anyway. The confident GOP presidential candidate stopped by Fox News Sunday, fresh off his endorsement from evangelical leaders in South Carolina. While he stopped short of saying the other candidates should throw in the towel, Santorum seemed assured that, in the end, voters will have to choose between him and Romney: “We feel like once this field narrows and we get it down to a two-person race, we have an excellent opportunity to win this race.”

Kantor: First Lady Not Angry

Going on the defense, Jodi Kantor, author of The Obamas, appeared on Face the Nation to tackle criticism of her book—most notably, the first lady’s accusation that it portrayed her as an “angry black woman”. “Those words aren’t in the book, there’s nothing that implies that she is,” said Kantor. The author goes on to say that, in reality, Mrs. Obama is portrayed as “a very strong woman,” and that White House aides actually liked her. “They thought Mrs. Obama was doing better in some ways than the president was.”

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Romney His Own Worst Enemy

Is Mitt Romney to blame for his elitist persona? Washington Post political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson thinks so. Henderson told Reliable Sources that Romney’s persistent accusations that Obama is a “welfare president” may be coming back to bite him in the you-know-what. “Because he’s doing that, it’s setting himself up to be this guy that himself has been a very entitled, privileged figure.”