February 2012 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of February 2012.
Romney Easily Wins Nevada Caucus (Feb. 4): Four days after his first-place finish in the Florida primary, Mitt Romney wins the Nevada caucus by 50.1%. Newt Gingrich comes in second with 21.1%, followed by Ron Paul (18.8%) and Rick Santorum (10.0%). Nevada is Romney's third win, also having won New Hampshire and Florida. (Feb. 7): Rick Santorum wins the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses along with a nonbinding Missouri primary. The trifecta of victories is a surprise and raises more questions about Romney's ability to represent the Republican Party in the 2012 presidential election. In Colorado, Santorum wins 40.3% of the vote, followed by Romney (34.9%), Gingrich (12.8%), and Paul (11.8%). In Minnesota, Santorum wins with 44.9%, followed by Paul (27.1%), Romney (16.9%), Gingrich (10.8%). (Feb.11): Mitt Romney wins the Maine Republican Caucuses, receiving 39.2% of the vote. Ron Paul places a strong second with 35.7%, followed by Rick Santorum (17.7%) and Newt Gingrich (6.2%). Maine's caucuses were held over a one week period. (Feb.28): Mitt Romney wins the last two primaries of the month. In Arizona, he receives 47.3% of the vote. Rick Santorum comes in second with 26.6%, followed by Newt Gingrich (16.2%) and Ron Paul (8.4%). Romney wins his home state of Michigan by a much smaller margin. He receives 41.1% of the vote to Santorum's 37.9%, followed by Paul (11.6%) and Gingrich (6.5%).
Giants Beat Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI (Feb. 5): In a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl, the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21?17. An estimated 111.3 million people tune in to see quarterback Eli Manning lead the Giants to their second Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots in five years. The game edges out last year's Super Bowl (111.0 Million) to become the most-watched television show in U.S. history.
California Court Overturns Ban on Gay Marriage (Feb. 7): A federal appeals court in California rejects the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage passed in 2008. The court rules that the ban, known as Proposition 8, violates the constitution rights of gay men and lesbians in California. Both those against and supporters of the ban vow to take the case before the Supreme Court.
Military Allows Women Closer to Combat (Feb. 9): After a yearlong review, the Pentagon announces that women will now be permanently assigned to battalions. In these ground units, women will be assigned such critical jobs as radio operators, medics, and tank mechanics. However, many women already serve in those jobs, in temporary status, due to demand in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon's new ruling only makes these job assignments official and upholds the ban on women serving in combat tank units, Special Operations commando units and the infantry.
Obama Compromises on Contraception (Feb. 10): President Obama announces a change to a recent rule requiring all health insurance plans, including those offered by Roman Catholic institutions, provide birth control coverage to female employees. The revision, an accommodation to calm furor over the new rule, will require that insurance companies, not religious institutions, offer free contraceptive coverage.
Pop Superstar Whitney Houston Dies at Age 48 (Feb. 11): One of the biggest pop singing sensations of all-time, Whitney Houston, is found dead in her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton. Her death comes on the eve of the Grammy Awards and while a pre-Grammy party is being held downstairs at the hotel. The cause of Houston's death is not immediately known. One of the world's best-selling artists from the mid80s through the late 1990s, Houston is also known for her film work, including The Bodyguard (1992) with Kevin Costner. The film's soundtrack has sold more than 42 million copies in the world and includes "I Will Always Love You," arguably Houston's best loved song.
Washington State Legalizes Gay Marriage (Feb. 13): Washington becomes the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage as Gov. Christine Gregoire signs the legislation. Opponents are already working to block the bill and put the issue before voters in a referendum.
Obama Announces 2013 Budget Plan (Feb. 13): President Obama issues a budget plan for 2013. The plan includes job-creation initiatives for infrastructure as well as job-training. To pay for the new jobs, Obama's plan calls for raising $1.5 trillion over ten years from wealthy taxpayers and closing some corporate tax breaks, especially for gas and oil companies. The proposal comes up short as far as Obama's goal to cut the deficit in half by 2013. Republicans seize on this, calling it a broken promise in deficit reduction. With such strong opposition, especially on the issue of a higher tax for the wealthiest taxpayers, it is unlikely that major parts of Obama's budget will pass.