In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Sen. Joni Ernest (R-IA) will emphasize the Republican mandate from the midterm elections and the need for President Barack Obama to work with the new Congress in the formal GOP response to the State of the Union address, according to early excerpts of Ernst remarks.

"We heard the message you sent in November -- loud and clear," the remarks begin. "And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country.”

Ernst will single out trade legislation and tax reform as possible areas of agreement between Obama and Congress.

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President Barack Obama will seek to "turn the page" on the Great Recession and call for embracing "middle-class economics" in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, according to an excerpt of the remarks as prepared for delivery.

His speech will also touch on terrorism, American diplomacy and cyber-security.

Read the excerpts below, circulated by the White House:

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A conservative group is suing Dallas County, Texas, for allegedly discriminating against white people in violation of the Voting Rights Act. But the catch is that the 5-member county body they're suing about has a majority of white members. The problem, apparently, is that the board is majority Democratic.

"Like something out of the bad old days, a southern electoral body plays naked racial politics, intentionally using its power to minimize a dissenting race’s political sway," according to the lawsuit, filed last week in federal court by the Equal Voting Rights Institute on behalf of individual white plaintiffs.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is downplaying expectations for a political fight over Social Security or Medicare in the new Congress.

"The only way to do entitlement eligibility changes is on a bipartisan basis," he said on Thursday at an annual Republican retreat in Hershey, Pa. "In terms of the Senate we do not intend to be offering unilateral, one party-only entitlement eligibility changes."

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Democrats need to gird for a new battle with Republicans over Social Security and be prepared not to yield any ground in defense of the program, one of the leading Democratic senators on the issue told TPM in an interview.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee's Social Security subcommittee, said that Democrats shouldn't be willing to negotiate after House Republicans have stated outright that they want to pursue changes to the program.

Brown also expressed confidence that President Barack Obama would hold strong on Social Security, despite concerns among Social Security advocates that the president has shown a willingness to negotiate over the program in the past.

"We have a president who can use a veto pen and will eagerly do it on something like this," Brown said. He said his confidence in the White House's position "comes from discussions with them."

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68. That's how many times the Congressional Budget Office, Capitol Hill's official scorekeeper, ran the numbers on Obamacare while the law was being drafted. And not once, according to a new analysis, did CBO officials give any credence to the legal challenge now being brought by the law's opponents.

In a review for the Scholars Strategy Network, Harvard University's Theda Skopcol scrutinized 68 reports that CBO released during the 2009 and 2010 debate. She was looking for any evidence that Congress intended for the law's subsidies to be available only on state-run exchanges, as the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell argue. If they prevail at the Supreme Court, health coverage for millions in the 36 states using the federal exchange would be at risk.

She didn't find any.

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