In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Among many tea party types, paying a penalty for having an insurance plan outside of Obamacare would be something of a badge of honor. Conservative journalist Matt Drudge famously claimed he had already paid a "liberty tax" for not getting coverage under Obamacare for his small business, a claim that was met with skepticism since the penalty hasn't yet been enforced. Other tea party groups have touted stories about regular people who are "happy" to pay the penalty rather than be covered under the law.

So why is New Hampshire state Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R), a vocal critic of Obamacare, so defensive about what kind of health care coverage she has?

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's refusal to remove Democratic Senate nominee Chad Taylor from the ballot came under harsh scrutiny Tuesday from the Kansas Supreme Court, with some of the justices openly wondering whether the Republican official was arbitrarily applying the law.

At stake is whether Taylor, who attempted to withdraw earlier this month, will have his name appear on the ballot in November. That decision could swing the race between independent candidate Greg Orman and Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts -- which could in turn decide which party controls the Senate next year.

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As expected, Senate Republicans filibustered legislation on Monday aimed at helping women fight for equal pay in the workplace, a vote held by Democrats to attack the GOP ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

The vote was 52 for, 40 against, falling short of the 60 needed to defeat a filibuster.

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More than 20 school districts in the United States have been equipped with military-grade equipment through the federal program that provides such gear to local and state authorities free of charge, according to civil rights groups.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Texas Appleseed, a legal advocacy group, sent a letter on behalf of a coalition of civil rights groups to the federal agency that administers the program on Monday. The letter requested reforms be made to the 1033 program, which has come under significant scrutiny after the heavily armed police response to protests in Ferguson, Mo., last month.

The letter cited "published reports" that have showed military equipment being transferred from the Pentagon to the school districts. It said the total number of transfers from the Defense Department to U.S. schools "is difficult to determine."

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At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Census Bureau will release new data on health insurance in America. But as a measure of the new reality established by the Affordable Care Act, which remade the health insurance system in the United States, the numbers will be essentially meaningless.

But they will come in handy later.

The problem with the new numbers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt, is that they cut off at March 31. That means 3 million people-plus who signed up in the law's final weeks of enrollment will still count as uninsured, even though they have since been covered.

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Arguably the most significant consequence of a Republican Senate takeover in 2014 is absent from the campaign trail, and hardly registers in any polls asking Americans what their top election issues are.

It's not Obamacare. It's not taxes or spending or immigration. It's not the ISIS terrorist threat.

It's judicial and administrative nominations: who gets to be a lifetime-tenured federal judge, and who gets to run powerful government agencies.

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Within political circles, the big question for the 2014 midterm election is: Who's going to control the Senate for the rest of Obama's presidency? Will Republicans get to be a fully formed thorn in the president's side? Or will the deadlocked status quo that's been so maligned over the last four years simply continue?

But are the people who will actually decide the outcome -- voters -- seeing the same storyline?

The Washington Post's Greg Sargent took a enlightening look at this question last week. In particular, he examined with the help of a Democratic pollster one of the key constituencies for the November elections: Democratic voters who don't usually turn out in midterm elections. It is widely believed that those voters need to show up for Democrats to give their party its best chance of keeping the upper chamber.

But, according to Sargent and some focus grouping and polling by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, at least some of those voters don't see the election in those terms.

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Hillary Clinton will be in Iowa on Sunday, and the national press is dispensing with the formalities: She is running for president. No if's, and's or deeply personal decisions about it.

"Let’s just get this out of the way now: She’s running," BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith wrote Friday in a preview of sorts for Clinton's appearance Sunday at Sen. Tom Harkin's 37th steak fry in Indianola, Iowa.

Amy Chozick of the New York Times wrote a detailed piece on Friday, a thorough reading of the proverbial tea leaves. Some were superficial -- Hillary is taking yoga (to prepare for the physical rigors of a campaign) -- while others were substantive. She has been asking Wall Street types what they think of President Obama's fiscal policies and inquiring about the best people to know in Iowa.

“It’s very obvious what’s she going to do,” Sue Dvorsky, a former chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, told Chozick. “Clearly she’s going to run.”

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