In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The National Rifle Association has targeted President Barack Obama's nominee for surgeon general, and Democrats are in retreat.

Vivek Hallegere Murthy was tapped for the coveted role to serve as the federal government's top spokesman on public health. He's a uniquely accomplished physician -- a physician-instructor at Harvard Medical School since 2006 and a co-founder of VISIONS Worldwide in 1995, a nonprofit group working to fight HIV/AIDS. He received a B.A. from Harvard, an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management and an M.D. from Yale School of Medicine.

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One year after the GOP's brutal post-election "autopsy" report, the party has shunned meaningful changes to its governing agenda and is instead relying on stylistic shifts to make itself relevant to the changing American electorate.

In a joint op-ed published Monday in RealClearPolitics.com, the authors of the Republican National Committee report, which was released one year ago today, emphasized and re-emphasized their recent efforts to expand voter outreach, adopt the latest technologies and craft a message that appeals to voters outside their core tent. They expounded on their successes in those areas in a conference call with reporters in the afternoon.

Conspicuously missing in both venues was a single policy change embraced by the congressional GOP in the wake of the RNC's introspective look at where its party went astray.

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Updated: March 17, 2014, 6:12 PM

A journalist for an alt-weekly in Kentucky said he was barred from entering an event and given bogus reasons why.

Journalist Joe Sonka, the news editor for the liberal-leaning LEO Weekly in Kentucky, said Monday that he was barred from entering a press conference featuring Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

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For a supposed government takeover of health care, there is some serious evidence that Obamacare is actually making the individual health insurance market even more competitive than it was before the law.

The empirical results are mixed thus far, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, but one of the authors told TPM on Monday that his takeaway from the law's opening act is that it's been a net positive on price competition.

"The bottom line in my view is that this is now a much more price competitive market," Larry Levitt, vice president at the non-profit, non-partisan foundation, said via email. "It will be hard for insurers to be much more expensive than their competitors and maintain market share."

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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has gotten support to go on the offensive from a key Senate ally after former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) announced his exploratory committee to run for her seat in New Hampshire.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who defeated Brown when he ran for re-election in 2012, sent out a very direct fundraising email Friday shortly after Brown officially announced the formation of his Senate exploratory committee.

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The push to raise the federal retirement age has waxed and waned in recent years but comprises a dedicated cadre of powerful politicians and wealthy advocates. It is a recurring feature of debates about how to reduce the long-term debt and contain safety-net spending on retiree programs like Social Security and Medicare.

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Have we heard the last Obamacare "horror" story? If new ads from the Koch Brothers-backed group are any indication, we might have.

Americans for Prosperity, the well-funded conservative group that has been attacking Democrats in battleground states over the health care reform law, put out TV ads Monday against Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Udall (D-CO).

But what's notable about the ads is what they aren't: A personalized story of someone who's been negatively affected by Obamacare, the kind of verifiable set of facts that can be checked -- and rebutted, as happened with a recent AFP ad that led to significant backlash from the fact-checking community.

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Facing the very real possibility of a GOP-controlled Senate in 2015, health industry insiders are working up a wish list -- the changes they'd like made to the Affordable Care Act under a fully Republican Congress.

But they're also a little unsettled by the prospect of GOP control in Congress: Nobody is sure what exactly the Republicans would do if they had the opportunity to legislate however it wanted on the health care reform law.

It's plausible that Republicans would simply continue their absolutist opposition to President Barack Obama's signature legislation, especially if they view capturing the Senate as a vindication of their anti-Obamacare messaging. In that scenario, expect more symbolic repeal votes that the House has taken over the last few years. That would force Obama to pull out his veto pen again and again to defend the law.

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Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) thinks he can do something we haven't seen in our lifetimes: represent two different states in the United States Senate.

On Thursday news broke that the former Massachusetts is forming a Senate exploratory committee, a step below him formally announcing his candidacy to replace Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the chamber.

Unfortunately for Brown, history doesn't seem to be on his side. According to the U.S. Senate Historical Office, only two senators have represented multiple states in the history of the chamber: Sen. James Shields (D) served as senator from Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri in the 19th century and Waitman Thomas Willey who represented Virginia and West Virginia roughly around the same time. Willey was a member of the Republican and Unionist parties. Shields was last elected in 1879 and Willey's last term ended in 1871.

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) would like Nancy Pelosi to apologize for her remarks suggesting that Republicans don't care about "struggling families and really hungry children."

But that's not going to happen.

Over the weekend, the Democratic House minority leader said at the California Democrats State Convention in Los Angeles that an anonymous Republican friend told her that struggling Americans "are invisible, and the Republican caucus is indifferent to them."

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