In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Senate Republicans are finally having their long-awaited "come to Jesus" moment on Obamacare.

After years of promising to repeal the President's crowning health care achievement, even doomed efforts that are essentially political shows are being thrown in to turmoil by the political and policy realities that surround the law. Republicans took over Senate nearly a year ago, and now their first meaningful attempt to get a repeal measure on Obama's desk is being thwarted by the desire of some Republicans to protect the law's expanded Medicaid program -- a major target of conservative scorn.

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The latest effort by Congressional Republicans to repeal Obamacare is hitting all sorts of speed bumps, as the Senate GOP is in disagreement as to how far to go, even though their bill stands no chance of being signed by President Obama.

The inability of Senate Republicans to settle on a plan reflects yet again how challenging repealing Obamacare would be, both in terms of policy and politics. It also exposes the gap between the GOP's anti-Obamacare political rhetoric, and the political and practical realities. Further complicating the issue is an attached measure to defund Planned Parenthood, that is also putting in a difficult spot some moderates facing tough re-election bids.

The Senate is currently considering its next steps in advancing a repeal bill through the so-called budget reconciliation process, a complex maneuver that requires only 51 votes and thus would be free of a Democratic filibuster threat. The House passed its version last month which would only repeal some aspects of Obamacare, mainly the employer and individual mandates.

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An appeals court delivered a major if not expected blow to President Obama's immigration policies Monday.

If there was a silver lining for supporters of Obama's immigration actions, it was that the court decided the case in way that made it more likely that the Supreme Court will ultimately rule in their favor. Legal experts said that was so broad as to change the fundamental role of the judicial branch in intervening in disagreements between states and the federal government.

The administration is also likely breathing a sigh of relief that the decision gives the White House enough of a window -- if just barely -- to appeal the decision in time for Supreme Court decision at the end of the 2015-2016 term, ahead of November's elections.

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Criminal justice advocates have done an impressive job amassing a broad coalition to support initiatives to curb mass incarceration. Their next challenge? Keeping it together as the 2016 race picks up and candidates are tempted to revert to “tough on crime” rhetoric to attack their opponents.

Already, some conservatives are flirting with the old “Willie Horton”-style politics, invoking racially-charged crime fears. While Donald Trump is often blamed for raising the temperature on crime, even lawmakers who previously have aligned themselves with the movement to overhaul the country's prison system have backed off from some of the efforts.

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An Oklahoma woman who has taken a prominent role with the Donald Trump campaign in the state has posted a variety of anti-Muslim, anti-transgender and other wildly offensive content to her public Facebook page.

Among the many "hot takes" on Carol Hefner's Facebook pages: Muslims have infiltrated the Obama administration, Huma Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood through her brother, and Muslims and blacks were responsible for slavery.

The endorsement of Carol Hefner (pictured above) was touted by the Trump campaign in an October press release that called her and her husband "Oklahoma leaders." Hefner has also been described as a campaign coordinator and a co-chair of his state campaign in local accounts of Trump's stops in Oklahoma.

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Ben Carson isn't the only pyramid truther out there.

The GOP frontrunner's theory that archaeologists are wrong and that the Egyptian pyramids were really built by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain wasn't created in a vacuum. In the fringier corners of the Internet, variations of the pyramids-as-grain-storage argument has spawned entire blogs and a 30-minute documentary.

Carson -- who is continuing to defend beliefs that were surfaced this week in video of a 1998 commencement address by the acclaimed neurosurgeon -- joins the ranks of pyramids truthers who believe that, warned by God of an oncoming famine, Joseph built grain storage units that exist today in the form of the ancient pyramids.

His theory flies in the face of what has long been settled by modern archeologists: that the pyramids were built as tombs for Egyptian pharaohs.

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Matt Bevin wouldn't be the first politician to over-promise and under-deliver.

But what the Obamacare-hating Bevin has promised to do as Kentucky's new Republican governor versus what he may actually be able to do offers new insight into how entrenched Obamacare already is in the health care economy.

Top health policy experts contacted by TPM the day after Bevin's victory weren't panicking or predicting a dramatic rollback of Obamacare in Kentucky. They were generally concerned about mischief Bevin could make at the margins, because any additional hassle faced by insurance customers can dampen participation. But experts watching closely said they were skeptical Bevin would be able to deliver a grave setback to the progress the state has made through its Obamacare programs.

“It is nearly politically impossible to take benefits from people -- even for Republicans,” Caroline Pearson, vice president of Avalere Health, an independent consulting firm and a top expert on health policy, told TPM. “I think that’s not likely to happen, even though that might sell well on the campaign trail.”

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A new round of chaos in the 2016 presidential primary has erupted, with a full-on revolt by GOP 2016ers against this cycle’s debate structures.

After widespread frustration with the tough questioning candidates faced in last week’s CNBC debate, a shake-up at the Republican National Committee has been ordered. A draft letter is being circulating with candidates making their own demands of the networks in return for participating in debates. And Donald Trump -- the most volatile element in the entire field -- has defected from his rival candidates to set up his own set of conditions.

The idea of a candidate-controlled debate cycle is not just causing the media concern for its loss of influence. It is prompting new headaches for the already exhausted GOP elites, and some Republicans are worried that too much coddling will harm their party in the long run.

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A letter threatening a lawsuit has made the Obama administration an unlikely target of voting rights groups, as the president is typically seen as an ally in efforts to expand the franchise.

The groups' concerns are colliding with another priority of Obama's presidency: his sweeping health care law. Voting rights activists say that in rolling out Obamacare -- specifically its federally operated health care exchanges -- the administration hasn't done enough to comply with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. They are threatening to sue the administration over the alleged violations, according to a letter sent by Demos, ProjectVote and League of Women Voters of the U.S. to the White House Wednesday.

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CNBC's Carl Quintanilla kicked off Wednesday's GOP debate with a simple question for all the participants: What's your biggest weakness?

He stipulated that candidates should answer "without telling us that you tried too hard or that you're a perfectionist." But that didn't stop the candidates from playing fast and loose with the meaning of the word "weakness." Here's how almost all of them awkwardly avoided answering:

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH): My biggest weakness is the other candidates.

"I want to tell you my great concern is we're on the verge of perhaps picking someone who cannot do this job."

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