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But Angle has a series of very hard right positions -- like wanting to phase out Social Security for instance, which should provide a lot of Grist for the Reid campaign if she's his opponent. What's more, whereas polls as recently as a month or two ago showed Reid consistently ten or more points behind his possible Republican opponents, the latest polls show him basically in a dead heat and sometimes ahead.

It's a very changed ball game and could perhaps become a microcosm of the 2010 cycle. Weak and unpopular Democratic incumbent running a smart campaign and put back into the thick of it by self-inflicted wounds, infighting and hard right nominees on the Republican side of the ledger. Don't get me wrong. Reid's still got a helluva fight on his hands. He's by no stretch of the imagination got this wrapped up. But a couple months back he wasn't even in it.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.