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The fact is, there is a liberal Democrat in the White House, and he legitimately represents the views of the party which nominated him. And there are things he wants in order to sign a bill, and that is legitimate and a part of precisely what the Founding Fathers established: A balance of power. And the fact is conservative Republicans control the House and Senate, much, I might say, to the discomfort of my good friend...the Democratic whip, who seemed unhappy at his having to vote 'yes' tonight. But that is the nature of reality.

Answer: House Speaker Newt Gingrich, October 20, 1998.

If you can imagine that sentiment coming out of John Boehner's mouth in the next couple weeks, I've got a bridge in Alaska I'd like to sell you.

If Herman Cain becomes President, he will only consider appointing Muslims to federal positions if he can be extra-sure that they will uphold the Constitution and not sneak Sharia law into the government.

In an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto on Monday, Cain sought to clarify remarks he made over the weekend to a Think Progress reporter, when he said that he would not appoint any Muslims to his cabinet or federal judgeships were he President. In defending that statement, Cain said that his concern is not with Muslims per se, but with Sharia law, and that he would need a "commitment" from prospective Muslim appointees that they would remain loyal to the Constitution before he would consider giving them a job.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for the first time expressed a willingness to consider some GOP policy amendments that House Republicans are insisting lawmakers tack onto the spending bill to fund the government past April 8.

The concession is one hopeful sign in an otherwise stubborn standoff that both parties can strike a deal that avoids a government shutdown next week. But as with anything, the devil is in the details and which policy amendments the Democrats are considering.

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Late next week, if Democrats and Republicans haven't agreed on a long-term spending bill, Congress can still avoid a government shutdown if they pass yet another stop gap plan to keep the lights on. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says that's not going to happen.

"I can't see how we can do anything with folks on the other side of the Capitol and other side of the aisle who now think this is a political game," Cantor said during his weekly Capitol briefing with reporters.

Pressed further, he took the idea of another emergency measure off the table.

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Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) asked a representative of the group Muslim Advocates on Tuesday why the organization's website didn't specifically condemn violent rhetoric.

At the first Senate panel on the civil rights of Muslim-Americans, Kyl asked a representative of the group Muslim Advocates why their website didn't condemn rhetoric aimed at other religious groups.

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Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who is exploring a run for president, is bluntly backing off from the progressive position he once took on cap-and-trade.

Pawlenty has stepped back from this position before, but now he's handling it as an apparent presidential candidate. MSNBC reports:

"Anybody who's going to run for this office who's been in an executive position or may run has got some clunkers in their record," he said on the Laura Ingraham Show. "As to climate change - or more specifically cap-and-trade - I've just come out and admitted and said, 'Look, it was a mistake. It was stupid. I'm not going to try to defend it.'"

The former Minnesota governor signed a bill in 2007 that authorized a task force "to recommend how the state could adopt" a cap-and-trade system. The same year, he also joined onto an accord with five other governors urging the creation of "a market-based and multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism."

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Howard Dean says he'd be "quietly rooting for" a government shutdown if he still had his old job as leader of the Democratic Party.

"If I was head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it," Dean told an audience hosted by National Journal in Washington this morning. "I know who's going to get blamed - we've been down this road before."

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HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Despite his constant criticism of his ex-employer, former Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams said this weekend that he developed a "tight camaraderie" with employees in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division who were "not insane."

It was when he spoke to those friends about his decision to resign from the Justice Department because of handling of an investigation into a voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party that Adams said he was "reminded by [sic] a story of Mother Teresa."

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Just two weeks ago, after he watched 54 of his own members defect from an emergency spending bill to keep the government from shutting down, House Speaker John Boehner realized he was in a fix. The numbers told an important story -- that to keep the federal lights on, Boehner would need help from Democrats just to pass legislation through the House. And that would mean cutting a deal, and enraging his conservative rank and file.

At a jobs forum in the auditorium of the Capitol Visitors Center, he softened his rhetoric and acknowledged his weakened hand.

"It's never been lost on me that because we only control the House there are a lot of other players that we need to work with in order to come to any agreement to keep the government open," Boehner said. "But I'm confident that we'll be able to find a way to cut spending -- which we believe will lead to a better environment for business to hire people in America -- and keep the government open."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who reportedly plans to launch an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign, could potentially get a strong following among Tea Party activists. But she appears to have some trouble with another demographic: Her former staffers, some of whom are backing fellow Minnesotan, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Minnesota Independent reports:

Three of Rep. Michele Bachmann's former staffers are backing her fellow Minnesotan and presumptive competitor for the 2012 Republican nomination, Tim Pawlenty. Ron Carey, who served as Bachmann's chief of staff in 2010; Gina Countryman, Bachmann's 2010 congressional campaign manager; and Tim Gould, who served as Bachmann's Constituent Services Officer in 2010 are all vocally supporting Pawlenty for 2012.

Carey, a former state GOP chairman who served as Bachmann's fifth chief of staff -- and only in the course of her second term, as well -- has previously declared that she is not electable and not qualified to be president. Last week, when reports emerged that Bachmann planned to form an exploratory committee, he stated his support for Pawlenty.