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All four of the GOP governors with 2016 ambitions are facing budget shortfalls back home that their critics would argue are disasters of their own doing. It puts them in a politically difficult position: consider tax increases that put their fiscal conservative credentials on the line, or move forward with ugly cuts that risk high-profile showdowns with their legislative counterparts.

Complicating matters, three of the four -- Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich -- have signed the anti-tax pledge heralded by conservative activist Grover Norquist, while New Jersey’s Chris Christie has verbally promised to not raise taxes. That limits their options to address revenues that have fallen short of expectations.

“Post-Tea Party there are new requirements for being a successful candidate if you’re a Republican,” Norquist told TPM. “And that includes reining spending more than some are willing to do.”

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WASHINGTON (AP) — American and Cuban officials were trying Thursday to complete talks to re-establish embassies in each other's capitals after a half-century interruption. Many differences appeared close to being resolved.

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State Rep. Sarah Davis is making history in the Lone Star State by becoming the first Republican lawmaker to publicly support same-sex marriage.

Davis refused to sign an anti-gay letter issued by her Republican colleagues last week, and made comments in an interview with the Texas Observer that amounted to an endorsement of the right of same-sex couples to marry.

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NEW YORK (AP) — The national president of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Gates, said Thursday that the organization's longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer sustainable, and called for change in order to avert potentially destructive legal battles.

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