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Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and the vast majority of House Democrats have signed a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pushing him to strip partisan policy riders out of must-pass legislation to fund the government after the money runs out later this month.

Yes, here we go again. House Republicans are advancing appropriations bills loaded with controversial measures that would defund the new health care law, scrap key environmental protections and more.

"As you know, there is longstanding precedent not to use appropriations bills to enact major changes in national policy, and the bills being reported from Appropriations subcommittees this year violate that precedent," wrote Hoyer in a letter signed by 182 other Democrats. "While not all policy riders are objectionable, many of those included this year are not only controversial but blatantly partisan. Included riders would block the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, roll back important clean air and clean water protections, and place new restrictions on women's access to a full range of medical and health services, among others."

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Regulators are only beginning to unravel the finances of MF Global, the investment firm headed by former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine that filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday. There have been concerns that the company may have used clients' funds illegally in an effort to save itself.

From the Associated Press:

A federal official says MF Global, the securities firm led by Jon Corzine, admitted to using clients' money as its financial troubles mounted. An MF Global executive admitted that to federal regulators in a phone call early Monday after regulators discovered money missing from clients' accounts, according to an official familiar with the conversation.

Republicans are actively hoping the US economy will collapse before the 2012 election, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz wrote Tuesday in an op-ed.

While Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have flirted with the argument, the Florida Congresswoman's piece represents one of the most aggressive Democratic attacks on Republican legislators' obstruction so far.

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Businessman Herman Cain’s favorability among Republicans has been the key component of his surge in the polls, and new data from Gallup shows that the more Republican voters saw of him, the more they liked him. Cain increased in Gallup’s “positive intensity” score by about a third since February, which measures those voters who have a strongly favorable view of a candidate versus those who have a strongly unfavorable one.

The results come from data gathered before a Politico article appeared that described allegations of “sexual harassing” behavior toward two women while Cain was at the National Restaurant Association. Cain has denied the allegations.

From Gallup:

The campaign has not been kind to most Republican candidates' images this year. Compared with earlier this year, only Cain has seen improvement, and that may not hold as the public evaluates the allegations of harassment against him and his response to them...

But even candidates who started out with high profiles, such as Romney, Gingrich, and Paul, have failed to improve upon their initial early readings. That suggests the candidates' performance on the campaign trail also has an effect on how Republicans view them. This is probably most clear in Gingrich's case. His image suffered during the "Tiffanygate" scandal and then the shake-up of his campaign staff in the late spring and early summer, but he has recovered after positive reviews of his performance in debates.

Stephen Colbert on Monday tipped his hat to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) "for bringing a new freedom to America's dairy land": Guns in the state Capitol.

"Damn straight," Colbert said. "We have a right to bear arms in this country, and, like it or not, Wisconsin is still part of this country."

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According to multiple reports, almost $700 million in customer money has gone "missing" from MF Global, the brokerage firm helmed by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday. And no one seems to know where it went.

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The sexual harassment story is over, according to the Herman Cain campaign.

Speaking on a panel of Republican presidential campaign advisers sponsored by the National Journal Tuesday, Cain's Chief of Staff, Mark Block, said the story that consumed his boss' DC visit yesterday is over and done with.

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Herman Cain is not having a good week. Sexual harassment allegations threaten the GOP sort-of-frontrunner's presidential campaign. But Jon Stewart has Cain's back.

"In Herman Cain's defense," Stewart said Monday, "there is very little in the pizza world that is not sexually suggestive. "Hey, you want sausage on your pie? Hey, want me to stuff your crust? I guarantee I will come in 30 minutes or less."

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