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In a sign that the public is tiring of GOP efforts to repeal the health care law, the Tea Party-aligned group FreedomWorks is pressing Republican leaders to go on the offense -- double down on the repeal push while advocating conservative health care policies.

In a memo to House Republicans, the leaders of FreedomWorks, including former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, suggest that the public is souring on repeal because the GOP lacks a coherent set of reforms with which to "replace" the health care law.

"We're sending this memo because we believe your ultimate success depends as much on how you handle the "replace" as the "repeal" side of the strategy. We think it's time to start emphasizing what you're for as much as what you're against," the memo reads.

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None of the prominent Republicans believed to be considering presidential bids came out ahead of President Obama in a new PPP poll of registered voters nationwide. However, Obama did trail in one hypothetical match-up -- versus an unspecified moderate Republican challenger.

The results underscore just how weak the slate of GOP candidates is: only one Republican, Mike Huckabee, posted a net favorable rating in the poll, with 36% of respondents viewing him favorably, and 30% viewing him unfavorably. Over half of all registered voters had a negative opinion of Newt Gingrich (53%), Sarah Palin (56%), and Donald Trump (56%).

And when voters knew the other candidates well enough to form an opinion of them, they viewed them unfavorably more often than not. For example, almost one-third of respondents had no opinion of Ron Paul -- but among those who did, 45% had a negative opinion of him.

The results also show that, though Obama's approval rating has surged in recent weeks, he is in no way out of the woods as he gears up for a reelection bid. The PPP poll found that 49% of voters approve of his job performance, compared to 46% who disapprove.

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the fiery Irishman who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, may have attracted a rash of criticism for holding one of his first hearings on the radicalization of U.S. Muslims and homegrown terrorism, but his decision to hire a respected New York scribe as a top staffer is a sign he is serious about truly digging into holes in the nation's counter-terrorism programs and policies.

King has tapped James Gordon Meek, an eight-year veteran of the New York Daily News and a respected reporter on the terrorism beat, to join the committee staff as a senior investigator.

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Though Americans are still deeply divided over the health care law, a clear majority disapprove of a Republican plan to choke off funding for it, according to a new CBS poll.

In the poll, 55% of respondents said they oppose the plan to block health care funding, while only 35% said they support that proposal.

Having failed in their efforts to repeal the law outright, some Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) have suggested scuttling President Obama's signature achievement through the legislature's power to appropriate funds. By blocking funding for some of the law's provisions, Congress could in effect cancel out pieces of the law without actually repealing them.

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Now that President Obama has threatened to veto the House's spending legislation, things will really heat up.

As House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D_MD) reminded reporters yesterday, President Clinton drew some bright lines himself during the budget fight in late 1995 -- and we all know how that one ended. And House Republicans are set to add a bunch of riders to the spending package, which will make it even more toxic to Democrats.

One way out of this for House Republicans would be to set up back-channel negotiations with Senate leadership and the White House and basically take the ball out of the hands of rank-and-file conservatives who want to undermine the administration in unacceptable ways.

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Veterans and active-duty service members filed a federal lawsuit this week alleging that the Pentagon has turned a blind eye to a hostile military culture that has resulted in sexual harassment and rapes.

The lawsuit, filed by civil litigator Susan Burke in Virginia, notes that there's been an increase in reports of sexual abuse in the military and that Pentagon leadership hasn't done enough about it.

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Earlier this month, NASA's Kepler mission announced that it had discovered the first crop of Earth-sized planets orbiting stars other than our own sun. Five of those Earth-sized planets orbit stars similar to our own sun and have orbits that make it possible to have a range of surface temperatures similar to the range on Earth.

But how will we one day reach these next potential outposts for human life? The solar system's nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, sits 4.5 light years away. Voyager I, currently the farthest human-made object outside our solar system, will have to travel for another 50,000 years before it enters the neighborhood of the stars.

But worry not, space enthusiast, because DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is already making plans for future interstellar travel.

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The release last week of the FBI file of the late Sen. Ted Stevens painted a colorful portrait of the long serving Alaska Republican. But noticeably absent from the file were documents from the federal corruption investigation that ended his political career. Not to worry -- the FBI says that part of the file is still in processing and will be released down the line.

An FBI spokesman told the Associated Press that the investigative files were still pending. The news service said it wasn't clear when the new investigative files would be released.

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