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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer made this argument in broad strokes on Monday. Hard numbers back it up.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has updated and refined a widely cited chart, laying out the origins of the country's current fiscal trajectory. And as before, the lion's share of the problem comes from ongoing George W. Bush-era policies -- particularly deficit-financed tax cuts, which eliminated Clinton-era surpluses and left the Treasury poised for a huge hit when the financial crisis and economic downturn further eroded federal revenues.

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The Paul Ryan budget is proving a difficult issue for Republicans across the spectrum to discuss. If you back it, you take a barrage of hits from Democrats for its plan to "essentially end Medicare," a potential death sentence in a tough race or if you have national ambitions. But if you vocally oppose it, a la Newt Gingrich, the base's wrath comes instantly crashing down on you. Fortunately for fence-sitting politicians there are ways to create some wiggle room without getting trapped in either camp. Here's a handy guide for how to spin like a pro:

Rule #1: Paul Ryan Is Awesome

If you're a Republican looking to avoid trouble from the right, this is the single most important thing to remember. Whether or not you agree with Paul Ryan's plan, nothing is more dangerous than suggesting for even a second that you think he was wrong to put it forward or that he is threatening seniors. Newt Gingrich is hardly the only Republican to disagree with his Medicare plan but he's suffered by far the most for his position in part because his comments were interpreted as an attack on Ryan, who is rapidly becoming a martyr figure on the right.

Instead, you could follow the example of Tim Pawlenty -- who has not backed the Ryan plan -- and praise the House budget chair for "offering real leadership in Washington." Or you could take the Mitt Romney approach and praise Ryan for "setting the right tone."

Calling him "courageous" never hurts, either.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) approval rating has sunk to a new low, as nearly six in ten Florida voters now say they disapprove of their chief executive's job performance barely 5 months into his tenure, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday morning.

Scott was one of the new Republican governor's swept into office last year as anti-incumbent rage thwarted Democrats nationwide. But since his inauguration, Scott has pursued a number of unpopular proposals, capped off by a recently-passed budget he is set to sign this week that voters overwhelmingly dislike by a two to one margin.

In the poll, 57% of registered voters said they're unhappy with how Scott has handled his job as governor, a record high. At the same time, only 29% of voters said they approved of Scott's job performance, making Scott the most unpopular of 10 governors Quinnipiac has surveyed this year.

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Somebody probably should have warned him about the high risk of blowback. Now he's learning it the hard way.

Over the past 12 hours, hundreds if not thousands of Elizabeth Warren's supporters have swarmed Rep. Patrick McHenry's (R-NC) Facebook page and excoriated him for mistreating her on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

As the contentious Oversight Committee hearing drew to a recess, Warren claimed she had arranged with McHenry's staff to be excused from the panel at 2:15 p.m. -- and that the arrangement was only necessary because the committee made multiple scheduling changes before settling on an early-afternoon start time.

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The Club For Growth, the big-money conservative group that advocates right-wing economic views -- and has pushed some serious primaries against GOP incumbents along the way -- came out Tuesday with its latest "White Paper" on a GOP presidential candidate, this time taking a look at Tim Pawlenty. Their verdict: "We struggle to identify the real Tim Pawlenty."

The Club issued a review last week of Newt Gingrich, that was positive overall but cautioned that he "has a few doozies in his record." They will have more white papers on the other candidates in the weeks and months ahead.

The Club notes Pawlenty's history of favoring tax cuts, and his vetoes of various tax increases proposed by his state's Democratic legislature. But on the other hand, they criticize him for having endorsed a local referendum to raise property taxes in his home school district, supporting a cigarette tax increase, his support for state biofuel mandates, and for not taking a public position on the Minnesota "Legacy Amendment" approved by the voters in 2008, which raised sales taxes by 3/8 of a percent for environmental and cultural preservation. And they also criticize his past support for cap-and-trade, which Pawlenty himself has recanted.

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Just when Republicans were starting to worry their 2012 presidential field would be too boring to bother with, Sarah Palin might be fixing to ride in like a movie hero just at the nick of time.

RealClearPolitics' Scott Conroy has the details on a feature-length documentary set to release next month. The film is produced by Steve Bannon and the team behind Generation Zero, a tea party favorite about the financial crisis. Bannon funded the film himself "and he insisted upon taking complete control" -- after Palin asked him to make some videos about her -- but the results as Conroy describes them sound like the best campaign commercial Palin could have hoped for.

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by Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica

This report is part of a ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE investigation. A version of this article appeared in the Washington Post.

An officer in Pakistan's intelligence service chose a Jewish center as a target for the 2008 Mumbai attacks and then helped launch a new plot against Denmark, according to the star witness in a terror trial in Chicago.

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National Democrats were united in their post-election message after their NY-26 win, issuing a flurry of statements claiming the race as a victory over Paul Ryan's Medicare plan.

Supporters chanted "Medicare" at Democrat Kathy Hocul's victory party, and she made it a centerpiece of her speech.

"We can ensure we do not decimate Medicare," Hochul said. "We will keep the promises made to our seniors who have spent their lives paying into Medicare, so they can count on health care when they need it most."

If Democrats have their way, there will be a lot more speeches along those lines come November 2012. The chairs of both legislative election committees made clear on Tuesday that they believe they have found a winning formula they intend to use elsewhere.

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Female Democratic senators are returning to a tactic that served them well when Republicans threatened a government shutdown over federal funding of abortion. They're making the case that the House GOP budget, and the male Republican legislators who are advocating its policies in debt limit talks with Democrats, are using the deficit as an excuse to pursue an anti-woman agenda.

"[T]hey have put one thing above anything else: cutting health care for women," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). "Last month they almost shut down the entire federal government in an attempt to cut off funding for health care programs for women and girls

Joining Murray were five of her female colleagues, and two male Democratic senators, Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). Together, they ran through a long list of ways the GOP budget undermines women.

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Shameless hypocrisy is nothing new in politics, but it's rarely laid out as nakedly as it has been this week on Capitol Hill.

In the coming days each chamber will hold one vote on one dead-on-arrival piece of legislation, to expose divisions within the minority party. Senate Democrats will force a vote on the dead-on-arrival House GOP budget, complete with its plan to phase out Medicare. And next week, House Republicans will force a vote on a "clean" extension of the debt limit, to prove they have a mandate to tie the debt limit to significant spending cuts.

You might not be surprised to learn that the leaders of both parties have contradictory views on these messaging votes. But you wouldn't expect them to contradict themselves so quickly.

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