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The GOP is dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the NY-26 election, hoping to stave off defeat in a right-leaning district that's become a testing ground for Democratic attacks on the Paul Ryan budget.

According to FEC filings, the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent nearly $425,000 on the race, targeting not only Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul but an independent Tea Party candidate Jack Davis. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent over $266,000 on the race so far.

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As Jon Stewart said on The Daily Show Monday night, the only thing that could trump the revelation of bin Laden's porn stash was the shocking news that the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, had been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel maid in Manhattan.

"You know you're in bad shape when your sex scandal comes out the same weekend as Osama bin Laden's and you're the one who looks like the real asshole," Stewart said.

Even more incredible, Stewart said, were the circumstances of the alleged assault. According to reports, Strauss-Kahn allegedly chased the maid, who is an African immigrant, around his hotel room.

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The melee ignited by Newt Gingrich's condemnation of the House GOP budget as "right-wing social engineering" is intensifying as Republican leaders, conservative editorial pages, and right-leaning pundits join together to condemn his remarks.

There's no question there was a misspeak here," Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told WLS radio in Chicago, according to The Hill. "Just to sit here while all but three House Republicans voted for the Ryan budget, to somehow portray that as a radical step, I believe, is a tremendous misspeak."

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A three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing one of the pending challenges to the health care reform law has sent lawyers for both sides a somewhat unusual letter, suggesting the court may be focused on whether plaintiffs have standing to bring suit in the first place. The court also appears to be focused on whether, assuming plaintiffs do have standing, their claims are ripe for adjudication.

The one-page memo asks counsel to submit 10-page briefs answering a few questions. Most significantly, they question whether the plaintiffs have alleged an "injury" or "imminent injury," given the fact that the health care law's individual mandate will not be in effect for another two and a half years. Additionally, the judges want to know how broadly the plaintiffs are challenging Congress' power to require people to buy health insurance under the Constitution's Commerce Clause.

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Jon Stewart accused Bill O'Reilly and Fox News of having a blatant double standard in their outrage over the rapper Common's performance at the White House, calling the network a, "selective outrage machine."

Stewart appeared on the cable network Monday night to debate host Bill O'Reilly about President Obama's decision to invite Common to a poetry slam at the White House. And right from the outset, it was clear the two would find little to agree on.

O'Reilly began the debate by laying out his argument, that Common had "openly sympathized" with cop killers, and was thus too controversial to be honored with an invitation to the White House. Common, O'Reilly said, had previously "celebrated" Assata Shakur, who was convicted of killing several police officers in the 1970s, and who then escaped and fled the country.

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This post has been updated at 11 a.m. ET.

Paul Ryan (R-WI), whose proposal to privatize Medicare has become the focus of current political debates, will not run for the Senate seat from which Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl is retiring. Instead, former Wisconsin Governor and Bush-era Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson will reportedly be getting in.

Ryan said in a statement posted on his campaign site, in part:

For my family and me, the most important factor in making this decision was determining where I could make the biggest difference. Our nation is quickly approaching a debt crisis that will do serious damage to Wisconsinites and all Americans if it is not properly addressed. I believe continuing to serve as Chairman of the House Budget Committee allows me to have a greater impact in averting this debt-fueled economic crisis than if I were to run for the United States Senate.


National Journal and Politico reported Ryan's plans earlier today, and that Thompson would get in.

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