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Continuing in the great tradition begun by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor several weeks ago, House Speaker John Boehner claimed credit today for Friday's positive employment news...with a twist!

"The improvement seen in this report is a credit to the hard work of the American people and their success in stopping the tax hikes that were due to hit our economy on January 1," Boehner says in a statement. "Removing the uncertainty caused by those looming tax hikes provided much-needed relief for private-sector job creators in America."

This is a safer play for a couple reasons. Last time around Republicans took some heat for claiming all the credit for the positive numbers. And then things got a little bit uncomfortable a couple weeks later, when last months jobs numbers weren't very strong.

Giving voters all the credit for good news, and Democrats all the blame for bad news means there's no Republican fingerprints if the numbers turn around again.

Jon Huntsman for President? Don't make former New Hampshire governor, and recent state Republican party chair John Sununu laugh.

"Huntsman won't play well here. Huntsman won't play well anywhere, because Huntsman's only barely a Republican," Sununu told Real Clear Politics' Erin McPike this week.

Sununu piled on the former governor of Utah, who's expected to ramp up a presidential bid after he resigns as President Obama's ambassador to China this spring.

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The standoff over public access to the Wisconsin state Capitol appears to have come to a resolution, after a judge ruled Thursday night that the building could not be locked down during the day as the government had attempted to do -- but that protesters also have to clear out in the off-hours.

As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, Judge John Albert ruled Thursday night that the government "closed the Capitol impermissibly" when it restricted access to the building. He ordered that the limits be lifted by no later than 8 a.m. Monday. The judge, however, did order the removal of protesters when the building is closed: "If the building is closed, there's no one to listen to a demonstration."

In addition, Albert dismissed the state's contention that protesters were disrupting the Capitol and necessitating the restrictions. "Demonstrator is not a word that should be used in a vein of disrespect," said Albert, also adding: "These people were exercising an important right."



It appears that the judge has attempted to restore the status quo that existed up until two weeks ago -- before Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal and its anti-public employee union proposals triggered massive protests and a political crisis in the state.

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After being shot down earlier this week, the Arizona State Senate revived and successfully passed a bill that would create a mechanism for the state to nullify federal laws.

As TPM has reported, Senate Bill 1433 would create a 12-person "Joint Legislative Committee on Nullification of Federal Laws," which would "recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the United States Constitution."

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Stephen Colbert was stunned on Thursday night to see that, somehow, Fox News beat him to the news that Fox was suspending two contributors who had signaled their intent to run for president next year.

Once the shock wore off and realization set in, Colbert then worried how the loss of Fox contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would impact the network's coverage going forward.

"With these two off the air, how will I ever know how conservatives feel about taxes?"

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A pro-life leader in the House says he and many other Republicans will vote against legislation to fund the government through September if a series of anti-abortion riders, which already passed the House, aren't included in the final bill.

"I'm going to push so hard to make sure those are all in there," Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) told The Takeaway. "You can't back off, from a human rights perspective. If you do so you facilitate the demise of hundreds of thousands of children."

Smith said several Republicans would defect on the spending bill if the abortion riders are removed. He focused specifically on one amendment, authored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), eliminating federal funds for Planned Parenthood.

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Democratic leaders and environmental groups are lashing out at House Republicans this week over their decision to replace the cafeteria's biodegradable utensils with -- gasp -- styrofoam. Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), who made the call as chair of the House Administration Committee, says that the move will save $475,000 and that the program was inefficient by its own standards according to an audit by the Inspector General. But the whole flap really started with the crappy green-friendly cups, containers, and forks.

"The utensils it utilized were unusable," Lungren told TPM. "I had complaints -- bipartisan, Republican, Democrat, constituents, employees, members of Congress -- all saying 'Could you please give us implements at mealtime that actually work?'"

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You may not have heard much about it lately, but the state House Democrats in Indiana are still on the lam, shutting down a right-to-work law and, for the time being, much Gov. Mitch Daniels' (R) education reform agenda (not to mention his presidential ambitions).

The Republican majority in the State House, cooling their heels in Indianapolis while their Democratic colleagues hunker down at a hotel in Urbana, Illinois, have now found a way to up the stakes: hit the Democrats right in their wallets. Starting Monday, the Democrats will face a fine of $250 for each day they stay away from the legislature.

The Democratic response? M'eh.

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Given how much Fox News has called teachers unions greedy for their pay and benefit packages, Jon Stewart expected them to have a consistent record of calling out greed in other sectors as well -- perhaps even in the financial sector.

Big surprise: the record is hardly consistent.

On Thursday night's Daily Show Stewart began by pretending to buy into the Fox argument that teachers are grossly overpaid.

"They're not big shot teachers with their desks and seemingly endless supply of colored construction paper."

"Oh! And their number two pencils," Stewart went on. "I suppose Number three pencils aren't good enough for Your Majesty."

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