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AWOL South Carolina governor Mark Sanford may have briefly checked in with his office this morning to assure them he's fine and he'll be back at work tomorrow. But he hasn't told his wife, according to her.

A CNN reporter tracked down Jenny Stanford at her Sullivan Island vacation home. Sounding less like the wife of a 2012 presidential contender and more like America's favorite reality TV star announcing her separation from her husband, she said: "I am being a mom today. I have not heard from my husband. I am taking care of my children."

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The Democratic National Committee is now getting in on the jokes about Gov. Mark Sanford's (R-SC) mysterious disappearance, with this new Web video, "Where's Sanford?":



Interestingly, among all the news footage that was collected to make this video, the official explanation that Sanford has gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail isn't even mentioned at all verbally -- it only makes a brief appearance in some of the on-screen news text.

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) apologized to his Republican colleagues at a caucus lunch today, the Politico reports, in the wake of his admission of an extramarital affair that took place in late 2007 and early 2008.

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) said Ensign "apologized to everyone who had been hurt, indicated that he had certain deficiencies in his own character and outlook and was going to make substantial improvements."

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who is likely to take over Ensign's former leadership position as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee -- a post that Ensign has resigned -- said that "He basically told us that he was sorry, and he's going to continue to do his job as a senator from Nevada."

The Republican National Committee has this new ad going after President Obama on health care, ahead of tomorrow's TV special on ABC News, to run on select national cable channels tomorrow. The ad attacks Obama -- and without naming them, ABC -- for wanting a government takeover:



"Today a national TV network turns its airwaves over to President Obama's pitch for government-run health care," the announcer says. "Shouldn't this be a bipartisan discussion?"

"Tell President Obama to work with Republicans," the announcer concludes later, "and to stop rushing into another government takeover."

While we're all waiting for a decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court about the state's ever-continuing disputed 2008 Senate race between Republican former Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic comedian Al Franken, the national GOP is reiterating its continued support for Coleman if he appeals a much-expected defeat -- and that avenues exist to stop Al Franken from being certified as the winner.

"We'll do everything we can to support Norm as long as he has appellate remedies to pursue," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in an interview with David Weigel.

Cornyn noted that if Franken wins the appeals, the Governor and state Secretary of State will be required to give him a certificate of election -- his golden ticket into the Senate. But, Cornyn said, Coleman could potentially appeal to the Supreme Court: "The justice that's responsible for that area -- I think it's Justice Alito -- could issue a stay in the issuance of the election certificate, and it could be referred to the entire court."

"I say all this as 'could,'" said Cornyn, "not as 'will or should.'"

Yesterday, I asked a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner whether Republicans would alter their climate change talking points, in light of a Congressional Budget Office report finding that the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill will be much less expensive per household than the GOP had suggested.

Boehner never got back to me. But he did circulate new talking points, which elide the erroneous allegation that a cap-and-trade bill will cost the average household over $3,000, and attack the legislation with selective quotations instead.

You can read the whole missive below the fold.

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Over the weekend, Sen. Dianne Feinstein went on CNN's State of the Union and said the President may not have enough votes to accomplish comprehensive health care reform.

"To be candid with you, I don't know that he has the votes right now," Feinstein said. "I think there's a lot of concern in the Democratic caucus."

Since then, quite a bit has transpired, at least rhetorically, on the issue, and for now, things look a bit different. But nonetheless, reform advocates are taking exception to her comments.

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Asked about health reform at his press conference moments ago, President Obama declined to draw a line in the sand on the issue of a public insurance option.

The non-negotiable criteria, he said, are that reform should drive down costs and cover the un- and underinsured. He declined, though, to put the public option in this category, saying that he feels strongly about certain provisions and will take those concerns up with members of Congress individually.

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