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We still have two more possible 2012 contenders to go here at CPAC, but the real news on the dais today won't come from the pen of a speechwriter. After two days of non-stop conservative/Libertarian/Republican/Tea Party action (thus is the makeup of the crowd at CPAC), we'll finally get to hear who won the straw poll.

What that means exactly is anyone's guess. Once an anticipated barometer of a candidate's cred with the conservative wing of the GOP (see: Romney, Mitt circa 2008), most people here think today's straw poll will be a measure of how many people Team Paul brought along.

As Dave Weigel reported, fans of Ron and Rand Paul spent $100,000 bringing throngs of supporters to CPAC. As we saw on Thursday, they've had an impact on the tone of the place.

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, the last of the possible Republican presidential candidates to address CPAC on Friday, strode to the podium at tonight's Ronald Reagan Banquet and turned back the clock to the 1980s: the thing we have to fear, he said, is the growing Red Threat.

"In our nation, in our time, the friends of freedom have an assignment, as great as those of the 1860s, or the 1940s, or the long twilight of the Cold War," he said. "As in those days, the American project is menaced by a survival-level threat."

"I refer, of course, to the debts our nation has amassed for itself over decades of indulgence," he added. "It is the new Red Menace, this time consisting of ink."

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As advertised, House Republicans late Friday unveiled a legislative proposal to cut discretionary spending by billions of dollars starting next month, through the end of the fiscal year in September.

You can download a summary of the proposed cuts here (PDF). These numbers could grow more severe during a spending debate on the House floor next week. Even if they don't, House Republicans face stiff opposition from the Democratically controlled Senate, which will demand the proposal be scaled back.

Reaching an agreement that satisfies both chambers and the White House could easily drag past March 4, when current funding for the federal government expires. If it does, Congress would either have to pass a short-term extension of current funding, or touch off a government shutdown.

Former Bush administration official Scott Bloch, who originally pleaded guilty to contempt of Congress under a plea agree with the Justice Department, wants to reverse course after a judge ruled he had to spend at least a month in prison.

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Andrew Ian Dodge, a Maine tea party activist, announced at CPAC earlier today that he will challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe in the Republican primary in 2012, touting his slogan "Snowe has got to go" and flaunting his birth certificate, which he said was a response to accusations by his opponents that he is not a U.S. citizen.

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the definite star of CPAC this year, just got done speaking. He offered up his standard fare: opposition to the PATRIOT Act, opposition to foreign aid and a clear distaste for the Fed. He also proposed a deal to America's youth: how about we let you opt-out of all government services, forever?

A lot of Republicans running for president (or "maybe running for president") these days are trying to reach out to the Libertarian wing of the party, whose fiscal views have come to dominate the tea party movement. But Paul made it clear how far the Mitt Romneys and Tim Pawlentys of the world will have to go before they really talk like a libertarian. Where they're talking about small government and shrunken entitlements, Paul's suggesting young people be allowed to walk away from the government entirely. His proposed deal works like this: you pay the government 10% of your income (presumably to protect your borders and such) and you promise you'll never take advantage of a government service for the rest of your life.

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Michael Scanlon, Jack Abramoff's partner in crime, was sentenced Friday to 20 months in federal prison -- but a majority of the hearing was devoted to his real-estate development plans and whether he could travel to a luxury property in St. Barts.

Scanlon and Abramoff engaged in an elaborate kickback and fraud scheme that took down former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and 20 other government officials and lobbyists. Unlike Abramoff, who was struggling to support his family at the end of the scandal, Scanlon invested his tens of millions in real estate and is a very rich man by anyone's standards.

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Wisconsin's new Republican governor has set a new benchmark in fraying state-union relations in the wake of massive GOP victories in the November elections.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Scott Walker proposed stripping nearly all government workers of their collective bargaining rights. And as a warning shot across the bow, he told Wisconsin reporters Friday that he's alerted the National Guard ahead of any unrest, or in the event that state services are interrupted. Under his plan, which he'll include in his forthcoming budget proposal, most state workers would no longer be able to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits or anything other than higher salaries, which couldn't rise at a quicker pace than the Consumer Price Index.

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