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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who is in the middle of serving only her second term, has definitely become a national star of the GOP. She has three different campaign stops coming up in the next few weeks, which are outside both the Washington area and her own district in Minnesota.

Bachmann's newest out-of-state trip is an event on January 28 in California, with the Lincoln Club of Orange County. The group has previously hosted such high-profile Republicans as Rudy Giuliani, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Norm Coleman. And now Michele Bachmann is included in those same ranks.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced its December fundraising numbers today, reporting $4.1 million raised last month, $41.2 million total raised last year, $8.3 million on hand and no debt.

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), chair of the NRSC, released the following statement:

"Earlier this week, Massachusetts voters sent a clear message to the nation in favor of fiscal responsibility and checks-and-balances in Washington. It has never been more important for our leaders in Washington to restore accountability and re-gain the trust of voters, and the NRSC has been fortunate over the last year as this message has clearly energized our fundraising and recruiting efforts. I am deeply grateful for the strong and continued support from voters nationwide, and I am proud of the progress that we made in 2009. Moving forward into 2010, we are well-positioned to build on our Republican victory in Massachusetts and ensure that our candidates have the resources they need to run and win in November."

Last night, Stephen Colbert ripped the dueling claims of conservative pundits who are simultaneously ripping Presidnet Obama for destroying America and for getting nothing done.

Colbert rationalizes that there must be two Obamas working at these seemingly disparate goals!

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The chief spokesman for Gov. David Paterson's (D-NY) re-election campaign, Tracy Sefl, resigned today, reports the New York Post.

Sefl said in a statement, "My decision is a business one.''

"It has been a privilege to work with the governor over the past year ... I wish him and his team -- both at the campaign and inside the Executive Chamber-- much success," she said.

The Paterson campaign has suffered several blows in the past few months.

Last week, Paterson's likely Democratic rival, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, announced that he has raised $16 million -- compared to Paterson's $3 million.

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Nearly four dozen of the nation's leading health care luminaries--including Jacob Hacker, the man who brought the public option to light--are urging the House of Representatives to pass the Senate health care bill, and quickly pass a separate bill to modify it: an approach favored by some members of Democratic leadership, major unions, and reform advocates.

In a stark message to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her health care lieutenants--Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and George Miller (D-CA)--the experts say it's time for the House to act.

"Both houses of Congress have adopted legislation that would provide health coverage to tens of millions of Americans, begin to control health care costs that seriously threaten our economy, and improve the quality of health care for every American," reads a letter, obtained by TPMDC. "These bills are imperfect. Yet they represent a huge step forward in creating a more humane, effective, and sustainable health care system for every American. We have come further than we have ever come before. Only two steps remain. The House must adopt the Senate bill, and the President must sign it."

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The United States is prepared to give medical supplies to a team of Cuban doctors in Port-au-Prince who reportedly ran out of anaesthetic this week, a State Department spokesman tells TPMmuckraker.

"The United States has communicated its readiness to make medical relief supplies available to Cuban doctors working on the ground in Haiti as part of the international relief effort," said spokesman Darby Holladay.

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The Republican National Committee announced today that it raised $6.6 million in December. It has $8.4 million on hand, and no debt.

The RNC reports that it's 2009 fundraising total was $81.3 million, with the average contribution coming in at just under $40. The RNC also claimed nearly 1.2 million active donors -- including nearly 370,000 new donors last year.

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Freaked out and angry House Democrats don't know how to move forward on health care reform. But a significant contingent say it's time to radically rethink the approach: Instead of passing comprehensive reform, these Democrats say they should break the House's health care bill into chunks, pass their favorite ones, and send them over to the Senate to see if they can pass.

The gambit is political: get Republicans on the record opposing changes to unpopular insurance industry practices. But it comes with hidden dangers, both politically and substantively. And leading health care experts and advocates say these Democrats need to get real.

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A new Rasmussen poll now gives Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) a healthy lead in his Republican primary, after having previously been in a tight race with his potential right-wing opponent, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

The numbers: McCain 53%, Hayworth 31%, and Minutemen activist Chris Simcox with 4%. Back in November, McCain was barely edging out Hayworth by a 45%-43% margin, with Simcox also at 4%.

From the pollster's analysis: "For McCain, the GOP Primary appears to be his biggest challenge since no major Democrats in the state have stepped forward yet to run against him. Still, 74% of likely GOP Primary voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of McCain, a figure that has not changed since November. Hayworth's favorable ratings are down nine points to 58%. Perhaps more significantly, the number with a Very Favorable opinion of McCain has jumped 10 points since last fall to 45%."

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