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John Ensign (R-NV) is not running for re-election after bowing out Tuesday, but his ongoing scandals and weak poll numbers mean that both parties have had plenty of time to contemplate an election without him. Republicans and Democrats are expected to field formidable candidates, setting up a brawl that could be as competitive as any in the nation.

On the Republican side, Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) is considered the most likely nominee and was already widely discussed as a primary challenger for Ensign if the senator decided to go for another term. Polls have shown him strong against both Ensign and likely Democratic opponents and some observers have labeled him an early, if slight, frontrunner in the general election. He could have some competition from a familiar face, however -- one of Sharron Angle's former aides has been floating her as a potential candidate in the press. (She could also run for Heller's House seat if he vacates it to seek the Senate post.)

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NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller resigned from the news organization Wednesday morning in response to a hidden camera prank targeting NPR Foundation president Ron Schiller, adding another high-profile notch to James O'Keefe's belt.

"The Board accepted Vivian's resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years," read a statement from NPR Board Chairman Dave Edwards.

Ron Schiller (no relation to Vivian), president of the NPR Foundation, had already submitted his resignation on Tuesday evening after the network had placed him on leave and released a statement saying they were "appalled" by his behavior on a tape with a group of phony prospective donors slamming Tea Partiers, nodding politely as conspiracy theories about Jews in the media were floated, and suggesting NPR would be better off without federal funding. Another NPR executive in the video, Betsy Liley, director of institutional giving, is also on administrative leave.

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Incandescent lightbulbs will soon burn out for good and be replaced by compact fluorescents, the result of a bill Democrats passed in 2007 that requires lightbulbs to be more energy efficient. And while fluorescents have been maligned for their harsh glow and slow warmup time, Stephen Colbert hates them for an entirely different reason: their femininity.

It's the shape of the fluorescent bulbs - which some have described as squiggly pigtails -- that has Colbert so upset.

"You know who has pigtails? Girls," Colbert said. "I want a boy lightbulb, one that's shaped like a giant glowing testicle."

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Since the beginning of the standoff in Wisconsin, Republicans and conservatives have predictably cast the "Wisconsin 14″ as "cowardly" shirkers who "aren't doing their jobs," or have "retreated." This is to be expected, but what's really been hard to watch has been Democrats sitting silently by, or even going along with them. That's why it was so great to see Rachel Maddow destroy this line of reasoning on Tuesday night's The Rachel Maddow Show, when her "new best friend" Michael Steele trotted it out like a labradoodle at Westminster.

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House Sell Begins On Next Continuing Resolution Roll Call reports: "House GOP leaders say they are confident they can muster enough support to pass a second stopgap spending bill before a government shutdown next week, despite pressure from their right flank. Conservatives have chaffed at the idea of moving any short-term continuing resolutions that do not include policy riders defunding the Democratic-written health care law and Planned Parenthood."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and receive the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. He will meet at 11:10 a.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He will meet at 3:50 p.m. ET with Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander Richard Eubank. At 7 p.m. ET, he will host a party to watch the Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Bobcats game.

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It's hard to pin them down on it, but Republicans have a hard time squaring the fact that their spending cut plans will cost jobs with their broader message that President Obama's stimulus plan harmed the economy.

At his weekly Capitol briefing with reporters Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stumbled into this contradiction.

"I can't guarantee that somebody's job might [not] be affected by reducing government spending," McConnell acknowledged.

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It looks like practically all Senate Republicans will vote for a controversial House spending cut plan on Wednesday, notwithstanding the political risk they'll face from endorsing deeply controversial policy riders that hack away at abortion rights, environmental protections, and other policies that typically have bipartisan support.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a moderate Senate freshman, told reporters Tuesday night that he's a yes on the plan, which is expected to fail on a test vote Wednesday afternoon in the Democratic-dominated chamber.

"I am," he told reporters after a Senate vote.

Kirk acknowledged that liberal Republicans will take a hit for voting to endorse all of the policy measures in the bill.

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Wisconsin's legislature may still be deadlocked over a proposal to restrict collective bargaining rights for public employee unions, but on Tuesday in Idaho, the state legislature approved a bill to do just that for the state's unionized teachers.

The law, which cleared the House by a 48-22 vote, would permit teachers to bargain solely for pay and benefits, but not for other aspects of their jobs, such as class size. The state Senate had approved the bill in February, and it now only needs to be signed by Gov. Butch Otter (R) -- who helped craft the bill -- to become law.

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Senior Democratic senators are practically begging and pleading for President Obama to roll up his sleeves and engage with Republicans on budget negotiations.

Distracted by world events and crisscrossing the country talking about job creation, President Obama these Democrats say is shrinking from the heavy lifting required to leverage the full weight of the White House to sell smaller spending cuts to the American people and gain an edge in the negotiations with Republicans in Congress.

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After a string of incidents of erratic behavior in recent months, Rep. David Wu (D-OR) appears to be in serious trouble with his constituents, a plurality of whom want him to resign, a new poll shows.

According to the SurveyUSA poll of 605 voters, 46 percent of those questioned said Wu should resign versus 42 percent who believe he should remain in office. Those calling on him to leave office include 72 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of Democrats, and 45 percent of independents. Wu also fares poorly in a hypothetical matchup with Republican Rob Cornilles, whom Wu defeated in 2010. If a rematch were held today, 41 percent of respondents say they would pick Cornilles versus only 33 percent who would back Wu.

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