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Former DNC chair Howard Dean, long a fierce proponent of comprehensive health care reform that includes a public health insurance option, said on MSNBC moments ago that the Democrats can't get comprehensive health care reform now and should just settle for something smaller.

"You can't pass the Senate bill in the House, according to the speaker, and we have to respect her desires," Dean said. "So pass something through reconciliation. It doesn't have to be big and complicated. And it shouldn't be. We're not going to get the comprehensive health care bill that we had hoped we were gonna get."

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The White House will move health care reform to the back burner, in order to "let the dust settle" after Democrats lost their Senate super-majority.

Asked today if health care was on the back burner, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "The president believes it is the exact right thing to do by giving this some time, by letting the dust settle, if you will, and looking for the best path forward."

He said the administration wants to give Congress time to figure out their next move.

"The President thinks the speaker and the majority leader are doing the right thing in giving this some time and figuring out the best way forward," he said.

He also noted that President Obama "has a very full plate" with financial reform, the economy, the wars and other matters.

"As the majority leader and speaker continue to look to the best way forward, the president has a very full plate," Gibbs said. "There's plenty of work for the president to do in the meantime."

"The president obviously knew from the beginning of this that finding a solution to a very complex problem would be a challenge," he said.

Additional reporting by Christina Bellantoni

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One of the biggest winners from this morning's Supreme Court decision on campaign finance: the Chamber of Commerce. And that's not just because the court's ruling gives the corporations that make up the business lobby's membership an even greater voice in the political process than they've enjoyed until now.

As we explained last week, over the last decade, under CEO Tom Donohue, the Chamber has perfected a strategy of using the Chamber as a "pass-through" for corporations looking to run issue campaigns, but wary about having their names tied to the effort. In 2001, the Wall Street Journal described this as Donohue's "striking innovation." And a recent report made clear that the Chamber had played just this role on behalf of health insurers in a bid to stop health-care reform.

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Rothenberg Political Report has moved the Arkansas race for Sen. Blanche Lincoln's (D) seat to "leans takeover."

"Given the bent of Independent voters (in the recent Massachusetts special election but also in national surveys), we are increasingly doubtful that the Arkansas Democratic Senator can win another term. Of course, much depends on the eventual GOP challenger and how the economy behaves over the next nine months," Rothenberg writes.

"The burden of proof has shifted in our minds, from requiring Republicans to prove that they can defeat Lincoln to requiring Lincoln to show she can win reelection."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will be embarking on a political trip outside her home state of Minnesota, appearing at a February rally with the North Dakota Republican Party.

The February 12 rally, kicking off the state party's congressional campaigns this year -- they are heavily favored to pick up the open Senate seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan -- and the party is praising Bachmann for her "unwavering, conservative voice and common sense approaches."

"Now, more than ever, Washington needs to be reminded that the government answers to the people, not the other way around," Bachmann said in a statement. "I'm proud to stand alongside North Dakotans, who understand this fundamental principle."

In a speech this morning on internet freedom, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised technology as a tool for advancing democracy and called for a "single internet where all of humanity has equal access to information and ideas." Speaking at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Clinton delivered a firm indictment of online censorship -- but tread lightly on the subject of China.

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President Obama issued the following statement today regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Here's the full text:

With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Senate leadership is still considering what to do about health care legislation in the wake of the Massachusetts Senate election. But he said that whatever plan is agreed on, Democrats want health care off the table by March.

"I don't think we want this to go on for three more months," he said. "You have to make a decision." Schumer said that Democrats are making sure to rush a plan on reform and said that "it will take a few days" for the caucus to come up with plan to pass health care reform without their supermajority.

Reconciliation is one of a few options under discussion, Schumer said. But he said that "concerns about the political climate" make that plan less than appealing to some Democrats. "It's one of the considerations," he said when asked if Democrats worry voters will react badly to a health care bill passed with through reconciliation.

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