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John Podesta, the president and chief executive officer of the Center For American Progress (CAP), offered tacit support today for having the House pass the Senate's health care bill but only with guarantees that it could later be amended through a reconciliation bill.

Podesta described this as the "consensus" approach. He was speaking at a CAP event on jobs, health care and the state of the American worker.

TPMDC reported yesterday that (CAP), the most influential Democratic think tank in Washington, had been silent on where it stands as House Leadership tries to navigate a path ahead for health care reform. The political calculus had become even more difficult since Republican Scott Brown (R-MA) won the Massachusetts special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy's seat. Brown became the 41st Republican and vowed to help filibuster the legislation.

(Reporting by Brian Beutler)

Editor's Note: This post has been revised since it was originally published.

Conservative favorite Marco Rubio's campaign for the Senate in Florida continues to pick up steam, a new poll from Quinnipiac University finds. Rubio has his first lead in the GOP primary fight against Gov. Charlie Crist, and he dominates Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) in a hypothetical general election matchup.

Rubio is a ahead of Crist 47-44, a lead that essentially pegs the race as a dead heat. The Q poll is not the first to show Rubio having closed the gap with Crist, but it comes after weeks of stepped up campaigning by Crist, who was urged to enter the race by national Republican leaders. Yet Crist has continued to lose ground to Rubio in advance of the August primary in Florida in polls and now finds himself behind the conservative insurgent he all but dismissed in the early months of the race.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced this morning that it raised $55.6 million in 2009 and has $16.7 million in cash on hand.

The DCCC raised $11.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, including $3.8 million in December. It also reported a loan of $2 million.

By comparison, the RNC raised $81.3 million last year, the NRSC raised $41.2 million and the DSCC raised $43.6 million.

Another sponsor of the upcoming National Tea Party Convention has pulled out, citing fears over possible "profiteering and exploitation of the grassroots movement" by the organizing group, Tea Party Nation (TPN).

Philip Glass of the National Precinct Alliance, a conservative activist group, said in a statement, according to the New York Times:

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January 25, 2010: He's #1. President Obama hosted some special guests in the White House today: the Los Angeles Lakers. The afternoon event was intended to commemorate the Lakers championship 2008-2009 season. Obama brought his love for the wide world of sports with him to Pennsylvania Ave. But he's shown a particular fondness for basketball, making it the sport de jour of his administration.

The President giddily accepted his gifts -- an autographed basketball and a personalized jersey. Here he shows off his jersey along with Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

Newscom/Abaca Press/MCT

Newscom/Abaca Press/MCT

Newscom/Sipa Press


Newscom/Abaca Press/MCT


Obama: New Bin Laden Tape 'An Indication Of How Weakened He Is' In an interview aired today on Good Morning America, President Obama said that the new purported tape message from Osama bin Laden is a sign of weakness in Al Qaeda: "Al Qaeda itself is greatly weakened from where it was back in 2000. Bin Laden sending out a tape trying to take credit for a Nigerian student who engaged in a failed bombing attempt is an indication of how weakened he is because this is not something necessarily directed by him."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:45 a.m. ET. Obama will meet at 10:15 a.m. ET with senior advisers, and will have lunch at 12 p.m. ET with business leaders. At 4:30 p.m. ET, Obama and Biden will meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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Last night on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert named former Tennessee congressman and likely New York Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. his 'Alpha Dog of The Week,' saying Ford 'has the musky sack to change not only his address but also his political views.'

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Last Tuesday's election in Massachusetts has left health care legislation in a precarious position. The prospects of passing a comprehensive bill are perhaps lower than at any time in the year-long fight over reform. And yet despite those odds, Democratic leaders in both the House and the Senate are well aware that passing a comprehensive bill remains both a substantive and political imperative. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the options before them are both uncertain and complicated.

The long weekend brought little clarity and no breakthroughs for Democrats scrambling to reach a compromise that would allow the House to pass the Senate's health care bill.

But as the days drag on, one reality becomes more and more certain: Until leaders reach an understanding that will allow the House to move ahead with a guarantee that the Senate bill will be amended, they will be unable to press rank and file members to support the end game they're working toward.

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President Obama will take questions from YouTube users next Wednesday at a live White House event, another push from his tech-savvy team to open up the process to everyday people.

The event is billed as allowing follow-up questions to his State of the Union address tomorrow night.

The White House posted a blog this morning detailing the project, but has not announced it to the press. It's another example of the Obama team circumventing the Washington establishment to communicate more directly with voters.

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