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In an attempt to secure the release of Emerson Begolly, the 21-year-old Nazi-dressing alleged jihad enthusiast who allegedly bit two FBI agents, his defense lawyer alleged in court documents Wednesday that one of the agents had a romantic relationship with the suspect's estranged, alcoholic mother.

But Special Agent William J. Crowley of the FBI's Pittsburgh office told TPM that the bureau "categorically denies" any romantic relationship between Special Agent Bradley Orsini and Begolly's mother Joan Kowalski.

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An amendment to the bill authorizing military spending for 2011 now requires that all solar equipment purchased by the Department of Defense be manufactured in the United States. But in the face of stiff international competition for some solar manufacturers -- Evergreen Solar closed its Massachusetts plant because of Chinese competition and Chinese imports are on the rise -- can this Buy American provision help boost domestic production of solar equipment?

While the military is a growing market for the solar energy industry, solar equipment manufacturing "is a global business and companies are making their decisions where to manufacture on a number of factors," Monique Hannis said, a spokesperson for the Solar Energy Industries Association said.

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Police in Tucson have found a black bag containing ammunition near Jared Loughner's house and the FBI is analyzing it, according to local reports.

Investigators have been looking for the bag, which they say Loughner and his father fought over the morning of the shooting. According to police, Jared Loughner took it out of the trunk of his car and then argued with his father about it. When Jared drove away, his father reportedly tried to drive after him, but lost him.

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Mitt Romney's non-campaign is looking more and more like a real campaign.

Though Romney has yet to officially declare a presidential bid, Real Clear Politics reports that he's taken on a pollster and a political director. That news comes on the heels of Romney's decision to step down from the board of directors of Marriott International, a decision that seems to signal his intention to once again seek the Republican presidential nomination.

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In the wake of the shooting spree in Arizona, Democrats pressed Republicans to change the name of their health care repeal bill -- the bluntly titled "Repealing the Job Killing Health Health Care Law Act."

No luck. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says they're sticking with that name.

As first reported by Greg Sargent, that vote is scheduled for next week. In a statement sent my way, Cantor spox Brad Dayspring confirms, "As the White House noted, it is important for Congress to get back to work, and to that end we will resume thoughtful consideration of the health care bill next week. Americans have legitimate concerns about the cost of the new health care law and its effect on the ability to grow jobs in our country. It is our expectation that the debate will continue to focus on those substantive policy differences surrounding the new law."

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Whoever wins the RNC chairmanship tomorrow will inherit a committee deeply in debt. According to Reid Wilson of The Hotline, the party faces more than $21.8 million in outstanding debt as of the end of 2010.

But in an ironic twist, the RNC basically raised its own debt ceiling. The committee was scheduled to make a $5 million payment on its debt by the end of February, but has been granted a significant reprieve.

At its winter meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, a hurried RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen confirmed to me the party had "negotiated an extension from the bank for one year," on its debt.

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TUCSON, AZ -- They cheered, they cried, they celebrated and they mourned. And for perhaps the first time since the deadly shootings on Jan. 8, Tucson did it as one when the city gathered for last night's memorial service on the campus of the University of Arizona.

In the days immediately following the massacre at a constituent event for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Tucson struggled to find its footing. As I was told so many times by so many different people this week, Tucson is the "Berkeley of Arizona," a blue drop in a sea of red. So perhaps it was no surprise that the first reaction to the killings was fractured, rather than united with the state as a whole.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: 'We Will Heal': The Memorial In Tucson]

Just hours after suspected gunman Jared Lee Loughner's rampage outside a Safeway in one of the posher areas of the city I toured this week, Tucson Tea Party Patriots leader Allyson Miller struck a combative tone. She had already checked her group's Facebook page to make sure Loughner wasn't a tea partier.

"I think anytime you start suppressing freedom of speech, I think it's wrong," she told me. "I live here and I didn't hear anything [in the 2010 campaign] that concerned me in terms of inciting violence."

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is laying out a timeline for his decision on whether to run for president -- and he says, the South Carolina primary will be key.

"I'm looking at making a decision by the end of February," Gingrich told McClatchy, as he visits the state. "I'm trying to methodically see if it's possible and if there's enough support to make sense out of it."

Gingrich underscored the importance of South Carolina, which has been the first contest held in the South each cycle. "South Carolina has picked the last five Republican presidential nominees," said Gingrich. "So it's clear that along with Iowa and New Hampshire, it's a key state in the presidential nominating process. There's no question it will retain that importance in 2012."

We now have an open Senate seat in Texas -- which should likely be a safe GOP hold, but also provide a lot of fun in the 2012 primary season. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has officially announced her much-expected retirement.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

In a letter to supporters, Hutchison said she enjoyed serving Texas.

"I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2012," she wrote to supporters. "That should give the people of Texas ample time to consider who my successor will be."

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