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Jones: Americans Will Feel 'A Certain Shock' From Flight 253 Report National Security Adviser James Jones told USA Today that Americans will feel "a certain shock" from today's upcoming report on the Flight 253 attempted bombing. Jones said that President Obama "is legitimately and correctly alarmed that things that were available, bits of information that were available, patterns of behavior that were available, were not acted on."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, and Obama will meet at 10:30 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 1 p.m. ET, Obama will deliver remarks on the security review of the Flight 253 attempted bombing. Obama and Biden will meet at 3 p.m. ET with Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, and they will meet at 3:45 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Look out Opryland, the tea partiers are coming to town.

The Tea Party Nation is gearing up for its first ever convention, to be held at the famed Opryland Hotel in Nashville next month. It's a confab designed to help the tea parties from across the country organize, with an agenda that sounds a lot like an attempt to form an official third party.

Organizers ask for local groups to "select their best to meet with their peers from across the nation" and who "have the most desire to move this process of organizing to the next level."

They'll have a workshop about "the importance of becoming Precinct Committee Chairs."

"Please join us, make and form strong bonds, network, and make plans for action. We are doing what we could not do alone, to preserve that which we value," organizers write.

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So how and when will Congress finally finish health care reform?

As we reported earlier this week, Congress will expedite passage of landmark health care legislation by circumventing the official channels through which House and Senate bills are typically reconciled. Instead, the House will take up the Senate's bill, amend it in various ways, pass it, and send it right back to the Senate. This is known as "ping pong"--a process that continues until both chambers agree to a single reform package and the President can sign it into law.

Typically, after the two chambers pass similar, but different bills, House and Senate principals from both parties resolve the differences at a so-called conference committee, where they emerge with a final piece of legislation--the conference report--which both bodies vote on, without amendment.

But that's not what's happening now. So what's the next step?

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This is kind of sad: on Tuesday afternoon RNC Chairman Michael Steele went on Fox News to confess to Neil Cavuto his deep-seated and long-felt affinity for the Tea Party movement, claiming that Republicans and tea partiers are in fact kindred spirits. The following afternoon, however, Cavuto asked an actual tea partier if the attraction was mutual. It was not.

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MSNBC host/North Dakotan Ed Schultz is not completely ruling out a run to replace retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Democrats are stepping up their calls for him to get in the race.

One progressive group has launched a "Draft Ed Schultz" campaign to urge the talk show host to give up the microphone for the campaign trail. From the Democrats.com petition making the email rounds today:

You have been an inspiration to progressives for years on the radio and TV. You have fought for working families and stood up to the Washington Elite for better healthcare, more jobs, and ending the wars.

America needs you in the Senate!

MSNBC's Ed Schultz said tonight on "The Ed Show" he is "a long way from any kind of decision" on whether to make a bid for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat.

"I can't say I'm even considering it right now," Schultz said. "I'm in a different place than politics right now."

His show is less than a year old, and Schultz said "to go from Fargo to 30 Rock is a dream come true for any broadcaster."

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January 6, 2010: At noon today, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) officially announced his decision not to run for re-election. Dodd began his speech by offering his "deepest gratitude to the people of Connecticut for the remarkable privilege of being elected eight times over the past four decades to our national assembly." His full remarks, which focused on his family and Senate colleagues, are available here.



TPM takes a look back at the life and career of the legislator who spent over three decades in the U.S. Senate.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office




A young Chris Dodd listens attentively as a book is read to him.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office




Dodd (on ground to the left) with his family.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office




Dodd with his brothers and father.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office






Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office




Referencing health care reform in his departing speech, Dodd had this to say about his long-time Senate colleague:



"An hour later I was standing on the Virginia hillside at Arlington Cemetery, where Ted Kennedy rests, along with his brothers in eternity, as he is in history, wishing I could have seen the look in Teddy's eyes as the Senate took that historic step only an hour before."

Photo courtesy of Sen. Chris Dodd's office

With the upheavals that have taken place from Democratic retirements in the past two days, are the Dems doomed to lose their 60-seat, filibuster-proof margin in the Senate this year? On close examination, this is not in any way a certain outcome -- because the Republicans have a lot to lose this year, too.

There are of course some seats that Democrats could potentially lose, and we've all heard a lot about them: Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, Michael Bennet Colorado, the open seat in Delaware, the open seat in Illinois, the open seat in North Dakota, and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania -- and Republicans even talk about Barbara Boxer in California. Sen. Chris Dodd's seat in Connecticut used to be at the top of this category, but today's events might well have put this seat out of the GOP's reach again.

At the same time there is a comparable number, depending on how liberally you count it, of Republican-held seats that could shift to the Democrats. Keep in mind that 2004 was a very good Senate cycle for the Republicans, with them winning nearly every state they possibly could. Now, six years later, they have a lot of territory where they have to play defense, and a wide variety of outcomes are possible.

So let's take a look at the states where the Republicans have something to lose.

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House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and 38 other Republicans from Congress have filed a brief in Superior Court calling for a voter referendum on gay marriage in Washington, D.C.

Last month, the D.C. city council passed legislation legalizing gay marriage and Mayor Adrian Fenty signed it. If not challenged by U.S. Congress, gay couples will be allowed to wed in the capitol.

The district's Board of Elections and Ethics has twice decided that a referendum would discriminate against homosexuals.

(Via ThinkProgress)

Sen. Byron Dorgan told MSNBC's Ed Schultz tonight his surprise retirement decision was "no reflection" on the Democratic party and insisted he would have won reelection if he'd decided to stay.

Dorgan (D-ND) said he has served 40 years and now wants to do "some other things in life." He said he would prefer people ask, "Why did he leave so soon, rather than why did he stay so long."

"This gives me the opportunity to do that," he said.

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