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Who wants to be President of the United States when you can be Governor of Texas? According to Rick Perry, trading the latter job for the former would be crazy -- and that's why he swears he's not running for president.

Perry, fresh off the national book tour where he called for states to secede from Social Security, stopped by Fox News Sunday yesterday for a quick victory lap after his fellow Republican governors chose him to head the Republican Governors Association last week.

Now that he's in charge of helping more Republican governors get elected, it perhaps makes sense that he'd be so darn into the job. But Perry also sought to tamp down rumors that a presidential run is in his future by making it clear he has the job he wants -- and also suggesting that the job everyone thinks he wants won't amount to much pretty soon.

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Former Justice Department lawyer and "torture memo" author John Yoo used a speeding metaphor to explain that just because he gave George W. Bush the legal justification for the "unpopular" decision to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Muhammed didn't mean Bush had to go through with it.

"Just because a law says you can drive 65 miles per hour doesn't mean you have to drive 65 miles per hour," Yoo said. "There's still a lot of discretion and choice that the leaders of our government had to make."

"I know part of the job from being the lawyer is defending sometimes unpopular decisions that your clients make. I'm willing to do that part of the job. But I also think that there's no escaping responsibility if people who make the policy decision," Yoo said in an interview on CNN on Friday.

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Mike Huckabee has an interesting take on how the recent Republican victories could affect the 2012 presidential race: He says it could help President Obama win re-election, by allowing him to position himself against Congress.

Huckabee said on The View: "I think it's gonna be harder to beat Barack Obama than a lot of Republicans are thinking, because he is the president, he's gonna have a billion dollars starting out in his war chest. There is an extraordinary advantage of an incumbent.

"And I'll tell you something else people don't think about: a divided government is good for the executive branch. The gift that the Republicans gave to him was that they're gonna control at least the House of Representatives, and they don't have -- and he doesn't have a filibuster-proof Senate. What that means is that when the executive and the legislative branches fight, the executive always wins. I was a governor ten and a half years with a very, overwhelming Democrat legislature. If you get something done, it's because you're a great consensus-builder."

Who knew this was possible: A politician making a very interesting and profound statement on The View?

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As TPM reported Friday, the House ethics committee has delayed the hearing of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and is sending the case back to investigation, citing new evidence in the case.

Waters, in response, released a scathing statement saying the decision all but proves that she is innocent and that the committee's case against her is weak. She also claimed that the new evidence in question is neither new nor damning.

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Assistant Attorney General Tony West of the Justice Department told reporters Monday that defending Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act were "difficult" for the Obama administration.

"Those are difficult cases because as you know the administration has a long standing policy view on this -- supports the repeal of DOMA and supports the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'," West said in response to a question from TPM.

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A jury has found a Salvadoran immigrant guilty of murdering Chandra Levy, an intern who was killed in Washington, D.C., in 2001.

According to reports, the jury has found Ingmar Guandique guilty of two counts of felony murder.

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A progressive group is launching a multi-pronged attack on Rep.-elect Andy Harris, the freshly-elected Republican physician from Maryland who made headlines last week when he, essentially, asked Congressional staffers why he has to wait 28 days for his government health care.

Harris, who like many Republicans this year ran on repealing the landmark health care law signed by President Obama, is the subject of ridicule in a new radio ad being broadcast across his Maryland district by the progressive group Americans United for Change.

"What was the first thing Andy Harris did when he got to Washington?," the ad's narrator says. "Harris complained that he wasn't getting HIS new government-provided health care fast enough."

"Say what?" the narrator adds.

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The old band is back together in Minnesota. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mark Dayton last Friday signed up Marc Elias, a top Democratic election attorney who headed up Al Franken's legal team in the 2008 Senate recount and subsequent litigation, to work on the Minnesota Recount Part II fight.

Elias will join Charlie Nauen as co-lead counsel, Dayton spokesperson Denise Cardinal tells us. (Nauen also worked in the Senate recount, on an independent suit by a group of Franken voters whose absentee ballots had been rejected.) Dayton has also brought 2008 veteran attorney Kevin Hamilton on board, who will be rejoining his former legal teammate David Lillehaug in assisting Nauen and Elias.

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1||New members of the 112th Congress arrived on the Hill last week. On Friday, the new members entered a lottery to determine the order they would choose offices, and posed for a class photo on the Capitol steps. ||Jeff Malet/

2||New members pose on the Capitol steps. ||Jeff Malet/

3||Rep.-elect Kristi Noem (R-SD)||Jeff Malet/

4||Rep.-elect Frederika Wilson (D-FL) ||Jeff Malet/

5||Rep.-elect Billy Long (R-MO) ||Jeff Malet/

6||As the AP reported: "A glittering week being wined, dined and oriented by the most powerful people in Washington gave way Friday to the exercise in humility that is the freshman office lottery." Here: Rep.-elect Lou Barletta (R-PA) ||Jeff Malet/

7||Rep.-elect Allen West (R-FL) ||Jeff Malet/

8|| ||Jeff Malet/

9||Rep.-elect Karen Bass (D-CA) ||Jeff Malet/

10||Rep.-elect Rick Berg (R-ND) ||Jeff Malet/

11||Rep.-elect Diane Black (R-TN) ||Jeff Malet/

12||Rep.-elect Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) ||Jeff Malet/

13||Rep.-elect Andy Harris (R-MD) ||Jeff Malet/

14||Rep.-elect Francisco Canseco (D-TX) ||Jeff Malet/

15||Rep.-elect Sean Duffy (R-WI) ||Jeff Malet/

16||Rep.-elect Bill Flores (R-TX) ||Jeff Malet/

17||Rep.-elect Cory Gardner (R-CO) drew number 1, meaning he will have first choice of available offices. ||Jeff Malet/

18||Rep.-elect Robert Hurt (R-VA) drew the lowest number, 85, and will pick his office last. ||Jeff Malet/

19||Rep.-elect Mo Brooks (R-AL) reacts to drawing 81. ||Jeff Malet/

20||Rep.-elect Frank Guinta (R-NH) ||Jeff Malet/

21||Rep.-elect Bill Huizenga (R-MI), hoping to borrow some good luck, drew his number alongside Rep.-elect Cory Gardner (R-CO). Gardner previously drew number one, giving him first choice of offices. ||Jeff Malet/

22||Rep.-elect Frederika Wilson (D-FL) ||Jeff Malet/

23||Rep.-elect Tim Scott (R-SC) let his mom draw for him. ||Jeff Malet/

24||Rep.-elect Terri Sewell (D-AL) ||Jeff Malet/

After a flurry of meetings, phone calls, member-to-member discussions and public jousting with Republican leaders, Democrats left Washington on Friday aware of two key facts: Both the House and Senate will eventually vote to allow the Bush tax cuts on upper-income earners to expire; but party leaders in neither chamber have a clear path to winning that vote. And more importantly, with the White House still pressing for a bipartisan solution that can pass before the end of the year, the only thing that's certain is that nobody has any clue what the final tax cut compromise will look like.

Despite months of intra-party wrangling over how to proceed on tax cuts, House and Senate aides, speaking under the condition of anonymity, paint a picture of two chambers dramatically out of sync with one another. Senate Democrats and House Democrats alike continue to negotiate among themselves, with little understanding of what their counterparts are planning or can accomplish.

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