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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, says the GOP super committee members' offer of about $300 billion in new tax revenue is a “breakthrough,” The Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez reports.

“I assume good faith,” Durbin told reporters. “I think that’s the best starting point. And I assume that what we heard from Republicans is a breakthrough that can lead to an agreement, and that’s what we need.”

CNN reports:



A Military Commission hearing at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay Cuba began Wednesday — 17 minutes behind schedule — for the man the United States says is the brains behind the deadly bombing of the USS Cole.

Democrats in Ohio have been talking about a resurgence of activism and enthuasism in the wake of a vote on SB 5, the anti-union measure that was repealed Tuesday night by a wide margin in a statewide referendum. And it looks like the push from that effort is showing on the presidential level as well: President Barack Obama leads all GOP challengers there outside the margin of error in a poll taken just before the SB 5 vote.

The Public Policy Polling (D) survey shows Obama out in front of former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney 50 - 41, businessman Herman Cain 51 - 39 and Texas Gov. Rick Perry 53 - 36. While the President's job approval rating is well underwater at 41 percent approval versus 49 percent disapproval, the GOP candidates are so far down on favorability that Obama easily pushes past them. Romney, who has shown strength against Obama in previous state polling, is only viewed favorably by 28 percent of Ohio voters, against 48 percent who see him in a negative light.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) responded to last night’s election results — where an Ohio anti-union law was repealed — by saying the middle class pushed back.

From the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:



“If you pay attention to history, you know that collective bargaining is perhaps the single biggest reason we have a strong middle class in this country,” he said. “It has provided a path to the middle class for hundreds of thousands of workers. Last night Ohio took a very big step towards rebuilding the middle class.”

“The middle class doesn’t happen on its own — and it doesn’t unravel on its own, either,” he said. “Last night Ohio took a very big step towards rebuilding the middle class.”

Stocks opened down on Tuesday after news broke that Italy’s borrowing rate hit a record 7 percent, Reuters reports. Reuters breaks down the markets:



The Dow Jones industrial average was down 252.40 points, or 2.07 percent, at 11,917.78. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 28.67 points, or 2.25 percent, at 1,247.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 65.43 points, or 2.40 percent, at 2,662.06.

Newt Gingrich wants to swing into Washington like a wrecking ball and demolish the key barriers between the GOP and the end of universal health care. But his primary target isn't Obamacare itself. Rather it's a non-partisan agency most people outside the beltway have never heard of -- but that the D.C. establishment would arise and take arms to protect.

"If you are serious about real health reform, you must abolish the Congressional Budget Office because it lies," Gingrich said at a Saturday debate with embattled pizza entrepreneur Herman Cain. "Every hospital will tell you that if you get the family and patient involved, it is better and less expensive. The Congressional Budget Office refuses to see this as a savings. It wants more bureaucracy and less patient involvement."

In a technical sense, Gingrich is correct. The Congressional Budget Office will make it hard for Republicans to completely repeal Obamacare, even if they unify control of government in 2013. CBO is the agency that evaluates for lawmakers the impact their legislation is expected to have on the federal budget. And unfortunately for Republicans, the health care law was devised to score as a deficit reducer, particularly after its first 10 years of existence. By direct corollary, the CBO says repealing the whole thing would increase projected deficits. For political and (more importantly) procedural reasons, that would make a complete repeal almost impossible.

Some Republicans want to change the rules that make CBO's words so powerful. Gingrich, by contrast, wants to get rid of CBO altogether. In response, former CBO heads are leaping to its defense -- including a key conservative economist, influential among Republicans.

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