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A few hours after Rep. Dennis Kucinich switched his support to become a critical vote for the health care bill, he took to the House floor to ask wavering colleagues to join him. Astonished colleagues pointed to Kucinich (D-OH) darting from member to member on the House floor yesterday, saying privately they'd never seen him get so involved in whipping a vote.

It's not just progressives he's targeting to keep in the fold, it's everyone, a top Democratic aide told me. Members know that Kucinich - a staunch antiwar liberal long in favor of a single-payer system and often going out on a limb with his own agenda - is setting aside deep ideology to help get something passed. "It's a totally new dynamic. People are realizing he's doing it for history," the aide said.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told me last night in the House Speaker's lobby that Kucinich's support is "a sign of Democrats recognizing how important this is."

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They're here! They're here!

A Democratic source provides TPM with the CBO's final top-line numbers on the health care reform bill--the cost-estimate of the Senate health care bill as amended by a soon-to-be-released reconciliation bill. The findings, as expected, keep the bill in line with the Senate bill's stand alone score:

The bill would reduce the deficit by $130 billion in the first ten years, and potentially by $1.2 trillion in the second ten years (though CBO always warns that projections into the second decade are extremely unpredictable).

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The new Rasmussen poll of Arizona has Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the 2008 Republican nominee for president, with only a single-digit lead over his challenger in the Republican primary, former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth, and the incumbent McCain is under 50% support.

The numbers: McCain 48%, Hayworth 41%, with a ±4% margin of error. McCain had a much better lead of 53%-31% two months ago, shortly after the announcement that his former running mate Sarah Palin would come to Arizona to campaign for him. Back in November, when Hayworth was first making moves to get into the race, McCain had a statistically insignificant lead of 45%-43%.

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Master Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff was badly beaten in prison late last year, according to a new Wall Street Journal story citing jailhouse sources.

According to the Journal, Madoff, who is serving 150 years for his massive fraud, was assaulted by a man in a dispute over money. An inmate at the prison in Butner, NC, told the paper that Madoff was treated for a "broken nose, fractured ribs and cuts to his head and face."

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GOP House And Senate Team Targets Democrats Roll Call reports that House and Senate Republicans have worked closely together across both chambers, to target Democrats on the health care bill. "This is a vast improvement over several years ago, when in the fall of 2006, Republican House Members were literally running against Republican Senators over the immigration issue," said Senate GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN). "So that's a dramatic change from four years ago when we were deeply divided. Institutionally we don't really mesh easily."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive his daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. He will sigh the HIRE Act, commonly known as the jobs bill, at 11:20 a.m. ET in the Rose Garden. He will meet with senior advisers at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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A press release issued today by the Clinton Foundation Press Office announced that Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will travel to Haiti on March 22. Here is the full release:

On Monday, March 22, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush will travel to Haiti on behalf of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF).

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Earlier today, we told you about Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), who said on MSNBC this morning that he would support "forcing private insurance companies to compete," alluding to a public option. The Republican congressman even went so far as to say that he would support single-payer health care.

We contacted his office for clarification. His spokeswoman, Nicole Philbin, emailed over a statement that confirms Shadegg would indeed support a public option.

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More national progressive groups, including NOW and Blue America PAC, have signed on to help former county commissioner Connie Saltonstall in her insurgent bid to beat Rep. Bart Stupak in Michigan's 1st District Democratic primary. Democracy for America is about to get in, too, according to a spokesperson.

It's not yet clear how real the effort will turn out to be. But the national coalition to primary Stupak is certainly building, and Stupak's wife told me today her husband will be ready for it.

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