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Just two months ago, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) looked vulnerable to defeat heading into 2012. But now, amid a state-level showdown over union rights that has energized voters and sent Republican Gov. John Kasich's approval rating into a tailspin, a new PPP poll of registered voters finds Brown suddenly dominating a slate of potential Republican challengers.

In December, polls showed Brown in a precarious position, barely leading relatively unknown Republicans in hypothetical 2012 contests. But in the latest survey, Brown has suddenly shot ahead of his GOP rivals, such that he now leads each of them by double-digit margins; his lead over one challenger exploded from a miniscule 2 points in December to 19 in the latest poll.

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Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is calling on the U.S. government to require residents within 20 miles of a nuclear plant to have iodine tablets on hand as sales of the pills in the U.S. and Canada soar in response to the nuclear explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

It's been 22 years since scientists recommended implementing the tablet policy after the Three Mile Island incident, Markey said.

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FBI Director Robert Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the continuing resolution passed by the GOP-controlled House to fund the federal government through September could undermine FBI's efforts to continue to transform the bureau into a national security agency.

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The scandal started with a check flushed down the toilet, a cash-stuffed bra and the arrest of Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife Leslie for alleged corruption. But the additional arrests that ensued exposed a wide-ranging tobacco and alcohol smuggling ring in the D.C. suburbs.

TPM just received the mugshots of eight people who were arrested in the Prince George's County corruption probe. Check out our slideshow to see the players and learn more about how store owners and police allegedly teamed up to smuggle untaxed booze and cigarettes into Maryland.

1||The scandal started with a check flushed down the toilet, a cash-stuffed bra and the arrest of Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife Leslie for alleged corruption.

But the additional arrests that ensued exposed a wide-ranging tobacco and alcohol smuggling ring in the D.C. suburbs. Nine people -- including three police officers -- were arrested, accused of running drugs, guns, and black-market alcohol and cigarettes into the state.

This is Johnson, who is accused of taking bribes from developers and businessmen. He plead not guilty to eight charges on Monday. Johnson allegedly handed out grants and favors in exchange for airline tickets, rounds of golf and about $200,000 in cash, according to federal prosecutors.||U.S. Marshals Service&&

2||Prosecutors also say that Johnson solicited donations on behalf of his wife, Leslie Johnson, shown here, who was charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly stuffing cash down her bra and flushing a check down the toilet as FBI agents knocked on her door.

Despite the federal indictment against her, Leslie Johnson is currently serving on the County Council and has an arraignment set for April.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 3||This is Prince George's County Police Sergeant Richard Delabrer, 45, who allegedly accepted bribes from store owners in exchange for his help ensuring the safe transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes and alcohol in Maryland and Virginia.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 4||Prince George's Police Corporal Chong Chin Kim, 42, of Beltsville, was also charged with taking bribes for store owners. "Police officers are given badges and guns to prevent crimes, but these police officers allegedly used them to commit crimes," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "The indictment charges that they crossed a bright line from catching criminals to conspiring with criminals."||U.S. Marshals Service&& 5||Amrik S. Melhi, 51, the proprietor of several liquor stores -- including Tick Tock Liquor and Restaurant in Langley Park, Md., one of the most popular liquor stores in the area, was arrested for offering bribes to the police.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 6||Melhi's wife and business partner, Ravinder Kaur Melhi, 49, was also arrested. The couple opened their first liquor store in Riverdale in 1985, according to a 2005 Washington Post profile of the couple. From that one store, they built a small liquor and real estate empire valued at over $26 million according to the Baltimore Sun.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 7||Like the police officers and store owners, Chun Chen, aka Eddy Chen, 34, is charged with "conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right in a scheme involving the transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes and alcohol." However, the indictment doesn't provide any more details on his role in the smuggling ring.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 8||The role that Jose Moreno, 49, played in the operation is also unclear.

Check out all our previous coverage here.||U.S. Marshals Service&&

Presidential aspirant and former pizza tycoon Herman Cain did not mince words when criticizing Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, saying the organization would be more aptly described as 'planned genocide.'

Speaking to a group of reporters at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Cain said he supported fully defunding Planned Parenthood -- as House Republicans have sought to do with their budget bill -- because, he claimed, the organization was founded with the goal of killing black babies before they were born.

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The progressive group Americans United for Change will go live Wednesday with a new ad slamming Republicans for prioritizing subsidies for big oil corporations over federal education spending.

"There is a right way and a wrong way to get our country's fiscal house in order and Republicans have chosen the wrong path: corporate welfare over the well being of Americans and our children's education," says Tom McMahon, executive director of Americans United.

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Sarah Palin has long been the bane of liberals, but now she's apparently beginning to turn off members of her own party.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday morning finds that the percentage among self-identified Republicans who have a favorable opinion of Palin has dropped to a record low, while the number of Republicans who have an unfavorable opinion of the former Alaska governor has risen to a record high. It's the first time the survey has shown Palin drastically losing support within her own party.

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Michael Scanlon, Jack Abramoff's partner in crime, doesn't want to pony up the ill-gotten millions he owes to Abramoff's former lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig, and he doesn't think he has to, his attorneys said Tuesday in a court filing.

Scanlon, who worked hand-in-glove with Abramoff, pleaded guilty to defrauding a group of Native American tribes out of tens of millions of dollars and last monthwas sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay Greenberg for its losses. Greenberg has settled a series of actual and threatened lawsuits from the tribes that Scanlon and Abramoff defrauded, and now the K Street giant is demanding that Scanlon make good on the court-ordered compensation payments and pay the firm more than $17 million.

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