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I just spoke with James Bopp Jr., the Republican National Committee member from Indiana who is sponsoring two key resolutions to prevent RNC funding from going to insufficiently conservative candidates. He says he is still reviewing his options headed into today's meeting of the resolutions committee, and tomorrow's full session of the RNC's winter meeting in Hawaii.

Bopp's main resolution, to forbid RNC funding for candidates who do not show that they hold conservative positions on at least eight out of ten key issues, suffered two setbacks yesterday. A committee of state party chairmen voted against it, and RNC Chairman Michael Steele came out against it. Bopp is simultaneously pursuing that resolution as well as a simpler one, which would expressly empower the RNC chairman to consider ideology as a factor in sending money to candidates.

"Well, I'm glad to know what his [Steele's] position is," Bopp told me, "And I still look forward to coming up with some approach that ensures accountability. I mean, we have two resolutions that deal with that issue, and hopefully one of them will win. I expect one of them will win."

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Tension between two Congressional ethics bodies boiled over today in connection to an investigation of a California congressman.

The House Ethics committee announced that it had voted unanimously to dismiss a probe into whether Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) improperly took advantage of a tax break for Maryland homeowners.

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The attorney for accused phone tamperer Robert Flanagan tells the AP that Flanagan, James O'Keefe, and co. were trying to expose Sen. Mary Landrieu for allegedly ignoring phone calls from health reform foes.

The comments from Attorney Garrison Jordan are partly in line with the theory we outlined earlier -- that the alleged plot arose from complaints that Landrieu's staff were not responding to constituents' calls.

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If you've ever laid awake at night, haunted by the due date for your master's thesis, you probably think President Obama's doing a good job. That's the finding of a new report by Gallup out today.

Over the past month, only people with some post graduate education have given Obama a steady approval rating of above 50%, Gallup found. Obama's standing among those with academic hoods collecting dust in their closets averaged 58% over the month. Among those who went out and got a real job after graduating college, his approval rating In the opening weeks of the year was 49%. High school graduates gave Obama a 50% approval.

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MSNBC's David Shuster just battled with Big Government's Andrew Breitbart on-air over the arrest of James O'Keefe and friends for allegedly trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office.

Shuster has been covering the story on location from New Orleans. Breitbart has ties to O'Keefe, having posted the latter's ACORN sting videos on his web site and paying him as a contributor. (Breitbart maintains he was not involved in what happened at Landrieu's office and has no knowledge of it beyond what's been reported in the news.)

Breitbart attacked Shuster and MSNBC for "slandering" O'Keefe by saying he had wiretapped Landrieu's phones and demanded Shuster retract the wiretapping claim, which he did. He also attacked Shuster for tweeting that O'Keefe "intended to tap [Landrieu's] phones."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is facing his lowest public approval ratings in his home state since 1994, according to the new Rocky Mountain Poll. The last time he faced approval ratings as bad as the ones released to today was in the aftermath of the Keating Five scandal, when McCain had to rebuild trust with voters in his home state.

Just 40% of Arizonans approve of the job McCain is doing for them in D.C., according to the poll. In January of 2006, that number was 60%. It's not clear how much of an impact the tanking numbers will have on McCain's primary battle with conservative J.D. Hayworth. McCain does better with Republicans than he does with the rest of the state. He's got a 52% approval rating among the GOP.

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Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) assured reporters today that health care reform will pass...sometime...this year.

At a press event this afternoon, I asked Reid whether, procedurally or politically, he could move ahead with "Plan B," and pass a 51-vote bill to make amendments to Senate health care legislation, allowing the House to seal the deal on comprehensive reform.

"This is not a one-year Congress, this is a two-year Congress and we have had a number of extensive meetings of trying to come up with a path forward," Reid said. "We are going to move forward on health care. We're going to do health care reform this year. The question at this stage is procedurally how do we need to get where we need to go."

Not really an answer. Asked whether Reid had given her any signs that Senate could act on the plan, Pelosi dodged as well. "We're in discussions," she said.

Attorney Mary Farren is suing her husband, former Bush White House lawyer John Michael Farren, for $30 million after he allegedly beat her with a flashlight and strangled her in their Connecticut home.

Mary Farren filed the civil suit in Stamford Superior Court last week, according to the Stamford Advocate. She asked the court for a $30 million pre-judgment remedy, saying she can't work because of her injuries.

Police charged John Michael Farren with attempted murder after he allegedly beat his wife and strangled her on Jan. 6, leaving her bleeding and unconscious. Police say she regained consciousness, hit a panic room alarm in their home and then fled to a neighbor's with the couple's two young daughters.

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January 27, 2010: Members of Congress, the Cabinet, and Supreme Court applaud as President Barack Obama enters the House Chamber to deliver his first State of the Union address.

Pete Souza/whitehouse.gov






Pete Souza/whitehouse.gov




Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and others applaud.

Pete Souza/whitehouse.gov






Chuck Kennedy/whitehouse.gov




House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel smiles, possibly at Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano taking a snooze.

Newscom/phlphoto




First Lady Michelle Obama waves to the crowd.

Newscom/UPIphotos




House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) (right) reacts to remarks from President Obama alongside Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) (center) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI).

Newscom/UPIphotos




President Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the conclusion of his State of the Union address.

Pete Souza/whitehouse.gov




Interior Secretary Ken Salazar greets President Obama as he leaves the House Chamber at the conclusion of his State of the Union address. Looking on are, from left, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

Pete Souza/whitehouse.gov




President Obama greets U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Newscom/UPIphotos




House pages reach to shake hands with President Barack Obama as he leaves the House Chamber.

Chuck Kennedy/whitehouse.gov




President Obama kisses the First Lady in a holding room at the Capitol after delivering his first State of the Union address.

Pete Souza/whitehouse.gov

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