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Who says having a "radical" Medicare proposal is such a bad thing?

According to Stephen Colbert, that just might be the kind of message Republicans need to send if they want to court the youth vote, a task already daunting because of how popular President Obama is with young adults.

"The only way kids could love Obama more is if he was a skate park," Colbert said.

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With Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) resigning from Congress, it is worth looking at the statistics from his district for the upcoming special election.

Roll Call has rated the seat, based 70% in Queens plus parts of Brooklyn as "Safe Democratic." The Dems certainly do have the advantage, but underneath there have been some shifts in the Republicans' direction in recent cycles.

The district voted 55%-44% for Barack Obama in 2008 -- but a decade ago it was even more Democratic, having voted in 2000 for Al Gore by 68%-30%, but then shifted to only 56%-44% for John Kerry in 2004. This actually puts the district among the few in the country where Obama under-performed Kerry's percentage, though only by a slight margin.

On the Congressional level, Weiner never faced serious opposition. For example, he won 61% of the vote in 2010, 93% in 2008, was unopposed in 2006. Thus, Democrats begin with a hefty advantage here, especially in the wake of the Dems' pickup of the upstate NY-26 based on Republican proposals to privatize Medicare. But nevertheless, this one bears keeping an eye on.

By Benjy Sarlin

TPM has confirmed that after weeks of increasingly embarrassing revelations and building pressure from within his own party, Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) will on Thursday resign his seat in Congress. He told Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of his decision on Wednesday evening.

On Thursday morning, TPM witnessed staffers leaving his Capitol Hill office, turning out the lights with boxes of belongings in hand.

Weiner will hold a press conference in New York at 2 PM, according to multiple reports. Pelosi told reporters on Thursday morning that she would not have any comment until after the New York lawmaker speaks.

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The treasurer of a new "super PAC" which released what has been called the most offensive political advertisement in history is considering disassociating himself with Turn Right USA because he "just can't approve" of an ad featuring an actress portraying a pole-dancer in booty shorts standing in for a Democrat running for Congress.

"It's not something I would have produced. I have a little bit more class than that," treasurer Claude Todoroff told TPM in an interview. "I just don't approve of that video. 'Gimme the money bitch' and a person doing a pole dance. ... that's not the kind of image I'd like to display."

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Brushing aside protests from religious and civic leaders, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) held another Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday investigating Islamic radicalization in America, this one focused on terrorist recruitment in prisons. Like past entrants in his radicalization series, Tuesday's event featured plenty of contentious words from committee Democrats, including a dramatic and emotional speech from a Detroit Democrat recalling his own friends' experience in prison.

Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI) used his question period to deliver an impassioned address about the broader problem of prison reform, at times holding back tears as he discussed how the issue impacted his own life.

"We talk about political correctness, you know what pisses me off? I'm a damned member of Congress here and my friends have rotted in prison and those that have gotten out, they've never been the same again," he said. "Some of you who are Tea Party members, this is the waste we got to stop. We're spending too much money incarcerating young men, young black men, whose lives can be saved. It's not about Islam, it's abut the sentencing policy, it's about this prison system. We got to change that."

He added that based on his own discussions with prisoners who converted to Islam, inmates did so largely to gain protection from dangerous gangs and to make a clean break from their criminal past, not to engage in any kind of radical behavior.

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In preparation for a looming state government shutdown in Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) on Wednesday outlined his worst-case scenario plans.

In a petition filed in the Ramsey County District Court, Dayton called for the court to appoint a mediator to avoid shutdown. Dayton's petition was in response to an one filed earlier by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.

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Presidential nominations: What are they good for? Absolutely nothing! Except being blocked in the Senate.

At least that's Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-TN) understanding.

"That's what nominations are for," he quipped to reporters Wednesday after a Capitol briefing on GOP tax and regulatory proposals. "When I was nominated to be Education Secretary, Senator [Howard] Metzenbaum held me up for three months.

At the time he wasn't pleased, but since becoming a senator, his prerogatives have changed. Though he helped broker a modest truce between the parties over obstructive tactics at the beginning of the year, he still supports a senators right to use advise and consent powers to block nominations and extract policy concessions.

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The North Carolina legislature voted Wednesday to override Gov. Bev Perdue's (D) veto of the state budget, which includes provisions to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funds.

The state Senate voted 31-19 to override the veto Wednesday afternoon, after the House passed a similar measure late Tuesday night in a vote of 73-46, according to the News and Observer.

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The last time thousands of progressive activists and left-leaning bloggers came together for their annual Netroots Nation conference, Democrats controlled Washington. Much of the focus was on pushing the party -- and President Obama -- further to the left, to stand up for things like the public option, an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the value of government spending to fix the economy.

A year later, with the Republicans firmly in control of the House and the 2012 presidential cycle underway, the focus is expected to be much the same. Except there's an expediency: The only way Democrats are going to win back what they lost and keep what they have, organizers and participants in this year's conference say, is to get closer to their progressive roots.

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