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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

In a strange twist during this year's election cycle, one candidate vying for the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor is attacking another for the state's botched Obamacare rollout.

Doug Gansler, Maryland's attorney general, is battling Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for the Democratic nod. A big part of Gansler's strategy seems to be blaming Brown for the poor launch of the state's Obamacare marketplace, which Brown had taken a primary role in creating.

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Republicans are taking no chances when it comes to Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. They're closing every possible door. Under bills passed in Georgia and Kansas recently, even if a Democratic candidate were to pull off an upset and take the governor's seat, they would not be able to expand the program without the consent of the state legislature -- which will almost certainly remain Republican.

In other words, GOP lawmakers have taken steps to guarantee that many of their poorest residents will remain uninsured under the health care reform law, no matter what happens in the gubernatorial election.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) both oppose Medicaid expansion. They both look likely -- if not quite certain -- to win re-election in November. That should make the bills passed by their respective state lawmakers unnecessary, but they seem intent on guarding against even the remote possibility of a Democratic governor.

An explanation offered by a GOP lawmaker in Kansas, where the bill was signed into law by Brownback last week, points to the motive.

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A House Republican has introduced a bill designed to stop Attorney General Eric Holder from being paid his government salary.

The Washington Post reported on the bill, introduced earlier in April by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX). It would require the federal government to withhold the pay of any federal official who is found in contempt of Congress by the House or the Senate until that status is rescinded.

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In an election cycle that Republicans appear persistent in making about Obamacare, Michelle Nunn is in an interesting spot in the Georgia Senate race. The daughter of popular former Sen. Sam Nunn, she's never held political office, so unlike vulnerable Democrats like Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Arkansas's Mark Pryor, Nunn never voted for the health care reform law.

One of the only Democrats with a real hope of stealing a Republican-held seat, Nunn can chart her own course on Obamacare. And while President Barack Obama last week was urging Democrats to "forcefully defend" the law as it hit 8 million sign-ups, don't expect her to follow his lead.

It's more of a tightrope walk for Nunn: distancing herself from a law that's unpopular in Georgia, which should help her win over independents, without going so far that she estranges herself from the Democratic base that she'll need in November. But some outside the campaign question whether she can maintain it through the fall.

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Add Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) to the growing list of Republicans who aren't buying what the Obama administration is selling on Obamacare enrollment.

In an interview alongside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Heller dismissed the 8 million sign-ups that President Obama announced Thursday as "all smoke and mirrors," according to Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston.

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President Barack Obama announced Thursday that 8 million Americans had enrolled in private health coverage under Obamacare -- the final evidence that the law signed up far more Americans than most would have thought possible during the doldrums of last fall.

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With the final enrollment figures expected Thursday, House GOP leadership decided to fully take up the mantle of Obamacare trutherism. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy's office released a full "debunking" of the fabled 7 million sign-ups that the administration touted earlier this month.

The supposedly unanswered questions -- intended, as the headline of McCarthy's release makes perfectly clear, to call the official numbers into question -- are familiar to the budding enrollment trutherism movement. The only problem is several of the questions have already been answered. Others, the administration has said it doesn't have the answers for, so House Republicans are left accusing the White House of blatantly withholding information.

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Richard Mack, a former Arizona county sheriff, was one of the better known activists to voice support for Bundy Ranch during its long-running standoff with federal officials over cattle grazing rights. In recent days, as tensions rose, he eventually made his way up to the Nevada ranch to join the fight.

In an interview with TPM on Wednesday, Mack portrayed a scene where the protesters genuinely believed they could be killed by federal agents at any moment. But he also backed off one of the more striking claims he'd made during the standoff. He caught national attention on Monday when he said the protesters were "strategizing to put all the women up at the front" in case the federal officials fired on them. He later said it "was a tactical ploy that I was trying to get them to use."

But Mack backtracked somewhat and told TPM he was mistaken when he said those things. The women had volunteered to go to the front, he said.

"The mistake I made was it was never a strategy. It was never strategized. It was never talked about. The women just did it," he said. "I was never privy to that, so I thought they did strategize that. I thought that would be the only way they would send women up to the front."

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