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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

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the lightning rod for Obamacare's troubled rollout last fall, has resigned. During her five years heading HHS, she oversaw a fundamental transformation of the U.S. health care system. Considering she was never supposed to serve as secretary at all, she'll depart having left an indelible mark on the Obama administration.

Her tenure will be, in many ways, defined by two setbacks that could have been avoided and almost completely discredited the law in the public eyes -- and by her uncanny ability to bring Obamacare back from the brink and leave the law in as good of shape as it could be.

Her appearance Friday with President Barack Obama and her chosen successor, Office of Budget and Management Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, had a celebratory tone. The president touted the historic implications of the law and Sebelius's final achievement of 7.5 million Obamacare sign-ups. About a half dozen standing ovations from HHS and White House officials greeted her.

But implicit in their remarks was a recognition that the law's implementation had not gone as smoothly as it could have. And, for the foreseeable future, it is likely that mix of commendation for her successes and a linger memory of her failures that will define Sebelius's legacy.

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Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) turned heads last week when he said members of Congress were underpaid.

But he put his, ahem, money where his mouth was this week by introducing legislation that would have offered a small stipend to help some members (with some limits) pay for their housing while they're in session. In announcing the bill, he suggested that if something didn't change, then only the wealthy would be able to run for Congress.

In an interview with TPM Thursday, Moran expanded on why he's made congressional compensation one of his top priorities before he leaves office.

"It's not a run-of-the-mill type of job," he said. "I think it's an elite profession, frankly. There aren't a whole lot of people out of 300 million who could elected to the Congress. I don't know why we have to sell ourselves short at every opportunity."

His stipend bill was nixed in committee, but Moran, who has already announced his plans to retire at the end of the current congressional session, has pledged to bring the issue back up on the House floor.

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Rush Limbaugh framed CBS's decision to replace retiring "Late Show" host David Letterman with professional conservative skewer Stephen Colbert in some decidedly apocalyptic terms.

"CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show. "No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open."

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Cecily McMillan is supposed to go on trial soon for her alleged assault on a police officer in 2012 during the Occupy Wall Street protests. But it seems the court is having a more difficult than expected time finding people in New York City who aren't biased against the protest movement.

The Guardian reported Thursday on the court proceedings. McMillian's attorneys had hoped that jury selection would take only one day, but it ended its second day with only seven of the 12 jury spots filled.

McMillan, who is 25, faces up to seven years in prison. Here are three explanations, according to The Guardian, from New Yorkers who effectively said they couldn't give an Occupy Wall Street protester a fair trial.

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Obamacare animosity might be enough for Republicans to retake the Senate in the fall. That has become the consensus among political strategists and analysts and a poll released Thursday is bearing it out.

The Pew Research Center poll underlined the 2014 problem for Democrats: Republicans voters were more likely to say that the health care reform law would be very important to their vote than Democrats by a 12-point margin, 64 percent to 52 percent.

The same dynamic showed up in the raw approval numbers for Obamacare: Republicans were more opposed (83 percent disapprove; 10 percent approve) than Democrats were supportive (73 percent approve; 16 percent disapprove).

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Fundraising in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton 2016 run continued to grow in the first quarter of 2014: Ready for Hillary, the super PAC organizing a grassroots machine for a presumptive presidential campaign, reported that it raised $1.7 million from January through March.

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This fall, in a strange aligning of the electoral stars, Republicans will defend governorships in several key presidential swing states: Florida, Iowa, Nevada and Ohio. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could also be added to that list, which expands the proverbial map a little bit more.

One might think that, if the GOP manages to hold onto those seats, they'd be setting themselves up to take back the White House in 2016. In conversations TPM had with a few independent strategists, that conventional wisdom was the norm. It feels like it makes sense: Why wouldn't holding the state's highest office help? Especially if the governor is popular, he can show up at campaign events with the presidential candidate and mobilize the ground game.

Flip five of those six states in the GOP's favor on the 2012 map, and we'd currently be in the 15th month of the Mitt Romney administration. So Republican wins in 2014 should therefore give the party a better chance of seizing the White House two years later, right?

But it doesn't. In fact, according to the same kind of political analysis that shattered the horse-race perception of the 2012 presidential race, the opposite is true: GOP gubernatorial wins this year would actually hurt the party's chances of reclaiming the presidency in 2016.

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In most Obamacare analyses, the law's $64,000 question is whether enough healthy people are enrolling in private coverage. That metric is important for its long-term success. But the flip side of that question is: Are sick people who had been shut out of the insurance market prior to the Affordable Care Act getting the coverage they need?

A study released Wednesday looked at prescriptions issued to early Obamacare enrollees, and its findings suggest that some of those people have gotten coverage and are using it. It's not the definitive measure of how the law is doing, but it is another data point in the ongoing effort to gauge the impact of health care reform.

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