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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

Conservative radio host Michael Medved said Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that no state has ever banned gay marriage and any claim to the contrary is "a liberal lie."

"There has never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage," Medved said during a panel titled "Can Libertarians and Social Conservatives Ever Get Along?" after another panelist referenced historical discrimination against LGBT couples. "That is a liberal lie."

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In the end, Obamacare is going to be judged by whether it has successfully reduced the number of uninsured Americans. But with a few weeks to go before this year's deadline to sign up, whether the law has made much progress toward that goal isn't yet clear -- though there are signs that it's picking up momentum in the private market.

More than four million Americans have enrolled in private coverage under the law, according to the Obama administration, and the law will likely come closer to the Congressional Budget Office's initial projection of seven million enrollees than most would have thought possible after HealthCare.gov's disastrous launch.

But how many of those enrollees were uninsured, now newly covered under Obamacare, and how many are simply signing up for new coverage to replace what they already had? A new survey has found that 27 percent of people who signed up for coverage in February were previously uninsured.

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Jeremy Bird and Betsy Hoover, veterans of the Obama 2008 and 2012 campaigns, lost their first child, Elijah, after his premature birth last week. "We are devastated and heart broken," Bird wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page. "We miss him more than we ever thought possible."

"He really was beautiful. He had his dad’s nose, his mom’s mouth and even a little bit of hair. He was 11 inches long and weighed one pound, one ounce. He was precious, innocent, remarkable," Bird said. "Unfortunately, Elijah came too soon. His lungs weren’t yet formed, and he was just not able to survive on his own. We lost our baby boy."

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Whatever the opposite of a presidential frontrunner is, Bernie Sanders -- Vermont's self-avowed democratic socialist senator -- personifies it. But that hasn't stopped him from entertaining 2016 ambitions.

In an interview with The Nation, published Thursday, Sanders said he was "prepared to run for president." He's not declaring a candidacy or even going through some of the necessary motions like fundraising just yet, but he said he is talking with "people around the country" and appears to have grappled with some of the toughest questions he would face: like whether he would run as an independent or a Democrat. It's not the first time that Sanders has floated the idea, but it's more concrete evidence that he's taking it seriously.

"I am prepared to run for president of the United States," he said. "I don't believe that I am the only person out there who can fight this fight, but I am certainly prepared to look seriously at that race."

The nascent Sanders campaign, if you will, appears to be a conscious effort to offer an alternative to the presumptive Democratic frontrunner: Hillary Clinton.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is the least popular senator in the United States with his constituents, according to a new poll.

Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found that 30 percent of Arizonans approve of McCain's job performance while 54 percent disapprove -- the worst net approval in the country, according to the firm's tracking of approval ratings for senators.

McCain is almost equally unpopular with Republicans (35 percent approve; 55 percent disapprove), Democrats (29 percent-53 percent) and independents (25 percent-55 percent).

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The GOP-controlled New Hampshire Senate approved a privatized plan for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare Thursday, opening the door for the state to become the latest to adopt the expansion.

WMUR reported that the bill passed 18 to 5. Five of the 13 Republicans opposed the plan, and another abstained. The proposal would use Medicaid dollars to help low-income residents purchase private health coverage, as Arkansas has done.

The Democratic-controlled House is expected to approve the plan, and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan has expressed her support. About 58,000 New Hampshirites are expected to gain coverage under the expansion.

A Republican state senator has sued California's Obamacare marketplace for its role in canceling health plans under the law.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Sen. Ted Gaines filed the lawsuit Wednesday. He alleged that Covered California, the entity that set up and runs the Obamacare marketplace the state, had violated federal and state laws when it required insurance companies that wanted to sell plans to cancel their non-compliant policies.

Gaines linked that decision to the 900,000 canceled plans in California, according to the Times. He announced in October that he would run for state insurance commissioner this year. He is challenging sitting commissioner Dave Jones, who, as TPM reported, had urged the state's website to comply with the Obamacare 'fix' that would have allowed people to keep non-compliant plans.

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Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo (D) came out as gay Wednesday, a week after Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed legislation that would have allowed discrimination against LGBT residents.

The tone of that debate and the national firestorm that descended on Arizona while the bill sat on Brewer's desk motivated Gallardo to come out publicly, he told TPM in an interview. He had come out to his friends and family years ago, he said, but the anti-gay legislation that he voted against and Brewer eventually rejected convinced him that he needed to "take a stand."

Gallardo, who is now running to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor (D), discussed his decision with TPM and what it was like to be a gay lawmaker in a conservative state, where, he said, his legislative colleagues would make derogatory remarks in the state capitol's elevators and his parents were uneasy when he said he intended to tell the public that he was gay.

The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

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A conservative PAC released a new web video Wednesday blasting Hillary Clinton for her role in the Obama administration's proposed "reset" of diplomatic relations with Russia

America Rising PAC, which launched a Stop Hillary 2016 campaign last year, labeled the policy as the 'The Obama/Clinton' Reset Failure'. The video includes clips of Clinton, then-secretary of state, and President Barack Obama calling for a "reset" of diplomatic relations with Russia before cutting to footage of the recent Russian invasion of Crimea.

"We want to reset our relationship," Clinton says in the 2009 clips pulled for the ad. "We think that this is a fresh start."

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Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo, who said last week that he would run for Congress, came out Wednesday as gay -- less than a week after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed controversial anti-gay legislation.

"I am gay, I am Latino and I'm a state senator," Gallardo (D) said, according to local media. He said it was the "right time for me to come out" and that the anti-gay bill had been a "game-changer" that prompted his decision.

Gallardo had spoken out against the bill that Brewer vetoed last week.

“I don’t argue that folks have the right to religious freedom,” he said at the time. “I think we all have the right to our religious beliefs, but I do not agree that we have the right to discriminate because of our religious beliefs.”

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