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4:40 PM ET, July 9, 2009


 Top Items: 
Jonathan Cohn / The Treatment:
Houston—er, Washington—We Have a Problem  —  On Wednesday, according to a Capitol Hill source, the Senate Finance Committee distributed to its members a list of about twenty ways to help pay for health care reform.  Everything you could imagine was on the list: Taxes on soda and cigarettes.
Ben Smith / The Politico:
Independents begin to edge away from President Obama  —  In a potentially alarming trend for the White House, independent voters are deserting President Barack Obama nationally and especially in key swing states, recent polls suggest.  —  Obama's job approval rating hit a — still healthy …
New York Post:
SEN. ESPADA RETURNING TO DEMOCRATS  —  POWER IN ALBANY FLIPS AGAIN  —  ALBANY - Bronx state Sen. Pedro Espada, whose defection to the Republican camp helped trigger the current Senate crisis, will return to the Democratic fold and end the month-long Senate stalemate, The Post has learned.
Josh Kraushaar / Scorecard's Blog:
Republican recruiting successes
Manu Raju / The Politico:
Ensign paid $96k to mistress's family  —  Sen. John Ensign's attorney acknowledged Thursday that the Nevada Republican's parents paid nearly $100,000 to the family of his mistress after she and her husband left his staff in April 2008.  —  In a statement from Paul Coggins, Ensign's attorney …
Discussion: Roger Ailes
Roll Call:
Coburn Claims Constitutional Shield on Advice to Ensign  —  Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Thursday said he would not testify in court or before the Ethics Committee about any advice he gave Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) on how to handle his affair with a former staffer, citing constitutional protections …
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Ensign paid $96,000 “gift” to Hamptons
Discussion: The Politico
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Ensign Acknowledges Mistress Payment
Manu Raju / The Politico:
Coburn: Ensign flap manipulated
Discussion: Raw Story and The Page
Mike Murphy / NY Daily News:
To go forward, GOP must snap out of its Sarah Palin spell  —  Gov. Sarah Palin is the political train wreck that keeps on giving.  First, she was an awful choice last year as John McCain's running mate.  I came to this conclusion with regret - I am one of McCain's biggest admirers.  —  But facts are facts.
Thomas Beaumont / Des Moines Register:
Iowa GOP wants Palin at dinner  —  Iowa Republican Party officials Wednesday said they are aggressively courting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to headline the state GOP's premier annual fundraising event.  —  And they have put a well-connected Des Moines woman in charge of trying to land …
Jay Newton-Small / Swampland:
A Final Palin Post
David Weigel / The Washington Independent:
DeMint: America is ‘Where Germany Was Before World War II’  —  Last night, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) gave a short talk and Q&A at at the National Press Club about his book “Saving Freedom.”  DeMint told a room of around 100 people about a conversation he'd had with an Iranian immigrant …
Rachel Slajda / TPMDC:   DeMint: America Is Like Germany Before WWII
Jerry Markon / Washington Post:
Uncommon Detail Marks Rulings by Sotomayor  —  She Almost Oversteps Her Role, Experts Say  —  Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's opinions show support for the rights of criminal defendants and suspects, skepticism of corporations, and sympathy for plaintiffs alleging discrimination …
Scott Shane / New York Times:
Democrats Say C.I.A. Deceived Congress  —  WASHINGTON — The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, has told the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door testimony that the C.I.A. concealed “significant actions” from Congress from 2001 until late last month, seven Democratic committee members said.
Washington Wire:
Pelosi Says No to Resolution Honoring Michael Jackson
Discussion: Weekly Standard
The Note:
CIA Spat: Pelosi Vindicated? Not Quite
John Cook / Gawker:
White House Press Corps Spent the Fourth of July Hanging Out With Obama, Off the Record  —  Reporters from roughly 30 television networks, newspapers, magazines, and web sites celebrated the Fourth of July with Barack Obama at the White House last weekend.  Why didn't you know that?
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Mike Allen  —  Mike Allen is the chief political correspondent for Politico.  He comes to us from Time magazine where he was their White House correspondent.  Prior to that, Allen spent six years at The Washington Post, where he covered President Bush's first term, Capitol Hill, campaign finance …
Discussion: The Note
Barak Ravid / Haaretz:
Netanyahu's paranoia extends to ‘self-hating Jews’ Emmanuel and Axelrod  —  At about 3:15 P.M. yesterday, the government's 100th day in office, political correspondents' beepers went off.  In an unprecedented move, the Prime Minister's Bureau was inviting the correspondents to a press conference …
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Haaretz: Bibi Netanyahu Thinks Emanuel and Axelrod are “Self-Hating Jews”
Brad Heath / USA Today:
Billions in aid go to areas that backed Obama in '08  —  WASHINGTON — Billions of dollars in federal aid delivered directly to the local level to help revive the economy have gone overwhelmingly to places that supported President Obama in last year's presidential election.
Phil Trexler / Akron Beacon Journal:
Akron police investigate teen mob attack on family  —  Akron police say they aren't ready to call it a hate crime or a gang initiation.  —  But to Marty Marshall, his wife and two kids, it seems pretty clear.  —  It came after a family night of celebrating America and freedom with a fireworks show at Firestone Stadium.
NY Daily News:
White House denies manufacturer's boast that First Lady carried their $5,950 bag  —  Is First Lady Michelle Obama sporting a taste for ultra-expensive fashion pieces, or is she cementing her status as a savvy shopper?  —  Back in April she wore a pair of $540 Lanvin sneakers at a Washington food bank.
Rebecca Sinderbrand / CNN:
Jeb Bush: 'I don't know' if Obama is a socialist  —  (CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told an interviewer that he could not say whether or not President Barack Obama is a socialist, and that the president would not have been elected if he had been honest with Americans about his agenda.
Discussion: Think Progress and Wonkette
David Freddoso / Washington Examiner:
Updated: Hoyer-linked firm wins $18M contract  —  ABC reports this morning that the Maryland firm Smartronix has won what seems like an enormous $18 million contract to re-design the website.  Approximately $9.5 million would be spent by January in order to make …
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Palin Top Choice Of Republicans ... Concerned About National Security?  —  I'm really not sure what to make of this astonishing number from Rasmussen about the 2012 GOP primary: … Palin is the top choice among Republicans whose top concern is national security?
Rasmussen Reports:
Romney Leads Among GOP Voters With Fiscal Concerns
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 More Items: 
Richard Cowan / Reuters:
Obama's drive for climate change bill delayed
Dave McNary / Variety:
Michael Moore unveils title of new doc
Discussion: Raw Story
Carol J. Williams / Los Angeles Times:
Pharmacists can't refuse Plan B pill, appeals court says
Discussion: Shakesville
 Earlier Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Coleman hurt by recount
Ben Parr / Mashable!:
Bing Now Bigger Than Digg, Twitter and CNN
Discussion: Silicon Alley Insider
Charlotte Spratt / Daily Mail:
Miss Obama's peacenik T-shirt sends a message to G8 leaders