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2:30 PM ET, January 6, 2010


 Top Items: 
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Chris Dodd to step aside  —  Embattled Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) has scheduled a press conference at his home in Connecticut Wednesday at which he is expected to announce he will not seek re-election, according to sources familiar with his plans.  —  Dodd's retirement comes after months …
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
‘DROPPING LIKE FLIES’?.... Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) is retiring.  So is Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).  And before anyone could catch their breath, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) announced he's not seeking re-election, either.  —  It led ABC News to report that “Democrats are dropping like flies.”
Michael Barbaro / New York Times:
Harold Ford Jr. Weighs a Challenge to Gillibrand  —  Encouraged by a group of influential New York Democrats, Harold Ford Jr., the former congressman from Tennessee, is weighing a bid to unseat Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in this fall's Democratic primary, according to three people who have spoken with him.
The Politico:
Top Democrats head for the exits  —  The grim outlook for Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections just got a little worse.  —  Four top Democrats—including veteran Sens. Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan—all prepared to pull the plug on their campaigns in a 24-hour period that began Tuesday …
Adam Nagourney / New York Times:
Senator Dodd Will Not Seek Re-election, Democrats Say  —  WASHINGTON — Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the embattled Connecticut Democrat who was facing an increasingly tough bid for a sixth term in the Senate, has decided to step aside and not seek re-election, Democrats familiar with his plans said Wednesday.
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd won't seek reelection, will retire at end of term  —  Embattled Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday at which he is expected to announce he will not seek reelection, sources familiar with his plans said Tuesday night.
Sen. Dodd Out: Dem Exodus Roils 2010 Landscape
Daniela Altimari / Hartford Courant:
Sen. Christopher Dodd Will Not Seek Reelection
Discussion: The Caucus and Washington Wire
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Blumenthal heavily favored
Jared Allen / The Hill:
Dems agree that House will take up, tweak Senate healthcare bill  —  House and Senate leaders have formally agreed to bypass a bicameral conference committee to merge two healthcare bills, and have opted to instead “ping-pong” the Senate bill over to the House and back again, according to House leadership aides.
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
Ping Pong Confirmed (Again); Obama Seeks Affordability Improvements
Ron Christie / Pundits Blog:
Amateur hour is over  —  Enough is enough.  There was a time when the amateur hour that has characterized the behavior of the staff in the Obama White Hour over the past year could be chalked up to innocent inexperience.  Now that behavior is nothing short of dangerous and President Barack Obama …
Discussion: Federal Eye and The Swamp
Natasha Mozgovaya / Haaretz:
Emanuel: U.S. fed up with Israel, Palestinians  —  White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel recently told the Israeli consul in Los Angeles that the Obama administration is fed up with both Israel and the Palestinians, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.  —  Emanuel met with Jacob Dayan …
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
King: Use word ‘terrorism’ more
Discussion: Firedoglake
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE.... Rep. Pete King (R) of New York …
Discussion: Think Progress
John Kass / Chicago Tribune:
Rahm in the mayor's race would be quite a fish tale
Discussion: Redhot
Josh Kraushaar / Scorecard's Blog:
Hoeven planning to run for the Senate  —  Republicans look like they've landed their top recruit in the North Dakota Senate race: Popular Gov. John Hoeven is letting his political allies know that he's preparing to run for the seat of retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)
Eric Zimmermann / The Hill:
N.D. Dems ask talker Ed Schultz to run for Sen. Dorgan's seat
Harold Meyerson / Washington Post:
Without a movement, progressives can't aid Obama's agenda  —  Every Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — has raised the hope that he would bring with him a new era of progressive reform.  The legislative torrents of the New Deal and the Great Society …
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Boy, now he's in real trouble; Obama administration revokes U.S. visa of accused Nigerian bomber  —  Under the category of looks-like-about-12-days-too- late, the State Department has announced it is revoking the U.S. visa for suspected Nigerian underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Aaron Blake / The Hill:
Worst RNC cash flow in a decade  —  A 2009 spending spree has left the Republican National Committee (RNC) with its worst election-year cash flow this decade.  —  A 2009 spending spree has left the Republican National Committee (RNC) with its worst election-year cash flow this decade.
14 terror suspects mistakenly kill themselves  —  Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Fourteen suspected terrorists died Tuesday night when the bus they rigged with explosives blew up prematurely, police said.  —  The explosion occurred as the suspects were riding the bus in the province of Kunduz, said police chief Abdul Raziq Yaqobi.
CHART OF THE DAY: How The Government Payroll Replaced Goods-Producing Jobs  —  In the just-so story of the evolution of our economy, our old manufacturing based economy has been replaced by an innovative knowledge economy.  That's not quite true.  —  In fact, the decline of the jobs …
Andy Barr / The Politico:
Obama starts 2010 with 50% approval  —  President Barack Obama enters 2010 with one of the lowest approval ratings of any president heading into his second year, according to a new Gallup poll out Wednesday.  —  Fifty percent approve of how Obama has handled his job as president, the second lowest total since Gallup started polling.
Discussion: The Hill
Jeff Richardson / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
‘Frozen Gore’ sculpture returns in Fairbanks to fuel climate change debate  —  FAIRBANKS - In what might become an annual tradition, an ice sculpture of former Vice President Al Gore has taken its place in front of Thrifty Liquor along Airport Way.  —  The two-ton “Frozen Gore” sculpture isn't exactly a tribute.
Blanche Lincoln Rips Nebraska Health Care Deal  —  LITTLE ROCK - U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln on Tuesday said a political deal that benefits Nebraska and may have clinched a lawmaker's support for health care legislation should be removed from the bill.  —  The Democratic senator from Arkansas …
Jules Crittenden:
It's Pretty Bad ...  When the local lefty broadsheet goes on jihad against the Liberal Lion's annointed successor, Martha Coakley, in the midst of said Lion's legacy health-care fight, the day after a leading pollster shows her opposition to be within pistol-shot in the race.
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Van Hollen: Few, if any, more House Dems will retire  —  There won't be more than a few more retirements by House Democrats, their 2010 campaign chief vowed Wednesday.  —  Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) …
Discussion: TPMDC
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 More Items: 
Eric Schmitt / New York Times:
Slow Start for Military Corps in Afghanistan
Discussion: Wonk Room
Laura Rozen / Laura Rozen's Blog:
Previewing Clinton's development speech: results oriented, transformational, focused
Discussion: The Swamp
David Ariosto / CNN:
Obama-Cuba honeymoon may be over  —  Havana, Cuba (CNN) — The cake has been cut.
Joseph Curl / Washington Times:
Dodd, Dorgan out; 5 other Senate Dems vulnerable
Discussion: The Strata-Sphere and The Politico
Megan McArdle:
The Israeli Airport Model
Discussion: Jeffrey Goldberg and Clusterstock
 Earlier Items: 
Chris Good / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Romney On Fox: Not Intimidated By Palin's Crowds; Obama Should Be More Like Clinton
Alyssa Katz / American Prospect:
Gentrification Hangover  —  How New York could create affordable …
Whalers ‘ram’ activist boat
Discussion: Dot Earth
Ta-Nehisi Coates:
A Bad Time For The Empire  —  Lot of doom-saying out there about election year 2010.
Quinnipiac University:
Bysiewicz Trails Connecticut's Rell By Just 6 Points, Quinnipiac …
Discussion: Eye on 2010
Financial Times:
A 10-year plan to close the budget deficit
James Fallows / The Atlantic Online:
How America Can Rise Again
Discussion: Ezra Klein