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1:30 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.
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Van Hollen: Few, if any, more House Dems will retire
Discussion: TPMDC and Pajamas Media
Daniela Altimari / Hartford Courant:
Sen. Christopher Dodd Will Not Seek Reelection
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
Discussion: The Huffington Post and TalkLeft
Wall Street Journal:
The Tom DeLay Democrats
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.)
Reid Wilson / Hotline On Call:
Ed Schultz Asked To Run For Senate
Discussion: Minnesota Independent and The Page
Eric Zimmermann / The Hill:
N.D. Dems ask talker Ed Schultz to run for Sen. Dorgan's seat
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: The Swamp and
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE.... Rep. Pete King (R) of New York …
Discussion: Think Progress
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
King: Use word ‘terrorism’ more
Discussion: The New Republic
Blumenthal to run for Dodd's Senate seat  —  AP-CT — Dodd Retirement-Blumenthal,0127  —  Eds: APNewsNow.  —  HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says he will seek to succeed fellow Democrat Christopher Dodd in the U.S. Senate.
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 Rezendes / Boston Globe:
Some saw Coakley as lax on '05 rape case
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.
Publius / Big Government:
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Military Blogger Michael Yon Detained, Handcuffed by TSA in Seattle Airport  —  Award winning war correspondent Michael Yon was detained and handcuffed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Yesterday by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel.
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 …
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 …
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.
Lydia Saad / Gallup:
Obama Starts 2010 With 50% Approval  —  More than 8 in 10 Democrats but less than half of independents approve  —  PRINCETON, NJ — President Barack Obama begins his second year as president with 50% of Americans approving and 44% disapproving of his overall job performance.
Andy Barr / The Politico:
Obama starts 2010 with 50% approval
Discussion: The Hill
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.
Chris Good / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Romney On Fox: Not Intimidated By Palin's Crowds; Obama Should Be More Like Clinton  —  Mitt and Ann Romney sat for an interview with Fox News that aired this morning (video after the jump).  Here are some nuggets of interesting material:  —  When asked if he's intimidated by the big crowds …
Discussion: GOP 12
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 More Items: 
Jeff Richardson / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
‘Frozen Gore’ sculpture returns in Fairbanks to fuel climate change debate
Megan McArdle:
The Israeli Airport Model
Discussion: Clusterstock
Hélène Mulholland / Guardian:
Hoon and Hewitt call for ballot on Brown leadership
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.
Blanche Lincoln Rips Nebraska Health Care Deal
Discussion: The Hill and Weekly Standard
 Earlier Items: 
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Republicans see courts as last line of defense vs. Democrats' agenda
Financial Times:
A 10-year plan to close the budget deficit
Richard A. Epstein / Forbes:
Deregulation Now  —  A New Year's resolution for failing state governments.
Discussion: Hit & Run and The Glittering Eye
Sudarsan Raghavan / Washington Post:
Former bin Laden bodyguard is among ex-guerrillas in Yemen
Discussion: Associated Press and PrairiePundit