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What We Learned: Minnesota Nice No More? What We Learned: Minnesota Nice No More?

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What We Learned: Minnesota Nice No More?

-- Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) called for the repeal of Pres. Obama's health care reform law this week in an attempt to ward off suggestions that he supported the legislation. The orchestrated response -- Thompson invited a reporter to a join a normally closed-door meeting of GOP donors -- shows that Thompson isn't cooling on the idea of a Senate run, as some observers recently had suggested. But it remains to be seen whether Thompson's conservative critics will buy his suddenly strong rhetoric. -- If there was the slightest doubt that the Utah Senate race would be a heated, contentious affair, this week should have erased it: FreedomWorks PAC announced they would target Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and later that day a FreedomWorks foundation co-chair announced a Hatch endorsement. And though Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, isn't officially a candidate yet, he and Hatch's campaign have already begun trading barbs: most recently, Chaffetz told the Salt Lake Tribune that Hatch is trying to scare away potential donors to his campaign. -- Former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman this week became the latest GOP Senate candidate to struggle with an answer to how she would have voted on the Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., budget. She, like Florida state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, ran into problems when asked directly about it while doing a radio interview. Note to candidates: figure out a straight answer to the Ryan plan question before going on the radio. -- If it wasn't for one man, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., might still be a Congressman today. Controversial conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who first publicized the lewd photo that Weiner accidentally sent on his Twitter feed, achieved a measure of redemption from the episode, after having been marginalized in the mainstream media for releasing videos maligning liberal figures and organizations that were misleadingly edited. After the Congressman formally resigned on Thursday, Breitbart is watching his credibility rise thanks to the once popular Weiner. -- Personal financial disclosures show that the new freshman class in Congress is considerably more well off than their constituents even though many of them were backed by the economic frustration of the Tea Party. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., relied heavily on the Tea Party and is one of the wealthiest freshmen. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., is worth between $4 and $15 million. Of course, not all freshmen came in wealthy. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, come in as the least wealthy of the Senate class but two of the biggest Tea Party stars.

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