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What We Learned: Trouble Below The Surface What We Learned: Trouble Below The Surface

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What We Learned: Trouble Below The Surface

-- FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth endorsed former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz for Texas Senate this week in another sign of a growing trend: Cruz is emerging as the early Tea Party favorite in the Republican primary race to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R). Cruz and former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams are the two candidates who most naturally appeal to grassroots activists in Texas, but Williams now seems likely to get out of the race and run for the House instead. In addition to FreedomWorks, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also has endorsed Cruz, and the Tea Party Express appears to be favoring Cruz, as well. It remains to be seen whether the potential candidacy of state Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston conservative talk radio host, could cut into Cruz's early tea party momentum. -- There are five announced Democrats running against Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. (Quick! Can you name them?), but so far they've felt no love from party leaders who appear to be actively recruiting for a bigger name. There are just four weeks left in the fundraising quarter, and the next set of FEC reports may provide some clarity about the quality of the current field. Perhaps Alan Khazei or Setti Warren will gain some respect if they can post respectable numbers by the end of the month But if all five Democrats have lackluster quarters, it will magnify the drumbeat to recruit a star-quality candidate into a race that the DSCC simply has to keep on the table. Keep an eye on Elizabeth Warren, Obama's polarizing pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. -- Republican Senate candidates haven't exactly been tripping over themselves to support Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget. But the state of Florida can probably boast both the candidate who's embraced it most strongly (former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner), and the candidate who's gotten in the most trouble dodging the issue: state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who was hung up on by a conservative radio host for dodging the question repeatedly. -- By now everyone is well aware that Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., allegedly posted an inappropriate photo of himself on Twitter. Far fewer people are aware that Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, known for his fiscal conservatism and for taking a hard line on decreasing state spending, faced some trouble of his own this week when he arrived at his son's baseball game in a state helicopter. The two politicians took wildly different approaches in responding to media criticism, which is why - even after John Edwards was indicted Friday morning - Weiner is still in the news and "Choppergate" is largely old news. Initially Christie and Weiner had a similar reaction: both sent out press releases and declined to comment further. The real difference was in the second- and third-day stories, when Weiner continued to decline comment and, when he finally did go on TV, made pretty ambiguous statements -- fanning the flames of media excitement. Christie, however, seeing that the press was latching onto the story, called a news conference and wrote a check and, just like that, it was over.

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