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Hotline Sort: Democratic Dough

4) This evening, the first Texas Senate debate will take place at 8 pm ET. What to watch: Will Ted Cruz, whose name ID is still low in the state despite national buzz, be able to seize the opportunity to introduce himself? How will Craig James stack up against more seasoned pols? David Dewhurst is the frontrunner, so how will he defend himself against the barbs that will be launched at him? Finally, will Tom Leppert emerge as a factor? 3) NYT's John Harwood makes a notable point about the way President Obama and Mitt Romney are likely to frame their candidacies:

In the sour, fearful mood that economic setbacks have produced, American voters loathe both major symbols of the forces squeezing their pocketbooks and life savings. President Obama will seek re-election vowing to rein in one of them: Wall Street. Mitt Romney will focus on the other: Washington.

2) Keep an eye on whether Romney's decision not to release his tax returns becomes a bigger issues in the coming days, especially following the uptick in media scrutiny over Bain. The Washington Post editorial board calls the ex-governor out this morning, and if there is more to come from opponents/media, it will mean Romney will have to play defense on yet another issue. 1) Obama raised over $42 million in the fourth quarter and the Democratic National Committee raised over $24 million, for a combined total of about $68 million for the period. In total, the 2011 Obama/DNC sum is over $220 million. Obama's fourth quarter haul is on par with what he brought in during the third quarter, when he raised $42.8 million. Obama's numbers are solid, but not eye-popping. As Politico notes, not adjusted for inflation, the combined 2003 Bush-Cheney\RNC haul was $239 million, compared to $222 million Obama- Biden/DNC haul in 2011.

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