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Hotline Sort: Tax Wars in Massachusetts

April 27, 2012
10. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is up with a second ad featuring Gov. Mitch Daniels singing his praises. "We're lucky to have Dick Lugar, and we need to keep him," Daniels says in the 30-second spot. The ad begins airing statewide today. 9. After expecting to run unopposed for the GOP nomination, Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont., found he actually will be facing a Republican opponent in the primary - farmer Dennis Teske. 8. Hotline's Scott Bland reported Thursday that both the NRCC and DCCC are up with matching $150,000 as buys in the special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. The race pits Democrat Ron Barber, a former Giffords district director against Republican Jesse Kelly, a former Marine sergeant who lost to Giffords in 2010. Both parties' early investments are a sign that both parties view this contest as highly competitive. The district leans Republican (it gave McCain 52 percent of the vote in 2008), but Barber's close ties to Giffords and Kelly's struggles in the 2010 election have made Democrats optimistic they can hold the seat. 7. Democrats have a chance to recapture both of New Hampshire's House seats, which were swept away in the 2010 Republican wave, according to a new WMUR-TV Granite State poll released late Thursday. Former Democratic Rep. Carol Shea Porter leads GOP Rep. Frank Guinta in a 2010 rematch, 44 percent to 39 percent, in the state's First Congressional District. In the other district, Democrat Ann McLane Kuster leads GOP Rep. Charlie Bass, 40 percent to 39 percent, in another reprisal of a closely-fought election two years ago. The margins of error for each poll are more than plus-or-minus six percentage points, so each race is considered virtually tied. 6. Retiring Illinois Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Ill, said that he doesn't want his former chief of staff Jerry Clarke -- or any of his former staffers -- to replace him in Congress. His comments come after he faced accusations that he engineered his retirement, shortly after winning the March GOP primary, to help Clarke win his Congressional seat. A handful of Republican county chairmen within Johnson's newly-drawn district will be soon deciding the replacement nominee to run against Democrat David Gill. Johnson represents a battleground seat, but the Democrats' favored candidate narrowly lost the primary to Gill, who has run unsuccessfully against Johnson in three previous elections. 5. Mitt Romney has hired Rick Santorum's campaign manager Michael Buindo to play a role in his campaign's political shop. 4. So much for team spirit: After reports surfaced that Bill Clinton would be helping an Obama-aligned super PAC raise money for the campaign, Bloomberg reports that Clinton is demanding that Obama's top fundraisers pony up first before he gets actively involved. That could be a tough task. Only 12 of Obama's 532 top fundraisers had donated to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC created to support his re-election. 3. The conservative group Americans for Prosperity is up with a $6 million ad buy attacking President Obama for wasting taxpayer dollars on green energy projects, spotlighting his mishandling of Solyndra. The ad is airing in eight battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia. 2. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., may be helping Republicans politically by pushing for an alternate Dream Act, legalizing the children of some illegal immigrants. But it will be a tough sell to House Republicans. House Speaker John Boehner said it would be "difficult at best" to take up the issue in the House, where Republicans are pushing for greater border security, not more forgiving laws. "The problem with this issue is that we are operating in a very hostile political environment," said Boehner. 1.Vice President Biden was the administration's point man to criticize Romney on Thursday, delivering a speech at New York University characterizing the former Massachusetts governor's foreign policy as being stuck in a Cold War mindset. He also made ample reference to the president's successful killing of Osama bin Laden. Repeating a favorite campaign staple, Biden said: ""If you're looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple, 'Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive,' " The Obama campaign is even out with a Web video today, suggesting that if Romney was president, bin Laden would still be alive. As the New York Times puts it, Biden "was pressing what the campaign believes is an advantage in national security -- unusual for a Democratic incumbent -- over a Republican who has struggled to find an easy opening against Mr. Obama on foreign policy." But perhaps the most memorable line from the speech was when Biden, channeling Theodore Roosevelt, said "I promise you, the president has a big stick."
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