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Hotline Sort: Elizabeth Warren Explains It All

3) In an interview with Roll Call, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lays out what he sees as the three different tiers of competitive Senate races. At the top: North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and (surprisingly, ahead of some other equally competitive races) the Virginia race between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine. McConnell also offered a sharp warning to his fellow Republicans, if Romney wins the White House and Republicans retake the Senate. "Governing is hard. The things that we need to do to straighten this country out are not going to be popular," he told Roll Call. "I think you need to start out with humility, but with determination to deal with the truly big problems in the country." 2) Crossroads GPS is spending $516,000 on a new TV spot hitting Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., over her support for Obama's health care law. Crossroads GPS has spent big bucks in Missouri, a sign they're trying to badly damage McCaskill's already-tenuous standing before Republicans even choose their nominee. It also shows that Republicans plan to tie Democratic Senate candidates to President Obama's controversial health care plan -- as they did with success in the 2010 midterms. 1) Elizabeth Warren offered her first acknowledgement on Wednesday that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was Native American, the Boston Globe reports, though she maintained that race didn't play a role in her recruitment. As we've written, it's remarkable how long the heritage story has remained in the Boston headlines -- it's been nearly a month since the scandal first broke in the Boston Herald. Meanwhile, Warren is getting a boost from Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who is endorsing her despite previously saying he would wait for the party to pick a nominee. It's a timely nod for Warren, given her struggles lately. Patrick is very popular and comes just ahead of the weekend's state Democratic convention, where she faces a challenge from Marisa DeFranco. If DeFranco wins 15 percent of the delegates, she qualifies for the Democratic primary ballot. -- Scott Bland and Christopher Peleo-Lazar contributed

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