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Posted at 5:30 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Afternoon Fix: Kaine wants to talk to Obama about Senate seat

By Chris Cillizza

Tim Kaine wants to talk to Obama, Chris Christie is headed to Washington, Patrick Gaspard is leaving the White House, and there's some bipartisan movement -- against the president's budget.

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EARLIER ON THE FIX

Florida is first battleground for 2012 presidential primary jockeying
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Live-blogging President Obama's press conference
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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

* Janice Hahn has some competition: California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced today that she too will run for Rep. Jane Harman's seat.

* Patrick Gaspard has officially left his post as White House political director. His first day as executive director at the Democratic National Committee is March 1.

* Another Democratic senator is balking at President Obama's budget. "It does not go far enough," says West Virginia's Joe Manchin in a press release. "This is not what the country needs or expects."

* Donald Trump's special counsel brushes off criticism of the potential 2012 candidate's sudden pro-life stance: "People change their positions all the time, the way they change their wives." Happy day-after-Valentine's-Day!

* Third Way, a moderate think-tank in the mold of the just-shuttered Democratic Leadership Council, has three new co-chairs in the Senate: Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.).

* Former Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), who lost his upstate seat to Republican Richard Hanna last fall, has landed on his feet: He's now a lawyer at Hancock Estabrook, LLP.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T MISS

* Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine will speak to President Obama in the next day or two about entering the Virginia Senate race.

* DCCC Chairman Steve Israel will hold a pen and pad briefing tomorrow to discuss the 2012 landscape. "We went from playing defense to playing offense," Israel told the Fix in December. "I love playing offense."

* The first ever nationally-televised presidential debate from Republican-heavy northwest Iowa has been scheduled for a week before the 2012 caucus. The Iowa GOP and Fox News are sponsoring.

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is headed to D.C. Wednesday for a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. He's still not running for president, but here's his take on his national popularity: "To the extent that people are finding any type of attraction to what I'm doing, it's mostly because it's because I'm being straight with them. It's not a bunch of prepared hooey, read off a teleprompter."

* Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) is "seriously looking" at running against Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) in 2012, whether Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is in the race or not. (A recent poll has Heller beating Ensign in a primary by 15 points).

* Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) calls President Obama's budget outlook "mind-boggling" in an interview with Gwen Ifill airing on PBS tonight. "I think both sides haven't woken up to the enormity of the problem."

THE FIX MIX

What is the internet, anyway?

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | February 15, 2011; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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