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Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Afternoon Fix: NRSC tells Joe Scarborough to keep his day job

By Chris Cillizza

Joe Scarborough is sparring with the NRSC over whether or not they want him to run for Senate, Rick Santorum says there's nothing hypocritical about Newt Gingrich's family values, and Haley Barbour has gotten a boost in New Hampshire.

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* MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is in a back-and-forth with the National Republican Senate Committee over a Senate seat in Florida. The Hill reported NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked Scarborough to consider running against Sen. Bill Nelson (D). Cornyn countered that they talked about a Senate run in New York, not Florida. Scarborugh responded The Hill was right. "We will leave it to others to try to ascertain Joe's motives behind his statement today, but just like the story in the The Hill - it is false," the NRSC's executive director said in a statement. "There are already a number of far stronger candidates looking at the Florida Senate race and we are confident that any one of them can beat Bill Nelson in 2012. But we wish Joe the best of luck in his New York Senate pursuits and we remain fans of his cable show." Scarborough is countering that the NRSC's "bizarre behavior" must mean that Florida candidates were upset Cornyn's proposal, and that he has no interest in running.

* The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has released an ad in Wisconsin state Sen. Luther Olson's Green Bay district, attacking him for voting to end collective bargaining for public employees after calling it "pretty radical." It's their first ad calling out a specific state legislator, as Democrats work to recall Republicans who voted for Gov. Scott Walker's bill.

* Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (R) said that Newt Gingrich's past doesn't preclude the former House speaker from talking about social values on the campaign trail. "I am not saying that it is not a legitimate question, but it's not an issue with respect to the positions he takes," Santorum told National Review. "That's a dangerous line that many folks tend to cross over -- that because you made a mistake, you can't talk about this or that issue. We all make mistakes."

* Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty is not one of those Republicans lining up to attack former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for signing universal health care legislation. "I know every time you see me you ask me some variations of these questions, trying to get me to contrast with Massachusetts," Pawlenty told reporters today. "But I'll just tell you what I did and I believe in and leave the analysis regarding Massachusetts to someone else."

* A producer at Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze, is questioning the editing of a video that led two NPR executives to resign, pointing out that the audio appears to have been moved around in some places and quotes were taken out of context. Some people "may be bothered by these tactics and view similar projects with a greater degree of skepticism," the post concludes.

* Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) has made some changes to assuage the Congressional Black Caucus, which was angered by his statement that Democrats could win in 2012 without them. Israel pledged to give more credit to members from less affluent districts for non-monetary support, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) will lead a task force to negotiate between the two groups.


* Freshman Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), who has kept his distance from the union fight in his home state, will appear with Gov. Walker at a GOP fundraising dinner in Ashburn this Saturday. "We'd be even more excited if we didn't have this controversy to deal with," said one local Republican.

* The AP is reporting that potential presidential candidates have all but ignored South Carolina, but Rep. Michele Bachmann is headed there in April for a fundraiser and a tea party rally. She'll be there on April 15, what would be "Tax Day" if the government hadn't given everyone a three day extension. This is as good a reminder as any to start working on your taxes.

* Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has gotten a boost in New Hampshire: Paul Young, a well-known Republican strategist, is volunteering for him. "I hope he does run for President," Young said. "I'm supporting Haley because of the job he has done as governor and his commitment to the conservative agenda."

* Former Missouri GOP Chair and former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg Ann Wagner says she's still thinking about running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), and she'll announce her plans in the coming weeks. Wagner lost a bid to be chairman of the Republican National Committee in January. Wagner had previously said she would not run against former senator Jim Talent (R) - he's decided not to challenge the vulnerable Democrat who defeated him in 2006.


This man is obviously sending a coded message to someone:

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By Chris Cillizza  | March 11, 2011; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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