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Posted at 5:42 PM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Afternoon Fix: Obama taps Gene Sperling to lead National Economic Council; Kent Conrad airs first radio ad

By Chris Cillizza

President Obama taps Gene Sperling to head up the National Economic Council; Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to air his first radio ad; and polling shows Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) could have a tough race ahead.

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* President Obama has named Gene Sperling director of the National Economic Council. At a Friday press conference, Obama called Sperling "a public servant who has devoted his life to making this economy work and making it work specifically for middle-class families."

* North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad is going up with the first 60-second radio ad of his 2012 re-election bid. The ad comes as third-party groups have already begun airing ads against Conrad, starting today.

* A new Detroit News poll shows Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) potentially facing a tough re-election bid in 2012. Just 37 percent of those surveyed approved of the job Stabenow is doing while 39 percent disapproved and 23 percent were undecided.

* On a largely party-line vote, the House cleared the way for debate on legislation that would repeal the national health-care overhaul. Democratic Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Mike Ross (Ark.) joined Republicans in voting to advance on the measure.


* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stops by "Meet the Press" this Sunday, his first appearance on the show in two years.

* Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R), who lost to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in last year's GOP Senate primary, is resigning later this month to become director of Harvard's Institute of Politics.

* White House health policy adviser Zeke Emanuel departed the administration earlier this week to return to his job at the National Institutes of Health.

* West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin's announcement today that he's co-sponsoring a bill to repeal a provision of the national health care law is the latest in Manchin's efforts to distance himself from national Democrats. How will members of his party respond?


In it to win it, or something.

Japanese Marathon Fail - Watch more Funny Videos

With Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | January 7, 2011; 5:42 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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