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Afternoon Fix: Rangel convicted of breaking 11 rules; RNC political director weighs run against Steele; Bush says Cheney was the 'right pick'

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* An ethics panel has convicted Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) of breaking 11 congressional rules relating to his personal finances and fundraising practices. The full ethics committee will now determine Rangel's punishment, which could include a reprimand but is unlikely to include expulsion from the House.

* Republican National Committee political director Gentry Collins resigned Tuesday, but he isn't going quietly. He issued a four-page letter to RNC Chairman Michael Steele and the RNC's executive committee in which he goes in-depth about the committee's financial woes and its deep debt. And now, he may challenge Steele for the chairmanship.

* Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has overtaken Republican nominee Joe Miller in the Alaska Senate race, and her write-in campaign leads by 1,700 votes with 8,000 more write-in ballots that could be counted in her favor.

* Former President George W. Bush said at the groundbreaking ceremony for his presidential library that there is "no doubt" that Dick Cheney was the right choice for his vice president. Bush's new book includes the admission that he considered dropping Cheney from his 2004 reelection bid.

* For what it's worth, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its GOP counterpart in October, $17.4 million to $14.2 million.


* A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that 47 percent of Democrats want a new leader for their party in the House, while just 45 percent back outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Does this give Democrats pause in inserting her as minority leader?

* Meanwhile, only two of 18 House Democrats who have spoken out against Pelosi will commit to backing Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) for minority leader.

* Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC has launched a petition to gather support for Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) proposed ban on earmarks. Can Romney make this issue his own in advance of the 2012 GOP presidential primary?

* Each party has elected its Senate leaders for the coming Congress, and Republicans have given National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) another term. The fact that every other position is now filled puts even more onus on Democrats to fill the one vacancy: the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

* The vote-counting in Rep. Melissa Bean's (D-Ill.) reelection bid will conclude today, and a winner is slated to be declared. Bean currently trails by less than 350 votes against Republican Joe Walsh, and she has scheduled a press conference Wednesday morning in her district.


Gotta call the bank shot.

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With Aaron Blake and Felicia Sonmez.

By Chris Cillizza  | November 16, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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Next: A 2012 field without a frontrunner

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