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Posted at 6:42 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Afternoon Fix: RNC staffs up, Mitch Daniels defends himself

By Chris Cillizza

Mitch Daniels is defending himself again, Reince Priebus is staffing up, Santorum is in Iowa for the tenth time, and almost half of Americans are wrong or unsure about what's happened to the health-care bill.

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Sean Spicer chosen as RNC communications director
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*, a website run by the Center for Responsive Politics, has announced their winners for the 2011 Money-in-Politics Oscars - that is, which Oscar nominees donated to which politicians. Spoiler: They're all Democrats, except for "The Social Network" producers Michael De Luca and Michael Medavoy.

* Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) is still defending himself to conservatives, after arguing that the time wasn't right for "right-to-work" legislation in his state. "Please notice that the things Scott Walker - to his credit - is trying to do in Wisconsin - I did those six years ago," he told Fox News' Neil Cavuto. His state is trying limit unionization in the private sector, while Wisconsin is working on the public sector.

* The AFL-CIO is going after Wisconsin's Scott Walker with a television ad tying the Republican governor to billionaire libertarian David Koch. The ad uses a snippet of the prank phone call to Walker from a blogger pretending to be Koch.

* Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus made two big hires today: Rick Wiley as political director and Sean Spicer as communications director. Wiley, like Priebus, comes from the Wisconsin Republican Party. He was also Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign manager in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. Spicer spent three years as the spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office under Bush and prior to that was the communications director for the House Republican Conference.


* A source close to Abel Maldonado (R) said the former lieutenant governor would indeed challenge Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) next year. Her current district, which went 66 percent for President Obama, runs along the Pacific Coast and is so thin that it is likely to undergo significant changes under the new citizens' redistricting commission. "He's pretty confident that redistricting will change that district enough that it will be better than it is now," the source said.

* Rick Santorum is made his tenth trip to Iowa for a taping of "Iowa Press" on Iowa Public Television. He criticized Obama for directing the Justice Department to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying the president broke a campaign promise to defend marriage as between a man and a woman. (While he said he personally believed in traditional marriage, Obama did promise to support the repeal of DOMA on the campaign trail.)

* Twenty-two percent of Americans think the health-care law has already been repealed, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Another twenty-six aren't sure.

* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the famous "maverick" independent, has moved so far to the right that he now ranks as the most conservative member of the Senate, according to the National Journal. McCain used to sit right in the middle of the rankings; his conservative lurch came the same year as a tough primary challenge from Rep. J.D. Hayworth.


Finally, a good use for unbearable wind:

Sidewalk Wind Surfing In Chicago - Watch more Funny Videos

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | February 24, 2011; 6:42 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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