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Posted at 5:10 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Afternoon Fix: Salmon bid less certain, Senate candidate in Texas

By Chris Cillizza

Vermont's governor says he's not so sure Tom Salmon will run against Bernie Sanders, there's a new Senate candidate in Texas, Allen West could be a vice-presidential contender, and Mitt Romney is defending his health-care legislation.

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* Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) tells The Fix he's less convinced that state auditor Tom Salmon (R) will challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) than he was few weeks ago. Shumlin pegged the likelihood of Salmon running at 50-50.


* Republican Tom Leppert has announced that he will run for Senate, making him one of many vying to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. He stepped down as mayor of Dallas earlier this week. "Making tough decisions in business and as Mayor was not easy, but I made the hard calls that are so lacking in Washington right now," he says on his new campaign website. "In the U.S. Senate I'll help create jobs, be a watchdog for taxpayers, fight wasteful spending, reduce the debt and stop the President's tax increases."

* Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.), currently under federal investigation, gave a very awkward interview to a local news station in which he argued that he was "probably the most transparent member of Congress as of right now."

* Supporters of Jon Huntsman are saying that their involvement in the new Horizon PAC is not designed to boost a future campaign by the China ambassador, after media reports questioning the legality of such a set-up. Consultant John Weaver described the interpretation that Horizon PAC is Huntsman's campaign team as a "coincidence and a misunderstanding."

* Georgia Rep. Paul Broun (R) is condemning an attendee at a Tuesday town hall who asked, "Who's going to shoot Obama?" Broun took heat from Democrats for not rebuking the man at the time; Broun says he didn't want to "dignify it with a response."


* Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is leaving the door open to a vice-presidential bid, as suggested by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. "I have to pray about it and I have to clear it with my wife and two daughters," said West.

* The National Governors Association is holding its winter meeting in Washington this weekend, at a moment when governors across the country have found themselves in the national spotlight as adversaries of President Obama and public employees.

* Mitt Romney (R) is directly defending the health-care legislation he signed, in response to attacks from possible rival Mike Huckabee. "Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered," a spokesperson told the Boston Globe.

* Former President George W. Bush has canceled plans to attend a summit in Denver this weekend after learning that Julian Assange was also invited. "The former president has no desire to share a forum with a man who has willfully and repeatedly done great harm to the interests of the United States," a spokesperson said. (Assange is in Britain, fighting extradition to Sweden).


The leaked emergency finale for "Two and a Half Men":

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | February 25, 2011; 5:10 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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