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Posted at 5:05 PM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Afternoon Fix: Senate committees go in the red; Obama says Afghanistan surge has worked; Hatch shores up for 2012; Jim Johnson joins RNC

By Chris Cillizza

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Campaign committees amass mountains of debt


* The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee enter the 2012 cycle in similar financial position, with both between $5 and $6 million in the red. The DSCC has $713,000 cash and hand and $6.7 million in debt, while the NRSC has $519,000 in the bank and $6 million in debt.

* In a surprise visit to Afghanistan, President Obama asserted that his administration's troop increase has weakened the Taliban.

* Utah Republican Party Chairman Dave Hansen is leaving his current post and is expected to head up Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) reelection campaign - a sign of how serious Hatch is taking his 2012 primary campaign. GOP activists unseated Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) at the state party convention this year.

* Jim Johnson, an adviser to Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), is joining the Republican National Committee as a senior adviser.

* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her current job will be her "last public position" - i.e. no 2016 presidential run.

* Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) leads Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) by eight points in a prospective 2012 matchup, according to Democratic-leaning automated pollster Public Policy Polling.


* Potential Florida Senate candidate and state Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R), who is ramping up for a 2012 run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), has admitted to filing incomplete personal disclosure forms. Perhaps more interestingly, an aide to a potential primary opponent, appointed Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.), retweeted the news in the sign of a potentially bruising primary ahead.

* Outgoing New York Gov. David Paterson (D) said he's not interested in running for Rep. Charles Rangel's (D-N.Y.) seat if the recently censured congressman were to resign.

* The end may be nearing in the Minnesota governor's race, where state Rep. Tom Emmer (R) promised today that his recount team will withdraw some of the ballots it has challenged. Emmer, who trails by about 9,000 votes, faces long odds and has been challenging many more ballots than former Sen. Mark Dayton (D). He also said he has no plans for a court challenge.

* Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) calls his state's former governor, Mitt Romney, "ill-informed" and suggests he's not providing "adult leadership and bipartisan statesmanship" on the START Treaty issue.

* The Senate votes Saturday (weekend vote!) on the House-passed extension of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class but not income above $250,000. Do any Republicans or Democrats cross over?


Let it be ... washed up.

With Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | December 3, 2010; 5:05 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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Next: Potential presidential candidates ramp up their PACs

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