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Posted at 4:40 PM ET, 01/17/2011

Afternoon Fix: Seven Republican senators visit Afghanistan and Pakistan; Sarah Palin on "Hannity" tonight

By Chris Cillizza

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and six other Senate Republicans travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan; a new CNN poll shows Americans' opinions on gun control remain relatively unchanged since the Tucson shooting tragedy; and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) sits down with Fox News Channel's "Hannity" tonight.

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Chris Christie denies any presidential interest (again)


* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan over the weekend along with a group of freshman Republican senators including Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.). The senators met with Gen. David Petraeus, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani.

* A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that 69 percent of Americans' opinions on gun control have not changed as a result of the Arizona shootings, while 28 percent said they're now more likely to back stricter gun control measures and three percent are less likely.

* A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) leading in match-ups against six potential Republican challengers, including his 2006 rival, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R). Menendez leads Kean 44 percent to 34 percent.

* Former President George H.W. Bush is slated to endorse former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams (R) today in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas).


* Despite repeatedly stating he's not running for national office, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has been polling outside of Texas, according to Austin political operatives, a sign that he may be keeping the door open to a 2012 bid.

* Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) says he won't make a decision on whether to run for president until April.

* Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) is on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" at 9 p.m. Eastern tonight, her first lengthy interview since the Tucson shooting tragedy.

* Quinnipiac University releases a poll at 9 a.m. tomorrow on how Americans view the country's economic recovery and President Obama's handling of the economy, health care and other issues.

* Former President Bill Clinton headlines a rally in Chicago at 12 p.m. Eastern tomorrow to stump for former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's mayoral bid.


Embracing civility.

With Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | January 17, 2011; 4:40 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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