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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Afternoon Fix: Boehner assembling 2012 force, Rubio skipping CPAC

By Chris Cillizza

Boehner is assembling a 2012 force, Claire McCaskill has another challenger, Marco Rubio is skipping out on CPAC and a Florida judge has ruled the health-care law unconstitutional.

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FIRST ON THE FIX

In the first major media salvo of its effort to reclaim the House in 2012, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching an advertising campaign against 19 targeted Republican incumbents.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

A Florida federal judge appointed by Ronald Reagan ruled that the Obama administration's health care overhaul is unconstitutional.

Obama is too "chicken" to deal with entitlement reform, former Gov. Minnesota Pawlenty (R) declared on Fox News this morning.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) got a new Republican challenger, former House candidate Ed Martin. (Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman is already in the race.) He announced his plans in a web video declaring "our government should be smaller" and asking for prayers and volunteers.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today announced that his political action committee and his reelection arm are merging to form a 'Team Boehner' that will help Republican House candidates around the country. The 2012 effort already has eleven staffers who will work under Tom Whatman, former executive director of the Ohio Republican Party.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) looks likely to run again, counter to rumors that the longtime senator might retire. He loaned his campaign $1 million in the last quarter of 2010.

Unsuccessful Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) gave a speech last week at a makeup convention on "how she overcame" hair and beauty challenges on the campaign trail.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T MISS

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) gives his first State of the State since retaking the post he last held in 1983. Brown will have to speak to a state in dire financial straits; maybe he could draw some inspiration from his own 1976 book, "Thoughts" -- "Life just is. You have to flow with it. Give yourself to the moment. Let it happen."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is skipping the Conservative Political Action Conference this year, saying his focus is on Florida. In 2010, when he was still trailing Gov. Charlie Crist in polls, Rubio's CPAC speech helped put him on the national stage. Awkwardly, he is still on the CPAC website's banner advertising the event.

Former Tennessee Democratic Rep. John Tanner, a founder of the conservative Blue Dog coalition, is going to the lobbying firm Prime Policy Group.

After retiring last year over "too much partisanship," former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) is joining a bipartisan lobbying firm: McGuireWoods.

The Fix Mix

The weirdest mugshots in sports: http://bit.ly/hUn2HF

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | January 31, 2011; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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Next: RNC is $23 million in debt

 
 
 
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