ILLINOIS: "As Mark Kirk campaigns for the Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama, the Republican congressman casts himself as a scourge of the pork-barrel, special-interest congressional spending known as 'earmarks.' It wasn't always that way," the AP writes. "Just two years ago, the four-term congressman secured more than $30 million for 19 pet projects in and around his congressional district. They included an aquarium, a planetarium and a church outreach project. In some cases, people linked to the projects reciprocated with thousands of dollars in campaign donations for Kirk's re-election bids."
NEVADA: Taking a page from South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R), Republican Senate hopeful and former state senator Sue Lowden said of the abortion provisions going through the Senate: "And I think that it'll be Harry Reid's Waterloo, that, no matter what is in the final version of the bill, it came out of his office, behind closed doors with federal funding," Hotline On Call reports.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Rep. Paul Hodes (D) criticized Republican opponent Kelly Ayotte's switch in positions on small business association health plan pools, which she opposed in 2006, signing a letter to senators with 40 other state attorneys general, but now supports, which the Concord Monitor reported. In a conference call with reporters yesterday, Hodes said, "Frankly, she was right in 2006. Her health care plan is bad for NH consumers. She was right when she said it. Her spokesperson said things have changed -- but the only thing that's changed is that she's a candidate now."
OHIO: President Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe endorsed Lee Fisher (D) for Senate. Politico's Ben Smith writes, "[S]everal readers have noted that Plouffe's endorsement is hardly surprising -- Fisher's media consultant is AKPD Media, where Plouffe works as a senior adviser."
TEXAS: The AP covers an allegation that a husband of a Texas judge was asked to switch his support from Kay Bailey Hutchison to Rick Perry -- and also give money to Perry -- to help his wife get appointed by Perry to the Texas Supreme Court.
The Washington Post's Cillizza reports that DeMint, the "de facto leader -- within Congress -- of the tea party wing of the party" will endorse Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams for Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat, assuming she leaves it to run for governor in March.