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2010: Venerable and vulnerable Dodd

Stu Rothenberg writes, "During 2007 and 2008, Capitol Hill Democrats were careful not to emulate the approach of GOP Congressional leaders in 1995 and 1996. But since President Barack Obama's election, those same Democrats seem to have forgotten what happened when Republicans pushed too far, too fast for change. Increasingly, party leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue seem more interested in pushing an ideological agenda to transform the nation and the federal government rather than in dealing with the nation's problems."

ARKANSAS: An eighth (!!!) Republican challenger for Sen. Blanche Lincoln's (D) seat has entered the race: Stanley Reed, former Arkansas Farm Bureau president and former chairman of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. 
 
CONNECTICUT: The Cook Political Report moves Sen. Chris Dodd's seat from "Toss Up" to "Lean Republican," a "rare exception" to its general policy not to rate unindicted incumbents less than "Toss Up" as some manage to make a comeback "despite appearing hopeless early in the cycle… Dodd is enormously well liked by his Democratic colleagues, which is the primary reason he hasn't gotten the 'David Paterson treatment' already. But Democrats can scarcely afford to lose the seat, and as much as his colleagues are loath to humiliate him, business is business." Vice President Joe Biden is appearing with Dodd at a Recovery Act event and he helps his former Senate colleague raise money for his campaign.

NPR chronicles the decline of Dodd, whose "slide began in 2007, when he moved with his family to Iowa and embarked on a failed $10 million run for president. The quixotic adventure could have been written off as an ego trip, critics say, if not for the fact that at the time Dodd chaired the Senate Banking Committee, and deepening problems with the nation's banking system had begun to emerge."

FLORIDA: Florida officials and environmental activists tell the Miami Herald that Senate candidate and conservative Republican Marco Rubio was for cap-and-trade legislation before he was against it. "As the leader of the Florida House in 2008, Rubio presided over a unanimous vote in favor of directing the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop ground rules for companies to limit their carbon emissions. Now he's questioning whether global warming is man-made." Rubio holds that he had to pass some form of a cap-and-trade bill because Crist issued an executive order.

ILLINOIS: Appearing before the Chicago Tribune editorial board, candidates for Barack Obama's old Senate seat condemned Roland Burris, who was appointed to the seat by ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. "Former Inspector General David Hoffman was the only candidate to say the reprimand Burris received from the Senate Ethics Committee was insufficient," while State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias said Burris should have declined the appointment. Hoffman "tried to play off" corruption fears by citing Giannoulias' family bank's ties to Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a convicted fundraiser, and other Democratic opponent Cheryle Jackson's connections to Blagojevich, for whom she was a spokeswoman.

Rep. Mark Kirk's challenger for the GOP Senate nomination, Patrick Hughes, told Chicago's Daily Herald that he had "no interest in this race … then [opponent] Mark Kirk voted for cap-and-trade."

MASSACHUSETTS: Senate candidates Scott Brown (R) and Martha Coakley (D) can agree on at least one thing: their disdain for Wall Street firms using bailout money for executive compensation, the Boston Herald reports. Brown called the payments "obscene," while a Coakley spokesman said, "Martha Coakley does not believe businesses or banks that received taxpayer-funded TARP money should be able to use those monies for employee bonuses."

NEVADA: "A New Orleans fundraiser for Sen. Harry Reid has been cancelled as the Senate is expected to remain in session over the weekend to deal with the healthcare bill, according to an official with his campaign," The Hill reports.