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GOP watch: Man of Steele?

As we've noted on First Read, "Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele seemed likely to hold onto his job Tuesday after weathering a weekend of criticism from fellow Republicans," The Hill notes. That's mostly because of committee rules that make it difficult to oust a sitting chairman, there is just four months to go until the next party chairman election and "even Republicans critical of Steele have acknowledged it would be difficult to dump the party’s chairman four months ahead of a midterm election in which the GOP hopes to win back the House. Replacing Steele could throw the party’s infrastructure and fundraising establishment into disarray."

Outgoing Minnesota Gov. -- and potential 2012 presidential candidate -- Tim Pawlenty will travel to Iowa on July 31, Aug. 1, and Aug. 2 to campaign for GOP state legislative candidates. "Gov. Pawlenty is working hard to help conservatives around the country win this fall,” Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant tells First Read. “We have great opportunities in Iowa, and Gov. Pawlenty is trying to build on that excitement through his new Iowa PAC and this upcoming trip to eastern Iowa."

"The upcoming vote on the Supreme Court nomination of former Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan will present Republican Scott Brown with the most defining ideological test yet of his young Senate career, forcing him into a stark choice that is bound to anger some of his supporters no matter how he decides," the Boston Globe writes, adding: "If he supports her, Brown risks angering conservative activists across the country, an important source of campaign contributions. If he opposes such a highly accomplished woman with strong Massachusetts ties, the state’s independents, particularly women, may question his assertion that being a 'Scott Brown Republican' does not automatically mean toeing the GOP line."

And Levi Johnston is sorry... He tells People magazine: "After Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize. So to the Palin family in general and to Sarah Palin in particular, please accept my regrets and forgive my youthful indiscretion. I hope one day to restore your trust."