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More 2012: NRSC takes a shot at Kaine

MASSACHUSETTS: Gov. Deval Patrick, “breaching all manner of political protocol,” rattled off the names of the four potential Senate candidates who’ve already chatted with him: “City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, who made a failed attempt for the Democratic nomination in last year's Senate special election; Newton Mayor Setti Warren, little more than a year in office; veteran Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll; and Democratic activist Robert Massie, a 1994 candidate for lieutenant governor. Patrick also said Robert Pozen, a former executive at Fidelity Investments and MFS Investment Management, had reached out to him but they had failed to connect.”

MINNESOTA: If the Minnesota Democratic and Republican parties don’t jointly agree today to move the state’s caucuses back, the caucus will be held Feb.  7 – one day after Iowa, Politico reports. “The date can only be changed with the consent of both political parties. The parties must, according to the statute, agree to change the date "no later than March 1 of each odd-numbered year" -- that is, tomorrow. But the Minnesota Republican Party has refused to budge, arguing that its caucus is merely a non-binding affair held on the same date as a non-binding presidential straw poll.”

NEBRASKA: “Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Legislative Branch subcommittee, announced Monday that he would seek the 5 percent cut for the remainder of the year,” The Hill reports, adding, “Because Washington surely needs more fiscal accountability these days, we should adapt Harry Truman’s well-known phrase and say, ‘The Buck Shrinks Here,’ ” he said. Nelson is up for reelection in 2012.

VIRGINIA: With Tim Kaine set to decide soon whether or not he'll run for Jim Webb's Senate seat, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has a new Web ad hitting Kaine.

A Democratic Party official emails First Read, "That's an awful lot of trouble for someone not even in the race. I know they're going to have a bloody primary with deeply flawed candidates, but you'd think they'd be better at hiding how worried they are."