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Signs of compromise?

Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) spoke to Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s "The Daily Rundown" this morning. She uttered a word we haven't heard much from Republicans lately: compromise.

Emerson co-chairs the Tuesday Group, a group of about 45 center-right House Republicans who could emerge as an important bloc of votes in getting a debt-ceiling deal passed in the House.

When discussing public anger over the inability of Congress to get results, Emerson said, "Ultimately, because the government’s divided and we don't have a parliamentary system, we do have to compromise."

She followed up saying, "That's a bad word, I know!"

So perhaps there is a glimmer of hope that House Republicans are willing to move toward the middle to pass a bill.

That would be an encouraging sign for a bill passing, given that Emerson also said she does not expect Speaker Boehner to increase the cuts in his existing proposal, despite the Congressional Budget Office scoring Boehner’s latest bill as having less than his goal of $1 trillion.

In a departure from Republican talking points, Emerson also pointed out that the very state of play in the talks indicated a big win for Republicans.

"When people stop to think of how far we've moved the discussion from raising taxes to only lifting the debt limit to being able to cut spending at the same rate," she said. "They have to consider it as being quite successful."

But how pervasive is the attitude that the shift in the discussion itself is a win for Republicans? Perhaps more so for veterans like Emerson than for many of the House freshmen swept in by the Tea Party tidal wave last November.

"You know for a lot of our new members who haven't ever been in a legislative branch before, it's hard for people to sometimes understand that we're only one-half of one-third of the government," Emerson said. "So just because Republicans control the House doesn't mean anything in the big picture, I suppose other than being very successful in getting the Democratic Senate and the White House to start talking about spending reductions as opposed to just raising the debt ceiling."

As for the prospects of an actual compromise in the near future, she said she is “cautiously optimistic.”