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Sunday, January 16, 2011; 11:38 PM

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"Is that guy from Texas?"

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Tex.), commenting to National Journal on the influence of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in the open Senate race in Cornyn's home state. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) announced this week that she will not seek reelection, and DeMint has often been a thorn in Cornyn's side, endorsing tea party candidates and speaking out against more establishment candidates.

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BY THE NUMBERS

19 As of late last week, the number of senators who had signed on to a plan for members of both parties to sit side by side during the State of the Union address later this month. The idea was proposed by the centrist Democratic group Third Way and is being promoted by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.). House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) came out in favor of the plan Friday, becoming the highest-ranking Republican so far to do so.

7 The number of hours the House has set aside this week for debate on a bill that would repeal the national health-care overhaul. The measure is expected to pass the Republican-led House on Wednesday, but it faces long odds in the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority. A vote on the bill last week was postponed after the tragedy in Tucson.

33The number of minutes President Obama spoke during an address in Tucson last week memorializing the victims of the shooting rampage that critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). The address was one of the longest by any president addressing a national tragedy in recent memory.

BEST THING THATHAPPENED TO REPUBLICANS

They put the Michael Steele era behind them. With the selection Friday of Reince Priebus as the new Republican National Committee chairman, the Republican Party effectively closed the door on a weird time at the RNC - one that featured nearly unprecedented electoral success but plenty of reservations about how much more the committee could have done. Priebus comes into the job with a strong mandate, beating his nearest competitor by more than 2 to 1 on the final ballot at the RNC winter meeting. But he also comes in with $20 million in committee debt hanging over his head.

BEST THING THATHAPPENED TO DEMOCRATS

President Obama got his groove back - at least for now. Obama's reaction to the deadly shootings in Tucson that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) earned widespread praise, and the president did what he needed to do in the aftermath of the rampage. But he may have been rebounding even before then. Several polls showed the president's approval rating sneaking back up to 50 percent, and a new poll from Marist College showed Obama leading both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee by double digits.

- Aaron Blake and Felicia Sonmez


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