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* Citing commitments to his business and family, Tagg Romney -- the eldest son of Mitt Romney -- said Monday that he won't run in the upcoming Massachusetts Senate special election. Tagg Romney is the latest prominent Republican to rule out a bid; his announcement comes on the heels of former senator Scott Brown, former state senator Richard Tisei, and former governor Bill Weld each passing on the race. Other potential GOP candidates to watch: former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey and businessman/former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez.

* President Obama took his first trip outside Washington to build support for his plan to curb gun violence on Monday, delivering remarks in Minneapolis in which he focused on the push for universal background checks for gun purchases, saying it is not a conservative or liberal idea but a “smart” idea. Obama also mentioned his support for proposed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

* Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D) suggested in an interview that he won't run for retiring Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss's seat. Reed promoted two others for the job:  Rep. John Barrow (D) and former Atlanta chief operating officer Peter Aman.

* Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) raised only about $11,000 during the fourth quarter of 2012, and reported $182,000 cash on hand. Yes, that's a tiny figure, but it's worth noting that Lautenberg is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. The Democrat recently turned 89, and has not yet said whether he is running for reelection in 2014.

* Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) raised only $13,000 during the fourth quarter of 2012, ending the year with $233,000 in the bank. Levin, like Lautenberg, is a senator observers have speculated may opt for retirement. Levin's spokeswoman cautioned  not to read too much into his fourth quarter number.


* Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) told students his "greatest fear" in the state as governor is "newspapers." He added later, to a reporter: "If they were fair and balanced, I would be a supporter."

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said over the weekend that there's a chance Republicans will filibuster defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel. "I think the opposition to him is intensifying. Whether that means he will end up having to achieve 60 votes or 51 is not clear yet," said McConnell, who didn't say how he planned to vote. A Hagel filibuster would be unprecedented. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), meanwhile, opposes using the filibuster to block Hagel's confirmation.

* Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) slammed McCain for making what he called a "racist" joke on Twitter about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space - wasn't he just there last week?" McCain tweeted on Monday, along with a link to a story about Iran saying it launched a live monkey into space. Amash tweeted: "Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes," in response to a tweet from McCain acknowledging blowback over his comment.

* The White House says it released a photo of Obama skeet shooting at Camp David because of “persistent questions" about the matter.


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