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* President Obama predicted during a session at the annual House Democratic policy retreat that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would one day be speaker again. “It won’t be smooth, it won’t be simple, there will be frustrations, there will be times when you guys will be mad at me, and I’ll occasionally read about it,” he said. But if they keep focused, Obama said, ”I would expect that Nancy Pelosi is going to be speaker again pretty soon.”

* At his confirmation hearing for the position of CIA director, John Brennan defended drone strikes against terrorist targets but insisted that it was better to detain terrorists than kill them.

* Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R) said his chamber will not pass a measure requiring that women undergo transvaginal ultrasounds before getting an abortion. Some read a bill introduced this week as including transvaginal ultrasounds, but Bolger has quickly shut the door on the possibility. This doesn't mean the measure is dead -- it could be amended to clarify that it does not mandate transvaginal ultrasounds.

* Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) will run for retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's seat. Braley is a strong fundraiser who many Democrats have seen as the natural  successor to Harkin.

* Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is using Republican skepticism about his potential odds as a Senate candidate to raise money. “Nobody can bully me out of running for Senate," he wrote in a fundraising e-mail, in reference to concerns the head of American Crossroads recently expressed about his potential candidacy. King has not yet said whether he will run for Harkin's seat, but he's clearly thinking about it.

* Illinois 2nd District special election candidate Robin Kelly (D) will air her first TV ad, a spot which focuses on her support for new gun-control measures. Her ad buy is for “at least” five figures on cable TV. The issue of guns has become a focal point in the race; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's super PAC has gone on the air against former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson (D), the recipient of an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.


* The newest issue of Time magazine contains a picture of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on the cover with the words: "The Republican Savior." But Rubio doesn't agree. "There is only one savior, and it is not me. #Jesus," tweeted the senator, who is Catholic.

* House Democrats unveiled a 15-point plan to address gun violence that largely mirrors the proposals unveiled by Obama and Vice President Biden last month.

* First lady Michelle Obama will attend the funeral of a Chicago teenager who was shot and killed last month. The girl, who went to school a mile from Obama's house in Chicago, had reportedly visited Washington for the second inaugural ceremonies.

* Massachusetts state Rep. Dan Winslow (R) has decided to run for the Senate in Massachusetts, he said Thursday. He’s the first Republican to officially throw his hat in the ring. Winslow’s decision is not a surprise. He announced earlier this week that he was forming an exploratory committee.

* Mo Cowan (D) was sworn in as senator from Massachusetts on Thursday. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) appointed Cowan to serve as an interim senator until the summer special election determines who will serve out the remainder of Secretary of State John Kerry's term in the Senate.


Painting, on deadline.

With Aaron Blake

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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Aaron Blake · February 7, 2013

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