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* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a motion to begin Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel's confirmation debate, setting up a vote by at least Friday morning that would require 60 votes to avert a potential GOP filibuster.

* A day after his State of the Union address, President Obama took his message to North Carolina, where he touted his plan to strengthen American manufacturing, saying, “we still have a lot of work to do.”

* Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said there is a better than 50 percent chance he will run for retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's seat. “Each day that has gone by, on balance, it’s more likely, rather than less likely," he said.

* In a fundraising letter to supporters, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) said he "was the first Member of Congress to call" Obama "a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth." Broun is the only declared GOP candidate so far in the race for retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss's seat.

* In the Senate's first hearing on immigration, partisan divides were on display, illustrating how challenging it will be to pass comprehensive reform.

* In a setback to underdog Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), the Bay State's largest teachers union announced it is backing Rep. Ed Markey (D) in the Senate special election campaign. Throughout his political career, Lynch has enjoyed strong support from labor.


* Allies of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will soon form a super PAC to boost his 2014 reelection bid, former South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson said.

* Senate Republicans introduced a measure Wednesday aimed at adopting a Balanced Budget Amendment. The legislation has little chance of success but  will allow the GOP a new way to attack Democratic spending.

* Former Massachusetts Republican senator Scott Brown has signed on to be a Fox News contributor. He'll make his debut on Wednesday night's "Hannity."

* The Service Employees International Union released a radio ad hitting former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson in Illinois' 2nd district special election. The ad says Halvorson "calls herself a Democrat but votes like a Republican over and over again." The group says the ad is airing on "urban radio stations."

* House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said he regrets saying that Obama was “lying” about high-speed rail in the State of the Union.

* Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is no stranger to drinking water during speeches.


Sneaky, sneaky ...

With Aaron Blake