Two Republicans soften stances on repealing health law

Two Republicans running for the Senate are backing away from calls to repeal the healthcare law.

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is running for President Barack Obama's old Senate seat, was forced to reassert his desire for repeal after refusing to say whether he supported it.

Separately, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who is up for reelection this year, told a local radio host “it may not be repeal at the end of the day; it may be a series of fixes over the course of this bill getting enacted that enable us to possibly change and bend that cost curve down.”

To be sure, Burr still said he supports repeal. But he also noted that there are “many good things” in the bill.
 
Conservatives have made it clear they want a full repeal, so even Burr’s amended statement is unlikely to completely satisfy them.

Kirk, who is knkown as a centrist, knows what it’s like to face heat from his right. He quickly corrected himself when the Club for Growth spoke out about his initial statement.

Kirk's Democratic opponent is trying to make the healthcare law an issue in the campaign by highlighting Kirk's opposition to it.

Democrats have insisted since before that healthcare vote that the GOP’s strategy of calling for repeal is fraught with peril. And Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), predicted Friday that Republicans would soon back away from the idea.

Pawlenty endorses 2010 candidates
 
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) became the latest prospective 2012 presidential candidate to wade into the 2010 election Wednesday with a series of endorsements in seven key races.
 
They are:
 
-businessman Tim Burns, who is running for the late Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) seat in a special election next month
-Honolulu city councilman Charles Djou, who is running for former Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s (D-Hawaii) seat in another May special
-businessman Bob Dold, who is running for Rep. Mark Kirk’s (R-Ill.) seat
-attorney Sean Duffy, who is challenging Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.)
-former U.S. attorney Pat Meehan, who is running for Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) seat
-Senate candidate and former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
-Senate candidate and North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven
 
Pawlenty’s endorsements come on the heels of announcements by Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney that they will be backing a number of 2010 candidates.
 
Getting involved in the 2010 election is a must for candidates who are seriously thinking about running for president right now. Look to see plenty of Pawlenty, Romney and Palin on the campaign trail, in what will amount to a good preview of 2012.
 
Fundraising update
 
Less than nine hours after candidates and committees closed the books on the first quarter of 2010, some of them are already touting their numbers.
 
The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) announced late Thursday that it raised $8 million for the quarter – which is more than it raised in the first six months of the last midterm year – and has $22 million on hand.  But it's running behind the Republican Governors Association (RGA), which raised $9 million and had more than $31 million on hand.
 
In New Hampshire, businessman Bill Binnie announced raising $400,000 for the GOP Senate primary, including donations from several major New England sports team owners. It’s a decent haul for Binnie, who is expected to mostly self-fund his campaign.
 
Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) campaign, meanwhile, announced $2.2 million raised and $4.5 million cash on hand. And it pointed out that former Rep. J.D. Hayworth’s (R-Ariz.) campaign came up about $60,000 shy of it’s goal of raising $1 million in March, according to a running total kept on his website.
 
Other updates:
 
-New York Gov. David Paterson (D) now sounds as thought he might not call a special election for former Rep. Eric Massa’s (D-N.Y.) seat. Paterson has broad discretion in setting special elections, and he is now suggesting that it might cost too much.

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