Top of the ballot: Reid defends 'cornhusker kickback'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) launched his reelection campaign Monday in his hometown of Searchlight, Nev. The Republican National Committee remains in the news for the wrong reasons and former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) has hired a Democrat to help with his political comeback.

Reid defends Washington sausage making

In an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that aired Monday night, Reid defended the deal to provide additional Medicaid funds for Nebraska that became known as the "cornhusker kickback."

Reid: "Ben Nelson is an honorable, a really good senator that represents his state extremely well. And Ben Nelson and I worked on a number of issues. We worked on the Medicaid issue. He's a former governor of the state and understands it very well. I knew if I got this for Nebraska I would have it for everybody, and that's what happened. And I'm totally comfortable with that."

Meanwhile, Reid kicked off his formal reelection campaign with a three-day bus tour beginning in his hometown of Searchlight, Nev. And, with polls showing him in a tough race, he told a crowd in Las Vegas Monday, "I know what close elections are and this is going to be a close election."

When will it end?

The RNC rushed out statements of praise Monday night for new chief of staff Mike Leavitt, including one from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), with whom Leavitt worked in 2008. "I applaud Chairman Steele for his choice," McDonnell said.

It remains to be seen if Ken McKay's resignation was the last of the bloodletting from the reimbursement scandal. But to say the committee needs to move past this is an understatement.

Ehrlich goes bipartisan

The former Republican governor of Maryland has hired Baltimore TV reporter Andy Barth to be his campaign press secretary. Barth ran for a House seat in 2006 as a Democrat and is registered to vote as a Dem in Columbia, Md., according to the Baltimore Sun. Barth said he signed on because "the chance to be involved in government is exciting."

Bob Ehrlich is set to launch his bid for a rematch against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Wednesday. 

Other updates

Get ready to be bombarded with political advertising online. The Hill's Kim Hart writes, consultants are advising campaigns to spend at least 10 percent of their budgets on Internet advertising this cycle.

By comparison, President Obama spent 4 percent of his budget online during the 2008 campaign and in 2004, the average online political ad spending for campaigns was 0.8 percent.