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Fight Night. The Republicans running for president meet in a debate in Iowa tonight. The stakes are high for Iowa frontrunner Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty, who needs a good showing tonight and in Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll. Mitt Romney’s back in the mix in Iowa, too, no doubt nervous about Rick Perry’s imminent entrance to the race. Politico previews the debate tonight.

Another Republican who’s bound to make headlines this weekend is Sarah Palin. She’s fueling up the bus once again, and will be at the Iowa State Fair tomorrow. Doesn’t it seem like whenever other candidates are making news, Palin pops up? Why doesn’t she just say once and for all whether she’s running or not? Oh, yeah. No one would pay any attention if she announces she’s not running.

One non-candidate with the sense to say so is Mike Bloomberg. He’s ruled out a third-party run in 2012.

In Washington, we have nine of the 12 members of the congressional super-committee tasked with looking for further reductions in the deficit. From the looks of the roster, we’ll be hard-pressed to find a lot of common ground. But Politico’s Jonathan Allen sees it differently. 

In Wisconsin, Democrats vow to push forward with efforts to recall Republican governor Scott Walker. That news comes just a day after the Democrats failed to take control of the state senate.

And finally, get a load at what’s happening to the Republican candidate for governor in Missouri. Pantsless parties, Penthouse pets – this story has a bit of everything, much to the dismay of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who’s looking to unseat Jay Nixon.

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Hardball - Let Me Start

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