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INSIDE POLITICS

The Washington Times' political blog.

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**FILE** Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks May 11, 2011, during an interview with The Associated Press in Des Moines, Iowa. (Associated Press)

In Iowa, it may be last straw for precaucus poll

In the days since Republicans lost an election many in the party thought was theirs, chatter has been bubbling about what the party should do to recover. For Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, it starts with the smallest of actions: abandoning the state's now-infamous straw poll.

**FILE** Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, speaks on CBS' "Face the Nation" in Washington on April 17, 2011. (Associated Press/CBS News)

Warner won't run for Virginia governor

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday he will remain in the Senate rather than run for Virginia governor in 2013, officially clearing the way for former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe to seize the party's nomination.

**FILE** Rep. Allen West, Florida Republican, is seen here during an Oct. 4, 2011, news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

Allen West concedes election to Patrick Murphy

Rep. Allen West on Tuesday conceded he has lost his bid for re-election to Congress, saying that while questions about the vote count remained, he was unlikely to close the gap between him and Patrick Murphy, his Democratic challenger.

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, tour the Wat Pho Royal Monastery with Chaokun Suthee Thammanuwat, dean of the Faculty of Buddhism and assistant to the Abbot of Wat Phra Chetuphon, in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama asks monk for prayer on fiscal cliff

At the start of a three-nation tour of southeast Asia, President Obama joked Sunday with a Buddhist monk in Thailand that he could use some prayer to help reach a budget deal with Republican lawmakers to avert a fiscal crisis back in the U.S.

** FILE ** Then-Sen. Joe Lieberman speaks as (not shown) Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano, FBI Associate Deputy Director Kevin Perkins and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew G. Olsen testify on homeland threats and agency responses before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Lieberman 'not waiting by the phone' for cabinet job

Retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of the chamber's most respected voices on national security, said on Sunday morning that he'd listen to offers from President Obama to take a cabinet post or other position within the administration, but stressed that he isn't holding his breath.

** FILE ** Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican.

Ayotte urges cooperation for fiscal cliff fix

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, urged Democrats and Republicans on Saturday to work together and find a way to avert the double whammy of tax increases and deep spending cuts set to take effect next year, one day after the White House and top Congressional leaders reported progress following a Friday meeting on the so-called "fiscal cliff."

President Barack Obama, flanked by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, as he hosted meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama presses Congress to act on Bush-era tax cuts

A day after a "productive meeting" with congressional leaders on potential ways to prevent automatic tax hikes and federal spending cuts from kicking in next year, President Obama urged Congress to swiftly pass legislation that prevents income taxes from going up on those earning $250,000 or less "so we can give families and businesses some good news going into the holiday season."