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** FILE ** House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, speaks about the 2014 Budget Resolution during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 12, 2013. (Associated Press)

Voters down on Paul Ryan, poll says

Democrats aren't the only ones with a low opinion of Rep. Paul Ryan — the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate and architect of the new House Republican budget plan — a new poll says

The Capitol dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. (Associated Press)

Rep. Adam Schiff hopeful of budget deal

A veteran House Democrat expressed tepid optimism Monday a "grand bargain" on a long-term federal budget can be hammered out, and he said President Obama's recent outreach to Republicans makes a deal more likely.

** FILE ** Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, delivers a State of the State address in Madison. (Associated Press)

CPAC 2013: Scott Walker echoes Reagan, makes an impression at CPAC

He was the surprise speaker of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference. Who knew Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker would turn out to electrify — from the beginning to the end of his no-notes, no-teleprompter speech — more than 3,500 conservative activists in the ballroom of the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor.

**FILE** Rep. Bette Grande testifies before the House Human Services Committee in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 31, 2013. (Associated Press)

N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill

The North Dakota legislature Friday approved two bills that would prevent abortions after a fetal heartbeat is heard — possibly as early as five weeks into a pregnancy — or in cases where the abortion is sought only because of an inherited fetal abnormality, such as Down syndrome.