Morning Must Reads: Start the Clock

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

–Democrats just released preliminary CBO numbers on the last health care tweaks: $940 billion price tag, deficit reduction by $130 billion in the first decade and $1.2 trillion in the second 10 years. That squares with their goals and — assuming the Rules markup goes smoothly, they have the votes and still want to wait 72 hours — it sets up a Sunday vote.

–It’s not like President Obama has a non-refundable ticket to the pacific, but every Democrat wants this to be over.

–Stupak says the final sprint has been “a living hell.”

Nate Silver is a bit puzzled by the sudden resurgence of liberal support for the health care bill and suggests Obama may have won them over by getting scrappy. I think it probably has more to do with reality setting in — it is this bill or no bill.

–Mark McKinnon thinks it’s not just House Dems that are at rock bottom, but the president too. With an approval rating that’s bottomed out near 50 and a GOP field lacking firepower, he argues Obama is looking like a juggernaut for 2012.

–A new Field Poll shows Senator Barbara Boxer statistically tied with two GOP challengers in potential match-ups. This is bound to unsettle Democrats; she won re-election by double digits in her last two outings. Obama is headed out there in April to raise some money for her.

–The political drama in New York never stops; a popular Long Island Dem running for governor switches parties.

–The DNC really liked that McConnell profile yesterday and is sending it around.

–The White House weighs drawing up its own blueprint for Mideast peace, something the administration has avoided so far.

–Secretary of State Clinton is in Moscow to work on a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, but Israel is definitely on the agenda.

–And Biden tells some jokes.

What did I miss?

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