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Off to the races: Newt: GOP has 'zero answer' on health care

“Republican leaders gathered Wednesday in Boston, as the party continues its post-election soul-searching and works to develop a strategy to increase its House majority, retake the Senate, and, finally, win back the White House,” the Boston Globe writes, adding, “The three-day agenda is heavy on data and technology training, as the GOP looks to close a deficit in that area that has opened up during the Obama years. Party heavyweights urged committee members to explore innovative ideas, and emphasize forward-looking solutions. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who tested former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination last year, told a luncheon at the Westin Waterfront, ‘I think part of what we have to do, in the era of Obama’s disaster, we have to get beyond being anti-Obama and we have to re-convince people that you can have hope in America.’”

NBC’s Frank Thorp from Boston writes: “Newt Gingrich has a message for Republicans: Stop being so negative, and start talking about ideas – including alternatives to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. When Republicans ask elected members of their own party over the August recess ‘What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?’ Gingrich posited, ‘they will have zero answer.’”

Maggie Haberman: “Hillary Clinton is fielding offers from colleges and universities — including Harvard and her law school alma mater, Yale — to give her a formal academic role, a move that would give her a platform outside her family’s foundation. The approaches have ranged from offers to join faculty to starting a program in Clinton’s name to rebranding the Baruch College public policy school after the former secretary of state, three sources [said].”

If not Hillary, then who? Politico looks at "the lesser-known Democrats of 2016."

KENTUCKY: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is up with a TV ad in Kentucky hitting Sen. Mitch McConnell over Social Security. 

Washington Post: Republican Sen. Rand Paul "said Wednesday that there is no 'objective evidence' that African-American voters are being disenfranchised in modern elections." 

And the Louisville Courier Journal says "Paul argued Wednesday that he does not support a shutdown of the federal government in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act — known as Obamacare —but still wants Republicans to fight for changes in the reform."

IDAHO:"Congressman Raul Labrador, often mentioned as a possible candidate for Idaho governor, said he intends to seek re-election to his 1st District Congress seat," the Idaho Statesman reports. But even then, the second-term congressman didn't endorse GOP Gov. Butch Otter's re-election. Labrador: “Butch Otter could do a better job...Hopefully with the leadership of the Legislature they can do a better job.”

MICHIGAN:Tim Alberta: “The brain trust of the Michigan Republican Party, energized earlier this year by the surprise retirement of Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, quickly set out to accomplish twin objectives: Recruit an electable, well-financed Republican candidate, and do it quickly so that Rep. Gary Peters, the de facto Democratic nominee, was not afforded a free pass to campaign uncontested. With Labor Day around the corner, Republicans in Lansing are failing on both fronts.”

NEW JERSEY: Chris Christie has to decide if he’s going to sign a medical marijuana bill, and he was confronted yesterday by a father who wants it passed.

TENNESSEE:Wall Street Journal: "A group of tea-party and conservative organizations urged Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) to retire rather than seek a third term next year, signaling that tea-party activists have zeroed in on a new target as they try to pressure incumbent Republicans from the right. In an open letter published Wednesday, 20 groups based in the state attacked Mr. Alexandersaying the country 'can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous.'"