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The Week Ahead: Digging Out, Digging In

We survived the Snowmageddon in Washington this weekend, but don't look now -- there's more coming this week. Meanwhile, what a weekend in New Orleans: a landslide mayoral win for Mitch Landrieu preceded a big win for the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV -- and Mardi Gras is just a week away. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

** White House: President Obama managed to sneak in some news during his pregame interview with Katie Couric last night. He's invited leadership from both parties for a health care summit at Blair House next week, all of which will be televised. The practical effect is a delaying tactic on health care legislation.

The leadership was already scheduled to come to the White House this week for a session that is due to focus on other legislative priorities, a jobs bill in particular. Also on tap this week: the president hosts another White House concert, this one in honor of Black History Month. Also on Wednesday, Vice President Biden will give a broad speech on nuclear threats facing the nation.

** Capitol Hill:: Congress will likely be slowed this week by the District's massive snowstorm, with more snow expected Tuesday. The House wasn't expected back until Tuesday anyway, while the Senate delayed votes until tomorrow that had been scheduled for today. With jobs the No. 1 priority for Democrats this year, the Senate -- now with 59 Democratic votes -- is having trouble coming to a concensus on a jobs bill that was supposed to be voted on this week. Meanwhile, the House may vote this week on a piece of their comprehensive health care reform bill -- ending the antitrust exemption for insurance companies, titled, "Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act."

** Politics: Is New York Gov. David Paterson (D) resigning? During last night's Super Bowl, a report indicated that he would, with a coming bombshell in the New York Times being the trigger. Paterson's office quickly denied it. If Paterson did resign, it would elevate a man most New Yorkers would be hard-pressed to identify -- Richard Ravitch -- to the state's top job. Ravitch was only appointed lieutenant governor after a court fight this year over whether that position could be filled by the governor. If Paterson resigned, or at least announced that he won't run for election, it could speed up Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's entrance into the race. It's quite a saga in the Empire State that began with Eliot Spitzer's surprising resignation in 2008.

Speaking of scandals, Illinois lieutenant governor nominee Scott Lee Cohen officially announced Sunday night that he would withdraw his candidacy -- a move that spares state Democrats of a potentially disastrous situation this November. Though Cohen won the nomination last week on his own, state law calls for him to run jointly on a ticket with Gov. Pat Quinn this fall. Now, the state Democratic committee gets the luxury of picking a new candidate for that slot -- which could provide an opportunity to find someone more electorally potent for the entire slate.

The Texas governor's race continues to heat up. Sarah Palin, fresh off her Tea Party Convention keynote address and Fox News Sunday appearance, joined Gov. Rick Perry yesterday for a rally. Meanwhile, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison paid for some Super Bowl ad space to air this attack on the incumbent.

** Poll Watch:
Obama Job Performance: Approve 48.4 / Disapprove 46.9 (+1.5)
Congress Job Performance: Approve 22.4 / Disapprove 70.2 (-47.8)
Generic Ballot Test: Republicans +2.8

** In Case You Missed It: It was a somewhat lackluster "SNL" this weekend, but this gem late in the show saved it. Andy Samberg's imitation of Rahm Emanuel wasn't great, but he nailed the White House chief of staff's attitude.

A bonus note: this fascinating behind-the-scenes look at one of the few good Super Bowl ads, the Oprah-Dave-Jay spot for "Late Show."

--Kyle Trygstad and Mike Memoli