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1. TRANSPORTATION

Throughout bitter reauthorization struggle, Mica seen as 'good soldier' for leadership

Former House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Jim Oberstar knows a thing or two about how difficult it can be to manage a massive transportation bill. So when he ran into the current T&I chairman -- and his former ranking member -- John Mica (R-Fla.) in a hallway in the Capitol a few weeks ago in the midst of a months-long fight over the reauthorization legislation, he knew just what to do. "I looked at him and said it looked like he needed a hug," said Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat who was voted out of office in 2010. In fact, Oberstar noted, the road for Mica has been even tougher than it was for many of his predecessors, between fiscal concerns with the gas tax, an irritable far right wing in the House and the perception that higher-ranking House leaders, rather than the chairman, are driving the bus.

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