In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Obama Proposes New Savings On Health Care, To Pay For Reform In his weekly Presidential YouTube Address, President Obama argued that health care reform must be done quickly. And to help in this effort, he announced that he will save $313 billion in various areas, to go for paying the short-term costs of reform:



"These savings will come from commonsense changes," said Obama. "For example - if more Americans are insured, we can cut payments that help hospitals treat patients without health insurance. If the drug makers pay their fair share, we can cut government spending on prescription drugs. And if doctors have incentives to provide the best care instead of more care, we can help Americans avoid the unnecessary hospital stays, treatments, and tests that drive up costs."

Pence: Dem Energy Plan A "Declaration Of War" On Families In this weekend's Republican address, Rep Mike Pence (R-IN) lambasted the Democratic proposals for a cap-and-trade program:



"This national energy tax amounts to an economic declaration of war on America's families, small businesses and family farms. The American people know we can do better," Pence said.

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Former President George H.W. Bush weighed in earlier today on the attacks against Sonia Sotomayor -- and he's against it.

"I don't know her that well but I think she's had a distinguished record on the bench and she should be entitled to fair hearings," said Bush. He cited the example of Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who said that while he might vote for or against her, he is backing away from the more vitriolic attacks.

"And she was called by somebody a racist once. That's not right. I mean that's not fair," said Bush. "It doesn't help the process. You're out there name-calling. So let them decide who they want to vote for and get on with it."

A new Rasmussen poll finds that Sen. Roland Burris' (D-IL) political standing in Illinois is bad -- extremely, really, very bad -- with a majority of voters believing he engaged in pay-to-play politics to win his appointment.

Among likely Illinois voters, only 13% say he should run for a full term in 2010, to 74% who say he should not. If he does run, only 6% say they'll definitely vote for him, to 61% who say they'll definitely vote against him.

This question is particularly bad for Burris: "To win his appointment to the United States Senate, how likely is it that Roland Burris was involved in unethical pay to play politics?" The numbers are 50% very likely, 27% somewhat likely, 9% not very likely, and 2% not at all likely.

The Republican Senate primary in Florida, between the front-running moderate Gov. Charlie Crist and the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio is now heating up -- with a serious accusation being made of political retribution.

State Sen. Steve Oelrich is now claiming that because he endorsed Rubio, and also didn't support Crist on another initiative, Crist got back at him by vetoing a bill that Oelrich had fought for. "I'm certain the Governor's Office would deny all that, but politics being what they are, it's discouraging sometimes," he told the Gainesville Sun.

Rubio stepped in to endorse the allegation, posting this on Twitter: "Happy for State Sen. Steve Oelrich's endorsement. But sorry that it got his bill vetoed."

Crist's press secretary strongly denied the allegations to the Sun. "There's no political retribution," Ivey said. "The bill was vetoed for the reasons stated in the (veto) letter."

Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA).

• CBS, Face The Nation: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE); Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME); Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).

• Fox News Sunday: Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT); Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Vice President Joe Biden; Republican strategist Mike Murphy; MSNBC host and former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL).

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the former House Republican Whip who is now running for his state's open GOP-held Senate seat in 2010, just got a bit of a break. Thomas Schweich, a Washington University law professor and former ambassador who had been looking at getting into the race, has announced that he is not running after all, and has endorsed Blunt in the name of party unity.

Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who lost the 2008 Republican primary for governor, is also eyeing the race. Polls have shown that both Blunt and Steelman trail the presumptive Democratic nominee, Sec. of State Robin Carnahan.

Even though Schweich hadn't gotten into the race, these two had in fact already been attacking each other. But now with Schweich's support, Blunt is one step closer to a free race in the primary.

A new Ipsos/McClatchy poll suggests that Republicans could be in political trouble if they oppose the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor -- especially with Hispanic voters.

The poll finds that attacks against Sotomayor haven't caught on with the general population -- though neither has the positive case for her. She has a favorable rating of 29% compared to an unfavorable rating of only 14%, with 55% undecided. But among Hispanics, that numbers stands at 51%-4%-44%. And respondents said by a 54%-21% margin that the Senate should confirm her, with a 74%-9% among Hispanics.

Then came this question: "If Senate Republicans overwhelmingly oppose the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court, what effect, if any, will this have on your favorability toward the Republican party?" Among the general public it was 24% more favorable to 37% less favorable -- and among Hispanics, it's 20%-42%.

FreedomWorks, the conservative organization that had a big hand in the Tea Party rallies this past April, is gearing up for a new "Taxpayer March On Washington" for September 12 -- with a very interesting logo.



The intriguing thing here, as Ron Gunzburger pointed out, is that the logo makes use of left-handed fists, colored in red -- a traditional symbol all around the world for communism and militant socialism.

In an interview with TPM, FreedomWorks press secretary Adam Brandon said the group is aware of this symbol's traditional meaning. "Well, when you start working here at FreedomWorks, the first book you read is Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals. We're avid students of the political left," he said. "I've spent years living in Eastern Europe. I'm aware of of it, but I guess the symbolism we're going for is angry taxpayers as a group. So I guess the symbolism is kind of fun."

If anything, the Tea Parties and similar events are efforts to tap into the energy of the left. "I've gone to a number of left rallies, and they tend to be fun," said Brandon. "People go out protesting, and spend some time with some like-minded folks, and we're looking to do that on our side."

Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) took to the House floor this morning to denounce the tobacco regulation bill as a big step on the road to Tobacco Socialism. His argument: That the bill narrow-mindedly attempts to stop tobacco use entirely, as opposed to harnessing the powers of market innovation to develop and encourage people to use safer, less harmful tobacco products.



Buyer said that cessation programs have a success rate of only 7% -- meaning that we are accepting failure by going down this road. Instead, he said, we should be using market innovation to migrate populations over to safer and more mild tobacco products, which in turn could help people quit.

Buyer noted that people make "harm-reduction choices" every day, in terms of what they eat or drink, what car to drive, etc. "But how come we don't apply harm-reduction strategies to tobacco?" He asked. "We should. In the marketplace right now, there are many types of products."

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Obama And Congressional Negotiators Reach Compromise On Abuse Photos House and Senate negotiators have approved a $106 billion compromise bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after President Obama personally intervened on the controversy over an amendment to forbid the release of detainee abuse photos. The amendment was removed in the hope of assuaging liberal Democrats -- but Obama promised to use all means at his disposal to prevent their release.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet at 2:30 p.m. ET with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and at 2:50 p.m. ET with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). At 3:30 p.m. ET, he will meet with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Moran Tsvangirai, who will press Obama for international aid and try to assuage the doubts about his country's political situation, given the uneasy power-sharing government he has with his rival, President Robert Mugabe.

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