In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The Republican National Committee has launched a new radio campaign, targeting House Democrats and trying to mobilize opposition to the Dems' health care proposals:

Voice: "Most Americans agree. It's time to take action to reform our healthcare system. But the dangerous experiment President Obama and the Democrats in Congress want just can't be the right answer. The question is what [Congressman/Congresswoman NAME] will do."

Voice: "Look at their record. The stimulus package cost us hundreds of billions without creating new jobs. The national debt has more than doubled."

Voice: "If Barack Obama and the Democrats get their way, the Federal Government will make the decisions about your health care. And, their plan costs a trillion dollars we don't have. You have to pay a new tax to keep your private insurance. It's too much, too fast."

Voice: "Call [Congressman/Congresswoman NAME] at 202-225-3121, that's 202-225-3121 and tell him/her to say no to this dangerous experiment."

On Air Disclaimer: The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising. Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. www.GOP.com


The RNC press release says the ad will begin running today in 33 states, though it has not been specified exactly which states those are.

Just about an hour ago, negotiations between Blue Dogs on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and chairman Henry Waxman broke down, perhaps irreconcilably.

Earlier today, Waxman lashed out at the conservative Democrats for trying to "eviscerate" house health care legislation, and threatened to bypass their concerns completely in order to get a timely floor vote on a healthy bill. That seems to have sent tempers flaring.

"It pretty much fell apart this afternoon," said key Blue Dog Mike Ross (D-AR), who called Waxman's rhetoric "not helpful," according to Congressional Quarterly.

"It's my understanding that will be the last meeting we have," Ross said.

Now the ball is in Waxman's court. Will he try to mark the bill up anyhow? Or will he freeze them out completely. Democratic leaders will host a caucus meeting on Monday to address all members' concerns about the bill--a sign, perhaps, that they aren't going to wait for this intra-panel tiff to be resolved. If that's the case, all eyes will return again to the Blue Dogs to see whether they'll revolt against the bill. Showdown!

Not an unmitigated disaster--especially considering this has been coming down the pipe for some time. And, I should add, things could get much worse if the House also doesn't vote on a bill before adjourning.

But now that it's official, the concerns reformers have had all along about going into August recess without floor votes on legislation will leave the realm of supposition and begin to truly materialize. Assuming the Senate Finance Committee approves legislation before adjourning, Senate leaders will spend the summer months finalizing a piece of legislation that members won't see until they return. In the meantime, they'll have few answers for their constituents about the prospects for, and specifics of reform, who will regard the situation as a poor harbinger.

To those constituents, the very concept of "reform" will become hopelessly entangled with reports of procedural wrangling and ugly Washington politics--and polls will reflect that linkage. The popularity of reform as a general proposition will begin to sink.

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Marco Rubio, the insurgent conservative candidate in the Florida Republican Senate primary, seems to be having some trouble building up momentum -- and now comes a new wave of staff shake-ups.

Rubio's campaign manager is now leaving, and his chief fundraiser is also out of the picture. "At this point, Speaker Rubio believes it is necessary to click the reset button in certain areas of the campaign," the campaign said.

Polls have Rubio far behind moderate Gov. Charlie Crist, who has also built up an overwhelming fundraising advantage. Rubio has also had to shoot down reports that he might drop out of the race and run for something else.

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

• ABC, This Week: Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND); Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

• CBS, Face The Nation: White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod; Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA); Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN); Historian and author Douglas Brinkley.

• CNN, State Of The Union: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); and White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod.

• Fox News Sunday: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs; Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.

Hmmm... this is interesting! I've obtained a copy of White House talking points laying out just how members of the administration will publicly reckon with the delay in health care legislation.

"We are closer to real health insurance reform today than ever before," the memo reads.

Key committees in Congress have reached a striking degree of consensus about how to control costs, guarantee coverage, and provide more choices for every American....

President Obama remains committed to and confident about signing health insurance reform into law by the end of this year.


You can read the entire memo below the fold. It provides a small window into the President's playbook when he's confronted with disspiriting news and unfriendly headlines.

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We've made a bit of a habit here of lampooning House Republican efforts to defeat Democratic legislation by creating brightly colored, though ultimately meaningless charts. And, it seems, the joke's caught on. Here, for instance, is a slightly NSFW segment from last night's Daily Show.

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Political HumorJoke of the Day

House Energy and Commerce chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) says his panel's Blue Dogs must relent, or he and leaders will move health care legislation directly to the floor, bypassing the committee altogether.

This morning, he told reporters that Blue Dogs are trying to "eviscerate" the landmark legislation. "I won't allow them to hand over control of our committee to Republicans," Waxman said.

"I dont see what other alternative we have, because we're not going to let them empower Republicans on the committee."

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) is probably the last person you'd expect to see courting the affections of the Netroots. The freshly minted Democrat has long been one of the progressive movement's most reviled betes noir. But next month, he'll address a large crowd of activists and bloggers at the annual Netroots Nation...at a forum that will also feature his rival--and burgeoning Netroots star--Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA).

Each participant will be featured on stage separately and sit with the moderators for a question and answer session. The participants will be offered an opportunity to make brief opening remarks after which the moderators will engage them in questions of their sole choosing. The forum will solicit questions online in advance, from Pennsylvania voters and other interested citizens, and the moderators will exercise editorial judgment and discretion in selecting official topics and questions for the event. In addition, there may be some questions will be taken live from the audience at the forum, time permitting. Participants will then be given the opportunity to make closing remarks.


The two men have rallied voters at the same event before--but this is the first time the two will be courting a national progressive base. In June, the two addressed a crowd of union organizers in Pennsylvania, and, later the same month, a crowd of Pennsylvania-based health care and union organizers in Washington, DC.

He's only been in office for two and a half weeks, but Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has already passed legislation in the chamber, his office announced -- his pilot program to fund service dogs for disabled veterans, which was incorporated by unanimous consent into the Defense Authorization bill that passed last night.

Franken introduced the measure along with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and had additional cosponsors from both sides of the aisle: Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Begich (D-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and John Ensign (R-NV).

This is not the final piece of legislation, as the Defense Authorization will still have to go through the conference committee process. That said, the chances are probably very good that the Franken-Isakson Service Dogs for Veterans Act will be in the bill that gets signed by President Obama.

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