In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Ted Kennedy Records TV Ad For Dodd Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has recorded this TV ad for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), a friend and ally on health-care issues, whose popularity has fallen sharply back in his home state going into the 2010 election:

"Quality health care as a fundamental right for all Americans has been the cause of my life," says Kennedy, "and Chris Dodd has been my closest ally in this fight."

Poll: Overwhelming Support For Public Option A new CBS/New York Times poll finds overwhelming support for a government-run health plan that would compete with the private sector -- also known as the public option -- at 72% in favor to only 20% against. Also, 57% are willing to pay higher taxes in exchange for health insurance for all, to 37% against, with support falling to 43%-49% when a specific price tag of $500 is attached.

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Obama Calls For Consumer Financial Protection In this weekend's Presidential YouTube Address, President Obama advocated for a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, to crack down on complicated and deceptive lending practices:

"This new agency will have the responsibility to change that," said Obama. "It will have the power to set tough new rules so that companies compete by offering innovative products that consumers actually want - and actually understand. Those ridiculous contracts - pages of fine print that no one can figure out - will be a thing of the past. You'll be able to compare products - with descriptions in plain language - to see what is best for you. The most unfair practices will be banned. The rules will be enforced."

McConnell: Democrats Are "Rush And Spend" On Health Care -- Like With Stimulus In this weekend's Republican YouTube, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warned that Democratic proposals on health care will spend too much money -- and compared it unfavorably with the stimulus:

"If the stimulus bill taught us anything, it's that we should be wary anytime someone in Washington says the sky's going to fall unless Congress approves trillions of dollars immediately," said McConnell. "Yet once again in the health care debate, it's rush and spend, rush and spend. Americans want health care reform, but they want the right health care reform. And that means taking the time and the care necessary to get it right."

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A new group is set to launch in the House of Representatives, made up of conservatives set on defending American power and interests against encroachment from international institutions: The Congressional Sovereignty Caucus.

Their kickoff meeting will be this coming Wednesday, featuring co-founders Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), plus Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) -- and special guests Oliver North, Frank Gaffney and Doug Feith.

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has now signed up with the Birther cause -- the people who think Barack Obama isn't a natural-born citizen and should be required to produce a birth certificate (which he already did, anyway) -- World Net Daily reports.

Coburn has now voiced his support for a bill offered by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and five House co-sponsors so far. "The bill requires any federal candidates' campaign committee filing with the Federal Election Commission to produce a copy of the candidate's birth certificate," wrote Coburn. "If the bill makes it to the Senate, I will likely support it."

Coburn also endorsed a similar bill in the Oklahoma legislature: "I hope the Oklahoma State Legislature will give serious consideration to this bill and I hope more states will reform their ballot access laws to ensure federal candidates must affirmatively prove their eligibility."

(Via Ben Smith.)

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

• ABC, This Week: Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

• CBS, Face The Nation: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Sen. Dianne Feinstin (D-CA), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IA), Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA); Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

• Fox News Sunday: Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Rep. Pete Hoesktra (R-MI), and Karim Sadjadpour, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) and former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TV); Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Have things reached the point in the ongoing (and going, and going...) Minnesota Senate race, where even Norm Coleman's staffers may have seen the writing on the wall? In recent weeks, two of his top staffers have gotten new jobs.

LeRoy Coleman (no relation), who served as Coleman's Senate communications director, has now joined the Republican National Committee as director of media affairs. And two weeks ago another top Coleman staffer, campaign manager Cullen Sheehan, became an RNC regional director.

The fact that Sheehan signed up for a new job is pretty telling, even though he'll still be helping out with the Coleman camp. The reason is that Sheehan is the official co-plaintiff, along with Coleman, in the actual ongoing election lawsuit.

Norm himself got a consulting job months ago with the Republican Jewish Coalition, providing him with a source of income.

Roll Call reports that Rep. Charlie Melancon has confirmed that he is considering a Campaign for Senate in 2010 against incumbent Republican Sen. David Vitter -- the Christian Right champion whose career became mired in the D.C. Madam prostitution scandal two years ago.

"Many Louisianians have encouraged me to run for U.S. Senate next year," Melancon said in a statement. "I am discussing this opportunity with my wife and kids and will be making an announcement in the coming weeks."

Louisiana reporter John Maginnis reported earlier today that Melancon, a relatively conservative Democrat, had already told national Democratic officials that he would be running.

A Democratic source could not confirm whether or not Melancon will be getting in the race, but did say that "he'd be a very very strong candidate against Vitter."

The House voted 405-1 today for a resolution in support of the Iranian dissidents and condemning the ruling government. And the one man who opposed it was...Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Paul said in his floor speech that he was in "reluctant opposition" to the resolution -- that he of course condemns violence by governments against their citizens. On the other hand, he also doesn't think the American government should act as a judge of every country overseas, and pointed out that we don't condemn countries like Saudi Arabia or Egypt that don't even have real elections.

"It seems our criticism is selective and applied when there are political points to be made," Paul said. "I have admired President Obama's cautious approach to the situation in Iran and I would have preferred that we in the House had acted similarly."

Check out Paul's full floor statement, after the jump.

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It may be saying something that of the two Senators from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn is the calm and open-minded one.

The Oklahoman reports that Coburn met yesterday with Sonia Sotomayor, and walked away form the meeting with an apparent friendly attitude, describing her as "a bright lady, very smart and well-coached." He added: "She's got the demeanor of a judge."

Coburn's co-Senator Jim Inhofe, meanwhile, turned down an invitation to meet with Sotomayor -- on the grounds that his mind is already made up to vote against her. "That was a foregone conclusion," Inhofe told the Tulsa World, noting that he'd already voted against her for the appeals court back in 1998. However, he also predicts that she will be "definitely confirmed."

A new Rasmussen poll suggests that the criticism of President Obama for not being tough enough on behalf of Iranian dissidents -- which has come mainly from the right -- is not the majority view among American likely voters, and is not even a full majority view among Republicans.

The question is pretty straightforward: "Has President Obama been too aggressive in supporting the reformers in Iran, not aggressive enough, or has his response been about right?"

The numbers: 43% about right, 35% not aggressive enough, and 9% too aggressive. The margin of error is ±3%.

From the pollster's analysis: "Democrats overwhelmingly view the president's response as about right while 49% of Republicans say he has not been aggressive enough. Voters not affiliated with either party are closely divided on the question."