In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The Franken campaign will be provisionally resting their case tomorrow, lead attorney Marc Elias announced at his post-court press conference today.

A few tasks will remain in sorting evidence -- for example, the Coleman camp is ready to introduce a spreadsheet of rejected ballots that it's pulling for, though Elias doubted this would cause his side to delay resting. It's also possible that they may delay resting if severe weather prevents some witnesses from coming in tomorrow, or if Team Coleman lodges further objections, but again Elias didn't think these were likely.

"So far we've had 73 witnesses -- 62 of them were voters," Elias said. "That's actually more witnesses in our case than they they had in their case, though their witnesses testified for a longer time."

Just a week ago, Elias said their case would take two to three weeks -- but instead, they've only gone for one week. After this, the Coleman campaign will get to wage a rebuttal to the Franken case (Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg said this would be "not terribly lengthy") and the Franken side will get to make a rebuttal to the rebuttal, followed by closing arguments.

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Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner spent two hours behind closed doors last night with House Democrats. He told lawmakers that the economic crunch would get worse before it gets better, either later this year or early next year, while vowing action on small business lending.

What Geithner didn't mention -- but what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged today after a forum with several leading economists -- is that more taxpayer money is likely to be needed to shore up foundering banks.

After economist Mark Zandi of Moodys.com told reporters that "another stimulus package is a reasonable probability, given the way things are going" and that "more money for financial stability to shore up the banking system is likely," Pelosi said she agreed with his statement.

But can Democrats find the votes to push through another round of capital for the banks, should the Obama administration ask for one? House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) said on Thursday that "it's not clear that the political support would be there to" approve another infusion aimed at loosening stalled credit markets, although several Democratic senators said today that they were giving Geithner the benefit of the doubt as he works to handle the conflagrations in the housing markets, credit markets, and bank balance sheets.

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President Obama took on the can-he-walk-and-chew-gum media today:

I know there are some who believe we can only handle one challenge at a time. They forget that Lincoln helped lay down the transcontinental railroad, passed the Homestead Act, and created the National Academy of Sciences in the midst of Civil War. Likewise, President Roosevelt didn't have the luxury of choosing between ending a depression and fighting a war. President Kennedy didn't have the luxury of choosing between civil rights and sending us to the moon. And we don't have the luxury of choosing between getting our economy moving now and rebuilding it over the long term.

Arlen Specter might have some good news in his Republican primary for 2010.

Peg Luksik, who has alternately been an activist/candidate with the Republican and Constitution parties, told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat that she has already formed a campaign committee, and has begun raising money to run against Specter in the Republican primary.

Of course, Specter is already widely expected to face a primary challenge from former Rep. Pat Toomey, who just barely lost a primary challenge in 2004 by a 51%-49% margin. Specter's vote for the stimulus bill has become ammunition for Toomey as he publicly attacks Specter -- and the Luksik is blasting Specter over the bill, too.

On paper, it would appear that Luksik could potentially split some of the right-wing vote, helping Specter to hold on to a plurality win if it were to become necessary.

My friend, Jane Hamsher, at Firedoglake has this gem today about a Citgroup analyst downgrading Wal-Mart because of possible passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Jane runs through all the idiocy of this moment. First, the law isn't passed yet. Second, it would give workers more purchasing power probably helping Wal-Mart sales. I'd just add that only 7.5 percent of private sector employees belong to unions. That's going to keep falling because of the loss of manufacturing jobs. So if EFCA could increase union membership in the private sector by 50 percent, which would be a stunning achievement and hardly guaranteed byt the law's passage, you'd still have far fewer than the number in unions 25 years ago.

The story of the Employee Free Choice Act, however it ends, is going to take a long time to playout. We noted last week that the bill would get dropped today and it has with labor talking up the measure that would make it easier to form unions and business striking out against it. While its passage is ensured in the House of Representatives, where it passed last year, it's fate in the Senate is less certain. Last year, it looked like all Democrats would support the measure and at least one Republican, Arlen Specter. (In the House, only one Republican supported the measure: Pete King of New York.)

So what is the administration doing to shore up support for the measure? Well, most importantly they've spoken out for it. Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis all endorsed the measure at least week's meeting of the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO in Florida. At the moment, there's no massive White House lobbying campaign to get the bill passed. I'm told it's not what they're lobbying for right now. That will come later.

For now, labor and EFCA-supporting leaders in the House and the Senate have the reins although it's a safe bet that EFCA will come up when Joe Biden travels to Arkansas to kick off the reelection campaign of Blanche Lincoln, one of the wavering Dems. Labor is confident, though, that the Democrats will come around in the end. Says one labor official: "We're confident we'll get to 60 one way or the other."

Dave Weigel at the Washington Independent had an excellent look last week at the growing trend of conservatives "going Galt," looking to the fantastical novels of uber-capitalist Ayn Rand for sustenance as the economy founders and President Obama's approval ratings remain high.

Now we can chalk up one more GOP convert to the Atlas Shrugged trend. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (MI), the senior Republican on the House intelligence committee, just marveled on his Twitter page: "Who is John Galt? Will more Americans know of him in 3 to 6 months? I think so!"

The Senate Democrats are now raising money off of Rush Limbaugh and his latest comments about Ted Kennedy's work on the health-care bill.

In a fundraising e-mail from the DSCC, the Dems play up Rush's public role in the Republican Party in order to show how important it is to get to 60 Democratic seats:

Rush Limbaugh has no shame. That's clear after his latest outrageous and inappropriate remarks about Sen. Ted Kennedy's health.

Limbaugh keeps crossing the line because the best way to fire up the extremist base is to undermine and obstruct President Obama's agenda. And because he leads the rank-and-file, Limbaugh has 41 Republican senators willing to filibuster anything he wants.

Thousands joined our action against Rush last week - thank you for standing with us. But there's one more way to make him irrelevant. Win that 60th seat and Rush can rant all he wants and it won't do any good.

Sixty seats requires recruiting the best candidates early and organizing the best grassroots networks now. Rush is already plotting for 2010. We can't fall behind.


Full e-mail after the jump.

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We're on the hunt for the mystery senator (or senators) holding up approval of John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco, President Obama's nominees to become chief White House science adviser and head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To bring folks up to speed, it appeared initially that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was the sole lawmaker standing in the nominees' way, thanks to an unrelated dispute with Democratic leaders over the Cuban trade embargo. But that obstacle is no longer operative, leaving the situation murky as Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) references multiple holds on the nominees.

Yesterday we ruled out two GOP suspects, Sens. David Vitter (LA) and Mel Martinez (FL). Today we can strike two more likely suspects from the list: Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and John Barrasso (R-WY) both strongly oppose Holdren's pro-regulation stance on climate change, but both told me they're not behind the holds.

Inhofe couldn't confirm that the holds weren't coming from his environment committee, but he said flat out: "It's not me, though."

Norm Coleman visited the Senate a couple of weeks ago to huddle with Republicans -- now Al Franken is in the Senate, ducking into the Democrats' weekly luncheon just behind Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the campaigns chief who helped steer Franken's run last year.

Franken signaled that he may answer some questions after the lunch, so we'll keep you posted.

Late Update: I couldn't nab Franken on his way out the door, but Politico did. The Democratic soon-to-be-senator told the newspaper that he would not attempt to be seated until the three-judge panel in Minnesota rules in his favor, which he predicts will happen.

His Minnesota colleague, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), told me that Franken gave fellow Dems an update on "what was happening -- he discussed the recount, he explained how the process would work up to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and he predicted he'd be the next senator."

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