In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Arlen Specter isn't waiting for Pat Toomey, the former GOP Congressman who nearly defeated him in the 2004 primary, to officially enter the race this time -- he's already going on the air with an attack ad.

The ad blasts Toomey as a credit-default swap trader who favored less oversight of Wall St. and putting Social Security in the stock market, and now wants a "bonus" in the form of a U.S. Senate seat:

Toomey has said he's "very likely" to run, but hasn't officially launched his campaign. That said, he's been speaking to conservative activists -- even appearing with Joe The Plumber against the Employee Free Choice Act -- and a candidacy really appears to be a foregone conclusion. So Specter isn't waiting.

The DSCC is moving out a new publicity push in the never-ending Minnesota Senate race, with a new Web petition: "It's time to give it up, Norm."

(Click image to enlarge.)

The DSCC has also sent out an e-mail promoting the petition to its supporter list, authored by Paul Begala:

But Norm Coleman didn't like that result, so he took it to court. And now when even his own lawyers are predicting he'll lose, Coleman's threatening to keep appealing to more and more courts.

How many more recounts does Norm Coleman want? How many more delays? How much longer will the Republican Party hold Minnesota's Senate seat hostage?

As I reported last night, the Senate went on record yesterday against using the reconciliation process to pass climate change legislation. Most high-profile Democrats say they had no plans to do that anyhow, but yesterday's vote (67-31) almost certainly forecloses on the option altogether. The roll call just went up belatedly on the Senate website (owing, perhaps, to a backlog of votes) and I want to highlight the 26 Democrats who voted with the Republicans. With this vote they committed themselves to the idea that climate change legislation should be subject to a filibuster, and their large numbers suggests, perhaps, significant opposition to passing any major reform legislation (read: health care) through reconciliation.

Full list below the fold.

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The new Quinnipiac poll from Connecticut has some truly ghastly numbers for Chris Dodd in the wake of the AIG bonus scandal, with him trailing former Republican Congressman Rob Simmons by a whopping 50%-34% margin, running behind GOP state Sen. Sam Caliguiri by 41%-37%, and trailing possible GOP candidate Tom Foley, a businessman, by 43%-35%.

Only 33% of registered voters approve of Dodd's performance as a Senator, with 58% disapproving. When asked whether they approve of Dodd's performance as Senate Banking Committee chairman, only 21% of registered voters approve, and 69% disapprove. Only 32% agree that he is honest and trustworthy, with 54% saying he is not.

On the bonuses themselves, 39% say they blame Dodd "a lot," and 35% blame him "some." And when asked who deserves the most blame for the bonuses, Dodd is in a statistical tie for first with George W. Bush: Bush 28%, Dodd 27%, Tim Geithner 20%, and 7% Barack Obama.

A Democratic source tells TPM that Dodd will improve as he regains support among Democratic voters, and that people are going to have a lot of negative reactions this close to the AIG scandal. We'll see what future polls have in store.

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G-20 Leaders Reaching Outlines Of Agreement On IMF, Regulations The G-20 leaders have reportedly agreed to give more than $500 billion to the IMF, in order to help governments struggling because of the financial crisis, along with stronger financial regulations to avoid another crisis in the future, though details remain to be hammered out. "I'm not saying that everything is sewn up. It isn't," said UK Business Minister Peter Mandelson. "I mean there are arguments, or some tensions over precisely what resources we're talking about."

Obama's Day Ahead: The G-20 Summit In London President Obama met with South Korean leaders in London at 3 a.m. ET this morning. At 3:30 a.m. ET, he attended the G-20 leaders breakfast. At 4:50 a.m. ET, he attended the G-20 summit's opening plenary session. At 8:25 a.m. ET he attended the G-20 leaders lunch. At 9:30 a.m. ET he will attend the afternoon plenary session. At 10:35 a.m. ET he will meet with leaders of Saudi Arabia, and at 11:30 a.m. ET he will meet with leaders of India. At 12:45 p.m. ET, he will hold a news conference.

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Via Brad Plumer of The New Republic comes this article from the St. Petersburg Times throwing some cold water on the Republican party's allegation that the Democrats are planning to institute a "light-switch tax" that would cost every American household $3,128 annually. The punchline is this: The Times got in touch with John Reilly, one of the authors of the study the GOP cited as the source of that number, and he said, "It's wrong in so many ways it's hard to begin."

As we noted earlier, "light-switch tax" is a tendentious renaming (or misnaming) of "cap-and-trade legislation", which would price and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But where did the GOP come up with that price tag?

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It was probably never gonna happen, but now it's official. Climate change legislation will not be passed through the budget reconciliation process. The Johanns amendment, which explicitly prevents such a move, just passed on a 67-31 vote. We'll get you a roll call when it's available, including the names of the significant number of Democrats who voted with the GOP. Expect to find the usual suspects on that list. And more!

Late update: I should note that the budget resolution isn't law and this amendment applies to this budget resolution and this budget resolution only. You shouldn't draw too many conclusions from that, of course, but it's probably important to note, amidst all of this arcana, that the Senate hasn't foreclosed on the option for all budgets in the future.

As President Obama embarks on his overseas trip to the G-20 summit, a new Gallup poll finds that his approval on foreign affairs is a solid 61%.

One interesting thing is that this number is actually higher than the 54% approval in foreign affairs that Obama registered a month and a half ago, contrary to the usual expectation that these figures would go down as the honeymoon period wore off.

On the other hand, disapproval has also increased, from 22% to 28%. The movement here was not been from approval to disapproval or undecided, but from undecided to approval or disapproval, as Obama has just begun actually doing things in foreign policy.

Here's yet another example of a politician tying himself to President Obama: Here at the TPM office in New York City, I just got a robocall from Bloomberg for Mayor, letting me know that Mayor Mike supports the Obama health care plan.

The call was read by a man with a working-class New York accent, letting me know how well Bloomberg and Obama get along: "Like President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg knows it's time to put politics aside, so we can work together on health care now." (The quote may be off by a word or two as I jotted it down quickly, but you get the idea.)

Bloomberg is of course running for re-election this year in a heavily Democratic city, during a time of Democratic resurgence, but he himself is not a Democrat. He was elected twice as a Republican, and became an independent in 2007.