In it, but not of it. TPM DC

A new InsiderAdvantage poll finds that 50% of South Carolina's registered voters want Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign, in the wake of his disappearance to Argentina and his subsequent admission of an extramarital affair, with 42% opposed.

The option of impeachment by the legislature gets a little less support, with 45% in favor to 46% against, within the ±3.2% margin of error.

Republicans oppose impeachment 63%-32%, Democrats favor it 71%-21%, and independents oppose it 49%-35%. Republicans oppose resignation by a 56%-38% margin, Democrats favor it 70%-20%, while independents narrowly oppose it by 45.3%-44.7%.

A new Franklin & Marshall poll shows that Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), who switched parties in late April in order to avoid a likely defeat in the Republican primary, has low ratings with both parties' voters now.

The numbers: Only 28% of registered voters say he deserves another term, to 57% who say it's time for a change. Back in March, before there was any widespread notion that he would switch parties, this question yielded a much healthier (though still not great) answer of 40%-46%.

In a Democratic primary between Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak, the big winner is... "undecided," with 48%, while Specter is at 33% and Sestak has 13%.

"I think what he's got going is the worst of both worlds," said pollster Terry Madonna. "Republicans have fallen away from him because he left his party, and Democrats are unhappy with him for lots of different reasons."

Former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is running a conservative insurgent campaign for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary against moderate Gov. Charlie Crist, just picked up an endorsement from Florida Congressman Jeff Miller.

The GOP establishment, from the national party in Washington to most of the major elected officials in Florida, have all lined up behind Crist. The governor has a big lead in all the polls and is viewed as a more electable candidate, but some conservatives are trying to mobilize support for a more right-wing choice -- particularly in light of Crist's endorsement of the stimulus bill, and moderation on other issues.

"This race has tremendous implications for the future of Florida and the very foundation of conservatism in America," Miller said in a statement -- making it clear that this race will pit a GOP establishment that hopes to field more electable candidates, as they perceive it, against some in the party base who want to take a harder and harder line.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is taking her refusal to fully fill out her Census form, which is a crime punishable by a $5,000 fine, to a whole new level: Invoking the memory of the Japanese internment during World War II, and the evil role that the Census played in it!

During an interview this morning on Fox News, Bachmann mostly focused on the danger of her personal information falling into the hands of the dreaded menace ACORN. But at one point, she made a very interesting appeal to history:



"Take this into consideration. If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that's how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps," said Bachmann. "I'm not saying that that's what the Administration is planning to do, but I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps."

At this point even Megyn Kelly, who had been gladly dishing out the anti-ACORN talk along with Bachmann, had to take a step back and raise the point that the Japanese internment was a long time ago and we haven't had such abuses since then.

For some context on how this fits into Bachmann's overall worldview, keep in mind that she's previously warned of the threat of "re-education camps" where young people would be indoctrinated into the government's official philosophy.

Obama: In Ten Years, Health Care Will Cost Twice As Much If We Do Nothing In his town-hall special on health care last night, President Obama sought to communicate a message of urgency for reform. "So if you're happy with your health care right now -- and many people are happy with their health care right now," said Obama, "the problem is, 10 years from now, you're not going to be happy, because it's going to cost twice as much or three times as much as it does right now."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in a "United We Serve" event today, joining hundreds of Congressional family members and five national nonprofit organizations at Fort McNair to prepare 15,000 backpacks with books, healthy snacks, Frisbees and other items for the children of servicemen and women. At 2 p.m. ET, Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with members of Congress from both parties to discuss immigration. At 3:15 p.m. ET, Obama will meet with Sec. of the Treasury Tim Geithner, and at 4 p.m. ET with Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. At 6:30 p.m., Obama, the First Lady and Biden will host a luau on the South Lawn, for members of Congress and their families.

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After yesterday's press conference, reporters are understandably trying to get a clearer sense from the administration on whether the president's obvious personal preference for a public option will ultimately translate into an ultimatum to Congress demanding one.

Here's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius fielding one such question.



"One of his bottom lines is, he refuses to talk about any plan that really doesn't lower costs. And if you have a monopoly in the marketplace, it's very difficult to lower costs."

That may be the closest we'll get to an answer at this point--but the idea here is that Obama a). wouldn't support a plan that doesn't lower costs, and b). finds it hard to believe that a reform proposal without a public plan would succeed at lowering costs. Ergo.... we wait for the CBO, I guess. But Obama's been pretty clear that he's going to keep his powder dry publicly until the process in Congress reaches greater maturity.

I just spoke with Gary Ward, The State's managing editor for online, and he told me that the Mark Sanford story has been great for his paper's online traffic.

"It's been incredible," said Ward, with the paper getting links from all manner of national news outlets.

"Page views are about three-times normal, and monthly uniques for today are just, like eight times normal," said Ward. "If you look at a graph of our traffic, it started on Monday when we started reporting through the day."

"I would say that traffic today, starting from Monday through today, has been tremendous," he added. "Monday is usually the busiest day of the week, but today is just huge, and blowing last week, and last year at this time, out of the water."

In this post, and a couple others, I've made the point that there's no evidence that potential Republican support for the idea of a co-operative health care system will translate into Republican support for the broader reform bill they're attached to.

Here, for instance is how the Associated Press characterized Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi's take on the co-ops. "Enzi likes an idea proposed by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., to set up nonprofit cooperatives that would enable groups to put together their own health care plans."

Enzi is the ranking member of the Senate HELP committee, and he's been a harsh critic of the health care bill that's come out of that panel. I talked to his spokesman this evening, who said the AP didn't get things exactly right. More accurately, Enzi supports the Finance Committee's process, which he said has been more transparent and bipartisan in spirit. He says the co-op proposal sounds promising, but he needs to learn more about it before he offers his full support to the provision.

But, crucially, even if Enzi does decide that co-ops are a great policy idea, he in no uncertain terms, withholds judgment on the greater bill. This is a common position in the GOP, and, frankly, a common legislative tactic in general. It's not necessarily a wink and a nod toward a 'no' vote, but it raises concerns among Democrats--or at least it should--that Republicans might try to weaken the bill only to turn around and vote against it.

There have been a number of important one-off reports over the last few days on developments in the Senate Finance Committee's health care legislation negotiations--co-ops vs. the public option--which, taken together, don't really paint a complete picture of where things stand in that process. So let me do my best to tie it all together and place things in greater context.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is the committee's point man on the public plan. That's the role he was assigned by chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) when the process began, and it started with his suggestion that a government insurance option operate on a level playing field with private insurers; lower administrative costs, lower overall levels of waste, but barred from monopsonistically using the sheer enormity of the program to set lower prices.

Some conservative Democrats on the committee had "concerns" about Schumer's plan, and Republicans were generally opposed, which put a crimp in Baucus' plan to reach a bipartisan consensus--for all intents and purposes, to win the votes of ranking member Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe. That's what ultimately created the political space for Sen. Kent Conrad's plan to build a cooperative system, which Grassley said he was open to in principle.

There were just a couple significant problems with that.

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