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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a statement Wednesday morning regarding Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus' draft health care reform bill. Here's the full text:

"This partisan proposal cuts Medicare by nearly a half-trillion dollars, and puts massive new tax burdens on families and small businesses, to create yet another thousand-page, trillion-dollar government program. Only in Washington would anyone think that makes sense, especially in this economy."

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) issued the following statement around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday regarding Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus' draft health care reform bill. Here's the full text:

"Seldom have so many waited so long for so little. This isn't negotiation; it is capitulation to the insurance industry.

To those who keep declaring a voluntary Medicare-type public option dead on arrival, I say today's proposal represents no option whatsoever for the genuine health insurance reform that President Obama promised last year and that Americans deserve."

An interesting new pattern has emerged from some Republicans. Both during and after yesterday's House admonishment of Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) outburst of "You lie!" during President Obama's speech to Congress, GOP House members have been emerging to say that it was Obama who started the breach of decorum.

• After the vote was taken, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) declared on the House floor that Obama had insulted Congress, by saying that his opponents were lying about his health care proposals. "He comes in here talking about a lie ... He says we're making wild claims," said Gohmert. "That's no way to act when you're invited into somebody else's house."

It's interesting to see Gohmert take such a sudden interest in the gentlemanly etiquette of the House, considering how he too was heckling Obama during the speech -- albeit through the silent display of a sign, rather than shouting out:

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele issued the following statement regarding former President Jimmy Carter's comments on race-based opposition to President Obama around 10 a.m. Wednesday. Here's the full text: "President Carter is flat out wrong. This isn't about race. It is about policy.

This is a pathetic distraction by Democrats to shift attention away from the president's wildly unpopular government-run health care plan that the American people simply oppose. Injecting race into the debate over critical issues facing American families doesn't create jobs, reform our health care system or reduce the growing deficit. It only divides Americans rather than uniting us to find solutions to challenges facing our nation.

Characterizing Americans' disapproval of President Obama's policies as being based on race is an outrage and a troubling sign about the lengths Democrats will go to disparage all who disagree with them. Playing the race card shows that Democrats are willing to deal from the bottom of the deck. Our political system has no place for this type of rhetoric.

As the leader of the Democratic Party President Obama should flatly reject efforts by those in his Party, including Jimmy Carter and Tim Kaine, to inject race into our civil discourse in ways that divide, not unite, Americans."

An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says, "Although we don't agree with everything in this bill, Finance Committee's mark represents critical momentum in this process."

In particular, leadership approves of the bill's efficiency and cost-cutting measures including changes to Medicare, and promotion of preventative care.

The goal for leadership at this point is to get a bill out of committee, ideally with Olympia Snowe's vote, but, alternatively, with Democrats only. What remains unclear is the extent (if any) to which the bill would become more liberal if zero Republicans ultimately vote for it. Already, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has said he can not support the bill as it is, and, if no Republicans vote for it, Rockefeller's the only vote Max Baucus can afford to lose on the left and still pass a bill.

Daniel Bogden, who was fired by the Bush Administration in 2006 during its purge of US Attorneys, officially got his old job back yesterday as the Senate confirmed him by unanimous consent to be US Attorney for Nevada.

President Obama nominated Bogden for the job earlier this year. Nevada Senators Harry Reid (D) And John Ensign (R) each hailed Bogden in statements.

Reid's statement after the jump:

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Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus has unveiled a draft of his health care reform bill, which, as expected, calls for co-ops but no public option. So far, after months of bipartisan negotiations, no Republicans have agreed to support the framework--but that could change during hearings next week as the bill gets amended. More to come as we sift through it.

At an anti-immigration event last night, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) defended his colleague Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), saying, "The President threw the first punch."

"A lot of us said, well, this health care bill is gonna fund illegals, and the President said, 'Prominent politicians are lying to you.' He said that on the floor of the House of Representatives," King said. "I don't think there's ever been a President comes to the House of Representatives as a guest of the members of the House and makes a declaration like he did. I mean, the President threw the first punch."

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A good catch from The New Argument. The Democratic party's organizing arm, OFA, seems to have changed the language on it's website, which used to be as firm as possible on the public option. The site used to say that health care reform "must... [g]uarantee choice - Every American must have the freedom to choose their plan and doctor - including the choice of a public insurance option."

Now, it's backed away from that insistence. The new language on the site urges members of Congress to support President Obama's health care reform principles, which include a public option--but doesn't characterize it as a make or break issue.

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Carter: Wilson's Outburst and Tea Parties "Based On Racism" Former President Jimmy Carter has accused Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), as well as Tea Party activists opposed to President Obama, of being motivated by racism. "I think it's based on racism," Carter said. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet one on one with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at 10:45 a.m. ET, with an expanded meeting at 11 a.m. ET. At 1 p.m. ET, Obama and the First Lady will host an event with the White House Office on Olympics, Paralympics and Youth Sport, to promote Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Obama will meet with Gen. Colin Powell at 2 p.m. ET, and with Sec. of Defense Robert Gates at 4:30 p.m. ET. Finally, Obama will deliver remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 32nd Annual Awards Gala, at 8:10 p.m. ET.

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