TPM News

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) is still doing quite nicely in fundraising. A Republican source tells me that Wilson's post-outburst fundraising has now reached $1.7 million.

This is up from Wilson's total from late Monday afternoon, when he was at $1.3 million in the time since the incident.

Fundraising totals for Wilson's Democratic opponent Rob Miller were not immediately available. On Monday, Miller was at $1.5 million in the post-outburst period.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) released a statement today on the health care reform proposal released by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT):

"My goals for health care reform include a strong public option, long-term care reform and reform of the Medicare reimbursement system that has disadvantaged Wisconsin for far too long. I am disappointed that the Finance Committee bill, as written, comes up short on all three fronts. I hope my colleagues on the Finance Committee will change the bill to ensure it is not just health care reform in name only."

When it became clear several weeks ago that negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee were planning to pursue a private co-op model instead of a public option in their health reform bill, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)--a senior member of that committee, and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee--undertook a study into the history and effectiveness of health insurance co-operatives.

As part of that study, he asked the Government Accountability Office to bring together all of the research it had done over the years into the effectiveness of co-ops in the insurance market. Today, he sent a fairly scathing letter to Finance chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and chief co-op advocate Kent Conrad (D-ND) regarding the results.

Rockefeller, who says he regards the public option as a "must," writes, "there has been no significant research into consumer co-ops as a model for the broad expansion of health insurance. What we do know, however, is that this model was tried in the early part of the 20th century and largely failed."

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, when asked today about former President Carter's comments on race, said, "The President does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin."

Carter asserted yesterday that the recent animosity toward President Obama is based on his race.

Gibbs also said that Obama hasn't watched the video of Carter's comments or spoken with Carter about it.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) says that the Finance Committee's health care draft represents a step "in the right direction," but warns that "a number of issues still need to be addressed -- including cost assumptions and ultimate affordability to both consumers and the government as well as ensuring appropriate competition in the health insurance exchange."

What she ultimately decides to do will likely depend on how the bill changes during hearings next week. But for now, Democrats aren't particularly optimistic. You can read her entire statement below the fold.

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The circus down in Texas surrounding new history textbook standards continues.

Now, a panel of experts appointed by the GOP-controlled State Board of Education has released reviews of the proposed curriculum, which, as we noted recently, would require students to be conversant in Reaganomics and the heroes of movement conservatism.

The group of six experts is "extremely influential" in the curriculum writing process, says Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, which closely tracks the activist board of education. And they can be broken into two groups: mainstream academics and right-wing ideologues.

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U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land delivered a stinging rebuke to unofficial Birther leader Orly Taitz in a tour de force order throwing out yet another of Taitz's lawsuits today. And he warned Taitz that she could face sanctions if she submits any "similarly frivolous" (read: birther-motivated) filing.

Taitz has filed multiple "birther soldier" lawsuits, in which a member of the military claims he or she does not have to follow deployment orders because President Obama is illegitimate.

The 14-page order, which you can read in full here, throws out a complaint by Army Capt. Connie Rhodes, who cited "conscientious objections" to serving under the "de facto president," Barack Obama. It was first reported by the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Georgia.

Land, of the Middle District of Georgia, begins his order by outlining Taitz's MO, noting that "counsel has managed to fuel this 'birther movement' with her litigation and press conferences, she does not appear to have prevailed on a single claim."

Then he turns to tearing apart the complaint of the moment:

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After months of bipartisan negotiations, and significant concessions intended to win Republican support, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has unveiled a draft of his health care reform bill, and, for now, no Republicans on the Senate Fiance Committee are endorsing it, even tentatively. Not even Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). And one Senate Democratic aide says it's highly unlikely that she'll support the bill at the finance committee stage.

But that won't deter Democrats from wooing her anyhow.

One of Snowe's main concerns is that the financing scheme Baucus proposed, which involves taxes on high end insurance plans, could disproportionately harm Maine consumers, who pay some of the highest health insurance rates in the country.

Calls to Snowe's office asking if she plans to offer amendments to alleviate that and other concerns--and whether the adoption of such amendments would win her support--have thus far gone unanswered.

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During a House floor speech on Monday night, Rep. Michele Bachmann gave a dire warning: That President Obama has already begun efforts to limit our energy usage from cars and home heating and air conditioning -- and our food consumption is next:

"President Obama said we can't eat as much food as we want and think the rest of the world will be okay about that -- as if that matters to freedom-loving Americans," said Bachmann. "Well, we just heard last week that the Federal Government now under the Obama administration is calling for a re-ordering of America's food supply. What's that going to mean? Now will the White House decide how many calories we consume, or what types of food we consume?"

She spoke to Rep. Steve King (R-IA): "You're from an agriculture State, I'm from an agriculture state. My farmers are very concerned about this."

During a press conference today, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), who released his proposal for a health care reform bill this morning, said, "This is a good bill. This is a balanced bill. This can pass the Senate."

The "chairman's mark," as it's called, will now go to the full committee for debate, and will likely emerge with many changes.

"I'm looking forward to having an even better bill that can pass with a larger margin," he said.

He brushed off signs that Republicans have all but abandoned the reform effort.

"I worked very hard to get bipartisan support, and I think we'll get it," he said. "By the time the finance committee votes on this bill, there will be Republican support."