TPM News

The Heritage Foundation's latest world ranking of economic freedoms shows the U.S. falling farther than any other large economy in the world. The foundation says the TARP Program, the auto industry bailout and the stimulus package, among other factors, have caused the country's economy to go from "free" to "mostly free."

The U.S. now ranks eighth in the world on the group's list.

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Democrats in New York's 29 Congressional District, formerly held by ex-Rep. Eric Massa (D), have announced that they have a candidate to succeed him -- but they're not saying who it is just yet. (Late Update: Democrats have selected Matthew Zeller, a 28-year old Rochester native and veteran of Afghanistan.)

The local Democratic chairs put out a statement that they had arrived at a "consensus candidate" for the race, "and that candidate will announce his/her candidacy next week." Republicans have already rallied around Corning Mayor Tom Reed in the race to succeed Massa, who resigned last month in the midst of an alleged sexual harassment scandal.

Adding to the mystery game-show quality of this election is that the date itself has not been determined. Gov. David Paterson's (D) office has floated the idea that the election could be delayed all the way until this September's regularly-scheduled primary, due to financial issues. In their statement, the Dem chairs also voiced these concerns: "It's clear that a special election would prove to be very expensive, particularly considering so many counties in the 29th district are already struggling financially."

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This afternoon, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will deliver a speech entitled, "Health Reform and You: How the New Law Will Increase Your Health Security" at the National Press Club. Here are excerpts of her remarks as prepared for delivery:

When the conversation about reforming our health insurance system began nearly a year ago, there were some pundits who thought the days of America solving big problems were over. They wondered whether transformative legislation like Social Security and Medicare was part of a bygone era like soda fountains and five cent matinees. Last month, those pundits got a definitive answer. After decades of asking, "When are we going to fix our broken health insurance system?" - we finally have an answer: "starting now."

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President Obama released the following statement today on his administration's new nuclear weapons policy:

One year ago yesterday in Prague, I outlined a comprehensive agenda to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to pursue the peace and security of a world without them. I look forward to advancing this agenda in Prague this week when I sign the new START Treaty with President Medvedev, committing the United States and Russia to substantial reductions in our nuclear arsenals.

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President Obama delivered the following remarks this morning at the Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you. Please have a seat. Have a seat. What a great honor and pleasure it is to have all of you here today. Before I begin, I want to just acknowledge two members of my Cabinet who I believe are here -- Secretary Gary Locke -- is that correct? Where's Gary? There he is -- our Commerce Secretary. (Applause.) And Secretary Janet Napolitano, who's keeping us safe each and every day. (Applause.)

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The new survey of the a Senate race by Public Policy Polling (D) gives Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey a narrow lead over his long-time nemesis, former Republican and now Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. But in a crucial number, the outcome of this race could end up truly depending on President Obama's popularity in the midterm election.

The numbers, among registered voters: Toomey 46%, Specter 43%, with a ±3.2% margin of error. With Rep. Joe Sestak as the Democratic nominee, if he were to win his Dem primary challenge against Specter, Toomey leads by 42%-36%. The current TPM Poll Average gives Toomey a lead over Specter of 42.4%-39.2%, and a lead over Sestak of 38.1%-31.3%.

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A 27-year-old Texas man was arrested Saturday after he filed court documents threatening to use "deadly force" to stop abortions at a local clinic.

"I am entitled under my religious beliefs to use deadly force if necessary to save the innocent life of another," wrote Erlyndon Joseph "Joey" Lo in the court filing, which called for a temporary restraining order against all abortions and named the Supreme Court as defendants.

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