TPM News

Why did Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell decide not to run for reelection? The morning after her surprise announcement, political observers across the state are still trying to figure out what happened.

A new poll out this morning from Quinnipiac University gives some insight. It shows Rell leading the top Democratic opponent in a hypothetical 2010 gubernatorial matchup by just six points, 46-40.

The poll also shows that former U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont is making some headway in his gubernatorial bid just a week after he announced it.

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In a Washington Post profile of the erstwhile Republican candidate for New York's 23rd district, Dede Scozzafava marveled at her new fame -- and warned her party against pushing out the moderates.

"My name's a verb now," she told the Post. Indeed, the nearly unpronounceable "scozzafavaed" made its way into the user-generated Urban Dictionary after she withdrew from the election amid sinking poll numbers and a nationally-supported conservative candidate.

She also issued a warning to the Republican party.

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Obama Calls For Revision In Stupak Amendment President Obama said yesterday that the Stupak Amendment should be revised, in the hopes that neither pro-choicers nor pro-lifers feel "betrayed" by any change in the status quo. "I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test," said Obama, "that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we're not restricting women's insurance choices."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and the First Lady will depart the White House at 9:05 a.m. ET, arriving in Killeen, Texas, at 12:25 p.m. ET. They will meet at 12:50 p.m. ET with families of the fallen at Fort Hood, and with wounded soldiers and their families at 1:20 p.m. ET. President Obama will address the Fort Hood community at 2 p.m. ET. They will meet with wounded soldiers at 3:25 p.m. ET, and depart from Killeen at 4:20 p.m. ET. They will arrive back at the White House at 8:35 p.m. ET.

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Senate Democrats today are huddling for their first weekly lunch since the House passed its version of the health care plan and they have a special guest with firsthand experience of what can happen when legislation fails.

Former President Clinton will speak to the caucus about health care, a Democratic source confirmed to TPMDC.

The White House has been coy for months when reporters ask if Clinton (or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) are advising President Obama on health care.

Late update: Another source tells us that Clinton is attending the lunch at the request of Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (who worked in Clinton White House) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The White House is forcefully denying reports that President Obama has settled on the number of troops to send to Afghanistan.

Several stories in recent days have suggested he has made a decision and cite specific troop levels.

Officials have dismissed those as inaccurate, but tonight the White House is sending out a rare statement from National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones:

"Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false. He has not received final options for his consideration, he has not reviewed those options with his national security team, and he has not made any decisions about resources. Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters today the president is holding another Situation Room meeting of his war council as he continues to gather information for his decision.

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President Obama tonight met privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office, and the White House isn't offering many details about what they discussed.

Here's the short readout the White House put out tonight:

"The President and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed a number of issues in the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship. The President reaffirmed our strong commitment to Israel's security, and discussed security cooperation on a range of issues. The President and Prime Minister also discussed Iran and how to move forward on Middle East peace."

When Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) authored an amendment several months ago to prohibit federal dollars from being used to pay for insurance policies that cover abortion, Democratic leaders and health care principals didn't take his proposal very seriously. As a result it was never subjected to the sort of rigorous analysis that controversial legislation is often treated to. That was a miscalculation. Liberals were forced this weekend to accept the amendment as the price of passing an otherwise progressive health care bill through the House. And now, everyone on both sides of the abortion issue is scrambling to try to figure out what the amendment's language actually means and the practical effect it would have if enacted into law.

As one House Democratic health care aide put it, "there are a ton of unanswered questions."

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Ned Lamont -- who's exploring a run for governor in Connecticut in 2010, issued the following statement today regarding incumbent Gov. Jodi Rell's decision not to run. Here's the full text:

"I salute the Governor for her service to Connecticut, her civility, and her integrity. Now is the time for a fresh start. Connecticut needs a proactive, hands-on governor who has experience creating good paying jobs, and who knows how our state can be a partner in helping our working families and small businesses make Connecticut the jobs engine we should be."

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) wants Senate health care legislation to contain strict restrictions on abortion funding, much like the House bills now does. And he says he'll filibuster if he doesn't get his way.

"As a pro-life person, I believe that something like the [Rep. Bart] Stupak amendment should be included in the Senate version," Nelson told reporters this evening. "But if it isn't included to that effect, to make it clear that no government money should be used for support, for the subsidies, or direct payments, or even tax credits, should be used to support abortions," he will oppose it.

"If it doesn't make it clear that it does not support abortion, does not pay for abortion, you can be sure I will vote against it."

I asked Nelson if his promise extended to procedural supermajority votes. He had a one word answer: "Yes."

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House intelligence committee chair Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) made a thinly veiled swipe at his GOP counterpart today over comments made by Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) criticizing the Obama Administration's handling of information about the Fort Hood shootings.

As we told you earlier, Hoekstra said intel agencies including the CIA weren't being sufficiently forthcoming about information the intelligence community might possess about Nidal Malik Hasan. And he suggested there are potential issues with the "performance" of intel agencies in the case.

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