TPM News

Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) is getting more support for his status as the only House Republican to support health care reform -- from the pro-Barack Obama, labor-backed group Americans United For Change.

Americans United has already run an ad in support of Cao, as part of their ad campaigns praising key swing members who voted in favor of the bill. And they'll be having another one soon, too, the Hotline reports.

Cao is widely seen as a vulnerable incumbent going into 2010, having been elected in an upset against an indicted (and later convicted) Democratic incumbent in a district that voted 75% for Barack Obama.

During today's Judiciary Committee hearing on the 9/11 trials, terrorism and the Fort Hood shootings, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) finally settled an old score.

After Sessions cited Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in his opening remarks, Leahy said, "I must admit, Sen. Sessions, that I'm delighted to hear someone from Alabama quote, approvingly, Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln. The world has come full circle."

"And they were winners, too," Sessions responded.

"Well, I appreciate that acknowledgment too," Leahy said. "We probably best leave this one alone."

Video after the jump.

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A new study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services adds some expert imprimatur to what many progressives have been saying all along: The Stupak amendment to the House health care bill--which will prevent millions of women from buying health insurance policies that cover abortion--is likely to have consequences that reach far beyond its supposedly intended scope.

The report concludes that "the treatment exclusions required under the Stupak/Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange."

In other words, though the immediate impact of the Stupak amendment will be limited to the millions of women initially insured through a new insurance exchange, over time, as the exchanges grow, the insurance industry will scale down their abortion coverage options until they offer none at all.

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The new survey of Missouri by Public Policy Polling (D) shows a dead heat in the race for this state's open Republican-held Senate seat.

The numbers: Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan 43%, Republican Rep. Roy Blunt 42%, with a ±3.6% margin of error. The last time PPP tested this race in January, Carnahan had an edge of 45%-44%. Carnahan also leads Blunt's primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Purgason, Carnahan has a 42%-35% lead. Blunt leads Purgason in the GOP primary by 53%-16%.

The pollster's analysis finds that Carnahan's personal ratings are much better than Blunt's. Her favorable rating is at 40%, to a 36% unfavorable, compared to Blunt's upside-down rating of 30%-38%. Nevertheless, this is a close race. One possible factor: President Obama's approval rating in the state is low, at 43%-52%.

"If Robin Carnahan had faced off against Roy Blunt in any election year between 1996 and 2008 she would likely have won given her superior popularity," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "But 2010 has the potential to be an extremely good year for Republicans, and that's made this race highly competitive."

Via Dave Weigel, it looks like Tom Coburn (R-OK) has become the first senator to cast his lot with the group of House Republicans pursuing a campaign against the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Though not explicitly invoked in a new letter to the IRS, the effort stems from purported revelations in the book Muslim Mafia, whose author recently made -- then retracted -- a call for a "backlash" against Muslims in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings.

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A lobbyist working with the Chamber of Commerce says that if a planned study on the economic impact of health-care reform doesn't support the business community's agenda, he'd recommend burying it.

"If you're doing something like this you want it to be back up the position you've taken," Brian Worth of the International Electrical Contractors (IEC) told TPMmuckraker. If the report showed that reform wouldn't cause significant job losses, said Worth, "I would say sit on it, and don't release it."

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Attorney General Eric Holder just wrapped up his opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on the Justice Department. Here are his full remarks, as prepared for delivery and released by the Justice Department:

When I appeared before this committee in January for my confirmation hearing, I laid out several goals for my time as Attorney General: to protect the security of the American people, restore the integrity of the Department of Justice, reinvigorate the Department's traditional mission, and most of all, to make decisions based on the facts and the law, with no regard for politics. In my first oversight hearing in June, I described my early approach to these issues.

Five months later, we are deeply immersed in the challenges of the day, moving forward to make good on my promises to the committee and the president's promises to the American people.

First and foremost, we are working day and night to protect the American people. Due to the vigilance of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we have uncovered and averted a number of serious threats to domestic and international security. Recent arrests in New York, Chicago, Springfield, and Dallas, are evidence of our success in identifying nascent plots and stopping would-be attackers before they strike.

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The Save Darfur Coalition lashed out at President Obama today, claiming he is not doing enough to confront the human rights crisis still unfolding in Sudan. The group, one of the largest focused on protecting the victims of genocide in the region, say that Obama's decision not to raise the issue publicly during his trip to China suggests he is not willing to push for peace in the region.

"President Obama's public silence on Sudan in Beijing sent an unfortunate message to the Sudanese government and other key actors that he is not willing to lead publicly for peace in Sudan," Save Darfur president Jerry Fowler said in a statement. "The Administration's new Sudan strategy cannot succeed without vigorous multilateral leadership that starts with the President. Tacking Sudan on to a laundry list of items behind closed doors is not that kind of leadership."

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In an interview with CNN, President Obama said he "probably won't" read Sarah Palin's new book, Going Rogue, explaining that "I don't get a chance to read much other than briefing books these days anyway." He then said that he expects the book to do well, and that Palin has "excited a lot of people" in the Republican Party.

Watch the full clip here:

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