TPM News

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke this morning about the outpouring of support his family has received not only from his Senate colleagues but also from people across the country after his wife and daughter were injured in a car accident last Thursday.

He took the opportunity to thank those that sent him and his family hundreds of emails and phone calls to offer their thoughts and prayers.

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President Barack Obama released the following statement today about Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) financial reform proposal. Here's the full text:

It has now been well over a year since the near collapse of the financial sector, and yet today the same failed system that brought on this crisis remains in place. The financial crisis has resulted in more than 8 million American workers losing their jobs, trillions in household wealth being wiped out and hundreds of thousands of small businesses without the credit they need to grow. We cannot wait any longer for real financial reform that brings accountability to the financial system and makes sure that the American taxpayer is never again asked to bail out the irresponsibility of our largest banks and financial institutions.

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House Republicans are trying desperately to make an issue of the Democrats' handling of the Eric Massa fiasco--insinuating that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew more about the harassment allegations against Massa than she let on.

But if Republicans hope that they can make an issue of Pelosi's alleged failure to take the appropriate disciplinary steps against Eric Massa, they may have to confront some of their own lapses as well. Check out what House Minority Leader John Boehner said on MSNBC Friday morning.

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Retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) unveiled his go-it-alone financial reform proposal this afternoon, after an attempt at bipartisanship fell apart last week.

The bill is neither as sweeping nor as far-reaching as some reform proponents would like -- but it would still amount to a major overhaul of existing financial regulations. Among other things, the bill would put a consumer protection agency at the Fed and give the central bank new powers of oversight.

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Ken Cuccinelli, the ultra-conservative Republican attorney general of Virginia, has apparently dabbled in Birtherism, having explored the topic with a person who asked him about it, in an audio segment that has just been posted online.

An unidentified man can be heard asking another man -- who does sound like Cuccinelli, based on comparisons with definite clips of Cuccinelli that can be found on YouTube -- what he might do as attorney general to take on the birth certificate issue. "Well, only if there is a conflict where we are suing the federal government for a law they've passed. So it's possible," said Cuccinelli.

Ben Tribbett, host of the Not Larry Sabato blog that posted the video, declined to identify the original source of the audio, but told us his understanding is that it was recorded after Cuccinelli's election and before his swearing-in -- that is, between early-November 2009 and mid-January 2010.

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Democratic leaders and President Obama have mounted a major persuasion campaign, trying to get the party on board with the all-speed-ahead push on health care reform legislation. They are offering wavering members - who voted "No" the first time around or are thinking to switch and oppose health care this time - in-person talks with the president and are walking members through how health care reform would help constituents in each lawmaker's district.

Rep. Scott Murphy (D-NY) is one of the 37 House Democrats who voted against the health care legislation last fall in the House, and is a top target of House leaders who need to win over several Democrats like him if they want to pass the bill this week. Inundated with calls asking him to vote "Yes," Murphy is carrying the Senate bill around with him and his staff is insisting to the thousands of callers to his office on both sides of the health care debate that he wants to read every word before making a decision.

"We have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote -- up or down; yes or no," House Democrats were told in a memo Friday, written by leadership and obtained by TPMDC. The leadership team also has spent time with members' staffs to help explain all of the benefits that would kick in quickly - especially reforms to the practice of insurance companies excluding customers on the basis of preexisting conditions.

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Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe says he's a different kind of Lt. Gov. candidate. The self-described "most conservative lawmaker in the legislature" says he won't be "a silent partner" to the top of the ticket in Pennsylvania, where Republicans hope to retake the governor's mansion for the first time since 2003.

Instead, Metacalfe -- best known across the state for his controversial statements about gays and climate change -- promises to be a political check on the Republican nominee he might share the ticket with. If the nominee veers away from the right toward positions that "hurt our freedom," Metcalfe says he'll call him out in public. He's already running against his own party, claiming he had to run a secret campaign to get on the ballot so the state GOP wouldn't try to stop him.

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