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Protesters expressing their opposition to health care reform efforts picket the offices of Rep. Harry Mitchell (D) in Scottsdale, AZ on Saturday.


Police officers guard the offices of Rep. Harry Mitchell.


Susan and James O'Nele, from Anthem, AZ.


Dottie Kennard, from Peoria, AZ, attended Saturday's protest.



A boy wears a breathing mask in protest of health care reform efforts.



Barbara Medal, from Tempe, AZ.


Richard Kubian, from Scottsdale, AZ.


Protesters interrupt a town hall meeting held by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) in Tampa, FL on Friday, August 7.

Newscom/St. Petersburg Times

People shove their way into the Tampa town hall meeting.

Newscom/St. Petersburg Times

Mike Sola, the protester who confronted Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) at a town hall in Michigan last week over health care for his handicapped son, appeared on Fox this morning with some interesting claims.

First, Sola told Fox that "thugs" from Democratic leadership came to his house "in the middle of the night." Then he claimed health care reform would "sentence our families to death."

"If you call my son un-American, your thugs already know where we live. They came to us in the middle of the night," Sola said, speaking directly to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Sola said this "visit" happened the night his tirade against Dingell aired on television. He then threatened to kill "the person" if he sees him on his property.

"All I'm gonna say to the person ... I will use every means available to me, lethal force if necessary," he said. "If I ever catch you on my property I will take the risk of going to prison, but you will never again threaten my family."

He said he reported the incident to the Michigan State Police, who did not immediately return a call for comment.

Later in the interview, he elaborated on why he's against President Obama's health care reform plan.

"What you are doing is sentencing our families to death. We lose the right to life. The old people are discarded. Those who cannot fend for themselves are discarded," he said. "We are American citizens who want one thing: to be heard before you put us down."

Check out this ad from a right-wing group called the 60 Plus Association, celebrating the Greatest Generation -- and warning that the health care bill could kill them:

"The government -- not doctors -- will decide if older patients are worth the cost," the announcer says, in an echo of Sarah Palin's "death panel" remarks.

A representative for the group told us that this is a national ad buy, and that the price for it is $1.5 million.

Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) appeared on MSNBC this afternoon, and talked about the death threat that we'd reported his office received last week over the health care bill. He expressed doubt that it would result in prosecution -- and said that other members of Congress have gotten similar calls:

We've gotten a lot of calls, and I think what I got is not different from what a lot of members of Congress have gotten. A caller said that if I voted for the health care plan, that it -- it could cost me my life. And my staff member was taken aback by that and asked him to repeat it, and he did. And then my staff member asked him point blank, 'is that a threat?' And the guy said, 'There are a lot of angry people out here.' And that's probably equivocal enough that it's not gonna result in a criminal prosecution. And I think a lot of members of Congress have gotten calls that are that creepy and that menacing. And sometimes it's gone beyond that -- the Longworth House Office Building was shut down for several hours a couple weeks ago, because of a bomb threat.

Following a tense town hall meeting by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) in Memphis over the weekend, local TV reported that one attendee was packing heat and had been escorted from the room -- which if true, would be a dramatic escalation in the increasingly confrontational health care debate. However, TPMDC has learned that there was not in fact any threat made, nor was it a cause for immediate alarm in its full context.

While one attendee did indeed possess a firearm, he did so in accordance with the state's conceal and carry laws, and was fully cooperative when asked to take it to his car due to a no-guns rule for the meeting.

"The gun issue was handled before the meeting," Shelby County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Shular told TPM. The audience was asked at the beginning whether anybody had a gun. One man replied that, yes, he was carrying a gun. He was told to leave it in his car for the meeting, and then did so. An officer followed him to his car, made sure that his permit was in order, and he was then allowed to re-enter the event.

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Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL), who last month said he won't run for his Senate seat in 2010, seems to have changed his tune.

"You never say never," he told ABC News.

"What I'm still hearing," Burris said, is "people from all over the country and they are saying, 'Don't give up that seat.'"

Burris was appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was thrown out after allegedly trying to sell the seat vacated by President Obama.

Burris has raised very little money so far, and polls consistently show him losing the Democratic primary.

At a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama responded to critics who compare his health care plan to the Canadian system, saying the U.S. needs something "uniquely American."

Obama said a single-payer system wouldn't work in the United States, since "we've evolved differently" from Canada.

He also said he expects that opponents of health care reform will continued to drag Canada into the debate, "Even though I've said nothing about it."

"I don't find Canadians particularly scary," he said, but "opponents of reform think they make a good boogeyman."

Obama also said that the "vigorous debate" happening over health care reform is "healthy."

Check out this declaration from Minnesota state Sen. Mike Jungbauer, who is now running for the Republican nomination for Governor: That God called him to run -- and he's setting out to achieve a literally miraculous level of fundraising.

Here's what he told a local newspaper:

An evangelical Christian with a degree from the Moody Bible Institute, Jungbauer purposefully set his campaign fund-raising goal in excess of that suggested by experts as a kind of verification he was following the right path.

"I believe if I'm really called by God to do this, and again it's not necessarily called by God to be the governor, but to do the campaign, to do it right, I set the goal quite high when I would have to believe it was truly miraculous (to achieve), and I couldn't say I did it, or they (the campaign) did it," said Jungbauer.

So God has called Jungbauer to run for governor, and to raise a lot of money -- but not necessarily to win and be governor? Talk about mysterious ways.

And yes, Jungbauer's state legislative district is inside Michele Bachmann's Congressional district.

(Via Minnesota Independent.)

Blockbuster stuff from the New York Times Sunday on stunningly frequent contacts during the height of the financial crisis between Henry Paulson and his successor as CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein.

The then-Treasury Secretary and Blankfein spoke by phone two dozen times in one week in September 2008 when AIG was bailed out -- a deal that handed Goldman, a key counterparty of AIG, $13 billion in federal money.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Times' account of the contacts between the two men, for which Paulson belatedly sought and received an ethics waiver, is that the phone calls were often coming from the Treasury Secretary.

In one day, Sept. 17, Paulson called Blankfein four times. Then after taking a call from President Bush in the evening, the Treasury Secretary called Blankfein yet again -- almost as if he felt obliged to keep the Goldman CEO constantly abreast of his progress. He spoke with Blankfein "far more" than with other executives, the Times reports.

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The National Republican Congressional Committee is now slamming the Democratic leadership's response to the town hall disruptions with a new press release, saying that the Dems are now questioning the patriotism of their political opponents and calling them un-American -- the same politics they used to denounce during the Bush years.

The target of this is the new USA Today column by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, which declares of the town-hall disruptions: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades." The NRCC also targets Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN), who told the Washington Post: "What I don't want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions."

"According to the Democratic leadership, if you oppose an increase in healthcare costs, massive deficits, and higher taxes, you are 'un-American,'" said NRCC communciations director Ken Spain. "By calling town hall attendees 'political terrorists' or questioning the patriotism of their own constituents, Democrats have reduced themselves to the hateful and unproductive rhetoric they once excoriated."

Check out the full release, after the jump.

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