TPM News

We're expecting House Democrats to take up the issue of officially rebuking GOP Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson later this afternoon. The latest from CNN is that the vote will likely come sometime between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET.

Though Democrats are prepping a procedural contingency to advance health care reform legislation without any Republican votes, there remains an overwhelming desire among party leaders to pass a bill with 60 votes (most likely 59 Democrats and Olympia Snowe)--but that's not just because Democrats are squeamish about going it alone, and concerned about the technical complications. Some think there may be an upside to exhausting all options.

"We've come this far, so we're going to try this to the bitter end," says one Senate Democratic aide.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) will soon unveil a draft of the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill and, with the budget reconciliation bill set to move forward in mid-October, there's a premium on getting Baucus' plan out of committee swiftly.

Already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to cancel a week-long October recess if Republicans slow things down in committee and on the Senate floor.

"We won't miss the window," the aide said. "Everyone's cognizant of it."

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The reform campaign Health Care for America Now is out with a million-plus dollar ad buy in Washington, D.C. and on national cable.

The ad targets insurers for raking in huge amounts of money and spending it on CEO salaries, just as Democrats on the hill ramp up their own investigations of waste and fraud in the health insurance industry.

In the run-up to today's disapproval resolution against Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), it's become clear that House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) has taken the lead in pushing for the resolution, even over Speaker Pelosi's initial inclination to see that matter as closed. But it's also clear that Clyburn's push for a formal apology from Wilson is rooted in a long and troubled relationship between the most senior African-American politician in South Carolina and a four-term congressman who until recently was best known as a die-hard proponent of keeping the Confederate flag flying over the State Capitol in Columbia.

Indeed, the friction has popped up quite recently. Clyburn recently told the Washington Post that he was particularly incensed when Wilson held a town hall at a high school in Columbia -- which Clyburn says is in his district, and is the place where his children went to school. "He came into my district, the high school where my kids went, where I was an officer in the [Parent Teacher Association], and that was on purpose," Clyburn said. "That was as unethical as one can be, and he didn't say one word to me about it."

(Ed.Note: A search of Google Earth and the House site's district finder shows that the high school -- identified in the local media as having been W.J. Keenan High School -- appears to actually be in Wilson's district, not Clyburn's. At least that's what the nine-digit ZIP code seems to suggest. But it is in fact just a few blocks from Clyburn's house. Clyburn lives right near the district border, and we can probably take him at his word that his kids went there, that he served on the PTA, and that he didn't take kindly to a right-wing GOP House member holding a town hall at that particular venue.)

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President Obama announced the launch of a new national standard for fuel efficiency at a General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, today, following up on a plan he announced in May.

During today's stirring campaign-style speech, Obama emphasized how far the economy has come in the past year -- thanks, he said, to the Recovery Act -- and promised to keep fighting for workers, saying, "I'm skinny, but I'm tough."

"Because of the steps we have taken, this plant is about to shift into higher gear. 150 of your coworkers came back to work yesterday," he said, to shouts and cheers. "More than 1,000 will be coming back to work in less than three weeks as production of the Cobalt ramps up. And next year, this plant will begin production of the Chevy Cruze, a new car that will get more than 40 miles per gallon."

"I just sat in the car. I asked for the keys and they wouldn't give me the keys," he joked. "I was gonna take it for a little spin."

He tied the speech into health care reform, saying that lower health care costs would lead to bigger paychecks.

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At her own local tea party event this past weekend, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) made it clear just how much she supports Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), in the wake of his "You lie!" outburst during President Obama's speech to Congress.

"And thank God for Joe Wilson. Thank God for Joe Wilson," Bachmann said, to the raucous applause of the crowd. "He looked into the camera -- Joe Wilson is my friend, he's the last person I talked to before I left Washington, DC. The sweetest, most mild-mannered, loving guy you've ever seen, such a huge heart. And he apologized for violating the rules of decorum in the House, and that's right. We don't do that in the House. But Joe didn't back down from his assertion, because Joe was right."

(Via Dump Bachmann.)

The Democratic field to succeed Ted Kennedy is now taking further shape, with one candidate getting in and another, who had been expected to run, getting out instead.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, who had taken out nomination papers, has now announced that he's not running. Lynch said in a statement: "the challenge of putting together the resources and organization necessary to wage a competitive statewide campaign in less than 90 days is insurmountable."

Meanwhile, Alan Khazei, founder the community service organization Be The Change, is getting in the race. Businessman Steve Pagliuca is also interested, but has not officially decided.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley is officially in, and Rep. Michael Capuano has taken out papers and has said he's "99.9 percent there." The Democratic primary will be held December 8.

President Obama gave a speech on the economy this morning at a General Motors plant in Ohio. Here are his remarks as prepared for delivery, released by the White House:

It is good to be back in Ohio, and it's good to be at one of GM's flagship plants with all of you. I just finished having a productive discussion with some of your coworkers about the challenges you're facing, both here and in your communities, and how we can meet them.

We talked about the economic troubles you've been weathering here in Trumbull County since long before our current crisis. Over the years, you've seen factories close, your friends laid off, and your sons and daughters move away in search of jobs and opportunity. I know it was painful around here earlier this year, when three shifts at this plant were cut down to one. And today, the local unemployment rate is unacceptably high - the second-highest in Ohio. I know at times, it seems like this community is on the brink - again.

There are some who see this pain and suggest that it's all somehow inevitable - that the only way for America to get ahead is for communities like yours to be left behind. But we know better. We know that our success on a nation depends on the success of communities just like this one. We know that the battle for America's future will be fought and won not just in the big cities, not just on the coasts, but in towns like Elkhart and Pittsburgh; Warren and Youngstown.

That's why I'm proud to be here with all of you. You work hard. You meet your responsibilities. You deserve better. You deserve better than the attitude that's prevailed from Washington to Wall Street to Detroit for too long; an attitude that valued wealth over work, selfishness over sacrifice, and greed over responsibility. And that's why I want you to know that every day I step into the Oval Office, I am thinking about you, I am working for you, and I am fighting on your behalf.

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Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) got a pretty rough earful from an older looking man at a meeting with senior citizens in Fremont, CA, and, well, said a couple less-than-artful things. The man ended his attack on health reform by telling Stark, "Mr. Congressman, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."

Stark responded, "I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."

Phew. Because peeing on a constituent probably wouldn't be a great way for Stark to get re-elected.

Here's the video:

A Republican House member from South Carolina, Bob Inglis, is now calling on his fellow South Carolina GOP Congressman Joe Wilson to apologize to the House for his "You lie!" outburst.

Inglis has posted this one Twitter: "Just said to GOP Conference meeting what I said privately to Joe Wilson: apologize to House for rule violation."

He then followed it up with this: "Part 1: Joe Wilson apologized to President. Part 2: He should apologize to House for rule violation. That would end the matter."

And this: "Joe Wilson analogy: I speed, lose control of my car and hit your car. Part 1: I fix your car. Part 2: I pay my speeding ticket. Case closed."

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