TPM News

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, speaking on Washington Times radio this morning, said a Democratic congressman should get "professional help" from the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood.

The congressman, Jim Moran of Virginia, said last week it is "un-American" to oppose the administration's decision to hold trials for five 9/11 suspects in New York City.

Today, Mukasey attacked Moran for the statement, reports Think Progress.

"I think he's lost touch with reality. He ought to get professional help, perhaps from Major Nidal," he said, to the laughter of the show's hosts.


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Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) cast serious doubt tonight on whether conservative Democrats will ultimately vote for cloture on the Senate health care bill if it retains a public option with an opt-out clause, and gave new details on yet another compromise that he says might work for them.

Carper, who voted for a public option amendment during the Senate Finance Committee proceedings, first floated his idea last week as a potential alternative, in the event that Reid's public option proposal failed to muster enough Democratic support to overcome a filibuster. Now he says he doubts the support is there.

"We're concerned that a number of centrists aren't prepared to vote for a national public plan, even with an opt-out," Carper said in response to a question from TPMDC. "We're trying to find something that addresses their concern about government run, government-funded, but still addresses the need for the affordability needs and the need for more competition in states that don't have it."

"What we're asking centrists is, What concerns do you need to have addressed so that you can vote for cloture, either to bring the bill to the floor, or to take the bill off the floor and to go to conference? And the two concerns we keep hearing over and over again: government-run, government funded."

(The opt-out plan Reid has proposed would not be government funded, though it's not clear whether it would be run directly by the government, or outsourced to a non-governmental body accountable to Congress.)

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Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, a candidate for the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), denounced Democratic attacks on her for the racy moments in pro-wrestling.

Connecticut Democrats have gone after McMahon for some of the WWE's content, including depictions of public sex, rape and necrophilia.

McMahon was asked about it in an online chat hosted by The Day:

WWE is a company that produces fiction. It's a soap opera that runs 52 weeks a year. I think instead of focusing on fictitious content, we need to focus on the issues that are real: unemployment, job creation, healthcare, education and the direction our country is taking in terms of fiscal issues. Those are the serious issues of the day, not the fiction that WWE creates for its entertainment product.

I will also say that the people I have spoken to around this state smile when I give the analogy that I don't believe the voters who elected Arnold Schwarzenegger expected him to show up in one of his outfits from the movie "Terminator" in Sacramento.

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Last month Organizing for America solicited homemade health care ads from supporters, and today they released the winning video.

It stars several children with health care messages, including:

"Two years from now, I'll be diagnosed with Leukemia and I'll die, because we couldn't afford health care."


"There are over 8 million uninsured children in America. ... We all deserve health care."

In an email asking for donations to put the ad on television, David Plouffe says the Organizing for America Health Reform Video Challenge shows "our supporters' creativity and passion is more than a match for the slick ads and partisan spin doctors on the other side."

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Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) has apologized for suggesting that, if 9/11 trials are held in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's daughter could be kidnapped.

"I saw the mayor of New York said today, 'We're tough. We can do it.' Well, Mayor, how are you going to feel when it's your daughter that's kidnapped at school by a terrorist?" Shadegg said last night.

This afternoon, he told the Associated Press that he's sorry -- but added that his point was still a good one.

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A number of high-profile economists are asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not to change a number of key aspects of his health care legislation, including a controversial tax on insurance companies that sell luxurious insurance policies.

"Four elements of the legislation are critical: 1) deficit neutrality, 2) excise tax on high cost insurance plans, 3) independent Medicare commission, and 4) delivery system reforms," they write in a letter delivered to Reid today.

Here's what they say about the excise tax, specifically: "Like any tax, the excise tax will raise federal revenues, but it has additional advantages that are essential."

The excise tax will help curtail the growth of private health insurance premiums by creating incentives to limit the costs of plans to a tax-free amount. In addition, as employers and health plans redesign their benefits to reduce health care premiums, cash wages will increase. Analysis of the Senate Finance Committee's proposal suggests that the excise tax on high-cost insurance plans would increase workers' take-home pay by more than $300 billion over the next decade. This provision offers the most promising approach to reducing private-sector health care costs while also giving a much needed raise to the tens of millions of Americans who receive insurance through their employers.

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A special name pops up on the list of co-chairs for Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell's (R-VA) inauguration: Sheila Johnson, a co-founder of Black Entertainment Television -- who is best known for having made fun of Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds for stuttering.

The McDonnell campaign had initially declined to condemn Johnson's joke or distance themselves from it, after it had come to light. Johnson herself issued an apology shortly afterward. Her status in the campaign did not seem to be damaged, as she later continued to hold McDonnell events and even starred in a campaign ad.

Also on the list is Susan Allen, a former first lady of the state, and wife of former Governor and former Senator George Allen.

DNC chairman Tim Kaine, the outgoing Governor of Virginia, told the Washington Post that Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds made some key mistakes in his landslide defeat to Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell -- mainly failing to tie himself to President Obama and thus mobilize Democrats:

"After the [June] primary was done, his advisers basically said, distance yourself from the president. We think we have our base locked down, we've got to win independents. And we're going to win by being negative about McDonnell," Kaine said. "That was the basic strategy they pursued, despite some significant urging to the contrary."


Kaine said the key to victory for Democrats in a highly competitive Virginia is recognizing that party members need not be "apologetic" about their affiliation to find success. He noted that about 200,000 more people voted in the Democratic primary for president on a frigid February day in 2008 than cast ballots for Deeds this year, and said McDonnell successfully spooked Deeds by suggesting that Virginians had grown anxious about the Democratic agenda.

"I think the issue of being nervous about the Virginia electorate was overdone and I think Creigh did exactly what the McDonnell campaign hoped he would do, which was distance himself from the president and national issues," Kaine said.