TPM News

Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN), who had been mulling a run for Senate in New York against appointed Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, has decided not to run.

The story was first reported by the New York Post. Afterwards, the New York Times released portions of an opinion piece that Ford wrote for the paper, to be run in its entirety tomorrow. (Late update: The op-ed is now up in its entirety.)

"I've examined this race in every possible way, and I keep returning to the same fundamental conclusion: If I run, the likely result would be a brutal and highly negative Democratic primary -- a primary where the winner emerges weakened and the Republican strengthened," Ford wrote. He continued: "I refuse to do anything that would help Republicans win a Senate seat in New York, and give the Senate majority to the Republicans."

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Two of the Senate's top Republicans have now publicly come to the defense of Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), whose implementation of the Senate filibuster rules has led to the discontinuation of unemployment and COBRA benefits for thousands of Americans, and has resulted in a 21 percent fee cut for doctors seeing Medicare patients.

"My colleague from Kentucky made a good point," said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on the floor today. Bunning says he's holding up the bill because he wants it to be paid for with stimulus dollars, during a recession. Kyl agrees.

Likewise, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)--who runs the Senate GOP's re-election committee--said he sympathizes with his beleaguered colleague.

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At a town hall meeting with the Muslim community Thursday, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) seemed to defend comments she made in 2003 about the terrorist threat emanating from the people who run "all the convenience stores across the country."

"I wasn't off the wall," she said, according to the Charlotte Observer. "It may have come across that way, but you have to put it in context."

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President Obama Wednesday will detail both the substance of his final health care reform legislation proposal and the process for getting it through Congress once and for all.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters during his daily briefing today that Obama will offer the pathway to final passage by outlining the "next steps." But Gibbs also dodged questions on specifics or how the president would help Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid secure enough votes in their chambers.

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Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) doesn't want to answer any questions about his continuing obstruction of legislation to extend unemployment and COBRA benefits to out of work Americans, and keep Medicare doctors fees from dropping significantly. But according to a producer for ABC News, he's so mad he's giving reporters the middle finger--literally.

Here's the video of the exchange that supposedly included the...unfriendly...gesture.

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Feb. 27, 2010: American speed skater Jonathan Tuck leads his heat at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver. Team USA won silver in the finals.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire

Feb. 28, 2010: Biathletes compete in the men's 4 x 7.5 kilometer relay in Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Belousov

February 17, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Shaun White during his finals run. White won gold in a record-breaking halfpipe performance.

Photo by Newscom/Daniel Mears

February 24, 2010: American skier Lindsey Vonn careens down the slope in the giant slalom. Vonn won gold in the downhill event.

Photo by Newscom/Franck Faugere/DPPI/Icon SMI

Feb. 28, 2010: Members of the United States hockey team after losing to Canada in a thrilling gold medal game.

Photo by Newscom/Qi Heng

February 22, 2010: Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the United States perform their free dance during the ice dancing finals. The American pair finished fourth.

Photo by Newscom/Luo Gengqian

February 26, 2010: American speed skater Apolo Ohno celebrates after the 500m short track -- before learning he'd been disqualified. Canada's Charles Hamelin won the event.

Photo by Newscom/zumasportswest

February 27, 2010: Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert preparing to tape his show from the Olympics

Photo by Newscom/R Chiang JKing/Splash News

February 22, 2010: Canadian Kyle Nissen launches a jump in the men's aerial final.

Photo by Newscom/R Chiang JKing/Splash News

February 27, 2010: The gold medal-winning USA men's bobsled team (from left): Curtis Tomasevicz, Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen and driver Steven Holcomb.

Photo by Newscom/Steve Ringman/Seattle Times/MCT

February 19, 2010: Australia's Emma Lincoln-Smith during the women's skeleton finals.

Photo by Newscom/Peter Blakeman/Actionplus

February 19, 2010: France's Raphael Mathieu, Jan Henri Ducroz and Tony Angiboust compete against the United States in the men's curling event.

Photo by Newscom/Harry E. Walker/MCT

February 15, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Seth Wescott takes a slim lead against Canada's Mike Robertson in the snowboard cross final. Wescott won gold in the event.

Photo by Newscom/Daniel Mears/Detroit News/PSG

February 16, 2010: American figure skater Johnny Weir competes in the men's short program at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire

February 23, 2010: Rosanna Crawford of Canada, Johnson Haley of the USA, and Weronika Nowakoska of Poland compete in the 4 x 6km relay biathlon.

Photo by Newscom/ptsphotoshot

February 17, 2010: Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin of the United States compete in the double luge.

Photo by Newscom/Sven Simon/Imago/Icon SMI

February 23, 2010: The women's ski cross event at Cypress Mountain, Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/Brian Peterson/zumawire

February 18, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Kelly Clark competes in the women's halfpipe. Clark won bronze in the event.

Photo by Newscom/Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/MCT

February 25, 2010: Team USA skier Johnny Spillane makes the second-longest jump on the large hill during the men's nordic combined event.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire

February 28, 2010: The closing ceremony.

Photo by Newscom/Imago/Action Plus

California state Rep. Chuck DeVore, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Senate, has a fun online activity going on today: Asking visitors to go a special Web site and hunt the demon sheep!

The site is a takeoff on an infamous Web video that was put out a month ago by the campaign of his Republican rival Carly Fiorina, who was attacking the third candidate in the race, former Rep. Tom Campbell, as a "fiscal conservative in name only." The video depicted Campbell as some sort of monstrous creature with glowing red eyes -- perhaps a wolf, perhaps a demon -- in sheep's clothing.

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