TPM News

Supporters of action on climate change are still working to make hay out of those forged letters, sent by a Washington lobbying firm opposing a recent climate change bill.

The National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, American Progress Action Fund, the NAACP and the AAUW, a women's rights group, have set up a "hotline" where callers can leave tips about forged letters and other suspected trickery by industry lobbyists, reports The Hill.

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The anti-reform finger biting victim wouldn't speak to us here at TPM. But he would speak to FNC's Neil Cavuto just moments ago.

William J. Rice, 65, verified much of the story we've pieced together today. The pro-reform biter -- who Rice called "a deranged individual" -- had words with Rice at a small anti-reform demonstration across the street from a large pro-reform rally in southern California last night.

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Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) had some harsh words for President Obama at a town hall back home in Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports -- indeed, Inhofe says Obama is doing such a bad job, he's not sure the country will last long enough for when the next Congress is sworn in, in January 2011.

"Every institution that has made this country the greatest nation in the world is under attack," said Inhofe.

And regarding Guantanamo Bay, Inhofe said: "I don't know why President Obama is obsessed with turning terrorists loose in America."

And Inhofe worries for America's future: "Those of you who think like I do, hope this country can hang on another 16 months."

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) wants everybody in Washington to know that, though the White House and most Democrats have written him off completely, he's still relevant to the health care debate.

"Despite some reports, I am still working with Sen. Baucus and other members of the so-called Gang of Six," Enzi said in a statement today.

This is the same Mike Enzi who said today that the health care bill he's so meticulously working on will likely fail, and that he probably won't support it in any case.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be in jeopardy of losing his seat in Nevada--but it's not because of his stance on health care reform.

A new Research 2000 poll commissioned by Daily Kos finds that, by a significant margin of 52-40, Nevadans favor creating a public option.

As with almost all of these polls, the findings are extremely polarized, with a huge majority of Democrats in favor of creating a government run health insurance plan, and a huge majority of Republicans opposing it.

Reid has said he's in favor of creating a public option that would be administered by a private entity.

Oh this is good...

Remember how Alberto Gonzales came out the other day and said he supports Eric Holder's decision to investigate torture, as long as the probe is limited to CIA personnel who exceeded the lawyers' legal guidance?

Well it looks like even that qualified position was too much for torture supporters on the right. Because now Gonzo has crawled back to the Washington Times to say that, actually, he didn't really mean it.

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen held a press briefing today about the increasingly unpopular and violent war in Afghanistan.

"We have to start to turn this thing around ... over the next 12 or 18 months," said Mullen, adding a note of confidence. "We know how to do this."

"Our mission is to defeat Al-Qaeda and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven again. We need the support of the local population," he said. "The number that counts the most is the number of villagers we protect."

Gates also addressed the recent scandal over private contractors charged with guarding the U.S. embassy in Kabul, who allegedly engaged in hazing and partying while working at the embassy.

"I don't think we have the information to say what ought to be done," he said. "If those allegations are true, those activities are not just offensive to Afghans and Muslims, they're offensive to us, and inexcusable."

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The fallout from Mark Sanford's Argentinian romance is getting increasingly nasty.

Yesterday, State Senator Jake Knotts, a Republican but a committed Sanford foe, sent a letter to fellow lawmakers, in which he accused unnamed supporters of the bed-hopping chief exec of planting a rumor that Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer -- who would become governor if Sanford steps down -- is gay.

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No big surprise here, but at this stage of the game it's worth keeping tabs on what all the key players are saying. Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus says a public option probably isn't gonna make it.

"I'm not sure if public option is going to survive, frankly," Baucus told a crowd in Missoula today, saying a co-op system is much more likely.

Baucus has been fairly mum on his own preferences since handing over the fate of health care reform to the now-defunct Gang of Six. Though he once endorsed a public option, his committee walked away from the measure long ago, and a Finance Committee staffer told me last month that the proposal that eventually emerges from the Finance Committee will represent what Baucus believes can survive the Senate.

The aggressive punch-throwing man whose finger was bitten off at a health reform rally in California last night now has a name: William J. Rice. And chances are, he won't be charged with a crime.

That's according to Capt. Ross Bonfiglio, a public information officer with the Ventura County Sheriffs Department, who I just spoke to. Bonfiglio said Rice -- an anti-reform protester whose severed finger was reattached last night courtesy of Medicare -- is 65, lives in Newbury Park and has cooperated with sheriffs deputies.

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