TPM News

Rudy Giuliani is expected to announce today that he will not run for Senate in 2010 against appointed Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a blow for Republican recruitment efforts after Giuliani had consistently led Gillibrand in the polls.

Giuliani will also endorse former Rep. Rick Lazio for governor, after having contemplated that race earlier this year -- an interesting turn of events, considering how Lazio became the 2000 nominee for Senate against Hillary Clinton after Giuliani had dropped out of that race, too.

The polls have shown that Gillibrand remains a largely unknown quantity with the voters, and faces a potential primary challenge from outgoing New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who came closer to victory than anybody had expected in his 2009 race for mayor. But without Rudy Giuliani, the Republicans have lost their biggest name in a state where they don't have much of a bench to speak of anymore.

Yesterday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) articulated surprise and disappointment that the White House had not done more to push Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to support a public option. Moments before a vote this morning, I asked him to elaborate.

"All I'll say, I was surprised to hear this because I had assumed all along that the White House was pushing strongly for the public option," Harkin said. "I just assumed that."

"Regardless of that, I mean it was clear that in the end that we did not have the votes for it," Harkin added. "This bill is too important in its entirety to let it sink on that issue."

"As I said yesterday, the issue of a public option will be revisited," the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee insisted. "I guarantee it."

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WaPo: Health Care Bill Has Stolen Capitol Hill's Christmas The Washington Post reports that Senators and their staffers have been unable to appreciate the Christmas season, because of the health care debates: "Stuck on Capitol Hill every day since Nov. 30, they have had no time for the gym, let alone Christmas -- no time to buy a tree, unpack lights and ornaments, or shop for presents. Republican aides have taken to wishing one another a 'Harry, Harry Christmas,' a not-so-subtle slight at Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), the Ebenezer Scrooge majority leader."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and meet at 10 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 10:40 a.m. ET, he will meet with CEOs of several small banks and community banks. At 4:10 p.m. ET, he will meet with members of his National Economic Council.

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A new Quinnipiac poll finds that a large majority of Americans continue to oppose the health care bill -- and that two policies that have been dropped, the public option or the Medicare buy-in, which were both very popular.

The poll finds 53% of respondents saying they mostly disapprove of the health care plan in Congress, to only 36% who approve. From the party internals, support is at 64%-22% among Democrats, 10%-83% among Republicans, and 30%-58% among independents.

The now-departed public option, however, is supported by a 56%-38% majority, including a 54%-41% margin among independents. Also, the Medicare buy-in for Americans ages 55-64 was supported by 64%-30%, including 57%-36% among independents and even a 50%-44% margin among Republicans.

The poll also finds that only 31% agree both that the President and Congress must take on health care reform now and support the current proposals. Another 28% want reform now but don't support the current proposals (a number spread pretty evenly across all partisan sub-samples), while 36% don't think reform should be taken on now.

From the pollster's analysis: "While the Senate leadership reportedly has the votes to pass a health care overhaul plan this week, outside the Beltway there appears to be weak support, both to what voters understand as the plan, and the need to pass that plan now."

The Senate cleared its second procedural obstacle this morning, when 58 Democrats and 2 Independents agreed to end a second Republican filibuster of health care reform.

The final vote on the motion to end the filibuster--known as cloture--was 60 to 39. After Monday morning's 1 am vote, the result of today's wasn't much in doubt. But the substance of the underlying was in fact much greater. On Monday, Democrats signaled their unity behind the cause of health care reform, by agreeing to end a filibuster on a package of amendments to Senate health care legislation.

Today, with the 60 vote alliance not in doubt, the party agreed to end a filibuster of the actual reform package--known as the "substitute."

On Wednesday, Democrats are expected to end one final filibuster, before holding an up or down vote on the bill itself Christmas eve. That is, unless the GOP admits the jig is up, and allows the votes to happen sooner than scheduled.


December 21: The Boys & Girls Club in Washington, D.C. hosts a special guest. President Obama reads "The Polar Express," shared a few Christmas cookies and buried himself in a group photo session.

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Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) said on MSNBC he was surprised that Sen. Joe Lieberman told reporters the White House didn't pressure him to support a public option.

Harkin, a progressive who wanted to see a public option in the health care bill, said he'd "assumed" that President Obama would have been pushing Lieberman (I-CT) at all costs since that's what Senate Democrats ultimately compromised on to secure Lieberman's vote.

"I'm really surprised at that. I would have thought that President Obama, I know he met a number of times with Sen. Lieberman, and Sen. Nelson and others," Harkin said. "I assumed that they were pushing hard for the public option. ... The senator said 'No' under any circumstance and that's why we had to do the compromise."

Lieberman told Huffington Post his negotiations on the public option were with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using a new pitch in its year-end fundraising: Help our online media guy meet his quota so he can see his mom and his dog for Christmas.

The new e-mail from DCCC New Media staffer Brandon English contains a supposed e-mail from his mom, asking when he's coming home. It is accompanied by a photo purported to be his dog, with his mom saying the dog misses him.

"Help me meet my year-end goal so I can go home and see my puppy!" English exclaims.

Hmm...I can has campaign contribution?

Check out the full e-mail after the jump.

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