TPM News

If your friends told you they were staying in to watch Saturday Night Live this weekend, chances are they weren't talking about that show on NBC.

According to an internal C-Span email obtained by TPMDC, the network's website served up 201,741 live streams of the House debate of the health care reform bill Saturday, the highest online viewership C-Span has seen since President Obama was inaugurated in January. (A C-Span employee told us the network doesn't track how many people watch its three cable channels on TV.)

In D.C., watching the day-long debate unfold became something of a social event for nerds. Twitter was alive with snarky comments about the Representatives speaking at any given moment and at least a few bars tuned TVs to the debate, running it alongside college football.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) is blasting President Obama for withholding from the Congressional intelligence committees information on the Fort Hood killings suspect, while at the same time acknowledging the leaders of those panels -- including Hoekstra himself -- have indeed been briefed on Nidal Malik Hasan.

"President Obama said people should not jump to conclusions about what happened at Fort Hood, but the administration is in possession of critical information related to the attack that they are refusing to release to Congress or the American people," Hoekstra said in a statement.

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And the shakeup continues: Washington Times White House correspondent Jon Ward, who started at the paper in 2002, announced this afternoon he is leaving the newspaper. Ward, who started as a Metro reporter at the newspaper, has covered the White House since early 2007. He is joining the Daily Caller, a new conservative-leaning online news site founded by Tucker Carlson that's expected to go live later this year.

It's already been a busy day at the Washington Times. As we reported earlier, there was a major shakeup in top management last night, with three executives leaving the company. TPM has also learned that Executive Editor John Solomon, hired in January 2008, may also be leaving the newspaper.

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Newsweek is continuing to draw scrutiny for an upcoming event on global warming that the magazine plans to co-host with an oil industry lobby group.

Last week, we reported that Newsweek and the American Petroleum Institute are teaming up to put on a panel discussion entitled "Climate and Energy Policy: Moving?," which will be moderated by Howard Fineman, and will feature API CEO Jack Gerard. API is a major Newsweek advertiser, and the two outfits have collaborated on several similar events -- all on the record -- in recent years.

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Sue Lowden, a former Nevada GOP chair and currently a candidate for Senate, could face an interesting obstacle in her quest for the party's nomination to go up against Democratic Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports -- Ron Paul supporters.

A new group called the Fair Nevada Elections PAC, run by nuclear science consultant and Paul-supporter Robert Holloway, contends that Lowden unfairly used her position to prevent Paul delegates from being chosen at the state convention last year. "Sue Lowden basically stole the election for John McCain," said Holloway, a very strong charge to say the least. "We need to elect people who have respect for law and order, and our electoral process."

Lowden spokesman Robert Uithoven fired back, saying that Lowden had in fact allowed Paul to speak at the state convention, and had promoted his appearances around the state. "I think some people want to get stuck reliving the 2008 election cycle," said Uithoven.

Lowden is running in a contested primary against Danny Tarkanian, a former UNLV basketball player.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces a number of obstacles to passing health care reform but his main task is to keep his caucus united for not one, but two, supermajority votes, just to get the reform bill an up or down on the Senate floor. Failure to get 60 votes to push past either of those two procedural chokepoints could derail the reform bill. Here are the six key holdouts Reid must wrangle to reach the magic threshold.

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Asked about the Fort Hood shooting that killed 13 people last week, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in the daily press briefing moments ago that, "the president has been very clear with everyone that no stone should be left unturned to figure out how and why this happened and to ensure that it never happens again."

As for whether it was an act of terrorism, Gibbs said "the FBI's the best place to address that. I do not know that they have a lot more on motive, but they'll have updates this afternoon."

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Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) may have an interesting built-in line of defense against Republicans who would want to seek retribution over his vote for the health care bill: His overwhelmingly Democratic district.

I asked Club For Growth executive director David Keating, whose group has often supported insurgent conservatives -- Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Stephen Laffey and Doug Hoffman, just to name a few -- whether the group might support a primary against Cao. "Our PAC doesn't plan on backing any primary challengers to him," said Keating, "because it would be a waste of money, probably, for the general election."

Cao's district, centered around New Orleans, voted 75%-23% for Barack Obama in November 2008, by far the most Democratic district to be currently represented by a Republican. Cao won a shocking 50%-47% victory in a specially scheduled December election (due to hurricane damage) against Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, who was then under indictment and was later convicted on corruption charges.

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The Republican primary field is getting more crowded in the New Hampshire Senate race, with long-time conservative activist Ovide Lamontagne officially entering the race.

Lamontagne was chairman of the state Board of Education from 1993-1996, and was the Republican nominee for governor in 1996, losing in an open-seat race to Democrat Jeanne Shaheen (now a Senator) by a 57%-40% margin.

Former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte is widely viewed as being the establishment favorite, but in fact it should be a busy primary. In addition to Lamontagne, other candidates include businessmen James Bender and William Binnie, who could both potentially self-finance. Lamontagne has less money coming into the race, but his long-time presence in state politics could make up for it.

Interestingly, Lamontagne explained to the Union-Leader why he won't be self-financing: "The lady of the house won't let it happen. She said that if the market is not there for me to raise the dollars, I ought to reconsider."

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