TPM News

Jon Stewart targeted MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on The Daily Show last night, slamming the host with his own "special comment."

Stewart put on a pair of glasses and impersonated Olbermann, mocking him for his over-the-top critique of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA): 'Now you are just calling people names."

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A new USA Today/Gallup poll out today shows 55% of respondents want President Obama and Congressional Democrats to "suspend work on the current health care bill ... and consider alternative bills that can receive Republican support." And 39% want to see Democrats "continue to try" to pass health care.

Broken down by party, 67% of Democrats want to see lawmakers continue working on health care -- but 87% of Republicans want to see them stop. Among independents, 56% want them to suspend their work on health care.

And only 32% of overall respondents thought health care should be the top priority.

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NYT: A New Search For Consensus On Health Care The New York Times reports on the latest efforts to find a new consensus for a pared-down health care bill: "The consensus measure would be less ambitious than the bills approved last year. It would extend insurance coverage to perhaps 12 million to 15 million people -- and provide political cover to Democrats, who said they could not simply drop the issue after spending so much time and effort on it. The pared-back approach would cover fewer than half of those who, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would gain coverage under the House and Senate bills. But it would not put the government on the hook for what critics say is a new entitlement, a change that would appeal to some Republicans."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart form the White House at 9:35 a.m. ET and Andrews Air Force Base at 9:50 a.m. ET, arriving at 11 a.m. ET in Cleveland, Ohio. Obama will tour the Wind Turbine Manufacturing and Fab Lab facilities at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, at 1:20 p.m. ET, and hold a town hall meeting at 2:05 p.m. ET. Obama will depart from Cleveland at 4:55 p.m. ET, arriving back at Andrews Air Force Base at 6 p.m. ET, and back at the White House at 6:15 p.m. ET.

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Like thousands of other Americans, Jim Knapp got involved with the Tea Party movement in the spring of 2009. Knapp, who lives in Sacramento, California, helped form a local group that organized a well-attended event on Tax Day last April.

But around May, something unexpected happened: Locally-based Republican party strategists started coming to the group's meetings. That alarmed Knapp and many of his fellow activists, who were motivated in large part by a deep suspicion of both major parties. "I said, 'what the fuck are you doing here?'" the blunt-spoken Knapp told TPMmuckraker.

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President Obama, hammered for taking a hands-off approach on health care to begin with, has all but disappeared from the discussions as Congressional leaders attempt to figure out a way to finalize a health care plan now that they have just 59 Senate seats.

Our sources suggest to us the White House has been hands-off since the fate of the health care bill went from nearly done to unbelievably uncertain this week.

Obama's health care message has been to say he hopes Congress tries to "move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on," a signal many took as backing away to let leaders do what they think is most politically viable.

A White House aide insisted Obama is "engaged" on health care and that "active" discussions are happening in an around the Oval Office.

Obama has been speaking with Congressional leadership including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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The fate of health care reform rests in the hands of House Democrats, and increasingly it appears as if moving ahead with a comprehensive bill is too heavy a lift for them. But the party extends beyond the House of Representatives, and yet it increasingly appears as if the Democrats' brethren in the upper chamber have hung them out to dry. And complicating matters slightly is that it's not clear whether it's dawned on House members--many of whom are still pinning their hopes on the Senate--that the other body has moved on.

The preferred way forward for unions and the reform campaign Health Care for America Now (not to mention the preferred solution of many members) is for the House to pass the Senate bill along with a separate package making what they see as a variety of necessary changes to it. (Given the math in the Senate, many of those changes would have to be passed via the filibuster proof budget-reconciliation process.) But the House isn't willing to take anything for granted. And for the promise of a fix to be worth the paper it's printed on, members will want some assurance from the Senate (among others) that the Senate will be willing to act. With just about every Democrat in the Senate saying they've moved on to other, newer priorities, it's safe to say they're not getting that.

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As the post-Scott Brown phase of the health care debate unfolds, TPMDC is keeping score of where House members stand on the various proposals to move reform forward. Using reader emails as a starting point and confirming them with outside press accounts and our own reporting from Capitol Hill, we're keeping up with Democratic Representatives as they sort out how -- and if -- the reform process gets back on track after the loss of the Democratic supermajority in the House.

The choices facing Representatives break down like this so far: A member can choose to vote for the Senate bill as it exists today, vote for the Senate bill with the promise that the Senate will use reconciliation to make immediate changes to it, split up both bills into smaller single-reform bills and hope there's bipartisan support for them, scrap both bills and start over, or walk away from the process entirely.

Most of these options are new, and members are still making sense of them. Below is our confirmed list of where Representatives stand right now -- check back often for updates as we receive them.

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In a statement released this afternoon, Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he can't support passing the Senate bill through the House.

"I cannot support the Senate bill for the same reasons I could not before," he said. "It is a collection of unfair elements, including last-minute deal-making with certain individual senators in exchange for their votes, that has incensed voters across the country. It does not add up to an improvement in our health care system."

But he offered a different plan:

I favor a two-part approach. Part one would be to pass a clean reconciliation bill requiring only 51 Senate votes that would include many important budget-related elements. This would not merely amend the Senate bill; it would pull the best budget-related items supported by the vast majority of American people from the existing reform bills and create a single transparent piece of legislation. Part two would be to send a separate handful of popular regulatory measures to the Senate, where they enjoy bipartisan support.


He claimed this could be done "without the need to re-engage a debate on how to 'fix' the irredeemable Senate bill in the face of unrelenting Republican obstructionism."

Full statement after the jump.

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Air America announced today that it's declaring bankruptcy and ceasing its live broadcasts immediately. Here's the statement posted on Air America's website:

It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business.

The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business. This past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry generally. National and local advertising revenues have fallen drastically, causing many media companies nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection. From large to small, recent bankruptcies like Citadel Broadcasting and closures like that of the industry's long-time trade publication Radio and Records have signaled that these are very difficult and rapidly changing times.

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In a new ethics complaint that alleges large-scale abuse of office, the former attorney general of Kansas is accused of dispatching staff to record license plates of women entering George Tiller's abortion clinic, getting records from a motel where patients stayed, and obtaining state medical files under false pretenses, then retaining them after his term as AG was over and repeatedly lying about it in court.

All of this occurred during Attorney General Phill Kline's unsuccessful pursuit of Tiller, the doctor who ran Women's Health Care Services of Wichita and was shot to death, allegedly by an anti-abortion extremist, in 2009.

Kline is also accused of violating professional standards by appearing on the O'Reilly Factor five days before the 2006 election to talk about his pursuit of Tiller, flouting a warning from the state Supreme Court not to publicize legal positions. He was up for reelection as AG at the time.

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