TPM News

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered remarks after the Senate passed a reconciliation bill reshaping parts of the health care overhaul this afternoon. Here are his complete prepared remarks:

We have worked and waited for this moment for a century. Last year, a supermajority of the Senate passed the most crucial social, economic and moral change in a generation. This week, the President signed it into law. And today we made that good law even better for Nevadans and Americans across the country.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of Arkansas finds Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln ahead of her primary challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. But the gap has been closing -- and it's also possible that Halter could be the stronger Democrat for the general election.

The numbers: Lincoln 44%, Halter 31%, with a ±5% margin of error. In the previous poll, from late November and early December 2009 -- before Halter was officially in the race -- Lincoln led by 42%-26%.

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Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said in a statement to reporters today that his Kew Gardens, New York office is closed until authorities complete their investigation into a suspicious package sent there. It's the latest in a string of incidents threatening members of Congress since health care reform passed over the weekend.

Weiner's statement:

Earlier today an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter was delivered to my community office in Kew Gardens. The NYPD was immediately alerted and have responded appropriately by sending a Haz-Mat team. Any questions related to their response should be directed to the NYPD. My first priority is the safety of my staff and neighbors, and the authorities are currently taking steps to investigate and resolve the situation.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) had some strong words today for his Republican counterpart, after Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed earlier that it was Democrats who are fanning the flames of violence.

"Democrats aren't playing with this at all," Clyburn said. "I would remind Mr. Cantor that it was his member who yelled 'baby killer' to Stupak, who the next morning sent out a fundraising letter trying to benefit from that effort."

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At an Iowa City rally promoting the recently signed health care legislation, President Barack Obama confronted both right wing attacks calling his bill "Armageddon," and left wing criticisms that the bill lacks a public option.

"I'm not exaggerating," Obama told the crowd, "leaders of the Republican party, they called the passage of this bill 'Armageddon!' Armageddon. End of freedom as we know it. So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there were any asteroids falling, or some cracks opening up in the Earth. Turned out it was a nice day."

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The Richmond Police Department released the following statement Thursday, along with this incident report:

Richmond Police Investigate Cantor Building Vandalism

March 25, 2010

The Richmond Police Department is investigating an act of vandalism at the Reagan Building, 25 E. Main St., Richmond, Virginia. A first floor window was struck by a bullet at approximately 1 a.m. on Tuesday, March 23. The building, which has several tenants including an office used by Congressman Eric Cantor, was unoccupied at the time.

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At a press conference in Atlanta today, Newt Gingrich delivered the following remarks on recent violent threats against Democratic leaders:

Just as there was no place for the kind of viciousness against Bush and Cheney, there's no place for viciousness against Democrats.

I would condemn any kind of activity that involves that kind of personal threat.

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Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper says she has received "threatening communication" she believes is tied to her vote in support of health care reform.

Dahlkemper released a statement to reporters today detailing multiple "emails, letters, faxes and phone calls that are threatening or menacing in nature as a result of my vote in favor of health care reform." She said her office hasn't been able to trace the senders of the messages and noted that while some are from Western Pennsylvania, she does not believe the majority of the messages are from her constituents.

The pro-life Democrat -- who agreed to support the legislation after Rep. Bart Stupak and leadership forged a compromise on an executive order handling abortion language with the White House -- said she has told authorities about a "threatening letter" sent to her Armstrong, Pa. district office on Tuesday.

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Karl Rove was on Fox News today slamming Democrats for "fanning the flames" and drawing attention to recent violent outbreaks against House leaders, saying that "it might inspire copycats."

Rove was particularly critical of Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who, he said, "owes the American people an apology" for going on cable TV and making "claims about these threats that he had no right to do." Rove went on to call Van Hollen's remarks "reprehensible" and said they show his "lack of character."

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)--who has been working with Democrats to draft a bipartisan climate and energy bill--says the prospects for passing any more major legislation may be lost now that the Dems have all but finished up health care. One problem, he says, is that Democrats may not have the appetite after health care to commit to addressing other tough issues. But beyond that, he says, members of the GOP might just pick up their toys and go home.

"This makes it harder because quite frankly people are gonna be risk averse," Graham said in response to a question from TPMDC, moments after the Senate's final health care vote. "Democrats have taking a beating passing this bill, and I think when they go home for Easter they're gonna get some pretty strong blowback, and when you approach another tough issue like energy and climate, there's going to be risk aversion on their side and our people are pretty upset."

I asked him to elaborate on the Republican side of that equation. "The consequences of doing something this big in such a partisan, sleazy way--those consequences are real," Graham said.

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