TPM News

A new ABC/Washington Post poll has some mixed news for public opinion on health care reform, but does show a positive sign for reformers in a narrowing of the intensity gap.

A lot of this all depends on how the question is asked. To start off, 46% of Americans approve of the health care proposals before Congress, with 48% opposed, compared to a 45%-50% gap last month. the poll also has 30% strongly approving, and 36% strongly disapproving, compared to a wider 27%-40% intensity gap last month.

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Poll: Americans Continue To Worry About The Economy A new AP/GfK poll finds that 80% of Americans rate the condition of the economy as poor, and a majority continue to worry about their own ability to make ends meet. In addition, 68% worry about big, unexpected medical expenses, up 7 percent from July. In a silver lining for President Obama, only 20% blame him for the economic crisis, compared to 54% who blame George W. Bush, and 19% who blame Bill Clinton.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart from the White House at 9:55 a.m. ET, arriving in New York City at 11:05 a.m. ET. He will deliver a major speech on the financial crisis at 12:10 p.m. ET, marking the one-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. He will depart from New York at 3:35 p.m. ET, arriving back at the White House at 4:45 p.m. ET.

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According to the New York Times, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America will spend $150 million specifically boosting for the health care reform proposal introduced last week by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).

PhRMA has already spent millions on ads supporting the idea of reform more generically. But now that Baucus has come forward with an industry friendly proposal of his own--one that's significantly less progressive than the other proposals in Congress--PhRMA's throwing it's weight specifically behind his plan.

Baucus will unveil a draft of his legislation this week, and begin hearings on it next week. His legislation will not include a public health insurance option.

In an interview broadcast on 60 Minutes tonight, President Obama told CBS journalist Steve Kroft at the White House on Friday that, "I believe that we will have enough votes to pass not just any health care bill, but a good health care bill."

"I'm confident that we've got that," Obama said.

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On Friday we reported that Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) was floating the possibility that he might invoke state sovereignty to prevent Minnesota from participating in federal health care reform.

Pawlenty, in response to a caller on a Republican Governors Association conference call, said of Republican governors' use of the 10th Amendment: "I think we can see hopefully see a resurgence in claims and maybe even bring up lawsuits if need be."

This antiquated nullification doctrine -- which predates the Civil War -- essentially holds that states can nullify unconstitutional federal laws.

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Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press this morning, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), said his party will go forward with health care reform regardless of whether any GOPers come along for the ride.

When asked if any GOP Senators would support a health bill, Durbin said, "I'm not going to presume any Republican Senators at this point."

He continued:

But the fact is, we are not going to miss this opportunity. We invite the Republicans to join us for this historic opportunity. If they do not, we are still going to go forward.

That would likely mean passing health care legislation through reconciliation -- something Howard Dean supported on Meet the Press.

"At the end of the day, the American people want a bill," Dean said. "And they're not going to care if it's reconciliation or if it's ramming it through. What they want is a decent bill that makes sense to them."

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press this morning, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) added his voice to a growing chorus of Democrats who oppose sending more US troops to Afghanistan.

"Sending additional troops would not be the right thing to do," Durbin said. Referencing a floor speech that Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) gave Friday on the same point, Durbin said, "I agree with Senator Levin."

"Let the Afghans bring stability to their own country," Durbin said Sunday. "Let's work with them to make that happen."

Earlier this morning, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said on CNN that she doesn't think Afghanistan can function as a democracy.

This commercial played about halfway through this morning's edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Apparently they're going for a politically-inclined audience. Enjoy:

Don't count on it. CBS' Bob Schieffer asked her more than once this morning on Face the Nation whether she'd vote for a public option, even if she was the only GOPer in the Senate to do so. While Snowe did not explicitly rule out voting for a public option, she emphasized that she'd like to see the public option dropped from the debate over health care reform.

"It's universally opposed by all Republicans in the Senate," said Sen. Snowe (R-ME). "There's no way to pass a plan that includes a public option."

On Face the Nation this morning, CBS' Bob Shieffer showed a clip of Steve Kroft's 60 Minutes interview with President Barack Obama, which will air at 7 p.m. tonight. The president criticized a recent "coarsening of our political dialogue."

"The truth of the matter is that there has been, I think, a coarsening of our political dialogue," the President said. "I will also say that in the era of 24-hour cable news cycles, that the loudest, shrillest voices get the most attention."

"One of the things that I'm trying to figure out is how can we make sure that civility is interesting."