TPM News

A very, very nervous Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) just spoke with reporters, confirming that his party leadership approached him after his "You lie!" outburst last night, and that he contacted the white House to apologize.

"Well I, uh, last night heard from the leadership that they, uh, wanted me to contact the White House, uh, and state that, uh, my, uh, statements, uh, were inappropriate," said Wilson. "I did, I'm very grateful that the White House, in talking with them, uh, they indicated that they appreciated the call and that we needed to have a civil discussion about the health care issues. And I certainly agree with that."

Wilson then mounted a defense of the substance of his complaint -- insisting that the health care bill would cover illegal immigrants. Non-partisan fact-checkers have disagreed.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) went on MSNBC's Morning Joe today and tried to laugh off his use of a BlackBerry during President Obama's health care speech last night to a joint session of Congress.

But first, Joe Scarborough pretended to be sending a text on his own mobile. Co-host Mika Brzezinski stopped him and, transitioning to Cantor's apparent texting last night, told the GOP Rep, "I hope it was an important text."

Cantor smiled, sort of. "Listen, c'mon now, I'm here to try and talk about the issues," he said.

And what of those issues? Cantor questioned whether Obama's health reform plan would really allow people to keep their doctors if they want to and said last night's speech didn't really remove "the fear that most people have about a potential replacement of the existing health care system."

Cantor described concerns of a "Washington-engineered health care benefit plan" -- and said it's a "puzzle" how Obama's plan would be deficit-neutral. Cantor predicted that "the President is looking to fund this bill on the backs of small businesses. And that's the problem."

A new Rasmussen poll finds that Curt Schilling could have a tough time if he were to run in the special election in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

Only 26% of likely voters think Schilling should run, compared to 53% who say he should not. Only 34% of voters say it is either somewhat or very likely that they would vote him, compared to 54% who say it is not very or not at all likely. Only 25% said Schilling is qualified to serve in the Senate, while 46% say he is not.

Schilling is thinking of getting into the race, running as a Republican in this very Democratic state. Clearly, he would have a tough hill to climb.

Vice President Biden claimed today that the president has a "clear majority" of support for health care reform in both houses of Congress, with or without the GOP.

"I don't know whether he got the Republicans" during his speech to Congress yesterday, Biden said on Good Morning America, but "I'm confident he has a clear majority of the House and the Senate for reform."

On the one hand, this seems like a no-brainer -- President Obama likely didn't sway many Republicans with his address, but the Democrats do have a majority.

But Biden may also be signaling that it doesn't matter whether the president is able to get any Republicans to support his reform plans, because he already has the votes he needs.


The New Mexico Independent reports:

Gov. Bill Richardson, his chief of staff Brian Condit, budget secretary Katherine Miller and security officers were gone within minutes from the scene of an accident Saturday in which a houseboat was sideswiped and another was smashed into at Elephant Butte State Park, according to an eyewitness.

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The money keeps rolling in for Rob Miller, the Iraq War veteran and Democratic candidate against Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).

The DCCC tells me that in the time since Wilson yelled "You lie!" during President Obama's speech last night, Miller has now taken in $200,000, from 5,000 contributors.

Late Update: As of 2 p.m. ET, Miller has now taken in $350,000, from 10,000 individual contributions, the DCCC tells me.

Late Update: As of 2:42 p.m. ET, Miller has now taken in over $400,000, from 11,000 contributors.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said she was pleased with Obama talking last night about "handcuffing the public option" in an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe today. Watch the video below.

"He talked about handcuffing the public option, which is essential...for a moderate like me," she said. "Without handcuffing it, it could morph into a comprehensive government plan, which I think most moderates can't support."

Read what McCaskill had to say on Rep. Joe Wilson after the jump.

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Last night, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) issued an apology -- "I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President's remarks" -- and called the White House after heckling Obama during his nationally televised health care speech.

That's the first time most Americans heard of Congressman Wilson, but it's not, it turns out, the first time Wilson's emotions got the best of him and he was forced to apologize.

Flashback to mid-December 2003, when Essie Mae Washington-Williams came forward with the bombshell that she was the illegitimate daughter of the recently-deceased patriarch of South Carolina politics, Sen. Strom Thurmond.

Rep. Wilson, a former page of Thurmond's, immediately told The State newspaper that he didn't believe Williams. He deemed the revelation "unseemly." And he added that even if she was telling the truth, she should have kept the inconvenient facts to herself:

"It's a smear on the image that [Thurmond] has as a person of high integrity who has been so loyal to the people of South Carolina," Wilson said.

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Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) just tweeted that Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) apology for heckling the president Wednesday isn't enough -- the congressman should be reprimanded.

"Rep. Wilson apologized immediately afterward but I don't think that's adequate," he wrote. "There ought to be a reprimand or censure of Rep. Joe Wilson to discourage that kind of conduct in the future."

Wilson yelled, "You lie!" during President Obama's address to Congress, after Obama said public insurance wouldn't be provided to illegal immigrants. Wilson apologized soon after the speech.

Here are the additional major developments in the "Hot Mike" Duvall story, in which the married California GOP lawmaker and family values crusader resigned yesterday after a hot mic picked up his bragging to a colleague about his sexual encounters with two women -- one of whom is reportedly a lobbyist for an energy company before the committee of which he is vice chair:

• Duvall's resignation will not stop lawmakers from investigating the matter, including whether Duvall traded votes or other influence on utilities issues for sex, according to Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Democrat. Indeed, one member of the ethics panel that will oversee the investigation told the Los Angeles Times that it could expand to look at other lawmakers' affairs with lobbyists.

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