TPM News

The new Democracy Corps (D) poll of New Jersey gives Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine a five-point lead over his main rival, Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

The numbers: Corzine 43%, Christie 38%, and independent Chris Daggett 12%, with a ±4% margin of error. A week ago, Corzine led in the three-way poll by 42%-39%-13%.

When Daggett-supporters are pushed to choose between one of the top two candidates, Corzine's five-point lead holds steady at 47%-42%. This would suggest that Daggett is taking from both candidates equally at this point, despite a general impression during much of this race that he's taken more votes from Christie.

A few hours after the House Democrats dropped their health care plan, and as they are still counting votes on whether it has enough support, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is raising money on the public option that's included in the bill.

The fundraising email subject line sure is attention getting: "Breaking News: Strong Public Option Introduced."

In the message to DCCC supporters, Chairman Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) lauds the health care plan and thanks Democrats for standing up and speaking out. And then he asks for more cash:

"Now that we've taken this historic step, the media, pundits, and defenders of the status quo are wondering, "How will you respond?" Help us raise $50,000 by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT to send a powerful message that the American people stand behind a strong public option and comprehensive health care reform."

Full email after the jump.

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TPMDC has learned that House Democrats are whipping the new health care bill Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced this morning.

Here's the text of the question Democratic members must respond to this afternoon.


Will you support passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act?


***Please send your response to your assigned Regional Whip NO LATER than 3:00pm TODAY***

The Affordable Health Care for America Act Bill Summary

***The full text of the legislation will be available on the website of the Committee on Rules: ***

***The attached document compares the Affordable Health Care for America Act to H.R. 3200, as introduced***

Yesterday, Sen. Evan Bayh joined his colleague Joe Lieberman in suggesting that he may oppose health-care reform, citing concerns about the deficit. Bayh has long been one of the more conservative members of the Democratic caucus. But is his stance also affected by the fact that his wife has reportedly earned at least $2 million over the last six years as a member of the board of a major health insurer?

Susan Bayh's affiliation with Indianapolis-based WellPoint isn't news. But a new report on TheStreet digs into the details. It also finds that last year, Susan Bayh sat on four other corporate boards, in addition to WellPoint's. She received over $656,0000 in cash and stock for all her board work, around half of which came from WellPoint.

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President Obama spoke briefly to reporters about his surprise trip to Dover Air Force Base early this morning to honor 18 Americans recently killed in Afghanistan.

"Obviously it was a sobering reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our young men and women in uniform are engaging in every single day. Not only our troops, but their families as well," he said.

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House Republicans slammed the new Democratic health care reform bill this morning, but didn't say when or if they'll be offering a reform package of their own.

GOP leader John Boehner led a press conference to voice his concerns about the bill an hour or so after Pelosi was done presenting it outside. He walked carrying the nearly 2,000 page house bill, which he dropped with a thud onto the podium.

"Through August and September, the American people made it clear they want know part of a government-run system for providing health care," he said. "[But] this bill amounts to a government takeover of our health care system."

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Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)--co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus--was not in attendance at today's health care bill unveiling. But his office sends over the following quote, suggesting that he plans to continue his push for a strong public option, even though the base House bill doesn't go as far as he'd like.

"I am not rolling over. I will insist on a Medicare-plus-five amendment on the Floor so that the full Caucus can vote on it. We are hopeful that the Rules Committee will allow this amendment, which has tremendous public support, to be voted on for the record."

Grijalva has been leading the charge in the House for a robust public option, suggesting that progressives might defect from the final bill if the plan isn't tied to Medicare reimbursement rates. We'll keep an eye out for his next move.

President Obama made a surprise visit overnight to Dover Air Force Base to witness the return of the bodies of 18 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan. The unscheduled, unannounced trip took place just before 4 a.m. on October 29. Read the TPMDC report here.

Obama went into the chapel at Dover to meet with the families of the fallen before participating in a 15-minute traditional ceremony known as a transfer. The pool reporter was told that during the transfer, Air Force Chaplain Maj. Richard S. Bach, would offer a prayer. Here, Obama stands with military dignitaries and Attorney General Eric Holder during the dignified transfer of Sgt. Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Indiana. Griffin was one of 18 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan on October 26.


The dignified transfer of Sgt. Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Indiana.


The solemn visit -- Obama's first such experience since taking office and lifting the ban on photographing war dead -- comes as he's wrestling with a decision to send up to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The White House pool was summoned just before midnight to witness the moment.


The White House said the group with Obama at Dover included Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, travel director Marvin Nicholson, Denis McDonough of his national security team, Attorney General Eric Holder, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart, U.S. Army Assistant Judge Advocate Maj Gen Daniel Wright, U.S. Army Special Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Repass, and Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center Col. Robert Edmondson, who will serve as the Dignified Transfer Host Officer.


"You get a real sense of gravity when you see the faces of those there to grieve for a loved one," Gibbs said, of his own experience.



A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed one of Orly Taitz's birther lawsuits, saying it would be unconstitutional for the courts to "effectively overthrow a sitting president."

In his ruling, Judge David O. Carter said the plaintiffs, represented by Taitz, had asked the courts to go outside their constitutional power by demanding President Obama produce further documentation proving he was born in the United States, and if he couldn't, shutting down the federal government and holding an election.

"Plaintiffs have attacked the judiciary, including every prior court that has dismissed their claim, as unpatriotic and even treasonous for refusing to grant their requests and for adhering to the terms of the Constitution which set forth its jurisdiction," Carter wrote. "Respecting the constitutional role and jurisdiction of this Court is not unpatriotic."

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