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Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) issued a statement today on the White House's health care reform proposal:

I was pleased to see that President Obama's health care proposal did not include several of the sweetheart deals provided to select states in the Senate bill. Unfortunately, the President's proposal encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable. While the President has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to resolving our differences, there is still work to be done before Congress can pass comprehensive health care reform.

In today's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama didn't include a public option in his health care plan because it doesn't have the votes to pass.

"We have seen obviously that though there are some that are supportive of this, there isn't enough political support in a majority to get this through," Gibbs said today, according to Sam Stein. "The president ... took the Senate bill as the base and looks forward to discussing consensus ideas on Thursday."

The White House released Obama's new proposal this week ahead of a bipartisan health care summit planned for Thursday.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced today which Senate Republicans will attend Thursday's bipartisan health care summit at the White House.

McConnell will attend with Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John Barrasso (R-WY).

The Senate Democrats attending the meeting were also announced this week: Sens. Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Patty Murray, Max Baucus, Chris Dodd, Tom Harkin, Jay Rockefeller and Kent Conrad.

House leadership from both parties will also attend.

ACORN is pushing back against reports that it's on the verge of collapse as a national organization, in the wake of last year's hidden camera scandal. But it's not making any long-term predictions about its future.

Yesterday, City Hall News of New York City reported that ACORN "has been forced to suspend most operations as of today." It also reported that the organization's New York branch had morphed into a new group, New York Communities for Change, but was still being led by many of the same people as previously. The California branch of ACORN also recently split off.

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Amidst the arguments over the national health care debate, one possible presidential candidate, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), is himself in the middle of a state health care debate. Indeed, Pawlenty could potentially have a veto overridden by the legislature, in his attempt to shut down and then restructure a state health care safety net program.

Last week, Pawlenty vetoed the extension of the General Assistance Medical Care program (GAMC), a state program first created in the late 1970s, which provides health care coverage for very poor adults who don't qualify for other federal or state programs. Pawlenty has proposed shifting the program's enrollees, which include the mentally ill and homeless, into the separate MinnesotaCare program for the uninsured working poor. Pawlenty has said that would save money.

"This is one of those issues that puts the governor's philosophical principles and national political aspirations at odds with the constituent demands and expectations of individual Republican legislators," said Lawrence Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota.

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Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, and Army Secretary John McHugh testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell today and made clear they are less than enthusiastic about repealing the policy.

Casey and McHugh, like many lawmakers, said they are waiting for the completion of a policy review before they make a decision. The review could take up to a year.

"I do have serious concerns about the impact of repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for eight and a half years. We just don't know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness," Casey said, adding that he fully supports Defense Secretary Robert Gates' call for the review.

Casey said he can only offer his "informed military judgment to the secretary of defense, the president and Congress" after he sees the review.

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A new poll shows it's the best and worst of times for Democrats in the key swing state of Ohio. After several polls showing incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland (D) trailing former Rep. John Kasich (R) in the gubernatorial contest, a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Strickland has retaken the lead. That's good news for Democrats hoping to hang on to a key governor's mansion in a tough year.

But at the same time, the poll shows President Obama's approval rating has tanked in Ohio, a crown jewel of his 2008 sweep to the White House.

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The letter urging the Senate to use reconciliation to pass the public option has been slowly growing, but several senators are telling us today they won't be signing on.

A spokesman for freshman Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) told TPM today the senator won't sign the letter.

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