TPM News

If Chuck Todd's right about this, it could pour gasoline on the dying embers of a White House-Senate conflagration.



According to Todd, the White House is telling Reid *[see Late Update below], "You're the vote counter, but don't come crying to us when you need that last vote. That said, I've also been told, OK right now it's this 'opt-out,' the compromise could end up being the 'opt-in' and maybe this is what Reid was doing here--going with the 'opt-out' so the 'opt-in' was the compromise rather than the trigger being the compromise."

That's a lot of jargon, but to break it down, it sounds like White House officials are telling Todd two things.

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Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, has penned a new blog post at National Review, using a familiar slogan as a rallying cry for the right: "Yes, We Can."

That was, of course, President Obama's campaign slogan -- which was in turn borrowed from the United Farm Workers union, and its campaigns of the early 1970's with the Spanish slogan, "Sí se puede." But Hoffman is speaking here of a wave of conservative change.

Hoffman also promises that if the Republican Party does not nominate truly conservative candidates, they'll be seeing more third-party candidates like himself: "Our goal should not be a Republican majority. It should be a conservative majority. If the Republican party will not be conservative, then we are going to run against them . . . and we're going to win."

Confirming a theory first reported by TPMmuckraker last week, quotes from law enforcement officials in the Washington Post reveal that the country to which espionage suspect Stewart Nozette allegedly traveled with two computer thumb drives in January was India.

Contacted by TPMmuckraker last week, the spokesman for the Indian Embassy in Washington said the embassy had no comment on the Nozette case, though he was familiar with the matter. Nikhilesh Dhirar did not immediately respond to a request for comment today. No wrongdoing by India is alleged, and it's not known what was on those thumb drives Nozette allegedly brought to India, where he was working on a space project.

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When former President George W. Bush spoke at a motivational seminar in Fort Worth yesterday, his most memorable anecdote, according to listeners, was one about dog poop.

Bush told a crowd of about 11,000 in his most publicized event since leaving office that he had recently taken his dog, Barney, for a walk, plastic bag in hand.

It was then that he realized "Man, my life has changed!"

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In a new TV ad from Republican New Jersey gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine is attacked for not paying state taxes -- though the truth of the matter appears to be much less nefarious than the ad implies.

"Last year, millionaire Corzine paid nothing, zero in state income taxes," the announcer says. "That's outrageous."

As the Asbury Park Press points out in its fact-check of the ad, Corzine reported a $3.13 million loss last year on his federal income tax returns. In addition, he in fact owed the state $1,520, which was paid for through a tax credit carried over from the previous year.

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The new survey of the New Jersey gubernatorial by Public Policy Polling (D) finds Republican Chris Christie leading Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine -- with independent Chris Daggett possibly playing spoiler against Corzine.

The numbers: Christie 42%, Corzine 38%, and Daggett 13%, with a 3.9% margin of error. Two weeks ago, Christie was ahead in PPP's survey by 40%-39%-13%.

The internals of the poll suggest that Daggett may actually be siphoning more voters from Corzine right now than from Christie -- a big change from two weeks ago. In the latest poll, 42% of the present pool of Daggett-supporters list Corzine as their second choice, compared to 32% for Christie. By contrast, Daggett-backers in the last poll went 48%-34% for Christie on second choices. A big caveat is that the margins of error are very large in these sub-samples, at ±10.6% this week and ±11.4% two weeks ago, but it is an interesting data point.

From the pollster's analysis: "The Daggett voters seem to be pretty volatile so if they go back to the Corzine camp he'll have a good shot of pulling it out. The campaign that does the better job of turning out its voters will win."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters this morning the House may unveil its health care bill by the end of the week, but he also said that the Democratic leaders probably have more votes for a more modest public option than they do for the public option preferred by most liberals.

"It's possible... that would be our objective, and it's our objective because we want to consider this bill next week, and we pledged to give 72 hours notice so we need to roll out the bill this week. So it's very possible that we're going to have a meeting right after this meeting and I think we'll have some better feel for where we are on that."

That will likely please anxious reformers, but it may not all be good news. Asked what type of public option the House bill would likely include, Hoyer suggested that a public option with negotiated rates probably has more votes than does a more robust measure. Though the robust public option has a great deal of support among Democrats, Hoyer asks rhetorically "What additional numbers can you add by going to negotiated rates?...[W]e don't have that exact number. But certainly there are people who want the negotiated rates who would add themselves to the number [that support a robust public option] that is anywhere between 200 and 218 at this point in time."

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Calling last week's hoax by the Yes Men "nothing less than commercial identity theft masquerading as social activism," the Chamber of Commerce is suing the prankster group and its allies for trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, reports Mother Jones.

The Yes Men -- actors Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos (who also use the names Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, respectively), last week held a fake press conference in Washington DC, along with activists from the Avaaz Action Factory, in which they impersonated Chamber executives and announced that the group had shifted its opposition to real efforts at tackling global warming. A press release announcing the event fooled Reuters and other news outlets into reporting that the Chamber had changed its stance.

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