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As an addendum to this post, which noted that House leadership would hold a caucus meeting this afternoon to regain control over their caucus and put together a new coalition to pass health care: that meeting has been canceled, and rescheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Leadership will instead hold individual meetings with key members--including progressives, and blue dogs--to achieve the same ends.

We'll bring you more information about who's involved and what the message is when we get it.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) told The Weekly Standard that House Democrats have rejected the possibility of passing the Senate's health care bill without making any changes -- which looks to be just about the only way the bill can pass now that the Senate Democratic caucus has just 59 votes.

People are disappointed, disillusioned with the way the bill came out. There are major differences like how we pay for it -- the quality provisions are not in there, [the Senate bill] takes away the anti-trust exemptions. Insurance reform is not in there. You still have probably, about number four on the list, is the abortion issue. The one that has members most upset is the sweetheart deals that states received. I don't care if you're the most liberal Democratic member or the most conservative member. That is a non-starter. Leadership has sort of floated that balloon [of passing the Senate bill] and everyone said, 'No way.' So, the only thing I think they can do now is to try to come up with a less aggressive bill and try to do something like that.

Paul Thurmond, a county councilman in Charleston, South Carolina, and a son of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), officially announced today that he is running for Congress. Thurmond is seeking to represent the open seat of GOP Rep. Henry Brown, who is retiring.

"We've reached a point where Congress is simply ignoring the will of the people, and that's not acceptable. It's time to return power to the people, and the states -- where it Constitutionally belongs," Thurmond said in his announcement.

Thurmond is 33 years old, and a son of a legend in South Carolina politics. His father served as both governor and senator, and ran for president in 1948 and carried four Southern states on a segregationist platform. In 2002, Strom Thurmond became the first and so far the only 100-year old senator. Paul Thurmond faces a crowded field in the Republican primary, including Carroll Campbell III, who is also the son of a popular late governor.

Using slightly stronger language than he did in earlier interviews (like this one and this one), White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told CNN today that President Obama's not giving up on health care after last night's Democratic loss in the Massachusetts special election.

He's not gonna walk away from that fight for the American people. But there are also, obviously, people are speaking on this issue. There's frustration with the pace of this. And congressional debate always distorts the substance of what's in these bills and that hurts this enterprise.


"While this wasn't, I think, the referendum on health care that some have portrayed it to be, that's obviously an element of people's frustration."

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA), one of the most outspoken conservatives in Congress, took to the House floor last night to celebrate the victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) as a populist uprising against what he called the Democrats' socialist agenda.

"How could you possibly take away, spend enough money, and take away enough liberty, that the three-and-a-half to one Democrats to Republicans in Massachusetts would elect the Republican to come down to the United States Senate and vote against cloture, so that the Harry Reid bill could be killed in the Senate?" King asked rhetorically. "How could you ever spend that much money? I didn't believe it was possible, Mr. Speaker. But I -- some would say a miracle has taken place tonight, and I wouldn't disagree with that. I believe there has been intervention, and I'm grateful for it."

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is scouring each Senate race with a "forensic examination" of each campaign and candidate in the aftermath of the party's stunning loss last night in Massachusetts.

DSCC Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez told TPMDC in an interview today that Democrats running for and defending Senate seats can't afford to cede the "change" mantle.

The DSCC is immediately assessing each battle from New Hampshire to Colorado to make sure those campaigns are "calibrated to the volatility of this electorate," Menendez said.

"We've got to conduct a forensic examination of each of our campaigns and candidates," he said

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It is now evident to House leadership that their plan to amend the Senate health care bill and toss it back over to the upper chamber for final passage has been scuttled. Members of the House Democratic caucus are wandering far off the reservation, and the longer that persists, the more difficult it will be for leadership to pull them back into the corral.

In an attempt to regain control over an increasingly chaotic situation, leadership will hold a caucus meeting this afternoon*, and at stake could be the fate of the reform drive that has eaten most of the first year of Barack Obama's presidency.

To right the course, they'll have to convince rank and file members--but particularly progressives, who are now in full revolt--that success is still possible, half measures won't do, and failure is not an option. Given what members are saying, though, that won't be easy.

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Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) said today that he plans to go to Washington, D.C., this Thursday.

In a press conference today, he said he hoped Senate leadership would seat him right away. But leaders have said they will wait until they get official certification from Massachusetts, which could take around 15 days.

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The one-way ticket meme lives!

Quizzing an administration official at the Homeland Security Committee Flight 253 hearing today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pointed to a missed red flag: the fact that accused Christmas bomber Umar Abdulmutallab bought a one-way ticket with cash to travel from Lagos, Nigeria, to Detroit.

The only problem with that, of course, is that it's simply not true. As TPMmuckraker has documented, Abdulmutallab flew to Detroit on a round-trip ticket purchased in Ghana, according to the Nigerian government.

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President Obama met with retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) yesterday and, according to the New York Times, pushed Dodd on the creation of a consumer protection agency.

Dodd, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, has reportedly been discussing dropping the agency in order to get Republican support on other financial regulatory reforms. Dodd recently announced that he will retire after this term.

But aides told the Times that for Obama, the agency is "non-negotiable."

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