TPM News

While en route to a meeting of the Democratic caucus this evening, where members will discuss his threat to filibuster health care reform, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) addressed charges of hypocrisy over an alternative to the public option. Sort of.

"I didn't change my mind," Lieberman insisted. "I've been in this position for the last few weeks."

"We've got this very strong network and system of subsidies for people, including people who are 55-65 so the idea of the Medicare buy in no longer was necessary because they're taken care of very well under the Finance Committee proposal," Lieberman said.

For years, Lieberman had supported the idea of a Medicare buy-in as a promising vehicle for reform, including, as TPMDC first noted this morning, as recently as three months ago. Asked specifically about his position this past September, Lieberman now says that the Senate Finance Committee bill, finalized in October, dealt with the problem of the uninsured so well that the buy-in became redundant.

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Top music and Hollywood executives will meet with Vice President Joe Biden and administration Cabinet members Tuesday for a roundtable discussion about piracy of intellectual property.

TPMDC has obtained an early look at the attendees, a host of big-wigs from the Motion Picture Association, the Recording Industry Association of America and top companies such as Viacom, among others.

According to the Vice President's office, it's the "first of its kind" meeting to talk with stakeholders on "ways to combat piracy in this rapidly changing technological age."

The full list of expected attendees after the jump.

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A new internal polling number from Public Policy Polling (D) further illustrates the popularity of Sarah Palin among the most hard-line elements of the Republican base.

Among voters who both disapprove of Barack Obama and also want to impeach him, Palin has a whopping 86% favorable rating. By comparison, among this group Mike Huckabee is at 62%, favorable and Mitt Romney is at 49%. (The overall top-line was that 20% of voters want to impeach Obama.)

Among Republicans who don't want to impeach Obama, Palin's favorable rating is 62%, Romney's is 54%, and Huckabee is at 51%.

"Romney is more popular with the reasonable wing of the Republican Party than the lunatic fringe, which probably hurts his chances at the 2012 nomination," writes PPP communications director Tom Jensen. "Palin on the other hand is the most popular candidate at this point with both, but is considerably better liked by the crazies who already support impeaching Obama for...what I'm not sure."

The White House has announced a settlement in a lawsuit filed by two good-government groups concerning emails that went missing over a two-and-a-half year period during the Bush administration.

Under the terms of the deal, 94 days of emails -- which could shed light on controversial topics that the Bush administration sought to obscure from public view, such as the Valerie Plame scandal and the run-up to the war in Iraq -- will be transferred to the National Archives, and eventually made public.

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When President Obama was forced this spring to sign a $410 billion omnibus spending bill laden with earmarks, he called it "imperfect" and called for a more transparent process moving forward.

And he's about to do it again. With the renewed focus on fiscal responsibility on the horizon, Obama is likely to sign a $1 trillion spending bill that passed Congress and contains about $4 billion worth of more than 5,000 earmarks.

"It's not perfect. The president will continue to try to make progress on those issues," Gibbs said. "There's no doubt we've still got a long way to go."

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The North Dakota Republican Party has a humorous new image on its front page today: A "Joke of the day" that just so happens to involve President Obama's birth certificate.

The picture shows the photo of President Obama shaking hands with state dinner party-crasher Michaele Salahi. Obama is given a speech balloon in which he asks to see Salahi's invitation. She answers: "If I can see your birth certificate!"

I asked Adam Jones, political director for the North Dakota GOP, whether it was appropriate to have a joke involving the president allegedly not being born in this country. "You said the keyword, Eric," he replied. "It's a joke."

I asked again whether he thinks this is a proper thing to put on a state party's homepage. "I think it is a joke, and that would be my only comment for you," he said.

(Via Dave Weigel and Ben Smith)

Dec. 13, 2009: Voters in Houston made history by electing the openly gay city controller, Annise Parker, as mayor. During the close run-off election, Parker, a Democrat, downplayed the significance of her historic run. But after the results were announced, she told reporters, "I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office."

TPM readers Kenneth Rabalais and Stan Ford were on hand to document the celebrations. Here are some of the photos that they sent in.

Photo by Kenneth Rabalais

Parker defeated Gene Locke, a former city attorney, in the run-off election. As the election drew closer, the mayoral race saw an escalation of personal attacks that placed Parker's sexual identity at its center.

Locke came under scrutiny when evidence emerged that two members of his finance committee contributed to the political action committee of anti-gay activist Steven Hotze. At a public debate in the week prior to the election, Parker criticized Locke for accepting Hotze's endorsement.

Photo by Kenneth Rabalais

The Houston Chronicle reported in November about a flier distributed by anti-gay activist Dave Wilson, who formed a political action committee to ban benefits for same-sex partners. The flier featured a photo of Parker with her partner, Kathy Hubbard, with the caption: "Is this the image Houston wants to portray?" But political analysts said voters were more concerned with municipal issues like the budget, public safety and city services.

Photo by Kenneth Rabalais

Photo by Stan Ford

Photo by Stan Ford

The fact that Texas will host the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city came as a surprise to some. But Parker dismissed the stereotypes of her city. "I think the rest of America had the wrong impression of Houston," she told reporters after winning. "We are a diverse, amazing, international city."

Photo by Stan Ford

It was always going to take more than a few speeches by Eric Holder to clear out the rot of the Bush-Gonzales years at the Department of Justice. And sure enough, it looks like DOJ lawyers hired during the last administration are still making mischief for the current one.

Meet J. Christian Adams. He's the Civil Rights Division attorney who, according to Main Justice, helped bring that voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther party, stemming from an Election Day incident.

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Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is receiving a visit, CNN reports, from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who has been actively lobbying his former Senate colleagues on health care -- and it should be noted, also had a key role in Lieberman retaining his position in the Democratic caucus.

Back in 2006, Salazar continued to endorse Lieberman for re-election even after Joe had lost the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont. At the time, Salazar said that Lieberman's "ability to bring people together would be missed if he wasn't there."

And in 2008, in the aftermath of Lieberman's support for John McCain in the presidential election (and his frequent attacks on Barack Obama), Salazar took a lead role in helping Lieberman to keep his committee chairmanship, and thus stay in the Democratic caucus.

When Salazar arrived at Lieberman's office, he told reporters, "I'm just talking to my friends." One can only imagine what those two friends are talking about.