TPM News

As part of the official state visit festivities today, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a lunch for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur at the State Department this afternoon.

Biden told Singh he was so popular they couldn't find a large enough room to host everyone who wanted to be there.

"There's a phrase Mr. Prime Minister here in this country, you're the hottest ticket in town," Biden said.

Biden toasted Singh with a Gandhi quote.

"As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves," he said. "I would argue that as we adapt to this new century, as we enter this new era of growth and prosperity, as we remake ourselves India and America, and our partnership will help remake the world."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), will be speaking at the upcoming National Tea Party Convention in February, the group announced.

Bachmann has been a big supporter of the Tea Party movement, and was recently a key organizer of the Capitol Tea Party. At this upcoming event, she will speak at a breakfast.

The keynote speaker at the event will be another female conservative icon: Sarah Palin. It should be interesting to see the two of them with prominent speaking roles at the same event.

A new Gallup poll finds that President Obama's approval rating has fallen precipitously among one group in particular: White Americans.

Back in February, during his honeymoon period, Gallup had Obama's approval among whites at 61%. Today, it is only 39%. By comparison, his approval among non-whites had a much smaller decrease, from 80% during the honeymoon to 73% now.

Interestingly, the decline in white approval extends to white Democrats, as well, though to a lesser extent than the white demographic overall. His approval among white Dems has fallen from 87% during the honeymoon, down to 76% now. By contrast, his approval among non-white Dems has actually gone up slightly, from 90% then to 92% now.

It shouldn't be surprising that whites are a weaker demographic for Obama, as they tend to be tough ground for national Democrats in general. Obama won only 43% of this group in 2008, even as he won 53% of the total popular vote. This was actually pretty good for a Democrat, and an improvement from John Kerry's 41% in 2004.

Rudy Giuliani hasn't made up his mind about running for Senate for a second time, but a new poll out today from Zogby suggests he's in a good position to take a shot at winning the seat he ran for in 2000.

The poll shows Giuliani in a statistical dead heat with incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), who took over the seat earlier this year after Hillary Clinton left it to become Secretary of State. Giuliani leads a hypothetical matchup with Gillibrand 45-43, which is within the 3.2% margin of error. Former Gov. George Pataki (R), another potential candidate for the seat, trails Gillibrand 43-38.

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Toward the end of the summer, when it was unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would include a public option in his health care bill, progressives let it be known that he would not be forgiven if he allowed a handful of nameless Democrats silently filibuster the provision. In the end, this pressure, and various other factors, ultimately convinced Reid to include the opt out public option in the legislation, and the opponents have had to come forward. Their names won't surprise students of Democratic politics: Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

These conservative Democrats are known for taking stances at odds with the party on key issues, but in this health care debate they are ultimately driven by very different motives. They have suddenly become the targets of every major reform organization in the country, and understanding what makes them tick will be key to the advocates who are now trying to change their minds.

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Doug Hoffman, the unsuccessful Conservative Party candidate in the recent NY-23 special election, has now conceded the race to Democrat Bill Owens -- for a second time.

Owens was sworn in two and a half weeks ago, after Hoffman had conceded the election. The correction of routine clerical errors, however, narrowed Owens' margin from 5,000 votes to about 3,000, leading Hoffman to take back his concession. He furthermore accused ACORN of stealing the election.

In his new statement, Hoffman acknowledges that Owens did indeed win. Hoffman wishes the Democrat well, thanks his own supporters, and also calls upon the election officials to avoid mistakes in the future:

"Yesterday, the remaining ballots were counted in the 23rd Congressional District special election. The results re-affirm the fact that Bill Owens won.

Since, the morning of November 4th, many of my supporters have asked me to challenge the outcome of this race. Their concerns centered on the veracity of the new voting machines used, for the first time, in the majority of the eleven counties that make up the Congressional District. Over the past three weeks, we nearly cut Bill Owens' lead in half. Sadly, that is not enough.

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As you know, national polls have shown President Obama's approval rating headed below 50% recently, a sign of discontent after his solid win in the 2008 election, and his sky-high approval ratings during his honeymoon period. But how has this worked out on a state by state level?

A look at key swing states suggests that the current political situation has really become a lot like last year -- from one state to another, Obama's approval ratings are pretty close to election results from 2008. Using those election results as a benchmark, it's as clear a sign as any that the honeymoon is truly over -- we're right back to 2008 campaign mode, in terms of average voter opinion.

In all these states, and in the country overall, Obama had a very strong honeymoon period, but that really does seem to have worn off. There may be one difference, though, and it's a crucial one: Obama's own supporters aren't as revved up as they were back then, while the opposition has become very energetic. And that can make all the difference in 2010.

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Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) has his hands on the reins of the Justice Department budget at the same time the Feds are investigating his personal finances and allegations he steered taxpayer dollars to non-profits Mollohan himself created.

The Washington Post today reports on the conflict, which led Mollohan to recuse himself from voting on certain DOJ budget items, including for the FBI, according to his office. He is the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.

But Mollohan's recusal hasn't mollified one conservative critic of the lawmaker:

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Last night, the man responsible for a billboard in Colorado that asks "President or Jihad?" appeared on MSNBC and explained his definition of "jihad."

"To me it means, it's an extreme element of a struggle to overcome somebody ... It's certainly not one of us. It's certainly not what an American is," said Phil Wolf, the owner of an auto dealership in Wheat Ridge, Colo., where he's posted the billboard.

"Do you think Obama wants a religious war?" asked host Ed Schultz.

"I think he is an anti-Christian," Wolf responded. When pressed, he said, "My statement up there on the sign has got a question mark behind it. And the question has to be answered."

Video after the jump.

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