TPM News

It's been two days since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a health care bill with a public option that will allow states to opt-out.

As TPMDC wrote earlier, we still don't know the mechanism for how the states would get out (or in, if that were to happen) of the public option, but we took stock of some of the candidates for governor in Tuesday's races.

Our question: Would your state opt out of a public option?

The basic tally:

In New Jersey, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) would not. Challenger Chris Christie (R) would.

In Virginia, Bob McDonnell (R) would opt out and Creigh Deeds (D) is leaning toward opting out.

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A top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee says Republicans who criticized Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA lied to her now owe the Speaker an apology.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who has been helping lead a committee probe into the CIA's process for briefing lawmakers, asserted yesterday that the agency had misled or outright lied to Congress five times since 2001. One of those cases, Schakowsky confirmed, concerned the 2002 torture briefing at which, Pelosi has claimed, she was lied to about waterboarding. Republicans, led by Minority Leader John Boehner, had savaged her for that charge.

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Somebody appears to be pulling a dirty trick in NY-23 -- with an ad "praising" moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava for all of her liberal positions that would drive GOP voters away from her and over to the Conservative Party's Doug Hoffman.

The Politico reports that an ad is now running from a new group called "Common Sense in America," praising Scozzafava's support of the stimulus bill, labor unions, and marriage equality for gays. Upon close examination, the group's head is Arkansas businessman Jackson Stephens, a board member of the right-wing Club For Growth and a donor to Hoffman. The ad could serve two purposes -- to keep conservatives away from Scozzafava, and to split liberal voters between the Republican Scozzafava and Democratic candidate Bill Owens.

The group said of their ad: "The purpose of this ad, produced independent of any other organization, is to give voters undisputed facts about candidate Dede Scozzafava's positions. Ms. Scozzafava is clearly and indisputably on record supporting the Obama stimulus, card check, and gay marriage. These positions would make her an ideal candidate for progressive voters in New York's 23rd congressional district."

By suing the Yes Men over a prank, the Chamber of Commerce certainly isn't doing anything to change its reputation as a greedy and humorless bunch of suits that puts corporations ahead of the little guy. But could the joke be on the Yes Men by the time this is over?

A quick recap: Last week, the Yes Men, a group of political pranksters working with the activist group Avaaz, set up a mock website that looked like the Chamber's, and held a mock press conference where they announced that the Chamber was shifting its opposition to serious efforts to address global warming. The stunt fooled Reuters and other outlets, who reported the position change, before issuing corrections. In response, the Chamber first tried to have the mock site taken down, then sued the Yes Men for trademark infringement, charging that the prank was "nothing less than commercial identity theft masquerading as social activism."

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Chris Collins, the Republican county executive of Erie County, New York, appears to have seriously damaged his profile for any statewide race -- with a joking comparison of the state Jewish Democratic state Assembly Speaker to Hitler, and saying that he might be Anti-Christ.

The Buffalo News reports that Collins, who is exploring a run for governor, made some interesting comments about Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at the county Republican dinner this past weekend:

Collins has already apologized for what he called "a poor joke," delivered during a speech at the county Republican Party's annual fundraiser in the Adam's Mark Hotel.

That's when the county executive referred to French seer Nostradamus' prediction that the world would experience three Antichrists in conjunction with the Apocalypse, whose origin is the New Testament's Book of Revelation.

Collins then said it's generally accepted that the first was Napoleon, the second Hitler, and that he was "pretty sure" the third is Silver, an orthodox Jew from Manhattan.

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With just a few days left in the Virginia governor's race, the candidates are making their closing arguments.

TPMDC just posted the new ad from Creigh Deeds (D), who portrays himself as substantive and also is looking for a boost from Obama voters.

Bob McDonnell (R) may be thinking about Obama too, since his new ad is all about "hope."

"Our family shares the concerns and hopes for the future that you do," he says. Watch after the jump.

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In an email to supporters, the pro-reform group Health Care For America Now is calling for its coalition partners (which it describes as The Grim Reaper and the ghosts of those who have died for lack of health care), to join them in a demonstration to lobby Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) to support health care reform.

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A lot of people in Sen. Joe Lieberman's former party are now stepping up to set the record straight, and say they don't agree with his analysis of the impact of the public option.

At the White House briefing today, a reporter asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs whether he agrees with Lieberman, who says both that a public option will cost tax payers dearly, and drive up the cost of health insurance for everybody else--positions that are disputed widely by experts.

Gibbs was pretty direct: "I think we would disagree and I think elements of the Congressional Budget Office would disagree with the analysis that Senator Lieberman has made."

In making those statements, he joins other high profile Democrats who also dispute Lieberman's position. However, though Democrats don't agree with Lieberman, none have publicly chastised him for going rogue yesterday. According to Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, this is reflective of Senate leadership's strategy of winning over the Connecticut senator without pushing back too hard and, perhaps, entrenching his opposition to health care reform.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) told CBS's Bob Scheiffer today that he might not vote with Democrats to move a health care reform bill forward, saying his vote would depend on if the bill is "fiscally responsible."

"Some people argue that we should vote to go forward on a bill even if we don't like it," he said. "As we get further along in this, I view procedure and substance as being largely one and the same. I'd like to move forward, but some of that's going to depend on is it fiscally responsible."

For other moderates who've said they might filibuster a bill -- such as Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) -- the public option is the sticking point.

But Bayh wouldn't go that far.

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Creigh Deeds has a new ad in the Virginia gubernatorial race, quoting newspaper editorials that implore voters to pick the substance of Deeds over the style of Bob McDonnell, who is ahead in all the polls.

"The [Roanoke] Times said it best, if you want 'slick,' go with the other guy," the announcer says. "But if you want an honest, proven leader who can move Virginia forward, it's Creigh Deeds for Governor."