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Pro-choice House members are reaching out to certain pro-life Democrats and co-ordinating with members of the Senate ahead of a potential clash over abortion that threatens to kill far-reaching health care legislation.

At her weekly press conference this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she's not worried that divisions among Democrats over abortion will imperil the push for reform. "I think that will be worked out," she said.

The House health care bill includes a provision--known as the Stupak amendment--that would prevent millions of people from buying insurance policies that cover abortion. The Stupak amendment was adopted at the last minute, when a group of Democrats joined with the Republican party in a threat to kill the whole reform bill if the adoption language wasn't added to it. The Senate bill contains much more neutral abortion language, but one Democrat--Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE)--has in the past threatened to filibuster the bill if Stupak-like language isn't included in the bill.

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New information has emerged about the allegations that led to a felony assault charge being filed against a former top Missouri GOP pol, in connection with a November sexual encounter.

An incident report, taken by police a day and a half after the alleged assault took place, lists three "offenses" alleged against Rod Jetton, who until last year was Speaker of the House: second degree assault, rape, and felonious restraint.

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Standing in front of the Supreme Court this morning, a group of Republican lawmakers railed against the court system run out of the building behind them. A sign affixed to the plexiglas podium each spoke at in turn spelled out the reason for their concern. "Protect our homeland," it read. "Keep terrorists out of America."

The justice system laid out in the Constitution, they said, is just too weak to protect American citizens from wiley terror suspects. From "activist judges" to courtroom sketch artists, the group reeled off a list of reasons the Obama administration decision to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. for trial could quite possibly end in, as Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) suggested, a nuclear attack on the United States.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) met Sarah Palin Monday night, the Star Tribune reports -- and just as Bachmann hoped, she was able to get an autographed copy of Going Rogue.

Palin had been in Minnesota as part of her book tour, while Bachmann was paying a visit back home to headline a state Republican Party rally at the state Capitol, to promote a proposed state constitutional amendment to limit spending.

The two of them both attended a private fundraiser that night.

Palin signed Bachmann's book, with this personalization: "Michele, we love you."

On a conference call with reporters just now, the Communications Workers of America union announced a new poll showing widespread national opposition to the proposed taxes on high-end health insurance plans int he Senate health care bill -- and support for raising taxes on the rich instead.

The poll surveyed likely 2010 voters across ten states, all of which could have high-stakes House or Senate races: Arkansas, Louisiana, Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana and North Dakota. Seven of these states voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but in 2004 eight of them had voted for George W. Bush. It was conducted by the Democratic firm of Anzalone Liszt.

Respondents opposed the tax on high-cost plans by 70%-19%, and by a 63%-22% margin said they would be less likely to vote for their member of Congress if that person voted for it. By contrast, respondents favored a tax increase on individuals making over half a million dollars per year, and households making over a million, by a 54%-42% margin, and said by a margin of 49%-43% that they were more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supported it.

The poll showed the numbers being very similar across all regions. "The fact that these are red states," said pollster John Anzalone, was an important message. "Support for an alternative for what's currently in the bill is certainly in there."

With Sen. John McCain back in the spotlight leading the Republican opposition to health care, the biggest fight he and Barack Obama had last year over the issue has evaporated.

In 2008, McCain proposed taxing employer- based health care benefits, an idea Obama derided as dangerous.

The proposal shaping up in the health care bill (follow our updates here) isn't exactly what McCain proposed, but it turns out Obama wasn't as opposed to it as it seemed in 2008.

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Wednesday December 9, 2009: Nobel Peace Prize winner President Barack Obama's photo hangs next to 1964 winner Martin Luther King Jr. in the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway.

Photo: Newscom/zumawireworldphotos




The first couple leave the White House to board Air Force One bound for Oslo.

Photo: Newscom/sipaphotos




President Obama shakes hands with Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjorn Jagland.




The First Lady and the President - award in hand - in Oslo City Hall.

Photo: Newscom/dpaphotos




President Obama attends the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony at Oslo City Hall.

Photo: Newscom/zumawireworldphotos


"We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us, and still strive for justice. We can admit the intractability of depravation, and still strive for dignity. We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that - for that is the story of human progress."

Read Obama's full speech here.


First Lady Michelle Obama watches the President's speech.



The President signs the Nobel Prize recipient book.


President Obama with his award.

Photo: Newscom/sipaphotos


Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway

Photo: Newscom/zumawireworldphotos

Republicans have been complaining about the length of the health care reform bill for months, printing it out and carrying it around to press conferences and sometimes dropping it on the ground for auditory effect. But today, at least one Republican is singing a different tune.

"Why is it only 2,074 pages?" Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) asked this morning, Wonk Room reports.

"We talk about 2,074 pages, which seem like a lot, and it would be for a normal bill that you could debate in a limited period of time, which is what we're being asked to do. But 2,074 pages isn't nearly enough to cover health care for America," he said.

Video after the jump.

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At her weekly press conference this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested today that the House could embrace a compromise emerging among Senate health care negotiators that would replace the public option with regulated national non-profit insurance companies and an opportunity for people aged 55-64 to buy into Medicare.

In the past, Pelosi has described the public option as a must-have provision, but today she said the House included the public option in its health care legislation because members believed it's "the best way to keep insurance companies honest...and also to increase competition."

Now, it's wait and see. "As soon as we see something in writing from the Senate, we'll be able to make a judgment about that," she said.

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