TPM News

Republican promises to repeal health care have gone from full speed ahead to ... we'll see.

As Democrats are out celebrating the passage of the sweeping health care reform package, some Republicans are having second thoughts. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich went from promising repeal at campaign events to admitting recently on Fox that President Obama would veto any repeal legislation should the GOP win back control of Congress. Hence the new "repeal and replace" push from Republicans.

But several Republicans have gone even farther in recent days, backing away from repeal pledges.

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It's starting to look like there might not be any special election for the House seat formerly held by ex-Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), who dramatically resigned last month in a scandal involving allegations of sexual harassment of male aides, a scenario that would leave the seat vacant until at least this November.

Maggie McKeon, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Paterson, told Gannett that no decision has been made on whether to fill the seat before the regular November 2 election -- and that issues of cost would work against it. "We have some serious concerns about the financial impact that a special election could have on the county level, especially because those counties are facing the same fiscal crisis that the state is facing," said McKeon.

If there were an election for this seat, the Republicans would have a pretty good chance of carrying it. The district voted for John McCain by 50%-48% in 2008, while at the same time Massa picked up the seat by a 51%-49% margin in a very Democratic year.

Over the past year, we've seen example after example of Florida GOP leaders using party credit cards for lavish personal spending -- from an $839 Starbucks bill to a $134 haircut and, now, a new allegation that the party chair used official funds to enrich himself.

Yesterday, we passed along the [news ]( former FL GOP chair Jim Greer is under criminal investigation for allegedly awarding himself a lucrative party fundraising contract.

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MSNBC's Rachel Maddow did a segment last night on health care lawsuits, interviewing Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D), who has refused to join the lawsuits.

Baker said he's surprised there is an effort by the Republican legislature to impeach him, since he's "doing his job" and "telling the truth."

"I could find absolutely no basis to file a law suit," he said.

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Something truly amazing happened last night on The O'Reilly Factor: Bill O'Reilly scolded his guest, Human Events editor and video blogger Jason Mattera, for being rude to O'Reilly's long-time nemesis, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).

Mattera posted a YouTube video a week and a half ago of himself conducting an ambush interview of Franken in the Capitol Hill hallways, in which Mattera asked questions about the health care bill and then frequently interrupted Franken as he attempted to answer. At one point, he addressed Franken as "Sen. Smalley," referring to Franken's old Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley, the neurotic self-help talk show host. The term "Sen. Smalley" has become a term of derision for Franken among the right.

And for that particular slight, O'Reilly chewed Mattera out.

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Three Republican congressmen have defied their party's decision to ban all earmarks for one year, a move that could cost them their committee posts.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Reps. Anh "Joseph" Cao of Louisiana and Ron Paul of Texas have joined Rep. Don Young (AK) in requesting earmarks for the 2011 fiscal year, despite a House Republican caucus vote this month to institute a moratorium on earmarks for one year.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is getting in on the April Fools' Day action, adding new Republicans to their "Hypocrisy Hall of Fame" for lauding the stimulus bill they opposed.

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee went the funny video route to go after Democrats, but the DCCC chose to put out a release keying off the theme.

"Not an April Fools' Day Joke: 70 Percent of House Republicans Caught Claiming Credit for Jobs They Opposed," the DCCC headlined the release, obtained by TPMDC. "So far 128 House Republicans have tried to claim credit for creating jobs they tried to stop and the only thing missing is the part when they yell April Fools! ... even on April Fools' Day, voters will see what a joke the Republican hypocrisy is," DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said in the release.

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