TPM News

The violent anti-Obama sentiment coming out of central Arizona managed to get still more toxic over the weekend.

Chris Broughton, the man who brought an AR-15 rifle and a handgun to an Arizona Obama rally earlier this month, says he "concurs" with his fundamentalist pastor's prayer for President Obama "to die and go to hell."

And in an interview with a local TV station, pastor Steven Anderson himself elaborated on his statement to TPMmuckraker that he would prefer Obama to die of natural causes so "he's not some martyr."

"I don't want him to be a martyr, we don't need another holiday. I'd like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer," Anderson now says.

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Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré said recent talk of a Senate run against incumbent Louisiana Senator David Vitter (R) is "all about speculation and rumors."

"As of this time, I'm not running for any political office," he told CNN on Sunday, seemingly hedging on whether he will run in the future. Honoré, who quarterbacked the relief effort for southern Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, is now an emergency preparedness analyst for the network.

TPMDC reported last week that Vitter could face a possible challenger from the retired lieutenant general, based on information posted at the blog

From the CNN report:

Honoré said he had received more than 100 e-mails in response to that report, but no news outlet asked him whether it was true before CNN contacted him Sunday.

"That ought to scare the hell out of people in this country," said Honoré, who once called a reporter "stuck on stupid" during a nationally televised news conference.

This weekend, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin - who once described Honoré as a "John Wayne dude" - said "Oh, man, I'll support that guy any way he goes," when asked if he would back Honore as a Republican Senate candidate.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America are teaming up once again to target a key opponent to the public option. This time, they're going after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

The groups recently teamed up to run a similar ad targeting Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

This ad will run 200 times in four Iowa markets and 100 times in Washington, DC over the next week, though the groups hope to extend the run. As ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, and lead Republican health care negotiator, Grassley has said the public option is a non-starter.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) apparently had some choice words last week his home-state's largest paper, the Republican-leaning Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Review-Journal columnist Sherman Frederick wrote that the paper's advertising director Bob Brown met up with Reid at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, and that Reid told Brown: "I hope you go out of business."

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During a Friday tele-town hall with constituents, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he's not bound by a controversial deal, reportedly reached between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry, to cap drug manufacturers' contributions to the cost of health care reform.

"I have not agreed with anybody to do that," Reid said. "I'm a Democrat in the Senate, and I haven't agreed."

PhRMA was the first major industry group to support the president's health care reform initiative, and even agreed to contribute $80 billion to the upstart cost of overhauling the system. But its support was reportedly linked to a deal, agreed to by the White House, that limits the contribution to $80 billion, and that rewards drug manufacturers with White House support for a number of their key policy preferences. The White House and PhRMA have each tried to walk back reports of the deal, though at times in conflicting ways.

Reid is the latest in a growing list of key members of Congress to insist they weren't party to the deal and aren't bound by it.

Hundreds Line Up To Visit Ted Kennedy's Grave The Washington Post reports that hundreds of people turned out on Sunday to visit the grave of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), after he was buried Saturday night at Arlington National Cemetery: "Arlington had been closed to the public for Kennedy's burial, which was attended only by family members and a few close friends. When the cemetery opened at 8 a.m. Sunday, a small group of people was already waiting. By 11 a.m., the line had swelled to more than 100 people."

U.S. Ramping Up Withdrawal From Iraq The United States is working to withdraw forces from Iraq, picking up the pace a year ahead of the August 2010 deadline: "The goal is to withdraw tens of thousands of troops and about 60% of equipment out of Iraq by the end of next March, Brig. Gen. Heidi Brown, a deputy commander charged with overseeing the withdrawal, told The Associated Press in one of the first detailed accounts of how the U.S. military plans to leave Iraq."

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Cheney: CIA Investigation "Offends The Hell Out Of Me," Obama Administration Should Be Asking Us For Advice Appearing on Fox News Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney lambasted the Obama administration for investigation CIA interrogation methods, calling it an "outrageous political act." "I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris [Wallace], is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda," said Cheney. "The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?"

Kerry: Kennedy Would Fight For Public Option -- But Would Accept A Bill Without It Appearing on This Week, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said that Ted Kennedy would not have rejected a health care bill that lacked a public option: "He would fight for it, and he would do everything in his power to get it, just like he did for the minimum wage or like he did for children's health care, et cetera. But if he didn't see the ability to be able to get it done, he would not throw the baby out with the bathwater. He would not say no to anything because we have to reduce the cost. We have to make these changes. And he would find the best way forward."

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We now have the lawyers of a former Republican Congressman arguing that the Bush Administration encouraged the Justice Department to leak information on an ongoing probe for "partisan political reasons."

The twist comes in a motion filed Thursday in the case of ex-Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ), who was indicted on 36 corruption counts in February 2008. (Read the motion here.)

His lawyers are demanding that the government show why it should not be held in contempt for disclosing information from grand jury proceedings.

The motion lays out the facts we now know, thanks to documents recently released by the House Judiciary Committee, about the White House's apparently successful attempt to secure favorable DOJ leaks on the Renzi probe in the days before the 2006 election.

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This weekend's Republican YouTube address by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) -- one of the three key Republicans negotiating on health care -- was a pretty strong sign that negotiations might not be working out after all. Enzi delivered a thorough speech against the Democrats on health care. And even while he did not use the "death panel" phrase itself, he did make the same underlying argument by warning that people could be denied care because of age or disability:

"The bills would expand comparative effectiveness research that would be used to limit or deny care based on age or disability of patients," said Enzi. "Republican amendments in the HELP Committee would have protected Americans by prohibiting the rationing of their health care. The Democrats showed their true intent by voting every amendment down and leaving these unacceptable provisions in the bill. This intrusion of a Washington bureaucrat in the relationship between a doctor and a patient is not the kind of reform that Americans are seeking."

And remember, this guy is one of the key GOPers with whom the Democrats are working, to try to find common ground.