TPM News

Former Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) is running for his old Senate seat, apparently on a platform of opposing government takeover of the private sector. But as it turns out, in 2008 he lobbied the Senate on the TARP bill, on behalf of none other than Chrysler's parent company.

The NBC affiliate in South Bend quoted Coats early this week, explaining why he was returning to politics. "Well, nobody anticipated that government's going to try to run auto companies, bank insurance companies, take over the private sector," said Coats.

However, according to a federal lobbying report for the third quarter of 2008, Coats served as a lobbyist on behalf of Cerberus Capital Management, the firm that owned a majority share in Chrysler. The subject matter of the lobbying: The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 -- a.k.a. the TARP bailout. The issue listed for lobbying: "Treatment of motor vehicle finance companies as financial institutions, disposition of troubled assets, and related issues."

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In an interview today with the National Review, a dejected Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) said he is a "definite no" vote on health care reform after negotiations for a deal on abortion language fell apart. He also described what he said is one argument Democratic leaders are using on his pro-life colleagues.

"If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That's one of the arguments I've been hearing," Stupak said. "Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue -- come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we're talking about."

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Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, recently traveled to the Middle East to visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Courtesy of the Vice President's official photographer, David Lienemann, TPM looks at the personal and political highlights of their trip.

Mar. 9, 2010: Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill look at pictures of Jews killed during the Holocaust at the Hall of Names of the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, Israel.

Photo by Newscom/David Silverman




Mar. 9, 2010: Vice President Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




Mar. 9, 2010: Vice President Biden laughs with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




Mar. 9, 2010: The Bidens lay a wreath at the gravesite of Theodor Herzl, father of modern Zionism, in Jerusalem.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




Mar. 9, 2010: The Bidens in the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Israeli Holocaust Museum.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




Mar. 10, 2010: Vice President Joe Biden has breakfast with Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




Mar. 10, 2010: Second Lady Jill Biden speaks to embassy and consulate staff at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




Mar. 10, 2010: Vice President Joe Biden and Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are led on tour of the Nassar Stone in Bethlehem in the Palestinian Territories.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




Mar. 10, 2010: Jill Biden visits the Al-Kamandjati Music Center in the West Bank of Ramallah.

Photo By Newscom/ptsphotoshot




Mar. 10, 2010: Vice President Biden says goodbye to Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at Muq'ata in Ramallah in the Palestinian Territories.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann

Another vote, another win for the conservative majority on Texas' State Board of Education.

The 11-4 [vote](http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/03/texas_ed_board_adopts_social_studies_standards_1.php) today on the latest draft of Texas' high school history standards comes as the story has blown up, attracting intense media coverage from national outlets including the New York Times and Fox News, which reported live from Austin all week.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released a statement this afternoon on the medical condition of his wife, Landra, who was injured in an automobile accident yesterday. Here's the full statement:

"The tremendous concern and support for Landra and Lana from people across Nevada and across the nation have deeply touched our entire family. We greatly appreciate your thoughts during this difficult time. Landra and I have been married for 50 years. She is the love of my life, and I look forward to her making a full recovery as quickly as possible."

This morning, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said that he would whip for a public option if one is included in the House's reconciliation package. This was great news to progressives, who yesterday attacked Durbin for saying he'd whip against a public option if it was not in the House package.

But then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi burst the bubble at her weekly press conference.

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There's another wrinkle in the [story](http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/dobson_and_focus_on_the_family_less_than_amicable.php) of James Dobson's exit from Focus on the Family: an unnamed Focus board member [told](http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/business/media/17dobson.html) the *New York Times* in January that because Dobson's son Ryan had a divorce several years ago, Ryan could not replace his father at the helm of the group's popular radio show.

Yesterday we [told you](http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/dobson_and_focus_on_the_family_less_than_amicable.php) about the possibility that Dobson and Focus, arguably most powerful Christian conservative organization in the country, had a less than amicable breakup that resulted in Dobson departing last month as host of the Focus radio program, which reaches 1.5 million listeners.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

• CBS, Face The Nation: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), America's Health Insurance Plans President Karen Ignagni.

• CNN, State Of The Union: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod.

• Fox News Sunday: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), former Bush White House Senior Adviser Karl Rove.

• NBC, Meet The Press: White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), former Bush White House Senior Adviser Karl Rove.

In the last few weeks we've learned a lot about former Rep. Eric Massa as he first said he was not seeking reelection due to a recurrence of cancer and then he formally resigned amid allegations he sexually harassed a male staffer. What's lesser known is what Massa was like as a lawmaker and House freshman.

Massa (D-NY) was elected in November 2008 with 51 percent of the vote, a rematch with Randy Kuhl (R) following his narrow loss in 2006. During his short time in office he sponsored nine bills, from the naming of a post office to new broadband regulations. Of those, two were minor amendments that were approved on a nearly unanimous votes.

The 50-year-old former Republican became in some cases a progressive icon, blasting Sen. Chuck Grassley's health care remarks as "treason" and complaining about Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.

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