TPM News

The AP has now taken a crack at the story of the sale of Rep. Mike Ross's family pharmacy, for a possibly inflated price of $420,000, to a big drug store chain.

And it elicited yet another response from Ross, Democrat of Arkansas, on the 2007 sale of the pharmacy. He can't remember how he and USA Drug settled on the price for the land and the building. From an interview with AP:

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Just before the Senate Finance Committee wrapped up for the long weekend, members debated one of Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) amendments, which would strike language defining which benefits employers are required to cover.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) argued that insurers must be required to cover basic maternity care. (In several states there are no such requirements.)

"I don't need maternity care," Kyl said. "So requiring that on my insurance policy is something that I don't need and will make the policy more expensive."

Stabenow interrupted: "I think your mom probably did."

The amendment was defeated, nine to 14.

Video after the jump.

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The new CBS/New York Times poll not only shows overwhelming support for the public option -- it shows that a plurality of self-identified Republicans are for it, too.

The poll asked this question: "Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?"

The top-line result is 65% in favor, 26% opposed. Among Democrats only, it's 81%-12%, and independents are at 61%-30%. And among Republican respondents, 47% are in favor, to 42% opposed.

Although they were originally scheduled to do so today, Senate Finance Committee members won't discuss public option amendments until Tuesday.

"We don't have time today to bring that up," Chairman Max Baucus said, according to the Washington Independent.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are pushing for a public option in the Finance bill. On a conference call last night, Schumer said today would be "the opening day in our big fight."

The committee is adjourning early today and won't meet Monday due to Yom Kippur.

Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) is up on the air with a new Spanish-language TV ad, with Sen. Robert Menendez making a pitch for Corzine to Latino voters.

Unstated in the ad is that Menendez was himself appointed to the Senate by Corzine. Instead, the ad has Menendez praising Corzine on the more broad-based issue of the economy: "In this economic crisis, New Jersey is one of the states that has suffered the least because of the stewardship of Jon Corzine. He has made difficult, but necessary measures, which is why he has been attacked unfairly."

The official English translation is available after the jump.

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Fox News reported this morning that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was working on her own draft of the health care bill -- which a Pelosi aide tells us is false.

Fox had a breaking news item: "We are learning this morning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is working on her own draft of the health care overhaul - including another push for government-run health insurance."

Again, we repeat: A Pelosi aide confirms to us that this is false.

So where do things actually stand? Well, the health care bills are making their way through multiple committees, and the Dem leaders and chairs of those committees have been working to iron out the differences. Perhaps the brilliant parliamentarians at Fox heard something about Pelosi's participation in that ongoing process, and concluded that she's working on her own bill.

A judge will rule before noon today in the Massachusetts Republican Party's lawsuit to stop the appointment of Sen.-designate Paul Kirk (D-MA) to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly heard from both sides this morning. The GOP have argued that Gov. Deval Patrick did not have the constitutional authority to declare the law an emergency measure that would take effect immediately. The Dems have countered that Patrick did in fact have this ability -- and that Republican former Gov. Mitt Romney himself had used it in the past.

Kirk is set to be sworn in by Vice President Biden this afternoon. If Connolly were to suddenly nullify the appointment, that would certainly throw off Democratic efforts to get back to 60 seats -- and if he lets it go ahead, then there will be no time to appeal.

The local coroner has confirmed that the word "Fed" had been written on Bill Sparkman's chest when he was found dead earlier this month.

Jim Trosper, the Clay County coroner, confirmed the information to TPMmuckraker moments ago, adding that the word appeared to have been written in felt tip marker. He declined to give additional details.

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Obama Publicly Accuses Iran Of Building Secret Nuclear Facility President Obama and two other G-20 leaders, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, this morning accused Iran of building a secret facility to produce nuclear fuel. Obama said that "the size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama held a news conference at 8:30 a.m. ET, in Pittsburgh. At 9:30 a.m. ET, he will attend the morning G-20 plenary session. He will attend the G-20 leaders lunch, at 12:45 p.m. ET, followed by the afternoon G-20 plenary session at 2 p.m. ET, and another news conference at 4:40 p.m. ET. He will depart from Pittsburgh at 6:10 p.m. ET, arriving back at the White House at 7:20 p.m. ET.

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Yesterday in Vienna, the United States, France, and England "presented detailed evidence" to the International Atomic Energy Agency demonstrating that Iran has a covert uranium enrichment facility near the city of Qum, President Obama announced at the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh this morning.

The decision to build this facility represents "a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the nonproliferation regime," Obama said, appearing with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England.

"We expect the IAEA to immediately investigate this disturbing information," he said.

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