TPM News

President Obama signed an executive order today banning federal employees from texting while driving on official business.

"With nearly 3 million civilian employees, the Federal Government can and should demonstrate leadership in reducing the dangers of text messaging while driving," the order reads.

The order prohibits government workers from texting while driving government vehicles, or while driving privately owned vehicles while on government business, or while using a government-owned phone or other electronic device.

Executive agencies have 90 days to comply. They also must "encourage" contractors to follow the rules, and are allowed to make exemptions for certain employees or situations.

Read the full text of the order, as released by the White House, after the jump.

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The White House issued the following remarks delivered by President Obama this afternoon at a fundraiser for the Democratic Governors Association in Washington. Here's the full text:

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President Obama spoke to reporters this afternoon after U.S. diplomats held talks today with Iran about the country's nuclear program. He called the meeting a "constructive beginning" but warning that "constructive action" must follow.

He outlined three steps Iran must take: One, it must allow the International Atomic Energy Agency full access to its nuclear facility in Qom within two weeks. Two, Iran must show the program is peaceful by transferring its low enriched uranium to another country for fuel production. Three, Iran must move quickly: "We are not interested in talking for the sake of talking," Obama said.

Negotiators from the United States and Iran met with those from the P5+1 nations: Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany today in Geneva, Switzerland.

"The United States will not negotiate indefinitely," he said, saying America is prepared to move toward "increased pressure" on Iran if it does not follow these steps.

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Candidates in the Massachusetts Senate special election have announced their fundraising totals, in a race that will quickly come down to a December 8 Democratic primary.

• State Attorney General Martha Coakley, the current frontrunner in the available polls, has announced that she raised $2.1 million for her campaign in September. The campaign's press release said that this was double her original goal of $1 million.

• Rep. Mike Capuano has raised $300,000. Federal records show he also had $1.2 million on hand in his Congressional account, as of June 30.

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We noted earlier that President Obama's political arm Organizing for America had distributed internal talking points urging organizers to describe the public option as a "small part" of health care reform.

Apparently, though, that was a bit of a snafu--the talking points emerged at the state level, were not approved from up on high--and the group doesn't stand by them. Instead, they're sticking with the bullet points on OFA's website, which describes Obama's plan as one that includes a public option.

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Michael Hilton, the American Police Force official who signed a deal to have APF take charge of a prison in Hardin, Montana, may have a lengthy criminal record and a history of alcoholism -- but everyone deserves a second chance.

That's the charitable view of Al Peterson, the Hardin economic development official involved in striking the deal with Hilton and APF.

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has sure become a hit with the liberal netroots base since his vociferous public attacks on the Republicans -- and the money is coming in for this scourge of the "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging neanderthals."

"I can tell you that it really started to explode, I would say last night about five o'clock," said Julie Tagen, the Congressman's chief of staff and a senior adviser to his campaign. "And since that time, we have probably raised anywhere between $125,000 and $150,000 online."

Tagen said that it's not immediately clear how much of this money will be reflected in the upcoming third-quarter financial reporters, because the donations have been coming in continuously during a period when one quarter officially ended and another began.

Yet another Republican is officially challenging Harry Reid, with former state GOP chair Sue Lowden announcing her bid to bring down the Democrats' Senate Majority Leader.

"I think there is a big fear here in Nevada, across the country, but clearly here in Nevada, of a big government takeover of our lives, of our businesses," said Lowden. "I think that is going to resonate in Nevada and I think throughout the country."

Recent polls have shown Lowden ahead of Reid -- a good place to be, starting out. But as the Las Vegas Review-Journal points out, it's not going to be so simple for her. She or any other Republican must first get through a very crowded Republican primary, with nine other candidates ranging from major names to underdogs. After that, Reid, could spend as much as $25 million.

Fear and paranoia are running so high over Hardin, Montana's decision to put a shady private security contractor in charge of a local prison that the town agency behind the deal has posted a message on its website saying that "there are no commandos in the streets," and seeking to knock down other outlandish rumors.

A message on the website of the Two Rivers Authority, Hardin's economic development arm, reads:

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