TPM News

When former President George W. Bush spoke at a motivational seminar in Fort Worth yesterday, his most memorable anecdote, according to listeners, was one about dog poop.

Bush told a crowd of about 11,000 in his most publicized event since leaving office that he had recently taken his dog, Barney, for a walk, plastic bag in hand.

It was then that he realized "Man, my life has changed!"

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In a new TV ad from Republican New Jersey gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine is attacked for not paying state taxes -- though the truth of the matter appears to be much less nefarious than the ad implies.

"Last year, millionaire Corzine paid nothing, zero in state income taxes," the announcer says. "That's outrageous."

As the Asbury Park Press points out in its fact-check of the ad, Corzine reported a $3.13 million loss last year on his federal income tax returns. In addition, he in fact owed the state $1,520, which was paid for through a tax credit carried over from the previous year.

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The new survey of the New Jersey gubernatorial by Public Policy Polling (D) finds Republican Chris Christie leading Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine -- with independent Chris Daggett possibly playing spoiler against Corzine.

The numbers: Christie 42%, Corzine 38%, and Daggett 13%, with a 3.9% margin of error. Two weeks ago, Christie was ahead in PPP's survey by 40%-39%-13%.

The internals of the poll suggest that Daggett may actually be siphoning more voters from Corzine right now than from Christie -- a big change from two weeks ago. In the latest poll, 42% of the present pool of Daggett-supporters list Corzine as their second choice, compared to 32% for Christie. By contrast, Daggett-backers in the last poll went 48%-34% for Christie on second choices. A big caveat is that the margins of error are very large in these sub-samples, at ±10.6% this week and ±11.4% two weeks ago, but it is an interesting data point.

From the pollster's analysis: "The Daggett voters seem to be pretty volatile so if they go back to the Corzine camp he'll have a good shot of pulling it out. The campaign that does the better job of turning out its voters will win."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters this morning the House may unveil its health care bill by the end of the week, but he also said that the Democratic leaders probably have more votes for a more modest public option than they do for the public option preferred by most liberals.

"It's possible... that would be our objective, and it's our objective because we want to consider this bill next week, and we pledged to give 72 hours notice so we need to roll out the bill this week. So it's very possible that we're going to have a meeting right after this meeting and I think we'll have some better feel for where we are on that."

That will likely please anxious reformers, but it may not all be good news. Asked what type of public option the House bill would likely include, Hoyer suggested that a public option with negotiated rates probably has more votes than does a more robust measure. Though the robust public option has a great deal of support among Democrats, Hoyer asks rhetorically "What additional numbers can you add by going to negotiated rates?...[W]e don't have that exact number. But certainly there are people who want the negotiated rates who would add themselves to the number [that support a robust public option] that is anywhere between 200 and 218 at this point in time."

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Calling last week's hoax by the Yes Men "nothing less than commercial identity theft masquerading as social activism," the Chamber of Commerce is suing the prankster group and its allies for trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, reports Mother Jones.

The Yes Men -- actors Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos (who also use the names Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, respectively), last week held a fake press conference in Washington DC, along with activists from the Avaaz Action Factory, in which they impersonated Chamber executives and announced that the group had shifted its opposition to real efforts at tackling global warming. A press release announcing the event fooled Reuters and other news outlets into reporting that the Chamber had changed its stance.

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) -- the man best known for saying that the Republican health care plan is for Americans who get to "die quickly," and for calling former Vice President Dick Cheney a vampire with blood dripping from his teeth -- may have gone a bit too far in one of his latest rhetorical excesses, calling lobbyist Linda Robertson, who used to advise Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, a "K Street whore."

The comments were made a month ago, when Grayson appeared on the radio show of right-wing talker Alex Jones, and was just discovered and circulated by the NRCC. "Here I am, the only Member of Congress who actually worked as an economist. And she's, this lobbyist, this K Street whore, is trying to teach me about economics," said Grayson.

Grayson spokesman Todd Jurkowski stood by the Congressman's comments, telling the Orlando Sentinel in an e-mail: "She attacked the Congressman and his efforts to promote a Republican bill to audit the Federal Reserve. She actually questioned his understanding of the difference between fiscal and monetary policy. This is [a] person who used to be the chief lobbyist for Enron attacking the intelligence and motives of a Congressman who used to be an economist."

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With a clearer picture on health care, the Obama administration and Congress today are pivoting toward climate change legislation.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee began hearings this hour on Chairman Barbara Boxer's bill, with President Obama's Green Cabinet expected to testify.

Obama, meanwhile, is at a Florida solar power plant this morning announcing stimulus funds for a major investment in smart grid technology. An Obama aide tells TPMDC the president will talk about building the infrastructure for a clean energy economy.

Vice President Biden will be making an announcement at a General Motors plant in Delaware that is reopening to make hybrid vehicles.

With just over a month before climate change negotiations begin in Copenhagen, environmental advocacy groups have been pressuring the White House and Congress to take action so world leaders have a framework to build upon.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the New Jersey gubernatorial race finds Republican Chris Christie with some possible momentum against Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and independent Chris Daggett in the home stretch of the campaign.

As was done last week, respondents were initially asked for first preferences between Democrat Jon Corzine, Republican Christ Christie, and independent Chris Daggett. Those who answered Daggett were then given a follow-up question of whether they were sure -- an attempt to measure the usual drop-off that third-party candidates have -- and their possible new votes were then distributed, along with undecided voters who were pushed into supporting a candidate.

The initial preferences were Christie 42%, Corzine 38%, and Daggett 14%. After Daggett-supporters and undecideds were pushed, it became Christie 46%, Corzine 43%, and Daggett 7%. Last week, Corzine had led by 37%-36%-16% on first preferences, and Christie was up by 41%-39%-11% after people were pushed. The margin of error is ±3%.