TPM News

Public option supporter Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said last night that the Senate deal may be stronger than the watered-down public options passed by the House and considered by the Senate.

"I think it is not fair to simply say they're abandoning the public option," he told Rachel Maddow. "What you're looking at is trade-offs, which in fact at the end of the day may be stronger than the very weak public options that both the House and the Senate have already passed."

Sanders has been a staunch supporter of the public option throughout the health care debate and has said he'd be "very reluctant" to vote for a bill without one.

Other public option supporters, including Rep. Anthony Weiner and former DNC chair Howard Dean, have praised the deal, especially the Medicare buy-in.

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An anti-corruption law that has been central to the convictions of numerous public officials and corporate executives in recent years could be at risk of being struck down or narrowed after it was met with extreme skepticism by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday.

The honest services law, enacted in 1988, makes it a crime "to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services." Prosecutors frequently use it against politicians or corporate executives believed to have defrauded their constituents or employers. Jack Abramoff, former congressman William Jefferson, former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, and newspaper magnate Conrad Black all have been convicted, at least in part, of honest services fraud in the last few years.

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The new statue of Barack Obama in Jakarta, Indonesia, commemorating him from when he lived there as a child, has now been unveiled.

The statute is made of bronze, and stands two meters tall, including the pedestal, with a nearly life-sized likeness of the young Obama. It is located at Taman Menteng Park, a site that was used as an athletic field by Obama's elementary school. It was paid for through a private non-profit group, called Friends of Obama.

Central Jakarta Mayor Sylviana Murni said at the unveiling ceremony: "There is a message through the young Obama statue that any child and anyone from any background can reach their dreams if they fight for it persistently."

The Obama administration has said that the president is "flattered".

To see the photo in a larger size, click here.

Abortion rights groups say the rejection of Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-NE) abortion amendment last night makes it easier for them to pressure House Democrats into rejecting a similar amendment included in the House health care reform bill by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI).

"It gives us a huge boost," Laura MacCleery, government relations director for the Center For Reproductive Rights, told TPMDC. "It's a huge step forward -- but we're not out of the woods yet."

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No it's not a Stephen Colbert gag. A Washington Times-sponsored cruise, no doubt modeled on the oft-profiled National Review trip, set sail last month just as the paper's leadership shakeup unfolded.

Cruising through the eastern Caribbean aboard the Holland America Eurodam vessel, participants were promised stimulating discussion on such questions as, "Where is America Headed Under President Barack Hussein Obama?" and "How Can We Avoid A European-Style Democracy?" and "Who Will Emerge As the Next Republican Party Leader?"

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In a statement to reporters this morning, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) reiterated his longstanding position on the public option: Namely that he opposes any form of it, including if it's attached to a trigger mechanism.

"My opposition to a government-run insurance option, including any option with a trigger, has been clear for months and remains my position today," Lieberman says.

That's crucial because, as I reported last night, a (admittedly very stiff) trigger is part of the bargain liberal and centrist health care agreed upon last night. We'll try to pin down whether the announcement, or details, of the deal make Lieberman any less likely to filibuster the health care bill.

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RNC Chairman Mike Steele did the rounds on television this morning.

He blasted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comparison of health care to civil rights, but also said there's no reason Reid should not have the votes yet on the health care bill.

On MSNBC's Morning Joe today for a long segment, Steele said the bill is "whacked out" but said the Republicans have not been able to obstruct.

But in a bit of a math conundrum, Steele repeatedly says that Reid has a "20-seat majority" so, "why can't he pass the daggone bill?"

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Here's Steele v. Reid v. Donnie Deutsch on the civil rights comments.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), one of Congress' fiercest supporters of the public option, has come out to support the Medicare buy-in proposal in the Senate Democrats' deal.

"This is one idea I like a lot," Weiner said in an email to the Daily News, calling the idea "remarkable."

Winning the support of Weiner, who has championed not only a public option but a universal single-payer system, could be a sign that the Dems' proposal may yet win over progressives, even without a public option.

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