TPM News

In an interview on Fox today, House Minority Leader John Boehner revealed some of the internal workings of the House leadership -- and, perhaps, his views on bipartisanship.

Asked by anchor Neil Cavuto about his relationship with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Boehner said they have a "decent relationship," but they don't talk about the important stuff.

"We don't tend to talk about things of great substance, because we're political bookends. I'm from Westchester, Ohio, and conservative. She comes from San Francisco. So you can imagine that any conversation about health care, or any of these important subjects, we wouldn't get very far," he said.

Watch after the jump.

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Greg Sargent's numbers are right: "47 House Dems are committed No votes, and eight are Leaning No," on a health care bill if it includes a public option, preferred by reformers, that pays providers Medicare rates plus five percent.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can only afford to lose a maximum of 38 votes in her own party, and she's still well over that. Nobody I've asked has gone so far as to say this is the end of the road for the so-called "robust" public option, but it's certainly not a good sign.

This morning, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he was fairly confident a more modest public option, using negotiated rates, would win out in a vote count.

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New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has bipartisan credentials and has been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike, including President Obama.

Many major national politicians are staying out of Bloomberg's reelection campaign (Obama, for example, backs the Democratic candidate Bill Thompson) but the praise is resurfacing in the final days of the race.

TPM reader DO flagged for us a glossy 8 1/2 x 11" Bloomberg campaign mailer featuring a full-page photo of former Vice President Al Gore, saying it "appears to be a strong endorsement." (It's not.)

"If Gore remains passive about this it will be tantamount to accepting Bloomberg's apparent claim that Gore has endorsed him ... or Gore is playing a political game in which he is endorsing Bloomberg, but is leaving himself a plausible denial that he has endorsed Bloomberg while he tacitly accepts Bloomberg's brochure being send in his name," DO wrote us.

TPMDC checked in with Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider, who affirmed her boss' friendly quotes about Bloomberg over the years.

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Yesterday, a New Jersey paper reported that an angry young woman had splashed purple paint all over two people in Clifton, N.J., who were passing out pamphlets that depicted President Obama as a fascist.

The paper reported that, according to Clifton Police, the pamphleteers were working for the political action committee of Hoffmann-La Roche, a pharmaceutical corporation that has a large campus in the same town.

This piqued TPM's interest. Pharmaceutical companies distributing leaflets comparing Obama to a fascist?

But, as police told TPM today, they were mistaken. Further investigation showed the pamphleteers were actually supporters of fringe political figure Lyndon LaRouche.

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The CIA misled Congress about its torture program and other issues, Democrats on the House Intelligence committee are asserting as the committee continues to probe the matter.

In a hearing of the House Intelligence committee this afternoon, Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jan Schakowsky, both Democrats, pointed to at least five instances going back to at least 2001 in which the C.I.A. withheld information from or lied to Congress.

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Freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) told reporters today she will be "looking very closely" at the health care bill as proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

On a conference call with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about rural health care, Hagan reiterated she supports "a backstop option for people that don't have access to employer-sponsored health care."

"I'm going to definitely be looking very closely at this bill to see exactly what's in it," Hagan said. "I am committed to working with my colleagues on a final reform bill that hopefully is going to bring stability and security to American families and is not going to add one dime to our federal deficit."

Reporters also asked about the TPMMuckraker scoop yesterday about Blue Cross mailers asking customers to lobby Hagan to oppose the public option.

Transcript after the jump.

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October 25: Students in Kabul protest over allegations that Western soldiers burned a Koran. The protests, which lasted two days, spread to the southern city of Kandahar and the eastern city of Jalalabad. The riots erupted even though a coalition spokeswoman claimed an investigation had dismissed the claims.

Newscom/Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna




The Afghan police march to meet protesters. When police arrived, the protesters threw stones and injured 10 to 15 police officers.

Newscom/Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna




More than a 1,000 Kabul University students took to the streets.

Newscom/Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna




Protesters shout slogans while marching, including "Death to America, death to Jews and Christians!" according to news reports.

Newscom/Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna




Demonstrators throw the clothes from an effigy of Obama.

Newscom/Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna




The Afghan police attempt to protect the parliament building in Kabul as protesters gather.

Newscom/UPI Photos/Hossein Fatemi




Demonstrators burn the American flag. At a protest on Sunday, President Obama was burned in effigy.

Newscom/UPI Photos/Hossein Fatemi




Many protesters called for jihad, according to reports.

Newscom/UPI Photos/Hossein Fatemi






Newscom/UPI Photos/Hossein Fatemi




Tensions come to a head as riot police charge demonstrators in front of the parliament building.

Newscom/UPI Photos/Hossein Fatemi




October 26: Some were beaten after the clash with police.

Newscom/Zuma Wire




October 26: "Police have been extra tolerant trying to avoid any scuffle with the protesters," said a spokesman for Afghanistan's Interior Ministry.

Newscom/Zuma Wire




October 26: Dozens were arrested.

Newscom/Zuma Wire






Newscom/Zuma Wire




October 26: A mullah attached to an Afghan army unit alleged that "The enemies of Afghanistan are trying to make people go against the government in order to start riots."

Newscom/Zuma Wire

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) appeared on the Neil Cavuto show, and was asked for his take on the NY-23 special election, which has seen a split in Republican ranks between supporters of moderate GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava, against Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman.

"Well, there's no question that New York-23 is a bit of a mess," Boehner admitted bluntly.

He attributed Scozzafava's nomination to the local GOP county chairmen -- as if to say it wasn't in his hands -- and then defended her conservative credentials on such issues as signing a no-tax pledge, opposing cap-and-trade, and opposing the Democrats on health care.

Boehner also prepared the Republican spin on this race, no matter who win, banking on Scozzafava and Hoffman getting more than 50% of the vote in total: "What is clear here, Neil, is that a majority of people in this district, that was won by Barack Obama a year ago, a majority of the people in this district have rejected the Obama-Pelosi agenda here in Washington."

After a meeting of Senate Finance Committee Democrats in his office this afternoon, chairman Max Baucus sought to contain the fallout from Sen. Joe Lieberman's statement today that he'd be inclined to filibuster a health care bill with a public option in it.

"A lot of this now is in Sen. Reid's hands--I certainly would expect [for the bill to proceed to debate]," Baucus said.

I think he's quite close, and there's time yet. I think some senators are not definitely decided because they want to see the CBO report. They want to look at CBO's cost estimates, coverage estimates, effect on premiums, etc., before they make up their minds. Once the CBO report comes out--at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later--it's going to be positive. And once it's positive, I think we'll find a lot more senators inclined to get on the bill.


For a time line of conflicting Lieberman statements on the public option, see here. For a rundown of his previous willingness not to obstruct legislation, see here.

Neil Cavuto was interviewing House Minority Leader John Boehner on Fox News this afternoon when he showed some video from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's press conference today. Reid compared his attempts to get Republicans to work with him on health care reform to the plight of a boy at a high school dance who can't get a girl to stand up and boogie with him.

"When I came here we had -- Republicans and Democrats worked together," Reid said. "But we can't dance if your partner is unwilling to get off the chair. It's like when I was in high school. Um, I wanted to dance but she wouldn't get up, okay?"

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