TPM News

CBS Evening News is set to run a segment looking at the questionable foundation of Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), and they've got a sit-down interview with the man himself.

Last night, CBS ran a promo of the "Follow the Money" segment with reporter Sharyl Attkisson interviewing a tense-looking Buyer. She asks, "What happened to the $25,000?"

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Dede Scozzafava, the former GOP candidate in the special NY-23 congressional race who dropped out and endorsed her Democratic opponent after a parade of national Republicans abandoned Scozzafava in favor of a Conservative Party candidate (who lost to the Democrat), gave CNN her first national television interview since the election this morning. And she had some tough words for big-name Republicans, like Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin, who backed her conservative opponent.

"They had no understanding of who I was and no understanding really of the issues that drove the district," Scozzafava said, adding that "for people to come out and be endorsing a candidate in a race in a place that they knew nothing about, I thought it was pretty disingenuous."

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told ABC News that he'll help block health care reform if it looks like the House bill that passed this weekend.

Nelson's problem, he said, is with the public option in the House legislation.

"Well, first of all, it has more than a robust public option, it's got a totally government-run plan, the costs are extraordinary associated with it, it increases taxes in a way that will not pass in the Senate and I could go on and on and on," Nelson said.

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Poll: Public Opposes Afghanistan Surge, Split On Obama's Decision-Making A new CNN poll finds that only 40% of Americans favor the war in Afghanistan, with 58% opposing it. American also do not support sending more troops to Afghanistan, by a 42%-56% margin. The public is split on President Obama's decision-making process with 49% saying he is taking too long, and 50% who disagree.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and the First Lady will host a Veterans Day breakfast, at 9:05 a.m. ET in the White House. At 11 a.m. ET, he will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and will deliver remarks at 11:25 a.m. ET. He will meet at 2:30 p.m. ET with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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For Republicans battling Democratic-led health care reform, there's August -- and then there's everything after. Starting in a couple of weeks, the GOP hopes to take the country back to the heady days of the health care town halls.

The late summer was the high-water mark for the GOP on health care, when poll support for Democratic reform lagged after an August full of raucous town hall meetings with members of Congress across the country. The town halls caused the reform debate to shift from "public options" and "mandates" to "death panels" and "socialized medicine." President Obama gave a primetime address before a joint session of Congress to address the fears raised by the town halls, and polls began to shift back toward support for Democratic reforms.

Now, the GOP wants to capture some of that August magic again as the Senate takes up a reform bill.

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The biggest players in the health care reform debate often blur together into a swirl of acronyms and policy jargon. But they're also key to understanding how health care reform has been shaped, and how it's come as far as it has.

At this point in the health care debate, pro-reform groups have spent more money on health care ads than have well-heeled health care opponents. That's a testament to just how important the issue is to the liberal base, but it's also the precise effect President Obama was seeking when he partnered with the health care industry's most powerful stakeholders.

What sets the following six players apart is how they've defied the usual expectations and taken positions that don't easily fit into the usual left vs. right or corporate vs. consumer paradigm.

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Organizing for America officials offered a look at some of their metrics they say has helped the fledgling group be successful. Read TPMDC's story here and here's a transcript of the interview with directory Mitch Stewart and deputy director Jeremy Bird.

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This is a partial transcript of TPMDC's Monday interview with Mitch Stewart, director of Organizing for America, and Jeremy Bird, OFA deputy director. Read the story here.

Christina Bellantoni: One year after the big win, how do you guys feel about things?

Jeremy Bird: Good. This weekend was a big deal for us. It was kind of nice during the same week to have the campaign celebration, watch the documentary, relive some of the campaign and then clear the first big hurdle in health reform.

It feels good about where the country is. We always said the campaign was a chance to get to the point where we can make change and a year later having that same kind of feeling that we had on election day on Saturday was good. Organizationally we feel really really good. ... We're only nine months in and we have been methodically building across the country since January.

We're up to 49 states states where we have staff.

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Nine months ago when the Democrats who ran Barack's Obama campaign created Organizing for America, no one was sure exactly how it would work or whether it was possible to harness the enthusiasm for the new president and translate it into action.

But nearing the anniversary of Obama's election, OFA has strengthened into a (smaller) mirror of the campaign, with volunteers in every single Congressional district and staff on the ground in every state but Oklahoma.

They also are growing the Obama donor base.

TPMDC has learned that 24.7 percent of the donations made online to OFA are new donors - people who didn't give during the campaign. That's a pretty striking figure give that a record 3 million people donated during 2007 and 2008.

Organizationally, the boots-on-the-ground, Washington outsider vibe has translated into real results as well. Saturday morning, an OFA volunteer in Louisiana flagged for the team that Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) might end up supporting health care.

The administration had been talking to Cao behind the scenes, but it was the volunteer who emailed OFA staffers to report that the Republican's office wasn't saying he was against the bill which opened the floodgates. OFA volunteers made 550 calls to the district office on Saturday in the hours before he became the lone Republican to back the bill.

In an exclusive interview with TPMDC, OFA officials laid out their metrics so far and stressed the results have exceeded expectations.

It was no surprise that Mitch Stewart, OFA's director, and Jeremy Bird, the deputy director, remained on message at all times. They told me nearly a dozen times the OFA mission is to support the president's agenda, and downplayed any disappointment that Obama voters couldn't make the difference in last week's state races in Virginia and New Jersey.

But the wide-ranging interview did lift the curtain on the organization, officially deemed a special project of the Democratic National Committee.

As I detailed earlier this year, OFA and the DNC share a building and merged finances, but keep many things separate. Among those are the list of email supporters, which stood at 13 million at the end of the long campaign. (They won't disclose its size today.)

Campaign geeks may like the transcript of our interview, and come along after the jump to delve into how OFA is doing.

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TPMLivewire