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Since it published -- and removed -- a column describing the possibility of a military coup to "resolve the Obama problem," conservative magazine Newsmax has gone into full damage control mode, distancing itself from the columnist.

The columnist, John L. Perry, "has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

That's not quite the wording on his Newsmax biography. There, Perry is described as an "award-winning newspaper editor and writer" who "contributes a regular column to Newsmax.com."

He's also a former senior editor for the site, working in that role from late 1999 until October 2001.

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A slew of recent polling data points to a conclusion that might have seemed hard to believe amidst the town hall craziness in the dog days of August and early September: President Obama's numbers have not only stabilized but actually seem to be showing a modest uptick. And by several other measures the political landscape for Democrats isn't nearly as bleak as it was being portrayed just a few weeks ago.

To be sure, the evidence is insufficient to point to any dramatic, long-run Obama resurgence -- at least for now. But there's enough data to conclude that August, rather than being a public support train-wreck for the president was actually an inflection point, when the downward trend flattened out, and in some cases began crawling back upward.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made good on a threat to cancel a week-long October recess to continue work on health care.

"I talked to the Republican leader about this last week," Reid said on the Senate floor this morning. "But the Columbus day is fast approaching. It's the week after next. And with all the things going on here, it just would not be right for us to take that week off. So what we're going to do, as I explained to the Republican leader last week, we'll be off that Monday, which is the holiday, Columbus day, and the following Friday."

Once the Finance Committee finishes work on its health care legislation, Reid will merge it with a different bill, and then bring it to the Senate floor. The week of October 12 seems a bit early for the floor debate to have kicked off, but this could at least prevent any further delays.

The Miami Herald runs down the back-story to the indictment of Alan Mendelsohn, the Florida doctor and lobbyist -- and close ally of Governor Charlie Crist -- who's been charged with running fraudulent lobbying and political fundraising schemes.

Mendelsohn's alleged crimes center around his ties to Mutual Benefits Corp., a Fort Lauderdale life insurance company which was being investigated by the state for defrauding investors. Mutual Benefits operates by selling the life insurance policies of people dying of AIDS and other diseases -- a line of business that, a recent New York Times report suggested, may replace sub-prime mortgages as the basis for the next investment bubble.

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Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)--chairs of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Environment and Public Works Committee respectively--have unveiled a draft of a climate change bill calling for significant reductions in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in both the near and short term. The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.

Though the draft will change considerably over the coming weeks, it is the basis for the upper chamber's coming legislative push, which, if successful, will, when combined with an already-completed House climate bill, become the most significant piece of energy legislation in the nation's history.

But between now and then, it will meet the many machetes of the Senate--an institution that hasn't been too kind to previous, failed climate change bills.

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As we reported earlier, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said on the House floor yesterday that the Republican plan for health care reform was little more than "don't get sick," and if you do, "die quickly." Grayson has since refused to apologize.

Now Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has introduced a resolution calling on the House to officially "disapprove" of Grayson's comments. Here's the full text:

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In a statement sent to TPM, Newsmax spokeswoman Paula Pradines said that John L. Perry -- the columnist who claimed a military coup to "resolve the Obama problem" was increasingly possible -- is just an "unpaid blogger" for the magazine.

"He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger," she said.

On his Newsmax bio page, Perry is described as someone who "contributes a regular column to Newsmax.com." On the site's "Blogs" page, he's listed alongside other contributors including Ben Stein, Grover Norquist and Christopher Ruddy, the owner and editor-in-chief on Newsmax.

He has also written a column nearly every week since late 1999.

Pradines said Newsmax pulled the column after several reader complaints "to insure that this article was not misinterpreted."

"Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government," she added, "and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions."

Besides, Perry "clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one," she wrote.

President Barack Obama announced at the National Institute of Health this morning that his administration will commit $5 billion in grant money -- taken from the $787 billion stimulus package -- to medical research.

"This represents the single largest boost to biomedical research in history," the President said.

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A lobbyist who's a close ally of Florida governor Charlie Crist has been indicted for allegedly orchestrating a fraudulent fund-raising and lobbying scheme.

Federal prosecutors say that Alan Mendelsohn funneled to himself over $350,000 from contributions to political organizations he controlled. They also allege that, in order to get around lobbying disclosure rules, Mendelsohn had his lobbying clients make $274,000 in payments to third parties -- including tuition payments to his children's schools -- on his behalf.

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The White House issued a press release today announcing $5 billion in stimulus money for 12,000 grants to fund "groundbreaking medical research." President Obama is scheduled to make a speech announcing the grants at 11 a.m. ET at the National Institutes of Health.

Here is the full text of the release:

In a visit to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus, President Barack Obama announced $5 billion in grant awards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) to fund cutting-edge medical research in every state across America. The more than 12,000 grant awards are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs over the next two years and are part of an overall $100 billion Recovery Act investment in science and technology to lay the foundation for the innovation economy of the future.

"We know that this kind of investment will also lead to new jobs: tens of thousands of jobs conducting research, manufacturing and supplying medical equipment, and building and modernizing laboratories and research facilities," said President Obama. "I've long said, the goal of the Recovery Act was not to create make-work jobs, but jobs making a difference for our future. There is no better example than the jobs we will produce or preserve through the grants we are announcing this morning."

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