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Moments after the Senate Finance Committee rejected two public option amendments yesterday, two groups that have been targeting the panel's chairman Max Baucus, and key Republican Olympia Snowe latched on to their votes in a fundraising bid to turn up the heat on both senators.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America have been running hard hitting ads in Montana, Maine, and Washington, DC, targeting Baucus and Snowe for failing to support a public option. With their votes registered, the groups are now seeking to extend the ad buys:

"Today, we are raising our fundraising goal to $200,000 to PUMMEL Baucus and Snowe with ads in their home states featuring the voices of their constituents," reads an email from PCCC to members.

You can see the ads here and here. And you can read the entire letter below the fold.

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The office in charge of auditing Pentagon contracts is beset by incompetence and possibly malfeasance that has allowed big defense contractors to line their pockets at taxpayer expense, according to two new government oversight reports.

Last year, the obscure but important arm of the federal government called the Defense Contract Audit Agency looked at $501 billion in contractor costs.

Which is, as it sounds, a pretty important job. But the DCAA isn't doing the job so well, concludes the Defense Department's Inspector General, whose 96-page report on the DCAA was unsealed yesterday and can be read here (.pdf), and the Government Accountability Office, whose own damning report is here.

Let's look at a case that shows how auditor malfeasance can line the pockets of big defense contractors with millions in taxpayer dollars.

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Salon has a lengthy profile of Rick Scott, the head of Conservatives for Patients Rights and the public face of the anti-healthcare-reform movement.

At this point, Scott's track record as a zealous promoter of for-profit health-care -- including the fact that the company he founded paid an almost $2-billion fine for Medicare fraud -- has been well-documented. But Salon compellingly frames the central fact of Scott's role in the current debate over reform:

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The new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey finds that Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine has narrowed the gap against Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie -- and that independent candidate Chris Daggett could be playing a key spoiler role in this.

The numbers: Christie 43%, Corzine 39%, Daggett 12%, with a ±2.8% margin of error. A month ago, Christie led by 47%-37%-9%. The poll also finds that Christie favorable-unfavorable rating is now split at 38%-38%, compared to 41%-33% a month ago.

From the pollster's analysis: "This race looks as if it will go down to the wire. Does Christopher Daggett's impressive climb measure a swing to him or simply a distaste for the two guys hollering at each other? Will Daggett fade on Election Day? At this stage, his numbers matter."

In a column published yesterday, Newsmax's John L. Perry wrote that there is a "gaining" possibility that the military will stage a coup to "resolve the 'Obama problem.'"

Newsmax has apparently removed the column from its site. Links are now redirected to the homepage, and Perry's author page has no mention of his latest work. You can read the full text here.

The coup -- which would be "civilized" and "bloodless," according to Perry -- would consist of a "patriotic general" sitting down with the President and working out a new system in which "skilled, military-trained, nation-builders" would "do the serious business of governing and defending the nation" while Obama would still be allowed to make speeches.

Obama, he said, is inviting such a "family intervention."

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New DNC Ad: Tell Republicans To "Stop The Lies" On Health Reform The Democratic National Committee has a new ad on health care, attacking Republican leaders for "trying to scare seniors about health reform." The ad will air on national cable and in Washington, D.C.



"Tell Republicans: Stop the lies on health reform," the announcer says.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will tour a laboratory at the National Institutes of Health at 10:25 a.m. ET, with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Obama will make a major announcement regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at 11 a.m. ET. He will sign the Arnold Palmer Gold Medal Act in the Oval Office at 1:30 p.m. ET, honoring the legendary golfer. At 3 p.m. ET, he will meet with his national security team on Afghanistan.

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor threw out the first pitch at Yankees Stadium Sept. 26, 2009, for a game against the Boston Red Sox. Here, Justice Sotomayor is escorted to the pitcher's mound by New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo




Justice Sotomayor is occasionally known as "the Judge who saved baseball," for her landmark ruling in 1995 that ended a 232-day players' strike. Sotomayor joins a long line of political figures who have wound up for their favorite baseball teams. Click through for our favorite first pitches!

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo




July 14, 2009: President Obama throws the first pitch for the MLB All-Star game in St. Louis.

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Obama winds up at the All-Star game.

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April 6, 2009: Vice President Biden throws the first pitch for the Baltimore Orioles on opening day at Camden Yards.

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Oct. 23, 2008: General David Petraeus opens Game 2 of the World Series at the Tampa Bay Rays' stadium in Florida.

Newscom/UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch




March 30, 2008: President George W. Bush at the Washington Nationals' opening game.

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Sept. 8, 2007: Republican presidential candidate and former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani throws the first pitch for the Texas Rangers.

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April 11, 2006: Vice President Dick Cheney on opening day for the Washington Nationals.

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April 8, 2004: Former President Jimmy Carter on opening day for the San Diego Padres.

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July 24, 2004: Presidential candidate John Kerry throws the first pitch at a Yankees-Red Sox game in Boston on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.

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Sept. 2, 2002: Then-Florida gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno throws the first pitch for a Japan vs. United States game during the Women's World Series.

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April 3, 2000: Former President George H.W. Bush at a Texas Rangers game.

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April 2, 1996: President Bill Clinton warms up with former St. Louis player Joe Garagiola before throwing out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game.

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Sept. 30, 1988: President Ronald Reagan throws out the first pitch at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs.

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April 7, 1969: President Richard Nixon at the Washington Senators opening game in Washington, D.C..

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Vice President Lyndon Johnson (left) and President John F. Kennedy at a Washington Senators game in the 1960s.

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July 7, 1937: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C.

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1916: President Woodrow Wilson on opening day for the Washington Senators.

Wikimedia




June 6, 1910: President William Howard Taft tosses out the first-ever ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Senators.

Newscom/SHNS photo courtesy Corbis




July 6, 2008: An Abraham Lincoln impersonator throws out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.

Newscom/UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) wasn't on hand in the Finance Committee hearing room to oppose against the public option in person. But below is her official statement with respect to the "no" vote she issued by proxy.

Arkansans have told me they support health care reform that forces insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and prevents them from dropping coverage when you become seriously ill. We can achieve these goals, stabilize the cost of coverage for Arkansans who have health insurance, and expand coverage to the uninsured and underinsured without creating a purely public, new government program, which most Arkansans do not support. I have promised my constituents that I will fight for health insurance reform that is deficit neutral, now and in the future, and that creates more choices for small businesses and their workers and the self-employed. These are important priorities that I believe we can achieve.


In addition, I am working to ensure that requiring Americans to purchase health insurance does not result in a personal windfall for health insurance company executives. My amendment would cut the tax shelter, from $1 million to $500,000, of what businesses are able to deduct for executive compensation. This is a fair policy change aimed at lowering insurance costs to consumers and reassuring them that insurance companies are not receiving excessive tax breaks while at the same time profiting from a government mandate.


Not very good news for reformers. The key questions down the line will be whether she's willing to filibuster a public option amendment or an entire health care reform bill on the grounds that it contains a public option.


During Barack Obama's Martha's Vineyard jaunt in August, the frustrations of a game of golf claim yet another victim.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Jump shot! Obama also took to the court with White House staffers during his vacation.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Bo hitches a ride on a helicopter flight to Martha's Vineyard.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama and his niece, Savita, harvest the dandelions of Martha's Vineyard.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Campers from NASCAR driver Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang meet the President on August 19. The camp is for terminally and chronically ill children; the kids visited the White House as part of a NASCAR special event.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President addressed the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix, AZ, on August 17.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton




President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak prepare for a working lunch on August 18.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Jim Jones after lunch with Mubarak.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Surprise! Economics gurus Austan Goolsbee and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner share birthdays (August 18) and cupcakes.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




President Barack Obama and reigning NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson wait before a ceremony honoring Johnson.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Brynja Hammer, daughter of Mike Hammer, spokesman for the National Security Council, flashes her best birthday smile at the President. Brynja visited the Oval Office on her 8th birthday.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




President Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, just before the President nominated Bernanke for a second term.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The Martha's Vineyard journey takes the President and his family up to the Gay Head lighthouse.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




A general store in Chilmark played host to the President and daughter Malia.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama and niece Savita at Martha's Vineyard.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The Black Congressional Caucus Foundation's annual awards dinner played host to the President and the First Lady on Saturday, September 26. This was the dinner in which the President relayed the story of a G20 leader asking why anti-health reform activists compare him to Hitler. "'We don't understand it,'" Obama quoted the anonymous G20 leader as saying. Watch the video here.

Newscom/Oliver Douliery/SIPA Photos




Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and the First Lady share the stage.

Newscom/Oliver Douliery/SIPA Photos




The extended First Family visited the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC on Sunday, September 27. From left to right: Suhaila Ng (Obama's niece), Maya Soetoro-Ng (Obama's sister), Konrad Ng (Obama's brother-in-law, holding his other daughter Savita), the President, Sasha Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, and Michelle's mother, Marian Robinson.

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The First Lady and Bo on the South Lawn of the White House on September 26.

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Bo, the President and the First Lady depart Malia's soccer game on September 26.

Newscom/Oliver Douliery/UPI Photos

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