TPM News

President Barack Obama meets with Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki of Libya on September 22, 2009. Dr. Treki is President of the sixty-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly, being held in New York City. The two meet ahead of the opening Summit on Climate Change.

Newscom/Mark Garten/UN Photo/Sipa Press

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she arrives at the UN.

Newscom/Mark Garten/UN Photo/Sipa Press

Former Vice President Al Gore holds a press conference on climate change.

Newscom/Ryan Brown/UN Photo/Sipa Press

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greets President Barack Obama prior to the Summit on Climate Change.

Newscom/Mark Garten/UN Photo/Sipa Press

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center) poses with world leaders slated to address the opening and closing sessions of the Summit on Climate Change. From left: Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden; Tillman Joseph Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada; Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark; Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China; Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Republic of Maldives; Oscar Arias Sanchez, President of Costa Rica; Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan; and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.

Newscom/Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo/Sipa Press

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon makes remarks at the Summit on Climate Change.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits for President Barack Obama to speak.

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo

In his remarks, President Obama says that "no nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change."

Newscom/John Angelillo/Abaca Press/MCT

President Obama addresses the Summit on Climate Change.

Newscom/John Angelillo/Abaca Press/MCT

President Obama shakes hands with delegates after his speech.

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo

French President Nicolas Sarkozy addresses the Summit on Climate Change.

Newscom/Sipa Press

President Obama looks on as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands at a trilateral summit at the Waldorf Astoria.

Newscom/John Angelillo/Pool/Sipa Press

French President Nicolas Sarkozy goes for a jog on Manhattan's Upper East Side during his visit to New York City.

Newscom/Erik Sumption/Sipa Press

President Obama speaks at a bilateral meeting with China at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Chinese President Hu Jintao sits to Obama's left, and Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sit to his right.

Newscom/UPI Photo/John Angelillo

Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama arrive at the Clinton Global Initiative at the Sheraton Hotel on September 22.

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo

In his remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama says that "real progress does not just come from the top down, not just from government, it comes from the bottom up -- from people."

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo

Prince Albert II of Monaco attends the closing ceremony for the UN Summit on Climate Change.

Newscom/Brian Zak/Sipa Press

Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway, and Tony Blair, special envoy of the Middle East Quartet, lead a briefing on the work of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.


UN headquarters in New York, NY.


Michelle Obama arrives at the UN General Assembly building to attend the general debate.

Newscom/Eskinder Debebe /UN Photo/Sipa Press

Libya's Muammar Qaddafi addresses the UN General Assembly on September 23.

Newscom/Tony Blake/ PSG

After addressing the General Assembly for 96 minutes, Muammar Qaddafi returns to his seat.

Newscom/Tony Blake/ PSG

President Obama addresses a luncheon at the UN.

Newscom/UPI/Olivier Douliery/Pool

President Obama at a UN luncheon.

Newscom/UPI/Olivier Douliery/Pool

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Obama toast at a UN luncheon.

Newscom/UPI/Olivier Douliery/Pool

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Newscom/UPI/Anatoli Zhdanov

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and President Obama hold a bilateral meeting.

Newscom/UPI/Olivier Douliery/Pool

Responding to press questions about a Fox News report that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has chosen an interim senator to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, the governor's office has released a statement:

Contrary to media reports, no final decision has been made relative to the interim appointment.

Fox reported that sources said Patrick was ready to name former DNC chairman Paul Kirk to the vacant seat.

Last night, Kent Conrad nearly gave Max Baucus a heart attack. Or so it seemed. During a hearing about the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill, Conrad said he'd need to see a complete cost analysis of the legislation before he was willing to vote on it--a stipulation that, according to CBO chief Doug Elmendorf, promised to delay the Baucus bill by two weeks.

Conrad ultimately backed off from this demand, and today, with his support, the committee agreed not to hold a vote until a preliminary analysis could be completed--a compromise that will surely shorten the delay by several days. But this was only the latest in a series of power plays that have many Democrats and health care reformers wondering just what his gambit is.

"He's provided us with two main hurdles," said a Senate Democratic aide. "He said from the beginning that he wanted to focus on entitlement reform and deficit reduction...and then he opposed the public option."

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Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA), a Blue Dog Democrat, made an interesting declaration at a town hall in his district: That our health care is already a Soviet-style system of central control and planning by the insurance companies -- and by Medicare and Medicaid.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Marshall distributed a handout at the event. (A copy was also provided to us by Marshall's office.) It referred people to an Atlantic article on the economic distortions in our present health care system, and how care is damaged by disconnecting the patient from the true costs, even with the best of intentions. Key quote from Marshall:

Much of the health care reform debate overlooks this inconvenient truth. I can't. Although it is tough to do politically, this reform effort gives us the opportunity to help our fellow citizens while at the same time helping the country. We should take that opportunity. I believe we need to gradually transition to a health care system that gives individual Americans greater control and responsibility for their health. Our current system is fundamentally broken. It is well intended but grossly wasteful.

Central planning and control didn't work well for the Soviet Union. And it isn't working for American health care, either. That's a pretty dramatic indictment. But it's true. Beginning in World War II, American health care gradually migrated to an inefficient, Soviet-style system of central control and planning provided by health insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. Our current system largely divorces patients and doctors from the cost of care, causing an explosion in overall costs for little or no overall benefit.

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During the Finance Committee's debate on the health care reform bill, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) defended a colleague's request that the committee not vote on the bill until the legislative language is online for 72 hours, reports Think Progress.

Why? So health insurers' lobbyists have time to look it over and say, "Hey, wait a minute."

"The thing that I'm trying to point out is we would have at least 72 hours for the people that the providers have hired to keep up with all of the legislation that we pass around here, and the regulations that we pass around here, to say, 'Hey, wait a minute. Have you considered this?'" Roberts said. "That 72 hours, I think, is highly, highly important."

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) had requested that the committee put the legislative language of the bill on its web site for 72 hours before voting, something Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) called "fundamentally a delay tactic." Democrats voted down the amendment, 12-11.

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin once faced off in a vice presidential debate. Now they're at odds again -- this time over death panels.

In her long-awaited debut speech in Asia this week, the former Alaska Governor defended death panels as a "serious term." Seriously.

The Vice President, speaking at a town hall meeting with senior citizens in Maryland today, also took up the topic of death panels. But somewhat less seriously.

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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has "no announcement" on an interim Senate appointment, a spokeswoman told TPM when asked about a Fox News report that Patrick is planning to appoint former DNC chairman Paul Kirk to the seat.

A source at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, where Kirk serves as chairman of the board, told us they have no information, and a Senate Democratic aide said they have not been contacted yet.

The Boston Globe reported today that two of Sen. Ted Kennedy's sons and his widow have told the governor they want Kirk to have the seat.

An FBI agent who worked on the corruption case of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson resigned after superiors found a list he wrote of his sexual conquests with agents and a confidential source, according to court documents.

The same agent, John Guandolo, who is married and who unsuccessfully solicited a $75,000 donation for an anti-terrorism group from a wealthy witness in the Jefferson case with whom he was having an affair, resigned from the FBI and appears to have landed on his feet on the speaking circuit playing up the threat of Islamic terrorism.

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In a new post on his campaign blog, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) invokes the memory of America's dead soldiers to explain how we must fight for our freedom against President Obama's socialist agenda:

Will we continue to climb the mountain of personal responsibility, free markets and constitutional limited government; or will we sink into a steep pit of high taxes, suffocating debt and socialism?

The President and his leaders in Congress need to start listening to all of us: "Let freedom work!" Too many Americans fought and died for our freedom to simply give it away with apathy and silence.

One question: Does DeMint include the troops from World War II in this count? After all, those brave servicemen were fighting for an America run by that big-government President Franklin Roosevelt -- and a lot of them even voted for him, too!