TPM News

A new Rasmussen poll of Texas, the first publicly released poll since Tuesday's primary, gives Republican Gov. Rick Perry a lead of 49%-43% over Democratic Houston Mayor Bill White, with clear potential for a close race this fall.

This number is essentially the same as a 47%-41% result that Rasmussen had two weeks ago, before the primary. White easily won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, while Perry won with 51% in a three-way race, enough to avoid a runoff. The new poll gives Perry a 54% favorable rating and 46% unfavorable, with White at 54%-34%.

In the TPM Poll Average, Perry leads White by 48.4%-41.0%.

Via Think Progress: Liz Cheney argued today that the attack ad put out by her group Keep America Safe, which dubs Justice Department lawyers who represented Gitmo detainees "the Al Qaeda Seven," does not "question anybody's loyalty."

The Cheney ad also asks of the DOJ lawyers, "Whose values do they share?" while flashing a picture of Osama bin Laden.

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Abortion is once again turning out to be a--if not the--major obstacle to passing health care legislation in the House of Representatives. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) says he (and about a dozen other pro-life Democrats) will vote against the Senate bill if his concerns aren't met, claiming its abortion provisions allow for federal funding of abortions. And those are votes Speaker Nancy Pelosi can't afford to lose.

Stupak has re-entered negotiations with Democratic leadership, and this evening, emerging from a meeting with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer indicated one possible way forward.

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A Xe spokesman says that, contra a slide in the leaked RNC fundraising presentation, the Republican Party will not be holding an April fundraiser at the company's Moyock, North Carolina, training compound.

"The RNC is not coming to Moyock," spokesman Mark Corallo tells TPMmuckraker in an e-mail. "However, like the many corporations and organizations who choose our facilities for retreats and conferences, we would be happy to host the RNC and the DNC."

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Two Congressional Republicans today blasted those RNC fundraising mailers that appear made to look like official Census Bureau communications. "Nothing could be more wrong," said one.

During a hearing of the House Oversight committee, which is looking into the mailers, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) declared: "I am obviously a member of the Republican Party. I have seen the Republican Party send out documents that say 'census.' I think it's wrong, I think it's deceptive, and I wish they wouldn't do it. I would hope our party would cease from doing that."

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President Obama's message to progressives who are dissatisfied with the Senate health care bill is two fold: First: Don't forget about the uninsured. Second: Don't forget what failure to pass this bill would do to the party and my presidency.

In a meeting with House progressives today, Obama made the pitch.

Speaking to reporters in the Speaker's lobby off the House floor, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said the President reminded them that "If this opportunity passes, much of our agenda, on the progressive side...it would be difficult, if not impossible for a generation to get back to this issue."

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For the last several days, the magic number to pass health care reform in the House has been 216. Today it went up by one. That's because Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) has decided to put off his resignation until after the health care vote.

"In recent days it has become clear to the American people that the House will be the final battleground in their effort to stop President Obama's massive health care takeover from becoming law," reads a typically...restrained...statement from Boehner. "The House is the last line of defense against this 2,700-page big government monstrosity, and the American people need every vote they can get in the effort to stop it from being enacted."

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A pro-life group called Susan B. Anthony's List has been trying to pressure pro-life Democrats to vote against a health care bill if it doesn't include Stupak-like abortion language. Their latest effort was to poll voters in eight Congressional districts this week to prove that those pro-life members can either vote no, or face the end of their House careers.

But the poll seems to prove something else: These voters don't want to see a health care bill passed at all -- with or without abortion language.

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President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today summoned the nation's four largest health insurers responsible for rate increases the administration calls "jaw-dropping." They demanded the insurers - WellPoint, Cigna, Aetna and United Health Group - start disclosing their rate increases on the Internet.

Everyone involved called the talks "constructive," but shortly after the meeting a report surfaced showing the nation's largest insurer would stand to profit substantially if reform fails.

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein got his hands on a report from a consulting firm which evaluated Wellpoint stock and concluded, "Of course, healthcare reform is a double-edged sword for Wellpoint shares. Should reform fail, Wellpoint would be a primary beneficiary."

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