TPM News blasted an email to its members today, urging them to call the White House immediately and demand a strong public option.

"Tell President Obama to stand with Senate Democrats and the American public to ensure the Senate bill includes a strong public health insurance option--not Senator Snowe's 'trigger,'" the email reads.

As TPMDC has reported today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been pushing for a strong public option in the Senate version of the health care reform bill. But the White House has apparently been pushing back in favor for a trigger option, preferred by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

Creigh Deeds said this afternoon he was confused and surprised by news that the White House feels he's dug his own grave in the race to become the next governor of Virginia.

This morning, the Washington Post published a story recounting displeasure on the part of White House officials over the way Deeds has campaigned against GOP nominee Bob McDonnell. Current polls show Deeds down by double digits in the contest, and unnamed White House officials told the Post Deeds had only himself to blame for the situation. The officials claimed Deeds had ignored calls from from White House and other Democratic officials that he focus more his attention on being proactive about the issues driving the election and less on McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis claiming that working women are "detrimental" to the traditional family.

On a press call this afternoon, Deeds said he hadn't read the story but seemed knowledgeable about its central themes.

"I understand the article says we didn't follow their advice," he said under questioning from TPMDC. "But I don't know what that's about. I honestly don't."

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Vice President Biden today called his predecessor's assertion that the White House is "dithering" on Afghanistan "absolutely wrong."

"I think that is absolutely wrong. I think what the administration is doing is exactly what we said it would do," Biden told White House pool reporters. " And that is making an informed judgment based upon circumstances that have changed ... to come up with a sustainable policy that has more than one dimension."

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During an appearance on the Neil Cavuto show, Mike Huckabee said he would not make an endorsement in the NY-23 special election -- and then proceeded to profusely praise Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and say he could never support a pro-choice candidate (which so happens to be the case for the GOP's nominee, Dede Scozzafava).

"Certainly his views represent more closely to mine," said Huckabee. "I'm not taking a role in that with my PAC, simply because I feel like it would be inappropriate with me at this point -- mainly because I'm already speaking to the Conservative Party next week. But it is not an endorsement speech, it is an awards speech, and I don't want to get the two confused."

Huckabee also said: "I'm never gonna support somebody who does not believe that every human life has value and meaning. I'm not gonna support people who would do things like say TARP is one of those great, wonderful things. I think I have a right and responsibility to only support people who hold to principles, above party and above just the politics of winning and losing."

The liberal organization People for the American Way has had just about enough. PFAW says it's time for the White House and Senate leadership to get down to business and bring dozens of Obama nominees--all of whom are waiting as Republicans threaten filibusters--to the Senate floor. Now the group is planning to take that message directly to Democratic leaders, who haven't done all they can to circumvent the obstruction.

"There is unprecedented obstruction going on of executive branch officials," says Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of PFAW.

In 1949, a change to Senate rules allowed members to filibuster executive branch nominees. Senators tend to believe (or at least to say) that, within bounds of decency, the White House deserves to be able to staff the executive branch as it chooses; and in the 60 years since then, the practice has been used sparingly.

Until Barack Obama came to town.

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After a rough and tumble start to the day, the House's public option predicament remains mostly unchanged. Speaker Nancy Pelosi still wants a robust plan, pegged to Medicare, but she's finding it difficult to round up the necessary votes. Undecided Democrats are being put on the spot and are doing everything they can to slink away from the discussion. In the face of this predicament, Pelosi is acknowledging that the more progressive public option may not happen.

"The atmosphere has changed. When we were dealing with the idea that the Senate had nothing, it was really important, again, to go in with the most muscle for the middle class with a robust public option," Pelosi said at the news conference.

"This is about the endgame now," she said.

Though the push is still on for the robust public option, that seems about as clear a sign as any that leadership is at least preparing for the possibility that their monumental push might not succeed.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential president candidate, says that his state should opt out of the public option if given the chance.

"I don't know if we would opt out, but I personally would like to opt out because I don't like government-run health care," Pawlenty said.

This shouldn't be too much of a shocker, considering that Pawlenty had previously talked about invoking the Tenth Amendment and attempting to nullify health care reform at the state level. Really, being given permission by the federal government to opt out isn't much in comparison.

It's unlikely that Minnesota actually would opt out, due to its legislature being heavily Democratic. But hey, Pawlenty can dream. And he can court the national GOP base.

In a strongly-worded statement today, the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which represents three minority caucuses, denounced a call by four GOP lawmakers for an investigation into whether Muslim "intern spies" have infiltrated the Hill.

"These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of 'un-American' agitators were identified," said Reps. Michael Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). They are the chairs of the Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Black Caucus, and the Hispanic Caucus, respectively.

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The anti-rape amendment introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) may be stripped from the defense appropriations bill by Appropriations chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the Huffington Post reports.

Multiple sources told reporter Sam Stein that the provision -- which would prohibit the Pentagon from hiring contractors whose employment contracts prevent employees from taking work-related allegations of rape and discrimination to court -- is being targeted by defense contractors. Their lobbyists have reportedly flooded Inouye's office, worried they may lose contracts or open themselves up to lawsuits.

One source said it "looks increasingly likely" that Inouye will remove the amendment.

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A Tea Party activist today used a U.S. military email address to call for "civil disobedience" in opposition to the policies of the Obama administration.

In a message sent this morning to fellow members of the Tea Party Patriots, who had been discussing movement strategy, Richard A. Correa Sr., who identifies himself as a retired sergeant, wrote:

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