TPM News

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) has a bill out that would give pet owners a tax break of up to $3,500 for their pet-related expenses.

The HAPPY bill -- which stands for Humanity And Pets Partnered through the Years -- has a huge supporter in actor Robert Davi, perhaps best known for his villainous roles in James Bond and The Goonies.

According to ABCNews.com, Davi was the main force behind the bill's introduction. The actor owns four dogs and one cat and runs D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, an animal rescue foundation in California.

"This money goes back into the economy, and it encourages people to understand the social responsibilities we have toward animals," David told ABCNews.com.

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The NRCC drew fire for an attack on Nancy Pelosi Democrats say goes too far for the second time in a week today. On Oct. 6, Democrats were upset when the GOP group called on Gen. Stanley McChrystal to put Pelosi "in her place." Today, it was the NRCC's seeming comparison of Pelosi to Adolf Hitler that had Democrats up in arms.

"The NRCC's despicable promotion of a video comparing Speaker Pelosi's effort to reform health insurance in America to Adolf Hitler's extermination of millions is a shocking new low that must be condemned," DCCC spokesperson Jennifer Crider said.

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The new Rasmussen poll of Virginia finds Republican Bob McDonnell continuing to hold a solid lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

The numbers: McDonnell 50%, Deeds 43%, with a ±4% margin of error. This has not significantly changed from two weeks ago, when McDonnell was ahead 51%-42%.

The pollster's analysis finds that McDonnell has recovered from controversies surrounding his hard-right grad school thesis, which denounced working women -- but also that the potential still exists for it to be a problem: "Concern about the thesis has risen again, however. Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters now say it is at least somewhat important in determining how they will vote. That's up five points from the two previous surveys on the race."

The Democratic National Committee is responding to Liz Cheney's new anti-Obama group "Keep America Safe" -- a sign that the Dems might still enjoy having the Cheneys as villains they can kick around:

"Last fall, the American people overwhelmingly rejected a radical foreign policy authored by Dick Cheney that alienated our allies, emboldened our enemies, depleted our resources, distracted our focus and made the nation less secure. The Cheneys lost that debate and their approach was deemed a failure. The Cheneys can continue to focus on securing their sullied legacy if they want to. But, the President will continue to focus on securing the country," said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan.

Appearing on MSNBC a few moments ago, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) seemed quite pleased by the news that Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) would vote for the Senate Finance Committee health insurance reform bill.

"It'll now be a 14-9 vote coming out of Finance Committee," he said. "That's a huge margin. Olympia makes it bipartisan. This is a first step in a long process, but it's an extremely important first step."

Nelson also had a prediction:

"Susan Collins now will likely come with her fellow Maine senator once they vote on the floor."

Yesterday, [we told you](http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/10/money_in_no_money_out_whats_ith_rep_steve_buyer-_l.php) about the foundation closely linked to Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) that's taken nearly a million dollars from companies with interest in legislation moving through his committees, but given out nothing for its stated purpose, college scholarships for Indiana students.

Here's a closer look at who has donated to the Frontier Foundation, and how some of the money has been spent.

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) held a town hall meeting on health care in his district last night -- and seemed to be doing his best to avoid controversy.

Grayson stuck to policy specifics -- though at one point he was confronted by a man who tried to turn Grayson's "die quickly" attack on the Republicans right back at him. "I'd like to know if he's aware that it was actually Richard Lamm, Democratic Governor of Colorado, in 1984, who said it's your duty to die if you get sick," the man said. "And I think that that's a hypocritical statement of yours, to tar other people with something that the Democrats said."

"You have mischaracterized what I said, you've mischaracterized what Gov. Lamm said," Grayson replied. "Our time is limited tonight, and I'm not gonna debate politics, I'm gonna debate health care. So we're gonna go on to the next question." He then proceeded to talk about the need for a public option to create health care competition:

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It's been called a "bombshell," but Democrats are saying the America's Health Insurance Plans report has helped unify the party around the health care bill(s). They say it's much easier to fight the big, bad insurance lobby that burned the White House than, for example, a Congressional Budget Office report showing increased costs and insurmountable debt as the American people are wary of skyrocketing deficits.

However, a key Democratic Senate leadership aide told TPMDC that while the report angered Democrats, it is highly unlikely to move any votes for the final bill. Another Democrat agreed the report "should" galvanize the party but doubted Democrats would take full advantage of the report, which left out some key elements in its analysis.

Responding to that news, the DNC's Brad Woodhouse referred to it as the "AHIP Hatchet Job" and warned that anyone using the "phony" report will be subject to one of the party's "Call you out" campaigns.

"This should lay to rest any notion that the AHIP report has any credibility whatsoever or that it should be used by members of Congress in their deliberations over health insurance reform," Woodhouse said.

Organizing for America, the spinoff of the Obama campaign housed at the DNC, hasn't planned any formal pushback yet but is making sure volunteers have the talking points so they can shoot the report down if they are asked while knocking on doors and making calls.

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On the day the Senate Finance Committee is expected to take up its final vote on its version of a health care reform bill, small business leaders are rallying across the country in support of the inclusion of a public option in any reform package passed by the committee.

The Main Street Alliance -- a coalition of small business owners across the country -- is sponsoring today's rallies, which will bring business owners and lawmakers together in 11 states.

The group says the goal of the rallies is to "urge" members of the committee "and leaders in both chambers to include a public option, true affordability measures, and to replace the flawed 'free rider' proposal with fair employer contribution."

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Reached on her cell phone by TPMmuckraker and informed of the $20,000 fine imposed on her by a federal judge this morning, Birther attorney Orly Taitz responded, first, with laughter.

"So he didn't recuse himself?" Taitz asked, after letting out an extended, nervous-sounding chuckle.

Still defiant after months of legal wrangling and, by our count, three written denunciations by federal district court Judge Clay Land, Taitz said she had absolutely no plans to pay the $20,000 fine.

"Are you kidding? Of course not," she said, asked whether she planned to send a check. "This is a form of intimidation."

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