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Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who is running for President Obama's former Senate seat in 2010, just pulled off an amazing trick at a Republican event over the weekend: He said that he voted for the climate bill in the House, but would vote against it in the Senate -- and got the crowd to switch from booing to cheering him.

"Let me say briefly about cap and trade. I voted for it because it was in the narrow interest of my Congressional district. But as your representative," Kirk said, then getting interrupted by booing. "As your representative, representing the entire state of Illinois, I would vote no on that bill coming up."

The amazing thing is how quickly the crowd switched from booing to cheering, even as Kirk flip-flopped right in front of them. This would explain Kirk's upcoming policy: "Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others."

Check it out at the 3:10 mark:

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) told reporters today that he supports a resolution for disapproval for Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) because Wilson's remarks are instigating a racist sentiment that could lead to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

"It did not help the cause of diversity and tolerance with his remarks. If I was a betting man, I'd say it instigated more racist sentiment, feeling that it's OK, that you don't have to bury it down," Johnson said.

"I guess we'll probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside, intimidating people," he said. "That's the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked."

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President Obama continued his effort to mobilize his base this afternoon on health care reform, telling the AFL-CIO National Convention in Pittsburgh, "Arm in arm, we're gonna get this done."

"How much longer are we gonna have to wait? It can't wait," he said, as the crowd chanted, "We can't wait! We can't wait!"

He took a shot at the past administration, saying at $900 billion, reform will cost less than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the upper-class tax cuts, "Wars and taxes that were not paid for and ballooned our deficit to record levels."

Obama ended his speech with the story of the Aliquippa strike, when workers went to the Supreme Court and won the right to organize.

"Let's go get this done," he said.

(Read the full remarks here.)

Seems like only yesterday, Democratic leaders were telling supporters they supported Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) because "he's with us on everything but the war in Iraq."

That maxim doesn't actually extend to health care, though. Lieberman has come out against a number of aspects of the Democrats' health care reform proposal, including the public option...despite strong support for the measure in Connecticut.

A new Research 2000 poll commissioned by Daily Kos finds that 68 percent of likely voters in Connecticut support a public option, while only 21 percent oppose.

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President Obama gave a speech today on health care reform to the AFL-CIO National Convention in Pittsburgh. Here are his prepared remarks, released by the White House:

You know, the White House is pretty nice, but there's nothing like being back in the House of Labor. Let me begin by recognizing a man who came to Washington to fight for the working men and women of Pennsylvania and who has a distinguished record doing just that, Arlen Specter.



I also want to give my thanks, and the thanks of our nation, to one of the great labor leaders of our time, a man whose entire life has been devoted to working people, who brought new life to a movement, who worked tirelessly on behalf of organized labor, and who will be stepping down tomorrow, your President John Sweeney. John, I know Maureen's looking forward to seeing a little more of you, and your granddaughter Kennedy's about to get a whole lot more spoiled by her grandfather.



I know it's bad luck to congratulate someone before they are officially elected, but I'm willing to take my chances and congratulate the man who will pick up John's mantle, a son and grandson of Pennsylvania coal miners, a man who worked his way through college to lead the United Mine Workers, my friend, and a fiery advocate for America's ideals, Rich Trumka. I also want to congratulate the officers coming in with Rich: Arlene, who will be continuing her service, and Liz, who will be making history as the first woman elected Secretary-Treasurer. I'm looking forward to working with all of you.



Being here with all of you is a reminder of what we're trying to do in Washington and why I'm there in the first place. Because one of the fundamental reasons I ran for President was to stand up for hardworking families; to ease the struggles, lift the hopes, and make possible the dreams of middle class Americans.

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A new Rasmussen poll finds Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) trailing his Republican challengers, further corroborating other polls that have also shown Reid in serious danger.

Sue Lowden, who recently announced her resignation as state GOP chair and is expected to launch a campaign, has 50% to Reid's 40%. Former UNLV basketball player Danny Tarkanian, who has previously run unsuccessful races for state Senate and Nevada Sec. of State, has 50% to Reid's 43%. The margin of error is ±4.5%

The pollster's analysis says that the health care debate is not working well for Reid in his home state: "Most Nevada voters (52%) oppose the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, while 45% favor it."

We're expecting House Democrats to take up the issue of officially rebuking GOP Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson later this afternoon. The latest from CNN is that the vote will likely come sometime between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET.

Though Democrats are prepping a procedural contingency to advance health care reform legislation without any Republican votes, there remains an overwhelming desire among party leaders to pass a bill with 60 votes (most likely 59 Democrats and Olympia Snowe)--but that's not just because Democrats are squeamish about going it alone, and concerned about the technical complications. Some think there may be an upside to exhausting all options.

"We've come this far, so we're going to try this to the bitter end," says one Senate Democratic aide.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) will soon unveil a draft of the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill and, with the budget reconciliation bill set to move forward in mid-October, there's a premium on getting Baucus' plan out of committee swiftly.

Already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to cancel a week-long October recess if Republicans slow things down in committee and on the Senate floor.

"We won't miss the window," the aide said. "Everyone's cognizant of it."

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The reform campaign Health Care for America Now is out with a million-plus dollar ad buy in Washington, D.C. and on national cable.



The ad targets insurers for raking in huge amounts of money and spending it on CEO salaries, just as Democrats on the hill ramp up their own investigations of waste and fraud in the health insurance industry.

In the run-up to today's disapproval resolution against Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), it's become clear that House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) has taken the lead in pushing for the resolution, even over Speaker Pelosi's initial inclination to see that matter as closed. But it's also clear that Clyburn's push for a formal apology from Wilson is rooted in a long and troubled relationship between the most senior African-American politician in South Carolina and a four-term congressman who until recently was best known as a die-hard proponent of keeping the Confederate flag flying over the State Capitol in Columbia.

Indeed, the friction has popped up quite recently. Clyburn recently told the Washington Post that he was particularly incensed when Wilson held a town hall at a high school in Columbia -- which Clyburn says is in his district, and is the place where his children went to school. "He came into my district, the high school where my kids went, where I was an officer in the [Parent Teacher Association], and that was on purpose," Clyburn said. "That was as unethical as one can be, and he didn't say one word to me about it."

(Ed.Note: A search of Google Earth and the House site's district finder shows that the high school -- identified in the local media as having been W.J. Keenan High School -- appears to actually be in Wilson's district, not Clyburn's. At least that's what the nine-digit ZIP code seems to suggest. But it is in fact just a few blocks from Clyburn's house. Clyburn lives right near the district border, and we can probably take him at his word that his kids went there, that he served on the PTA, and that he didn't take kindly to a right-wing GOP House member holding a town hall at that particular venue.)

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