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Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL), the frontrunner for the 2010 Senate race in his state, raised $2.4 million in the third quarter, and has $6.2 million on hand.

It is not immediately known how much of the money can be used in the Republican primary, where Crist faces a challenge from the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. Rubio has raised much less money, taking in only about $1 million in this past quarter and $350,00 in the quarter before that. His campaign has said that nearly all the money is for the primary, but it's probably still much lower than Crist's primary funds.

Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos responded to the numbers in a statement to TPM: "Money can't wipe away Charlie Crist's record of support for wasteful stimulus spending, historic tax increases and cap-and-trade. We're going to make sure he spends every last cent trying."

(Additional reporting by Evan McMorris-Santoro.)

President Obama is having lunch today in his private dining room with several business leaders: Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Lew Hay of Florida Power & Light, Antonio Perez of Eastman Kodak and Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft.

According to a White House press release:

The Administration has continued to seek the input of a diverse group of business leaders in order to hear directly from the private sector about key issues including the health of the financial sector, health insurance reform, climate change policy and job creation.

At a town hall in Commerce, Ga., last week, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "domestic enem[y] of the Constitution."

"When I was sworn into the Marine Corps, I was sworn to uphold the Constitution against every enemy, foreign and domestic," he said. "We've got a lot of domestic enemies of the Constitution and one of those sits in the speaker's chair of the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi."

Athens Banner-Herald reporter Blake Aued was at the Sept. 28 town hall and forwarded his transcript to TPM. He had liveblogged the event, but the liveblog didn't remain on the Banner-Herald's site afterward.

He also said the Second Amendment is "critical to prevent treason in America."

Broun was responding to a woman who asked, "What would our founding fathers say about the mess that we have?"

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The White House issued a press release today regarding First Lady Michelle Obama's upcoming schedule. She'll be traveling to Florida next week. Here's the full text:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009: The First Lady will continue to discuss the importance of healthy eating and good nutrition for children by visiting the Department of Health and Human Services, which recently announced the availability of $493 million dollars in grants for state and community initiatives to promote good health and prevent disease. The First Lady will deliver remarks at HHS. This afternoon visit will be pooled press.

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Vice President Joe Biden will be headed to Pennsylvania later this month, to raise money for Sen. Arlen Specter.

Specter announced the event, set for October 19, in an e-mail to his supporter list. He also quotes Biden:

Earlier this year, Vice President Biden welcomed me to the Democratic Party, saying:

"[Arlen's] independence, integrity, and piercing intellect will continue to be a tremendous asset to the people of Pennsylvania, and now, to the Democratic caucus in the Senate."


(Emphasis in the original.)

Specter faces a primary challenge from Rep. Joe Sestak, who is attacking Specter for his prior history as a Republican, and is arguing that Specter is not a genuine Democrat. Look for Biden to say a lot of great things about how much Specter has contributed to the Democratic cause over the last six months.

A new survey by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) continues to have lackluster approval ratings -- but that his prospects for re-election are simultaneously pretty good, a sign that the political climate is not good for Democrats in this 2010 race.

Burr's approval rating is only 36%, with 35% disapproval and a whopping 29% undecided -- as we've noted before, it's not that Burr is unpopular, but that he hasn't actually made a real impression with the voters during his term. In a way, this makes him a good barometer of the overall political climate in his state.

At the same time, Burr leads a generic Democrat by 45%-34%, and holds double-digit leads over six different named Democrats.

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We're chasing the ball on a new idea (is it a trial balloon? is it the magic answer?) to pass a health care bill with a public option that states--likely small, and conservative states--could choose not to participate in.

As I reported last night, the idea comes from Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), and is being pushed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)--a man with no shortage of clout on the Hill. Appearing on MSNBC a few moments ago, Schumer said the idea's gaining traction.

"That's one of the things being very seriously considered," Schumer said. "I'm not going to -- we have a range of things we're considering. Senator Carper and I met for quite a while last night and made progress and talked to a large number of members last night, yesterday. And I am optimistic that there will be some kind of public option in the bill the president signs. I'm very optimistic."

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Just confirmed: the Senate Finance Committee will vote on its health care reform bill this Tuesday. The news comes after Democrats and chairman Max Baucus got a boost from the Congressional Budget Office, which found that the legislation would require relatively little new spending, while reducing the deficit and bending the health care spending curve downward.

A new Quinnipiac poll has some mixed news for Democrats and President Obama. Though the public supports elements of Obama's health care proposal, only 40 percent approve of his health care plan, while 47 percent disapprove.

This nugget was particularly interesting:

By a 57 - 37 percent margin, voters say Congress should not approve a health care overhaul with only Democratic votes. Democrats are OK with a one-party bill 63 - 29 percent, but opposition is 88 - 9 percent from Republicans and 62 - 32 percent from independent voters.


That's in almost direct contrast to the findings of a recent Research 2000 poll, commissioned by Daily Kos. It asked "Which of the following scenarios do you prefer/ do you prefer? (ROTATED): Getting a health care bill with the choice of a strong public health insurance option to compete with private insurance plans that's supported only by Democrats in Congress, OR Getting a health care bill with no public option that has the support of Democrats and a handful of Republicans?"

When put that way, it turns out the public is perfectly fine with partisanship: 52-39, with nine percent undecided.

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