TPM News

Exactly one year after Congress passed the landmark health care law, a new Gallup poll out today shows that Americans opinions' of the law are split -- and split along party lines.

By and large, Democrats said they think it was a good thing that the law -- which was pushed by Democrats and signed into law by a Democratic president -- was passed. Republicans, meanwhile, said largely the opposite. Moreover, public opinion has barely budged since the law was signed last year, meaning it remains a highly polarizing issue just ahead of next year's presidential election.

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When an entire generation of computer users first poked our doe-eyed faces onto a young internet, many of us were greeted with a single, encompassing, monolithic face peering back: the AOL Home Screen. To call it a young internet isn't even fair--it was a mature, thriving AOL. It was ubiquitous, it was powerful, it was everything--and it ended up destroying itself, too flawed by design to last. And someone's trying to rebuild the Death Star.

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Well, this isn't the way to put a scandal to bed. As if the fact that she charged taxpayers for her flights around Missouri in a private plane she owns with her husband and several investors wasn't enough, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has revealed that she hasn't paid personal property taxes on the plane for four years.

And what's worse for McCaskill supporters, she suggested there might be more plane-related bad news to come.

The Senator told reporters today she's sending a check for $287,273 to St. Louis County, where the twin-engine plane she used to hop around Missouri is based. According to Politico, McCaskill also "said she had campaign lawyers looking into the flights to determine if any more in-kind contributions needed to be reported to be in compliance." That means there could me more news about the plane Republicans are already calling ClaireAir down the road.

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My hunch is that this news will silence most of the grumbling on Capitol Hill about Obama's actions in Libya -- particularly Republican grumbling. Note in particular Obama's reference to "consequences to the national security interests of the United States."

It occurred to me earlier today that there's now a small but real chance that the 2012 campaign will feature Obama taking shots at Republicans from the right on Libya, and Republicans taking shots at Obama from the left on Social Security.

I bet Obama circa 2004 would be surprised by these developments.

Update: President Obama sent a letter to Congressional leaders spelling out his decision to direct strikes against Libyan air defenses over the weekend and citing his Constitutional authority for the military action.

President Obama held out the threat of targeting Libyan Leader Muammar Qaddafi personally Monday but said the U.S. would stop short of doing so -- at least for now.

Instead, Obama stressed the importance of sticking to the mandate of the U.N. resolution passed Thursday, which focuses on preventing Qaddafi from crushing opposition forces in a large-scale massacre.

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Former pizza magnate and Republican presidential contender Herman Cain has no problem with "peaceful Muslims," just with those that are trying to convert Americans to Islam.

Cain explained his views on the American Muslim community in an interview with Christianity Today.

"The role of Muslims in America is not to convert the rest of us to the Muslim religion," he said. "That I resent."

His position was sound, he explained, because "based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them."

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Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has officially launched his presidential exploratory committee, in a Web video promoting his blue-collar background, his conservative views, his hope for the country -- and of course, as we've seen from his previous Web videos, his passion for big movie trailer music, fast cuts, and high production values.

"This country was founded on freedom. We, the people of the United States, will take back our government," Pawlenty says in voiceover, over the all-American imagery, stirring music, and rising sound of applause. "This is our country. Our Founding Fathers created it; Americans embraced it; Ronald Reagan personified it; and Lincoln stood courageously to protect it.

"And that's why today, I'm announcing the formation of an exploratory committee, to run for President of the United States."

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A new CNN poll, conducted from this past Friday through Sunday, finds an overwhelming majority of American adults in favor of the no-fly zone action in Libya. That's up significantly from last week, when support was still strong but somewhat more divided. At the same time, though, equally large majorities oppose any use of ground troops.

The increase in support for a military action may be an example of the bump that military action often gets at the outset of a conflict, when the country first finds U.S. lives at stake in the conflict.

Note the detailed wording of the question:

Some people have suggested establishing a "no-fly" zone in Libya which would be an area patrolled by military planes from the U.S. and other countries to prevent Gadhafi from using his air force. No U.S. ground troops would be involved but U.S. airplanes or missiles might be used to shoot down Libyan airplanes or attack ground bases used by the Libyan air force. Do you favor or oppose the U.S. and other countries attempting to establish a "no-fly zone" in Libya?

The numbers: 70% in favor, 27% against. A week ago, before the United Nations Security Council passed the relevant resolution and the United States was officially about to join the action, the numbers were 56% in favor, 40% against.

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The health care reform law turns one year old today, and a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that while Americans are evenly split over whether they like the law, a majority opposes repealing it.

In a wide-ranging survey, Kaiser found that opposition to the law focused mainly on one provision, the individual mandate that requires all Americans to have coverage or pay a penalty. And despite Congressional Republicans' declarations early this year that the midterm elections were a referendum on the law, the Kaiser poll found that a majority of Americans oppose repealing it -- and that one-third would actually like to see it expanded.

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A number of Democratic and Republican lawmakers are concerned about the White House's air assault on Libya, but Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) raised the rhetoric to 11 on Monday, suggesting President Obama should be impeached.

"President Obama moved forward without Congress approving. He didn't have Congressional authorization, he has gone against the Constitution, and that's got to be said," Kucinich said in an interview with Raw Story. "It's not even disputable, this isn't even a close question. Such an action -- that involves putting America's service men and women into harm's way, whether they're in the Air Force or the Navy -- is a grave decision that cannot be made by the president alone."

According to Kucinich, Obama's decision "would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense," though he questioned whether Congress would ever move forward with a trial in practice.

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