TPM News

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will not run for Colorado governor, the Denver Post reports. Instead, he will endorse Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

"John Hickenlooper is a uniter. He transcends political and geographic divides to bring people together to develop solutions. If he decides to run, he will make an excellent Governor for the State of Colorado," Salazar said in a statement.

Sources had told TPMDC that Salazar was "seriously considering" such a run, and the White House had reportedly told him they wouldn't oppose a run.

Today, sources confirmed that national Democrats were talking to Salazar about a run. A Democratic source with knowledge of the process said they "didn't know" what was behind Salazar's choice not to run. Asked if Hickenlooper was the best "Plan B" for national Democrats hoping to hold the governor's mansion in Colorado, the source said Democrats "love" Hickenlooper and called him "Plan A2."

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter announced earlier this week that he would retire rather than run for re-election.

Additional reporting by Evan McMorris-Santoro

It seems like the entire world has been on high alert since the attempted attack on Flight 253, with security personnel jumping anytime a potential breach is reported. Unfortunately, this has made for some embarrassing and would-be-funny-if-they-weren't-so-frightening bloopers in the name of security.

Here's a round-up...

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It may seem as if health care reform has become a matter of sensitive negotiations between Democrats on the Hill than a vast battle among stakeholder groups. But those groups continue to push for changes to--or, in some cases, to kill--the reform bill.

A new ad by Employers for a Healthy Economy--a coalition backed by the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers--calls on Congress to scrap the current reform effort and start from scratch.

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Mike Parry, the Republican candidate in a January 26 special election for a GOP-held state Senate seat in Minnesota, has apologized for comments he made on his Twitter account last year -- including when he referred to President Obama as a "Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man."

"I sincerely apologize for past tweets which were written in haste and out of the frustration I felt for the out of control spending in Washington," said Parry.

The Tweets were discovered by local liberal blogs in Minnesota, especially the MN Progressive Project. In May 2009, Parry tweeted: "read the exclusive on Mr O in Newsweek. He is a Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man." He also said in May: "4th grade Graduation at Sacred Heart. Hope these kids aren't tainted by Mr. O." In another Tweet, Parry made an apparent false statement from a conspiracy theory e-mail: "OMG....they passed H.R. 1388!!!! $20M in tax payer dollars to immigrate Hamas Refugees to the USA...."

We asked MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for a response to the Tea Party Nation banning her from their site, and she suggests the idea is so ridiculous they made it up as a publicity stunt.

"I used to be an activist, too, so I understand the strategy of using the name of a well-known person to try to get publicity," Maddow told TPMDC in an email.

"Of course, this idea of me trying to join their listserv is completely made up, but still -- I'm flattered the Tea Party folks think I'm well known enough to help their cause," Maddow wrote. "I wish them all best luck with their conference."

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic nominee in the January 19 special election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, was formally endorsed today by the late Senator's widow Vicki Kennedy -- who made it clear that the health care bill is a big issue in this election.

"My husband fought for health care reform for more than 40 years. He called it the cause of his life. He believed that health care for all our citizens was a fundamental right and not a privilege," added Kennedy. "Martha Coakley shares those beliefs and she'll go to Washington to fight for us."

At Tuesday's debate, Republican candidate Scott Brown said that if he were elected he would be the 41st Republican, and said of the health care bill: "I can stop it so they can go back to the drawing board and do something better for Massachusetts." A Rasmussen poll earlier this week gave Coakley a lead of 50%-41%, with the potential for a Brown upset win if turnout were low and Republican voters more motivated.

The new poll of Connecticut by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that independent Sen. Joe Lieberman's approval rating is absolutely in the dumps after his actions in the health care debate, with him having antagonized every group imaginable by both weakening progressive efforts and then voting for the actual bill.

Lieberman's overall approval rating is only 25%, with 67% disapproval. Democrats disapprove of him by 14%-81%, Republicans by 39%-48%, and independents by 32%-61%. Only 19% approve of his actions on the health care bill, with Democrats at 8%-80%, Republicans at 26%-55%, and independents at 30%-59%. Among those who support the bill, 84% disapprove of his handling of the issue, and in addition 52% of the people who don't support the bill also disapprove of Lieberman's actions.

"Joe Lieberman isn't popular enough with the Democrats or the Republicans to receive their nomination for the Senate in 2012," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "And since the independents don't like him much these days either it's hard to see how he'll be around for another term."

RNC Chairman Michael Steele struck back today at Republican critics, saying they can either fire him or "shut up" in an interview with ABC News Radio.

"I tell them to get a life. That's old Washington, that's old ways, and I don't represent that, and that kills them," Steele said. "I'm telling them and I'm looking them in the eye and say I've had enough of it. If you don't want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way."

"All I'm saying is cut it out. If we have party differences that are inside the party, let's deal with them inside the party. You don't see the Democrats running around trying to beat up their national chairman or embarrass him," he added.

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The number of pro-choice Republicans in Congress today is tiny and getting tinier.

There are a few reasons for that, but here's one you likely weren't aware of: According to a detailed new investigative report, the best-known organization working to get pro-choice GOPers elected to Congress actually spends very little of its budget doing so.

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