TPM News

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, in an interview this weekend on Univision, said, "I don't think we need a comprehensive overhaul of our health care system."

"Because our health care system," he continued, according to a transcript posted by Latina Lista, "while it remains the best in the country and while it provides largely the services that people need and the quality of those services are very, very good, there are costs associated with this system that needs to be address more directly."

He explained the Republicans' plan for health care, describing it as "elbow grease" that requires neither regulation or taxation.

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Public option supporters bombarded Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) with questions last night about why she doesn't back a public option in the health care fight, with one constituent fretting about losing her seat to a Republican.

"We are terribly disappointed that you have caved in to the insurance industry and failed to support the public option for health care. It may very well affect our vote for you in the next election," Ray and Judy told her on the chat, which is posted online.

"Unfortunately the insurance companies opposed the bill I supported in the Finance Committee. There are many ways to provide greater options and choices to individuals, including non-profits, a state plan, and a co-op plan," Lincoln wrote back.

But that wasn't the last word. Lincoln got six more questions along the same lines.

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We're getting a few more details on John Gimbel, the California man we told you about Friday, who's been charged for sending a racist, profanity-filled email that called for the death of President Obama and for the words "Fed shit" to be written on his chest -- an apparent reference to the recent death of a Census Bureau worker in what seems to have been an act of anti-government violence.

This wasn't the first such email Gimbel has sent, say the Feds. He fired off a similar one earlier last month, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Secret Service, and reported by the AP.

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Becky Shay, the beleaguered spokesperson for the American Private Police Force who as recently as last week was a true believer in her company and its felon leader, never received a paycheck for her work and is now gunning for a job as the chief of the Hardin, MT, agency that made the jail deal with APPF in the first place.

The AP reported Friday, in an article that refers to APPF's Michael Hilton as a "con artist":

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Here's another nugget exemplifying the intense pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is facing from both elected Democrats and grassroots liberals to make sure health care legislation includes a public option.

"There are 52 solid Democrats for the public option," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). "Only about five Democrats oppose it. Should the 52 give in to the five? Or should the five go along with the vast majority of the Democratic caucus?"

Last Thursday, at a heated Democratic caucus lunch, several Democrats rose to give impassioned arguments in favor of the public option. And, with the exception of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), who gave a counterargument for private co-ops, the handful of public option opponents in the Senate were silent.

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania is running an ad for GOP state Supreme Court candidate Joan Orie Melvin that replaces the 'O' in President Obama's name with a Soviet-style hammer and sickle. The ad -- which was reportedly running on, though isn't on the site this morning -- seems to have been first pointed out by Capitol Ideas.

The red banner ad -- with the "O" in "Obama" home to a hammer and sickle -- says:

Tired Of Barack Obama, Ed Rendell, Arlen Specter and big government Democrats ruining our nation?

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Stumping for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Sunday, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani warned that with the "wrong political leadership," the city could see a return to higher crime rates and fear among citizens, according to the New York Times.

Even recently, Guiliani said, some neighborhoods were fraught with "the fear of going out at night and walking the streets."

"You know exactly what I'm talking about," Mr. Giuliani said at a breakfast sponsored by the Jewish Community Council in Borough Park, Brooklyn. "This city could very easily be taken back in a very different direction -- it could very easily be taken back to the way it was with the wrong political leadership."

Bloomberg, an Independent running as a Republican, is seeking his third term as mayor. At the event Sunday, Giuliani didn't mention Bloomberg's opponent, Democrat William Thompson, by name.

Obama Administration To Issue New Policy In Favor Of State Medical Marijuana Laws The Obama administration is set to release new guidelines today on medical marijuana, which will not pursue marijuana smokers or their suppliers whose activities are consistent with state laws on medicinal marijuana. The government will still pursue those who are exceeding state limits, or are using the practice of medical marijuana as a cover for other illegal activities.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet at 10:30 a.m. ET with the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge winners. He will meet with senior advisers at 3:15 p.m. ET, and with Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) at 4 p.m. ET.

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The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has been ramping up its campaign for a public option in the last several weeks, will run the below ad in Nevada this week, urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to fight for the public option as he takes the lead in designing a health care bill to bring to the Senate floor.

PCCC is raising funds this week in the hope of running the ad 200 times in Las Vegas on cable and broadcast networks. It will begin airing on Wednesday. You can read a letter from PCCC to its supporters below the fold.

Reid's staff has scoffed at similar efforts in recent weeks, saying that while Reid is working to build consensus for a public option, he will not likely respond to strong-arm tactics.

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