TPM News

This afternoon, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will deliver a speech entitled, "Health Reform and You: How the New Law Will Increase Your Health Security" at the National Press Club. Here are excerpts of her remarks as prepared for delivery:

When the conversation about reforming our health insurance system began nearly a year ago, there were some pundits who thought the days of America solving big problems were over. They wondered whether transformative legislation like Social Security and Medicare was part of a bygone era like soda fountains and five cent matinees. Last month, those pundits got a definitive answer. After decades of asking, "When are we going to fix our broken health insurance system?" - we finally have an answer: "starting now."

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President Obama released the following statement today on his administration's new nuclear weapons policy:

One year ago yesterday in Prague, I outlined a comprehensive agenda to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to pursue the peace and security of a world without them. I look forward to advancing this agenda in Prague this week when I sign the new START Treaty with President Medvedev, committing the United States and Russia to substantial reductions in our nuclear arsenals.

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President Obama delivered the following remarks this morning at the Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you. Please have a seat. Have a seat. What a great honor and pleasure it is to have all of you here today. Before I begin, I want to just acknowledge two members of my Cabinet who I believe are here -- Secretary Gary Locke -- is that correct? Where's Gary? There he is -- our Commerce Secretary. (Applause.) And Secretary Janet Napolitano, who's keeping us safe each and every day. (Applause.)

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The new survey of the a Senate race by Public Policy Polling (D) gives Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey a narrow lead over his long-time nemesis, former Republican and now Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. But in a crucial number, the outcome of this race could end up truly depending on President Obama's popularity in the midterm election.

The numbers, among registered voters: Toomey 46%, Specter 43%, with a ±3.2% margin of error. With Rep. Joe Sestak as the Democratic nominee, if he were to win his Dem primary challenge against Specter, Toomey leads by 42%-36%. The current TPM Poll Average gives Toomey a lead over Specter of 42.4%-39.2%, and a lead over Sestak of 38.1%-31.3%.

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A 27-year-old Texas man was arrested Saturday after he filed court documents threatening to use "deadly force" to stop abortions at a local clinic.

"I am entitled under my religious beliefs to use deadly force if necessary to save the innocent life of another," wrote Erlyndon Joseph "Joey" Lo in the court filing, which called for a temporary restraining order against all abortions and named the Supreme Court as defendants.

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With Republicans poised for a strong showing in the November midterms, the Republican National Committee is reeling from a spending scandal that has now led to the resignation of top figures in the party and threatens to squander the political wind Republicans have at their backs.

Many of the details are inside baseball, but they add up a serious crisis in the leadership of the national GOP. Steele's 14-month tenure at the RNC was already defined by an ongoing series of [gaffes](http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/rnc-members-say-steeles-a-showboat-but-arent-ready-to-pull-up-his-anchor.php) and damaging press stories, including about Steele's questionable [book](http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/steele-i-wrote-this-book-before-i-became-chairman-um-really.php) and a controversial leaked RNC fundraising [presentation](http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/33866.html).

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It's about the ground game, the base, and using the Republicans' weaknesses against them--and even then it will be a hard slog.

In the clearest articulation yet of his strategy to avoid huge losses at the polls this November, the chairman of the House Democrats' re-election committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) says vulnerable members will be better prepared than their counterparts were in 1994, when a huge wave of Republicans swept into office and took control of Congress. And this time around, the Republicans have a number of problems of their own: Sarah Palin, the radicalized tea party movement, an association with Bush-era economic policies, and, more generally, a sense among the electorate that they don't represent a real alternative.

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