TPM News

The new national survey from Public Policy Polling (D) finds a stunning result: If an election were held today, President Obama could potentially lose to Mike Huckabee.

Obama was tested against several Republicans: Huckabee 45%, Obama 44%, within the ±2.8% margin of error; Obama 49%, Sarah Palin 41%; Obama 44%, David Petraeus 34%; and Obama 44%, Mitt Romney 42%. "It's a good thing for Barack Obama that he's not up this year," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "It's a tough time to be a Democrat."

A Fox News poll yesterday also showed Obama ahead of various Republicans, though Huckabee wasn't tested: Obama 47%, Romney 35%; Obama 55%, Palin 31%; Obama 53%, Newt Gingrich 29%; Obama 48%, generic Tea Party Movement candidate 23%.

Health care be on life support in the House of Representatives, but as Democrats work to revive it, some progressives see an opening to bring back an element of reform that flatlined weeks ago: The public option.

They say health care reform should pass, but only after an amending bill has been passed through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process--and that amending bill should include the public option.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has delivered a strategy memo to the Chiefs of Staff of all Senate Democrats outlining this course.

"The best thing Democrats could do in 2010 is fight big corporations like insurance companies and Wall Street," the memo reads. "On health care, the path forward is obvious."

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President Obama will be talking about jobs at a community college in Lorain County, Ohio this afternoon, but will address the "frenzy" over the fate of health care reform that's happened since Democrats lost their 60th seat Tuesday in Massachusetts.

"I have to admit, we've run into a bit of a buzz saw along the way," Obama will say today, according to remarks prepared for delivery and distributed by the White House.

He also said he would not walk away, but pivoted to say he wants Congress to pass a jobs bill. The town hall, scheduled for 2 p.m., will include a question-and-answer session so it's possible Obama will offer more detail on a way forward.

But members of Congress are concerned that the president has taken a hands-off approach since Tuesday's special election where Republican Scott Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley. The fate of the measure is uncertain and key Democrats are calling for a breather. Here's the key bit from Obama's prepared text:

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Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) told reporters today that Democrats should take a "breather" on health care reform, the Associated Press reports.

Democrats should "maybe take a breather for a month, six weeks" and focus on other issues, Dodd said today.

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama wants to let the "dust settle" in Congress after Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) won a special election.

"There's plenty of work for the president to do in the meantime," Gibbs said.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced today that it raised $43.6 million in 2009 -- $2.4 million more than its GOP counterpart -- and has $12.5 million in the bank -- $4.3 million more than the NRSC.

DSCC Executive Director J.B. Poersch made this statement about the numbers:

"Even with the continued economic problems, Democrats around the country are united and pro-active heading into the election year. Republicans continue to choose obstructionism and delay over getting America back on track, and that is a losing strategy. Rest assured that the DSCC will be quick and aggressive in drawing distinctions between the two parties and will work tirelessly in the months ahead to raise the funds necessary to maintain and expand our Democratic majority in the Senate."

Sen.-elect Scott Brown's (R-MA) victory in Massachusetts has got some members of the media so worked up, it's affecting their math skills, or at least their common sense.

Since Tuesday's election, we've seen or heard reports of media outlets stating that Brown's election cost Democrats their "majority" or shifted the balance of power in Congress. Now, we haven't been in a math class in years, but last we checked 59 was greater than 41.

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Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) tells TPMDC that Sen. Arlen Specter's eyebrow-raising suggestion that Rep. Michele Bachmann should "act like a lady" was "unacceptable."

"I've been with Michele Bachmann on TV before a couple of times, and she overrides, but you know what, it's a debate of ideas and it doesn't have to be a sideshow," Sestak said in an interview today. "You just don't treat someone that way. Those kinds of words are unacceptable."

As we reported yesterday, Specter was testy with Bachmann (R-MN) during a Pennsylvania radio show.

"I'll treat you like a lady, so act like one," Specter said. "Now wait a minute, don't interrupt me. I didn't interrupt you. Act like a lady."

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Erroll Southers, President Obama's pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration before withdrawing this week, said today that he withdrew his nomination because he "had become a political lightning rod for the unionization issue."

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) had blocked Souther's confirmation, delaying his appointment for months.

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An ex-military man with ties to the Tea Party and militia movements has been charged in separate complaints with raping a minor and with possessing an unregistered grenade launcher.

Charles Dyer, a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq, was arrested January 12 in Oklahoma on the rape charge. A child had told sexual-abuse experts about a January 2nd incident at Dyer's home.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who is in the middle of serving only her second term, has definitely become a national star of the GOP. She has three different campaign stops coming up in the next few weeks, which are outside both the Washington area and her own district in Minnesota.

Bachmann's newest out-of-state trip is an event on January 28 in California, with the Lincoln Club of Orange County. The group has previously hosted such high-profile Republicans as Rudy Giuliani, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Norm Coleman. And now Michele Bachmann is included in those same ranks.

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