TPM News

Well, it looks like we were right.

The Chamber of Commerce hoax was perpetrated by the Yes Men, in tandem with a group of activists known as the Avaaz Action Factory.

Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum showed up at the 11am press conference that had earlier been announced by a "Chamber of Commerce" press release, and, impersonating a Chamber executive, declared:

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It was a deja vu weekend in the Virginia governor race. Newspaper endorsements, seen as a key factor in the Democratic primary in June, returned to the spotlight after the Washington Post doubled down on its strong endorsement of Creigh Deeds from the summer.

Deeds, down in the polls just like he was before the primary, is hoping that the Post endorsement will again lead to the late surge that his camp has said was key to its landslide primary victory. But his opponent, Bob McDonnell (R), has a string of endorsements of his own, including one from a major state paper that endorsed Gov. Tim Kaine (D) four years ago.

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The House health care bill is getting cheaper, but Democrats aren't boasting just yet. Because when they ultimately break silence the hope is to present conservative Democrats in both chambers with a bill that will walk the walk of fiscal responsibility--including a public option, which is projected to save the government billions.

As always, the legislative process is unpredictable, and the Senate is operating in isolation from the House. But with the public option potentially in the balance, Speaker Pelosi's goal is this: present conservative Democrats in both chambers with a Hobson's choice between a public option bill and a potentially more expensive Senate bill that may have no public option at all.

On Friday, the Washington Post ran with leaked CBO numbers, showing that House health care leaders have reduced the price tag of their bill by at least $100 billion. The numbers were preliminary--not reflective of the current state of the legislation, which is changing constantly--but they showed a definite downward trajectory in the overall cost of its reform plan.

Still, leadership was not pleased.

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President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today announced a new strategy for dealing with Sudan, promising incentives if the Sudanese government acts to improve the situation in Darfur, and tougher sanctions if it doesn't.

Later this week Obama will renew the National Emergency declaration for Sudan, which will extend current sanctions, Obama said in a statement released by the White house.

"We must seek a definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses and genocide in Darfur," he said. The UN estimates that 300,000 people have been killed in fighting between government-backed militias and rebels in the western region of Darfur, and 2.7 million have been displaced.

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Four Republican lawmakers have not submitted a request to the House sergeant at arms to investigate a threat that one of the four described as a terrorist-linked group possibly "running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices."

A spokesperson for the sergeant at arms told TPMmuckraker this morning that the office was aware of the charge by GOP members at a press conference Wednesday that the Council on American-Islamic Relations planted Muslim intern spies on the Hill for purposes of subversion. But, says spokesperson Kerri Hanley, the office hasn't received a request for an investigation, and it wouldn't launch any probe until such a request is made.

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It's not yet clear who perpetrated the hoax announcing that the Chamber of Commerce had changed its position on climate change. (It hasn't, and remains opposed to serious efforts to deal with the problem.)

But some evidence points to the Yes Men, a group of activists known for similar stunts.

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Creigh Deeds has a new TV ad, a positive spot touting the Washington Post's endorsement of his candidacy.

Deeds is trailing Republican Bob McDonnell in the polls, but clearly hopes that the WaPo endorsement can do for him in the general election what it previously did for him in the Democratic primary -- help him to build momentum and win over voters in northern Virginia.

Yesterday three top White House officials -- David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett -- blamed the Bush administration for some of the country's current problems during appearances on the Sunday morning news shows. Today, Karl Rove -- a Fox News contributor and former senior adviser to President George W. Bush -- hit back.

"What gets me is that every member of the Obama high command feels obligated to beginning with a gratuitous and misleading slap at their predecessor," Rove said on Fox News this morning.

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A new Rasmussen poll suggests that Sarah Palin should not be viewed as a favorite for the Republican nomination in 2012, with her trailing both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee by wide margins in head-to-head match-ups.

Romney leads Palin by 52%-37% among likely GOP primary voters, and Huckabee is ahead by 55%-35%.

The pollster's analysis also finds that Mitt Romney's Mormon religion is still a liability, with him losing to Palin by 14 points among evangelical Christians, while leading her among other Protestants, Catholics and other groups. By contrast, the former Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee leads Palin by 17 points among evangelicals.