TPM News

The Service Employees International Union, along with several hundred separate organizations, are urging President Obama and members of Congress, to defer largely to the House's health care bill, arguing that it does a superior job of expanding insurance coverage in a way that's affordable to consumers.

"The House covers five million more people than the Senate," reads an open letter from the groups. "We urge you to support the coverage provisions in the House bill, so that millions of Americans are not left uninsured after the passage of comprehensive health reform."

But it's not just that. The House, they say, "sets premiums and out-of-pocket costs at levels that are likely to be affordable to lower-income working families. The House does a much better job in protecting lower-income people."

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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin repeated for the umpteenth time her thoroughly debunked claim that the health care reform bill includes "death panels."

On Sean Hannity's Fox News radio show yesterday, Palin said she "won't back off" her claim, even though it was dubbed "Lie of the Year" by Politifact.com.

If the health care bill goes the way Obama wants it, we're gonna have something very much like foreign countries' systems of health care like the British, and it's the American people -- if we have our health care paid for by the bureaucracy, by government -- depending on our health condition, depending on our age -- we're gonna be subject to bureaucrats deciding, panels and commissions deciding -- just like they do overseas -- who will be worthy of receiving the health care that government is going to provide.

So that is the death panel that I referred to, and I won't back off on criticizing that aspect of the health care bill.

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The Tea Party Express, a group run by GOP political consultants, has endorsed Scott Brown, the Republican candidate in the Massachusetts special election to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

The Tea Party Express has been attacked by other tea party groups for being corporate-controlled and inauthentic, and TPMmuckraker reported last month that most of the money raised by the group went right back into its creators' coffers.

In announcing its endorsement, the group said it will begin running TV ads supporting Brown early next week.

The special election will be held Jan. 19. Brown, a Massachusetts state senator, is campaigning against Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

A poll released this week shows Coakley leading Brown 50%-41%.

Might Ken Salazar put on another hat and go from senator to Cabinet secretary to governor?

A Democratic source in Washington told TPMDC that Salazar, President Obama's secretary of the interior and former senator from Colorado, is "seriously considering" a bid for governor. Another Democratic source told TPMDC the Salazar rumors are "serious."

Since Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signaled he will retire instead of seek reelection, Salazar has emerged as a top possibility to run for the seat. Officials told the Denver Post Salazar wants to make a decision within 72 hours and said he met with White House officials.

Reports from the ground are that other potential Democratic contenders are waiting for Salazar to make a decision.

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Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who announced yesterday that he will run for Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) Senate seat, told MSNBC that President Obama called to offer his support.

"What he said to me was, 'We want you to be the next United States senator from the state of Connecticut. We're gonna do everything we can to help you,'" Blumenthal said this morning. "He was very encouraging and very supportive."

Dodd announced yesterday that he will not run for re-election this year. The popular Blumenthal, who is running as a Democrat, is seen as the likely front-runner.

The White House National Security Adviser, Gen. Jim Jones, told USA Today that the government review of the intelligence and security failures that led to the Christmas Day bombing due out today will cause "a certain kind of shock" when Americans read it.

From the article:

President Obama "is legitimately and correctly alarmed that things that were available, bits of information that were available, patterns of behavior that were available, were not acted on," Jones said in an interview Wednesday with USA TODAY.

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The Canadian government managed to temporarily wipe out 4,500 personal and small business Web sites last month as it frantically grappled with a climate change hoax by the Yes Men, enlisting the national cybersecurity agencies of Canada and Germany in the process, a Danish web hosting company and the Yes Men tell TPMmuckraker.

Yes Man Mike Bonanno, one of the marquee personalities of the lefty activist group, tells TPMmuckraker that the experience, in which a German Internet service provider shut down the Yes Men's parody Web sites in response to a Canadian demand, is "really unfortunate for free speech on the Internet. The kind of scary thing about this is that these hosting companies seem so eager to act in the interest of whoever has the most power."

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Jones: Americans Will Feel 'A Certain Shock' From Flight 253 Report National Security Adviser James Jones told USA Today that Americans will feel "a certain shock" from today's upcoming report on the Flight 253 attempted bombing. Jones said that President Obama "is legitimately and correctly alarmed that things that were available, bits of information that were available, patterns of behavior that were available, were not acted on."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, and Obama will meet at 10:30 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 1 p.m. ET, Obama will deliver remarks on the security review of the Flight 253 attempted bombing. Obama and Biden will meet at 3 p.m. ET with Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, and they will meet at 3:45 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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