TPM News

AARP CEO A. Barry Rand released the following statement after President Obama's signing of the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 earlier today:

With the stroke of a pen, today President Obama has achieved a monumental change in America's health care system. Today, quality, affordable health care is in reach for millions of Americans who couldn't afford coverage. Today, millions of Americans finally have access to better health, and better health care.

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President Obama pointed out today that despite the many criticisms of the health care bill by Republicans, it's a lot like the plan former GOP Gov. Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts.

This puts a slight damper in Romney's efforts to distance himself from the bill, which he has called "an unconscionable abuse of power," as he gears up for a possible presidential run in 2012.

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With the stroke of a pen this morning, President Obama accomplished two of his administration's major goals. First, he put the finishing touches on health care reform--stripping the law he signed last week of some of its most controversial elements, while strengthening several others. Second, he enacted one of the major goals he set forth during the presidential campaign: student loan reform.

"This week we can rightly say, the foundation on which America's future will be built is stronger than it was one year ago," Obama said moments ago before a crowd at Northern Virginia Community College.

The bill he just signed nullifies the controversial Nebraska Medicaid deal, bolsters insurance subsidies to working- and middle-class consumers, and closes the Medicare prescription-drug donut hole.

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Conventional militia organizations are racing to distance themselves from the Hutaree -- the Christian-based militia whose members were charged yesterday with conspiring to kill law enforcement as part of their preparation for the coming battle with the Anti-Christ. But that may be a tall order.

Appearing on CNN this morning, Michael Lackomar, a member of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, called the Hutaree -- also primarily based in Michigan -- "really a fringe group outside of anything we do."

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The new survey of Missouri by Public Policy Polling (D) finds Republican Rep. Roy Blunt narrowly ahead in the race for the open Senate seat of retiring GOP Sen. Kit Bond. More importantly, however, other numbers show that the Democrats could have a very tough time ahead in this perennial swing state.

The numbers, among registered voters: Blunt 45%, Dem Secretary of State Robin Carnahan 41%, with a ±4.4% margin of error. Carnahan edges the other Republican candidate, state Sen. Chuck Purgason, by 42%-38%. The TPM Poll Average gives Blunt a lead of 47.0%-40.7% over Carnahan.

Below the surface, President Obama's approval rating is only 43%, with 52% disapproval. In addition, voters said by a 51%-42% margin that Republicans should work to repeal the health care bill. And voters oppose the health care bill by 54%-37%.

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TPM has obtained an internal RNC memo, written by Chief of Staff Ken McKay, describing how the RNC was charged a $2,000 bill for a night at Voyeur West Hollywood and announcing a staffer was fired:

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Hotline On Call is reporting that the Republican National Committee staffer fired over the $2,000 nightclub bill is Allison Meyers, who headed the "Young Eagles" program.

The Young Eagles is a group of Republican donors under age 45 who donate certain amounts to the RNC, or solicit larger donations from friends. The group is also holding a fund-raising event at Blackwater's North Carolina headquarters in April.

An internal RNC memo obtained by TPM shows that the excursion to the Voyeur West Hollywood nightclub followed a Young Eagles event in L.A.

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The Philadelphia man charged yesterday with threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor has been in trouble with the law before: back in June 2009, he was arrested for saying during an argument that he would have the angel Gabriel kill his roommate, the Philadelphia police tell TPM.

Norman Leboon, 38, who has made scores of YouTube videos targeting various political figures under the name "shiamuslimcantbestop," was charged last June with simple assault, terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, and recklessly endangering another person, according to court records.

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