TPM News

President Obama is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Biden in separate, closed press meetings this afternoon.

Hillary Clinton returned Friday from an 11-day tour of Africa and will be catching up with the president at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Obama will meet with Bill Clinton later, at 4 p.m., to discuss the former president's successful trip to North Korea to bring home two U.S. journalists who had been detained.

He will meet with Biden at 2:30 p.m.

An angry John Boehner has sent a heat-seeking missive to a former caucus mate: former GOP Rep, and current PhRMA president Billy Tauzin.

In the letter, which Boehner forwarded to the executives of PhRMA's member companies, the House Minority Leader charges that PhRMA's alliance with the White House on health care reform amounts to appeasement. "Appeasement rarely works as a conflict resolution strategy," Boehner writes. "The simple truth is, two wrongs don't make a right. And the short-sighted health care deal PhRMA struck with the Obama Administration at your urging provides confirmation of this time-tested maxim on an epic and tragic scale."

You can read the entire letter here. It comes as the relationship between the White House and PhRMA has soured slightly.

"The Obama Administration tacitly acknowledged last week that the President will not be bound by the $80 billion limit PhRMA and its board of directors were led to believe had been secured in exchange for your organization's support of the Administration's health care takeover," Boehner writes, "and key Democrats...have said explicitly they will not honor the agreement."

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Boehner Blasts Ex-Rep. Tauzin For PhRMA Working With "Bully" Obama On Health Care Reform The Hill reports that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has sent a letter to PhRMA president Billy Tauzin, who is a former Republican Congressman from Louisiana, castigating Tauzin and PhRMA for working constructively with President Obama on health care reform. "When a bully asks for your lunch money, you may have no choice but to fork it over," Boehner wrote. "But cutting a deal with the bully is a different story, particularly if the 'deal' means helping him steal others' money as the price of protecting your own."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will met one-on-one with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at 11:10 a.m. ET, with an expanded meeting at 11:30 a.m. ET, and a working lunch at 12:30 p.m. ET. Obama will meet with Sec. of State Hillary Clinton at 1:30 p.m. ET, with Vice President Biden at 2:30 p.m. ET, and with former President Bill Clinton at 4 p.m. ET.

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Sixty House Democrats have warned the Obama administration--in no uncertain terms--that they'll vote against a health care bill unless it contains a public option.

In a letter sent yesterday to Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus write, "We stand in strong opposition to your statement that the public option is "not the essential element" of comprehensive reform."

We have attached, for your review, a letter from 60 Members of Congress who are firm in their position that any legislation that moves forward through both chambers, and into a final proposal for the President's signature, MUST contain a public option.


The letter comes in response to recent statements by members of the administration, which calls into question their commitment to the public option.

You can read yesterday's letter here. The 60 signatories are the 57 who signed this, separate letter, plus three more. Back in July, progressives warned House leaders that a number of concessions to Blue Dog Democrats would have to be reversed if the final legislation was to stand a chance on the House floor. Those differences were quickly papered over, but they were also much smaller differences. Now, they're letting it be known that they will oppose any legislation--the House bill or the conference report--will die if it doesn't contain a public option.

Your move, Senate.

Late update: The 60 members on board include the 57 listed here, along with new additions Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) Robert Wexler (D-FL), and Gregorio Sablan, a non-voting delegate from representing the northern Mariana Islands.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter (PDF) to the White House today demanding answers about the administration's email policy.

Issa's letter includes several questions about flag@whitehouse.gov, the email address where the White House asked citizens to send misinformation about health care reform. The email address has apparently been shut down; it's not clear whether before or after Issa's letter.

Issa also asked if the White House obtained emails from any political group, including Organizing for America, a claim which administration officials have repeatedly denied. The question came after some controversy where people reported receiving unsolicited emails from the White House last week. Yesterday, the administration responded that they are changing the way people sign up for email lists. Deputy Press Secretary Nick Shapiro said third party groups may have signed people up without their permission.

Issa also took issue with the way the White House is archiving their official emails, demanding a thorough explanation of their policy and procedure. He gave a deadline of Aug. 31.

The government watch-dog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has jumped into the fray against former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is now the Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey. CREW is now calling for an investigation by the Office of the Special Counsel, into Christie's recently-revealed conversations with Karl Rove about a potential run for governor while Christie was a U.S. Attorney:

Mr. Rove's statements demonstrate that while Mr. Christie was the U.S. Attorney, he met with individuals to plan the logistics and strategy of a campaign and to seek support in his efforts to secure the Republican nomination for governor in violation of the Hatch Act. The Merit Systems Protection Board has held the OSC retains jurisdiction over such matters even whereas here, the employee has left the federal government.

CREW executive director Melanie Sloan stated

The Hatch Act is intended to ensure federal employees do their jobs without regard to partisan politics. Mr. Christie's actions call into question whether the New Jersey U.S. Attorney's Office investigated and prosecuted cases based on application of the law to the facts, or because certain prosecutions might have enhanced his prospects of securing the Republican nomination for governor.

About 12 people were carrying guns, including at least one semi-automatic assault rifle, outside a building where President Obama was speaking today.

No one was arrested outside the VFW National Convention in Phoenix, according to the Associated Press, where hundreds of people demonstrated both for and against health care reform. There are no reports that the 12 were part of an organized group.

The man spotted carrying the assault rifle and a pistol, who gave his name only as "Chris", was asked why he was armed. "Because I can do it," he said. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms." You can watch the video from ArizonaCentral.com (go to about 1:30). He's being interviewed by a man who's also wearing a handgun.

Two police officers kept close by. Carrying guns, including the AR-15 assault rifle, is legal under Arizona law.

"If we need to intervene, we will intervene at that time," said Detective J. Oliver.

CNN's Ed Henry reported seeing a second man with an assault rifle, but that has not been confirmed.

These reports come less than a week after two people brought guns to a presidential event in Portsmouth, N.H. At Obama's town hall there, one man was arrested for having a gun hidden in his car after the Secret Service found him at Portsmouth High School hours before Obama arrived carrying a pocketknife. He didn't have a license for a concealed weapon.

Another man in Portsmouth was spotted carrying a gun in a leg holster outside the school. The unconcealed weapon was legal under New Hampshire law and he was not arrested. Later, when asked why he brought the gun, he replied, "That's not even a relevant question. The question is, why don't people bear arms these days?"

And that's not all. A man brought a gun to a town hall with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) last week, without incident. At an event with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), someone dropped a gun, but he had a permit and no police report was taken. And two weeks ago, a New Mexico man tweeted that reform opponents should bring guns to town halls and "badly hurt" SEIU reps.

Earlier today, Rep. Anthony Weiner said he thinks about 100 Democratic members of the House would oppose a health care reform bill that didn't contain a public option. Now, he's taken the implication of that statement one step further. Not only would such a bill fail, but it wouldn't even come to the floor for a vote.



And, for what it's worth, despite recent evidence that the Senate will oppose a public option and the White House can live with that outcome, Speaker Pelosi still stands behind it.

Appearing at the RightOnline summit, a right-wing counterpart to Netroots Nation, Samuel Joseph "Joe The Plumber" Wurzelbacher said that Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats are the sort of people he would "beat livin' tar out of" for spending too much money and ridiculing protestors:

"So, when Pelosi and all those others talk about it bein' un-American and disrespectful, I tell ya what: I respect nobody who lies to me and manipulates me and takes my money, puts my children in debt -- they want me to be respectful towards 'em? Please," said Mr. The Plumber. "You know, I'm not the most civilized person. Those kind of people, I usually took behind the woodshed and just beat the livin' tar out of 'em. I don't like being lied to. I hate being lied to, and Americans are gettin' tired of it."

(Via Think Progress.)

The very basic logic of the public option is this: Most Democrats support a strong public option, most Republicans oppose Democratic health care reform period, so perhaps Democrats can win over a few Republicans if they keep government out of the insurance industry and create a system of privately-held health-care co-operatives instead. Simple right?

Not if the RNC has anything to say about it.

They're out today with a new release, attacking the co-op idea and charging that the the "reports of the public option's demise" are "greatly exaggerated."

So if at the very least you thought that the Democrats could escape the "government run health care" canard by, say, dropping their plans to create a government run health insurance system, you were mistaken. As the RNC makes clear, in their eyes, "Public option by any other name is still government-run health care."

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