TPM News

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) has signed the letter calling for passing a public option via reconciliation, his office confirms to TPMDC. He is the 23rd senator to do so.

The letter, written by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has been collecting signatures over the past week.

For the full list of signatories, see here.

A top Tea Party leader derided Barack Obama as "our half white, racist president" in an email to colleagues.

Mark Williams, the conservative talk radio host who has become a prominent spokesman for the Tea Party Express, sent an email in September -- obtained by TPMmuckraker -- to other leaders of the group, in which he appeared to be responding to charges of racism against himself.

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As more senators lend their names to a plan to use reconciliation to add a public option back into health care reform, a progressive group is targeting two centrist Democrats with polling that shows standing in the way of the reconciliation plan could cost them politically.

In a new Research 2000 poll conducted for the progressive coalition that has been trumpeting the reconciliation plan in recent days, both of Virginia's moderate Democratic senators -- Jim Webb and Mark Warner -- face an electorate that is upset with their performance on health care reform so far and wants to see a public option passed.

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A spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner today ridiculed President Obama's health care proposal because it's too short.

"The White House's 'plan' consists of an 11-page outline, which has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office or posted online as legislative text. So they want to reorganize one-sixth of the United States' economy with a document shorter than a comic book, and they're complaining that they can't find our plan on their own website? C'mon," said the spokesman, Michael Steel, in an email to reporters.

Boehner and other Republicans have attacked the Democrats' health care bills in both the House and the Senate for being too long.

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Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton told TPMDC in an interview he isn't sure President Obama is fully committed to a strategy in Afghanistan that would destroy the Taliban.

During an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday Bolton said he thinks Obama is "more concerned with beginning a process of withdrawal in the summer of 2011."

"I fear that's an example of sending at best, a mixed, or more likely, a signal of weakness that our adversaries interpret to our detriment," Bolton said.

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February 18-20: The Conservative Political Action Conference takes place in Washington, D.C. Check out our first two CPAC 2010 slideshows here and here.

Fox News host Glenn Beck addresses the conference.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

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Conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) ends up winning CPAC's straw poll.

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Newt Gingrich and David Bossie of Citizen's United.

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Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN).

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Last night, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)--a long-time public option advocate--dealt a rough blow to members and progressives who think Democrats should pass the popular measure using the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process.

"I'm probably not going to vote for that," Rockefeller said. "I don't think the timing of it is very good."

Earlier in the evening, in a brief interview with TPMDC, Rockefeller expressed concern that playing hardball with the public option at this time could imperil reform, but he didn't say he'd oppose it.

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Scott Brown: 'I'm Not From Around Here. I'm From Massachusetts' Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reports that after Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) became the first vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) jobs bill, he quickly left the chamber and was then surrounded by reporters in the hallway. "I'm not from around here," said Brown. "I'm from Massachusetts."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice PResident Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Obama will meet with senior advisers at 10:45 a.m. ET. Obama and Biden will have lunch at 12:15 p.m. ET. Obama will meet at 3 p.m. ET with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Obama and Biden will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Obama will have dinner with business leaders at 6:45 p.m. ET.

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