TPM News

Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) chief of staff Michelle Marston, a long-time veteran of Capitol Hill who has guided Bachmann in her much-increased national TV presence this year, has quit her post.

The Politico reports:

In an e-mail exchange with POLITICO, Marston declined to say why she's going.

"I'm just not talking about it, and frankly I don't think there's a story here," Marston wrote. "Now, the thousands of people calling our office to tell us [they're] coming to Capitol Hill tomorrow - that's a story."


A conservative Republican House member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, suggested that Bachman's views - and her willingness to state them - make it hard for her to keep staff.

"When your captain's crazy, it's time to find a new ship," the lawmaker said.

The House will likely vote on its health care reform bill at 6 p.m. Saturday, although the time is not yet official.

The Rules Committee, which will meet at 2 p.m. Friday to prepare the bill for debate, is not expected to allow amendments.

The committee has, however, been working to secure votes for the bill by adjusting the language. Chairwoman Louise Slaughter told CQ Politics that she'd added anti-abortion language put forward by Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN).

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The Republican fratricide that cost the GOP the NY-23 special election is only going to keep on going, with the Minuteman PAC -- the anti-illegal immigration group that endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman -- vowing to keep up the fight in a new e-mail to their supporter list:

And, the vote totals revealed that reality late last night when it appeared that Bill Owen's margin of victory was the same percentage of votes cast for Scozzafava.

The moral of the story? Had Scozzafava not run, Hoffman would have easily won the election!!!



After Minuteman PAC stepped into the race on behalf of Hoffman to expose Scozzafava and Owens' liberal records, Scozzafava was forced to abandon her campaign and her true colors were exposed to the entire country. . .

And Minuteman PAC will continue aiming at key races where brave patriot candidates have enlisted to unseat or defeat anti-American candidates! That's why we cannot sulk, we cannot rest, we must keep fighting. . .

The full e-mail is available after the jump.

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When he was hauled before Congress last week for sending those forged letters to lawmakers on climate change, astroturf lobbyist Jack Bonner pledged to make sure that no similar event ever happened again. As a centerpiece of that effort, Bonner announced that his firm had retained James Thurber, an American University political science professor, to act as an "independent ethics adviser."

Bonner assured lawmakers that the new adviser "is well-regarded as maintaining the highest ethical standards and independence," and "will review our policies and work with us to continue to improve our internal quality control system to the highest standards." All in all, it sounded like a good idea.

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In response to this scientific post by TPMDC, a Republican House leadership aide sends over a link to Bill Owens' campaign website to suggest that Owens ought to oppose "the Pelosi health care bill". Here are the key bullet points.

Bill Owens is opposed to:
  • Opposes: Medicare benefit cuts. We can all agree that there are inefficiencies and waste in the system, but any savings should be used to strengthen Medicare.

  • Opposes: Taxing health care benefits.

  • Opposes: Increasing taxes on the middle class in any way.

Of these, the only one that could legitimately cause Owens any grief is the first. The House bill doesn't tax health care benefits or the middle class. It does extract waste from Medicare, in part by reining in over-payments by Medicare Advantage plans, and those savings are not rerouted back into Medicare. But does that mean he should oppose the bill. It doesn't sound like he thinks he should, but we have a call in to his campaign staff for some clarity.

The Stand Up America PAC, which describes its mission as "defeating right-wing extremists in the United States Congress," is trying to raise $10,000 off Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) tea party rally tomorrow.

The PAC sent a fundraising email to supporters this morning under the subject line "Let's Ruin Michele Bachmann's Day," and calling for donations to raise $10,000 over today and tomorrow.

"This is Bachmann's big chance to cement her role as the new leader of the Republican Party," the email reads. "It could be the best day of her career. Or, you and I could ruin it."

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Ned Lamont has made it official -- he is exploring a run for Governor of Connecticut.

Lamont, a businessman and former Greenwich Selectman, came out of nowhere to beat Sen. Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary, running on an anti-Iraq War platform. Lieberman then won the general election as an independent, thanks to the support of Republican voters, and has been bedeviling the Democratic leadership in Washington ever since.

Earlier today, Lamont announced the formation of a statewide exploratory committee, but did not specify exactly which office he might be seeking -- though it was rather obvious, by his criticisms of the current Republican Gov. Jodi Rell. But now it's official, that he's got his eyes on the statehouse.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) took to the House floor last night to promote Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) march on Capitol Hill tomorrow (And inside the hallways, as well!) against the Democrats' health care proposals. And King compared the Americans For Prosperity buses that will be bringing people to the protest to none other than that famous patriot of the American Revolution, Paul Revere.

"There are buses that are coming in from state after state after state, converging on this city," said King. "People are dropping what's important. It's as if Paul Revere had ridden across America and said, 'here's the call, here's the call of your country.'"

(Via Think Progress)

On the heels of the NY-23 special House election, in which Conservative Party insurgent Doug Hoffman overtook moderate GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava, only to lose to Democrat Bill Owens, NRSC chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) has announced that the GOP's national Senate committee will not be spending money in contested primaries.

"There's no incentive for us to weigh in," Cornyn told ABC News. "We have to look at our resources."

This could have huge ramifications in the Florida Senate race, where moderate Gov. Charlie Crist has been endorsed by the NRSC, and faces the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. Crist has already emerged as a new top target for the same right-wing activists who went after Scozzafava.

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tells TPMDC that President Obama has phoned the winners from last night's competitive East Coast races.

Gibbs said Obama has called Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R-VA), Gov.-elect Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Rep.-elect Bill Owens (D-NY).

Obama also phoned New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, an independent who won reelection, and he left a message for Rep.-elect John Garamendi (D-CA).

As we reported earlier, Obama phoned the losing candidates last night.

The Washington Post has some more detail on the McDonnell call.