TPM News

Health Care for America Now is the largest reform campaign in the country. It's also the group that set the parameters for the public option that have defined the debate over the provision for months. Today, HCAN campaign director Richard Kirsch sees Pelosi's push for a "robust" public option as a validation of both the politics and policy of the popular measure.

"We're glad to see, as the Speaker points out, strong support [for the robust public option] over 200 members," Kirsch says.

"This is not just an ideological battle," he adds. "At the heart this is a battle about quality of care...it's also about saving money, for making health care more affordable. A strong public option will save $110 billion."

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Last week, Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds was touting the endorsement of his gubernatorial bid from a D.C. news outlet. This morning it was Republican nominee Bob McDonnell's turn. McDonnell earned the glowing praise of the Washington Times, which said McDonnell was "leading with ideas."

From the editorial:

"[T]he only choice for governor of Virginia is Robert F. McDonnell. Dealing with Virginia's recession requires a leader who is willing to take responsibility, not hide behind the soft and fuzzy rhetoric of bipartisanship and commissions."

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Tarek Mehanna, 27, of Sudbury, MA, was arrested and charged in federal court today with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

The complaint says that beginning in or around 2001 -- up until May 2008 -- Mehanna conspired with Ahmad Abousamra, and others to "provide material support and resources for use in carrying out a conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country and extraterritorial homicide of a U.S. national."

More specifically, acting U.S. Attorney Michael K. Loucks said at a press conference this morning that Mehanna and his conspirators had allegedly conspired to shoot and kill one or two members of the executive branch of the U.S. government -- neither, Loucks said, is still a member of the executive branch, and "neither were in any danger at any time." The men also allegedly tried to fight and kill Americans overseas -- traveling to Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen -- and attempting to receive training from the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

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A little thing like being shown to have probably executed an innocent man isn't going to get in the way of continuing to put people to death, if Texas governor Rick Perry has anything to do with it.

Said Perry yesterday:

Our process works, and I don't see anything out there that would merit calling for a moratorium on the Texas death penalty. It's fair and appropriate, and we will continue with it.

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Chris Christie, the Republican nominee for governor of New Jersey, has an ad attacking not only incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, but also independent candidate Chris Daggett -- an apparent effort to avoid losing conservative-leaning voters to a spoiler.

The ad presents both Corzine and Daggett as being the same -- which is to say, they'll both raise taxes. "Corzine-Daggett: More of the same," the announcer says. It should be noted that "Corzine-Daggett" is not any sort of electoral ticket -- Corzine's running mate is Loretta Weinberg, and Daggett's is Frank Esposito.

Daggett spokesman Tom Johnson shot back, telling TPM: "Well, Chris Christie is attacking us because he doesn't have a plan, and we have a plan to lower property taxes, which is the biggest issue facing voters in NJ." Johnson also said: "There's no difference between Jon Corzine and Chris Christie. Put either of them in, nothing's gonna change down in Trenton. They'll just cater to the special interests or worry how they're gonna do in the next election."

The AFL-CIO has been one of the most vocal advocates of a public option in the Democratic coalition. So it's no surprise they're thrilled with Pelosi's push for a public option.

"It is critical that the health care bill includes a public option to control costs through competition and breaks the stranglehold the insurance companies have over the system," says AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale. "We applaud Speaker Pelosi for continuing to lead the fight to include a robust public option and America's workers and 57% of the public stand with her."

In a way, Pelosi's bold action is an outgrowth of the desires of much of the reform community. Expect the reactions on the left to the news to be comparably ecstatic.

With less than two weeks to go before election day, Creigh Deeds is bringing out the big guns in the Virginia air war. The Democratic nominee for governor launched a new TV ad today featuring President Obama calling on state Democrats to continue the momentum from his historic victory in the state last year.

From the script:

Last year, Virginia, you helped lead a movement of Americans who believed that their voices could make a difference. That's what we need to do in this race.

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Labor group Americans United For Change are up with a new radio ad in Nevada praising Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid for running the health care reform "marathon" in the Senate and says pro-public option advocates are "lucky" to have Reid carrying "the baton."

Greg Sargent reports:

The none-too-subtle message: Getting health care reform through the Senate will make Reid a hero -- if it includes a public option.

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Capitol Hill staffers with offices in the Longworth building on the House side were evacuated this morning.

TPMDC spoke with the House Press Gallery, who said an alert went to Hill aides at 9:27 a.m.

The alert said Longworth was being evacuated due to an "audible fire alarm, reason unknown."

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) implied very strongly on Fox News this morning that she won't support a public health insurance option.

"I am not a big fan of public option," she said. "We already have two public options that most people in America understand Medicaid and Medicare. Both have very, very serious problems. One is gonna be bankrupt in seven years and the other one doctors won't want to participate. So we certainly don't want to create a third one like that."

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