TPM News

In a major setback for Democratic chances in 2010, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, a son of Vice President Joe Biden, has announced that he will not run in this November's special election for his father's former Senate seat.

In his official statement, Beau Biden cited the importance of his current work on a high-profile child abuse case in Delaware. Sources close to Vice President Biden suggested to TPMDC that Beau did not want to walk away from such a high-profile case.

"However, my first responsibilities are here in Delaware. I have a duty to fulfill as Attorney General -- and the immediate need to focus on a case of great consequence," Beau Biden writes. "And that is what I must do. Therefore I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010. I will run for reelection as Attorney General."

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It's hardly news that U.S. government contracts in Iraq have been a mess of fraud, abuse, and lax oversight for years. But a new Inspector General report that reveals the State Department assigned just one oversight officer to a $2.5 billion police training contract still manages to shock.

The report (.pdf) released today by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction is the second study in the past few years that showed lax or nonexistent oversight on the large police training contract of Virginia-based Dyncorp.

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Democrats on the Hill wondering where the White House stands on how to power through a health care bill believe they got a few hints from President Obama's town hall speech Friday when he detailed elements of the plans he likes best.

It was the clearest indication from the president since Democrats lost their 60-seat U.S. Senate supermajority when Republican Scott Brown won his race in Massachusetts. Some Democrats feared Obama would pivot away from health care entirely but the White House suggested that was just a cooling off period following the election.

Administration officials spent much of the weekend attempting to reassure Democrats that Obama won't walk away from health care, but there was little movement in a clear way to get a final bill through both the House and Senate.

Sources told TPMDC they believe the president was giving them some direction with his remarks in Ohio.

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Add another reason for the rumor mill to churn about a Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) run for Senate this year. A new Rasmussen poll out this morning shows Pence leading the man he'll try to unseat should he enter the race, Sen. Evan Bayh (D), in a head-to-head matchup

The poll shows Pence ahead of Bayh by 3 points, 47-44. Bayh, a moderate who has at times clashed with the White House over spending during the past year, would be a particularly sweet target for the GOP. The prospects of a Pence win is also likely to fire up the tea party base of the GOP, who consider Pence one of their kind of Republicans.

Pence hasn't said whether he'll run or not, but reports show he's been seriously considering it. Last week, Reid Wilson reported Pence met with the NRSC to discuss the possibility.

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Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) had some choice words for his fellow party members over the weekend.

To those Democrats who are worried about passing health care reform in the wake of Republican Scott Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts, Rendell said "get that best bill as strong and as tight as you can then send it back to the Senate and let's see if they (Republicans) are going to filibuster."

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The ACLU filed suit Friday in a bid to force the Justice Department to release its internal report on torture.

The long-awaited report from the department's Office of Professional Ethics considers whether DOJ lawyers like John Yoo broke ethics rules in writing the memos that approved torture.

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Obama To Announce Aid For Middle Class The Associated Press reports that President Obama and Vice President Biden will roll out a new set of initiatives on the economy: "The proposals to be unveiled by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House, and which the president will push in his Wednesday night speech, include a doubling of the child care tax credit for families earning under $85,000; an increase in federal funding for child care programs of $1.6 billion; capping student loan payments to 10 percent of income above "a basic living allowance;" expanding tax credits to match retirement savings; and increasing aid for families taking care of elderly relatives. The plan would also require all employers to provide the option of a workplace-based retirement savings plan."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, will receive the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, and will meet with senior advisers at 10:30 a.m. ET. Obama and Vice President Biden will attend an 11:25 a.m. ET meeting of the Middle Class Task Force. Obama and Biden will have lunch at 12 p.m. ET. Obama will welcome the Los Angeles Lakers to the White House at 2:20 p.m. ET. Obama and Biden will meet at 4:50 p.m. ET with Kurdistan Regional Government President Barzani.

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Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) is planning to run against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for his Senate seat.

Hayworth told the Associated Press that he stepped down as host of a conservative talk radio show in Arizona, clearing the way for a Senate run.

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The Chicago Sun-Times reports that President Barack Obama has been called to do his civic duty -- and show up for jury duty in a Bridgeview, IL, on Monday.

But fear not, suburban Illinois suspects. "The president won't be expected to show up," a court source told the Sun-Times.

So there you have it, a surefire way to dodge jury duty: get elected president.

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