TPM News

On This Week With George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, President Obama and the host had more than one testy exchange over health care reform.

Pushing Obama from the outset to say whether the plan constituted a tax on Americans by requiring that they have health insurance, Stephanopoulos at one point actually read the President the dictionary definition of "tax." Obama laughed.

"The fact that you looked up Merriam's dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now," the President said, adding that "my critics say everything's a tax increase. My critics say I'm taking over every sector of the economy."

"I absolutely reject that notion."

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On CNN's State Of The Union this morning, John King asked President Barack Obama whether Afghan President Hamid Karzai had stolen an election that's been widely disputed and battered with allegations of voter fraud.

"There is no doubt that there were reports of fraud out there that, at first glance, look pretty serious," the President said.

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The New York Times is reporting today that John Edwards -- the former North Carolina Senator, Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee in 2004 and presidential contender in 2008 -- may finally admit something he's long denied: that the 19-month-old daughter of Rielle Hunter, with whom Edwards has admitted an affair, is his child.

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The Justice Department announced Saturday that it had arrested three men -- two in Colorado and one in New York -- as part of an ongoing terror investigation.

In Colorado, the FBI arrested Najibullah Zazi, 24, of Aurora, CO -- who is a legal permanent resident from Afghanistan -- and his father Mohammed Wali Zazi, 53, also of Aurora and a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan.

In New York, FBI agents arrested Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, of Flushing. He's also a legal permanent resident from Afghanistan.

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Obama: More Work To Be Done On Economy In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama discussed the upcoming G-20 Summit, and the need for more financial regulations to avoid a repeat of the economic crisis:

In the weeks and months ahead, we have an opportunity to build on the work we've already done. An opportunity to rebuild our global economy stronger that before. An opportunity not only to protect the American people and America's economy, but to promote sustained and balanced growth and prosperity for our nation and all nations. And that's an opportunity I am determined to seize.

Myrick: Government Run Health Care Means Delay, Death In this weekend's Republican address, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) discussed her experience as a breast cancer survivor, warned that government-run health care would lead to delayed care and death:

"Under the government-run health care system they have in Canada and the United Kingdom, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to get those tests so quickly," said Myrick. "One international study found that three times as many citizens in those countries wait longer than a month to see a specialist. When it comes to life-threatening diseases like cancer, delay could mean death."

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Now here's something you don't see everyday: A conservative praising President Obama's efforts to establish universal health care, despite the political risks, denouncing the attacks against him -- and even declaring that 50 years from now, Americans will revere his name.

The catch is that in this case, the conservative in question is from another country: Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Mulroney spoke to a gathering of Conservative Party supporters, the Canadian Press reports, and spoke on the nature of political leadership:

"Political capital is acquired to spend in great causes for one's country," Mulroney said Thursday.

"Prime ministers are not chosen to seek popularity. They are chosen to provide leadership ... President Obama is fighting for a form of universal health care and is encountering ferocious resistance.

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Yesterday, we spent about four hours watching a spotty livestream of the revival meeting history textbook hearing by the State Board of Education down in Austin, Texas.

Those are the standards on which -- it can't be repeated enough -- publishers base their nationwide textbooks, and the ones that currently contain a clause requiring knowledge of Newt Gingrich.

Well, the board met for another four hours after lunch. Not much was said about Gingrich beyond that it was "not easy" to draft the clause, but it's worth checking out some highlight clips we pulled to see first-hand how the partisan and frankly ignorant worldviews of some of the board members influence the standards writing process.

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The lumbering fight over health care reform continues on Capitol Hill, and remains the focus of intense media coverage. But that focus belies a rift emerging on the left between grassroots and establishment Democrats over where the process should go next.

The schism is exemplified by the formation of a new Democracy for America campaign, called America Can't Wait, to pressure Democratic leaders to stop courting Senate centrists and pass health care reform through the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process. In a letter to DFA members, America Can't Wait founder Howard Dean wrote "At least 218 House and 51 Senate Democrats have said they would vote for the final healthcare bill if it included the choice of a public option rather than vote against the bill and kill reform."

"Senate rules don't allow filibusters of certain bills that affect the budget," Dean went on. "That's right; the healthcare reform plan including the choice of a public option can be passed in a budget bill by a majority vote in the U.S. Senate."

But Senate leaders on the Hill urge caution.

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