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Last night, I reported that there could be a significant delay in the progress of health care reform legislation--that the committee could have to wait for weeks to get a complete CBO score before holding a final vote, or that, if the committee approves the legislation without a score, the full Senate will have to wait two weeks before taking up final health care legislation on the floor.

Right now in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), is arguing in favor of an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), that would require the committee to wait until the final CBO score is completed before voting on it.

"I don't know what's happening that this has to be put on a fast track," she said.

Chairman Max Baucus doesn't support the proposal, and neither do most Democrats, but it's quite telling that Snowe does.

Late update: The Bunning amendment failed (Snowe's support notwithstanding), but the committee passed an alternative amendment that requires a preliminary CBO analysis be completed before a final vote. And that could still cause a few days' delay.

Speaking today to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama used the word "torture" for the first time when addressing an international body.

On my first day in office, I prohibited - without exception or equivocation - the use of torture by the United States of America. I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed, and we are doing the hard work of forging a framework to combat extremism within the rule of law. Every nation must know: America will live its values, and we will lead by example.


The White House released President Obama's prepared remarks for his address to the United Nations General Assembly. Here is the full text:

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman: it is my honor to address you for the first time as the forty-fourth President of the United States. I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the American people have placed upon me; mindful of the enormous challenges of our moment in history; and determined to act boldly and collectively on behalf of justice and prosperity at home and abroad.



I have been in office for just nine months, though some days it seems a lot longer. I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted - I believe - in a discontent with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences, and outpaced by our problems. But they are also rooted in hope - the hope that real change is possible, and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change.



I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. This has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for our collective inaction.



Like all of you, my responsibility is to act in the interest of my nation and my people, and I will never apologize for defending those interests. But it is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009 - more than at any point in human history - the interests of nations and peoples are shared.

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A new Rasmussen poll in Missouri finds that the 2010 Senate race is a real toss-up, with GOP Rep. Roy Blunt and Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan tied at 46% each.

Four-term Republican Sen. Kit Bond is retiring, opening up this perennial swing state for a top-tier Senate race in 2010. John McCain carried the state by about 0.1% in 2008, and the Democrats won the state's other Senate seat by a three-point margin back in 2006.

Former baseball player Curt Schilling has announced that he is not running for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

"Regardless of the amount of support and outreach that's been given to me, it just did not make sense," said Schilling, a conservative who campaigned in the past for George W. Bush and John McCain.

This leaves the state Sen. Scott Brown as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. A recent poll showed Brown severely trailing the Democratic frontrunner, state Attorney General Martha Coakley.

A number of reports suggest House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reversed a July deal she and Democratic health care leaders struck with Blue Dogs that weakened the public option.

But though that's not accurate to the letter, it is indicative of a private fight Pelosi's waging to keep a public option--preferably a strong one--in the final bill.

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Obama To Tell U.N.: Don't Wait For America To Solve World's Problems Alone In his upcoming speech to the United Nations today, President Obama will call for international cooperation -- and declare that America can't fix the world's problems alone. "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility," Obama will say, also adding: "Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet at 9 a.m. ET with Prime Minister Hatoyama of Japan. At 10 a.m. ET, he will address the U.N. General Assembly. At 12 p.m. ET, he will attend a meeting with leaders of peace-keeping troop contributing countries. At 1:05 p.m. ET, he will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony for fallen U.N. staff members. At 1:15 p.m. ET, he will attend a lunch hosted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, for heads of state and government. At 3:30 p.m. ET, he will meet with President Medvedev of Russia. AT 7:05 p.m. ET, the President and First Lady will host a reception for heads of state and government.

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I just spoke with Massachusetts state Sen. Bruce Tarr, the assistant Republican leader, and he told me that if the bill to provide for a temporary appointment to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat passes tomorrow, there could be plenty of room for legal challenges -- and a lot is riding on the final enactment votes tomorrow.

I asked Tarr whether Massachusetts Republicans would themselves file lawsuits, and he did not specifically say as much. However, he laid out scenarios under which other citizens of Massachusetts could potentially bring legal action.

One big issue, Tarr explained, is that this bill has been designated as an emergency law, in order to have it take effect immediately. Normally, under the state constitution, laws can only take effect after 90 days, which would defeat the purpose of the immediate appointment. However, an emergency law also requires a two-thirds vote within the legislature in order to pass -- and in the votes that have been held so far, it was only 97-58 in the House, and 24-16 in the Senate.

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Powerhouse fundraiser Hassan Nemazee had a lot of friends in Democratic circles. And one of the most important appears to have been the party's money-man par excellence, Terry McAuliffe.

But since the news broke yesterday that Nemazee had been charged with running a $292 million Ponzi scheme, the normally loquacious McAuliffe hasn't been his usual voluble self.

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