TPM News

In seeming violation of the "fair and balanced" edict they usually adhere to, Fox and Friends had a rather dubious segment this morning advancing the notion that a victory for Republican Scott Brown in today's special election in Massachusetts could provide a boost to your 401(k).

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Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) today said health care reform will pass no matter the outcome of today's special election in Massachusetts.

He told Minnesota Public Radio that reform will pass "one way or the other." (Franken also posted a link to the story on his Senate site.)

If the Republican candidate for Senate wins today, Democrats will lose their 60-seat super-majority. Some say that loss will kill health care reform for good.

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In preparation for what they expect to be Republican Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate special election tonight, conservatives and Republicans have unearthed a novel and ironic precedent, which they're using to argue that, if he wins, Brown should be seated right away as the 41st vote against health care reform.

Senate rules require that all newly-elected Senators be certified as winners by their home states before they can be sworn in. But on November 6, 1962, none other than Ted Kennedy himself won a special election to fill his own brother's Senate seat in Massachusetts, and was sworn in the very next day--two full weeks before his victory was certified, and three weeks before that certification arrived in Washington.

1962 is a long way back, and according to Senate historian Don Ritchie, the relevant rule has been in place since well before then.

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Google's public ultimatum that it will halt operations in China unless it is allowed to stop censoring got us wondering: what does a large multinational like Google have in the way of bargaining chips in its showdown with the Asian superpower?

According to a pair of experts we spoke to, the answer is: very few, if any. Let us explain:

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President Obama thinks the health care bill will live on even if Democratic candidate Martha Coakley loses tonight.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today Obama is going to keep on with health care regardless of the election result, and dodged question after question about a possible Coakley loss.

"Let's wait for the results," Gibbs said repeatedly.

Asked specifically if the fate of health care rides on the election result, Gibbs said Obama does not believe that.

"Health care is a priority for him now, it will be a priority for him tomorrow," Gibbs said.

Martha Coakley (D) has had a hard time convincing people in Massachusetts that she should be the one to replace Ted Kennedy in the Senate, and a new poll from Rasmussen shows the Democrat hasn't done much better making her case outside the Bay State.

The pollster asked 1,000 "likely voters" across the country who'd they rather see win the special election today. Scott Brown (R) was the big winner, beating Coakley 49-34. The poll shows Brown has captured the heart of Republicans across the country, while Coakley hasn't fired up Democrats nationwide -- 86% of Republicans said they're pulling for Brown, while 65% of Democratic respondents said they want Coakley to win today. As has been seen in Massachusetts polling, the majority of unaffiliated voters (55%) are rooting for Brown.

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House Minority Leader John Boehner announced today that he is hiring Barry Jackson, a longtime Republican operative, as the new chief of staff for the leader's office.

"No one in America is better prepared or better qualified than Barry to pick up the torch in the wake of our tragic and unexpected loss," Boehner said in a statement.

Boehner's last chief of staff, Paula Nowakowski, died suddenly earlier this month.

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On the eve of the special Massachusetts Senate election, with the Democrats possibly poised to lose the seat, many are wondering how this possibly could have happened, and, more importantly, how it ties in to health care reform. Here's a look back....

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Oscar Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas and a former defense attorney for the mob, is known for saying outrageous things. In a visit to an elementary school in 2005, for example, he told a group of fourth-graders that he would take a showgirl and a bottle of Sapphire Bombay Gin if he was stranded on a desert island.

He's also weighing a run for governor -- and is doing well in the polls.

"I envision making my announcement to run for governor with showgirls on my arm. If [the people] don't like it, they can vote for someone else. And if I'm governor, I'll cavort with showgirls and I'll keep drinking my gin and betting on anything that moves," Goodman told the Philadelphia Inquirer, his hometown paper. "I won't change!"

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At his weekly press conference this morning, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters that the Senate health care bill would be better than no reform at all. He also insisted that, if Republican Scott Brown wins the Massachusetts Senate special election tonight, Congress can act to pass reform in the approximately 15-day window between tonight and when Republican Scott Brown is officially seated.

I asked Hoyer whether he believes the Senate's health care bill would be better than no bill at all.

"I think the Senate bill clearly is better than nothing," Hoyer said.

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