TPM News

President Obama is speaking about health care reform at the University of Iowa. Here are his complete prepared remarks:

Hello, Iowa City! Thank you Secretary Sebelius for that introduction, and for all the amazing and tireless work you've done to make health care reform a reality. I also feel your pain. In my bracket, I had Kansas winning the entire championship, so I'm a little bit bitter too. But I want to congratulate all the Northern Iowa fans in this part of the state on their big win.

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With all the Republican state attorneys general who are challenging the health care bill in court, there is also one Democratic attorney general who is taking heat for not suing -- Thurbert Baker of Georgia, who is also currently a candidate for governor, and who now has Republican state legislators calling for his impeachment.

Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who is term-limited this year, asked Baker to sue the federal government, which Baker then refused. In response, Perdue has appointed a "special attorney general" to mount the lawsuit, anyway. What's more, some Republican legislators are reportedly moving to impeach Baker, arguing that he was legally required to pursue the lawsuit at the governor's request.

"I was elected to be the attorney general of this state, to give my best legal advice on these legal questions," Baker told TPMDC. "And I answered the governor's question as to whether there was a legal basis to file a lawsuit against the federal government to overturn health care reform. I did what I was supposed to do which is research the law and give my opinion of it."

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Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) received a threatening voicemail last night that's being investigated by the Capitol Police, The Hill reports.

Citing her chief of staff, The Hill reports that Schmidt's office received a voicemail last night from a caller "who talks of wishing the congresswoman had broken her back" in 2008.

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In a blog post yesterday on the climate of threats surrounding health care reform, an editor and radio host employed by the Pajamas Media conservative blog outlet called for a return to the "fine tradition" of tar and feathering, and potentially even more extreme acts of violence.

In the post, titled "Put the Fear of Something Into Them," Pajamas' Denver Editor Stephen Green riffed on the recent threats and attacks on Democrats and concluded:

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House Minority Whip Eric Cantor just gave a brief speech accusing Democrats of using reports of recent threats of violence for political gain, and saying someone shot a bullet through the window of his campaign office this week.

"I've received threats since I assumed elected office, not only because of my positions, but because I am Jewish," Cantor said. "I've never blamed anyone in this body for that. Period. Any suggestion that a leader in this body that would incite threats or acts against other members is akin to saying that I would endanger myself, my wife or my children."

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A week ago, many House Democrats were still reluctant to support health care reform. The Senate bill had too many vulnerabilities, they said, and they didn't believe the Senate would be able to pass a health care reconciliation bill to fix the problems. Fast forward to today, and the House is going to have to take up the reconciliation bill for a second time, and House leaders are shrugging it off.

What changed? The mood has eased since President Obama signed the bill into law. Basically, last week, passage of the health care bill was complicated by a crisis of trust between the House and the Senate. The House worried that the Senate would fail them again, and, in so doing, send back a reconciliation bill that had been dramatically altered--or worse, not send back a reconciliation bill at all.

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