TPM News

Organizing for America, the spinoff of the Obama campaign, set a goal of 100,000 phone calls to members of Congress on health care today.

When we broke the news last week that President Obama would join the call-in parties via Webcast tonight, a Hill Republican said the number of calls seemed low given the size of the OFA email list.

Well the Democratic National Committee has offered a peek at their (self-reported) figures, and have been tweeting updates from the Obama Twitter feed all day. At 12:08, they tweeted it had reached 35,000 calls. At 12:53, it was up to 50,000.

As of this writing, it's passed 90,000 calls. It went up by a few thousand calls in the last few minutes, so they will be hitting 100,000 fairly soon. My bet is they will trumpet that as a grassroots win and then raise the goal.

After the jump, a look at the widget tracking the calls.

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Former Alaska Governor and best-selling author Sarah Palin will break her long media silence by sitting down with Oprah Winfrey for a live interview on Monday, November 16 -- the day before Palin's memoir is released.

As we've pointed out, Palin's "Going Rogue" has already catapulted to the top of multiple bestseller lists. And her interview with Oprah -- which Oprah.com bills as "a world exclusive" -- seems sure to generate even more buzz for Palin's book.

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Back in August, when it was revealed that Chris Christie had given an unreported $46,000 loan to Michele Brown, his top deputy at the US attorney's office, we had a sense there was more to the story than we'd yet learned.

And today's revelations from the New York Times help fill out the picture. Simply put, a close look at the unusually close relationship between the two -- as well as at other evidence that Christie retains ties to his former colleagues in the prosecutors' office -- strongly suggests that in the service of his bid for governor, he may have improperly politicized an office that's supposed to be an independent administrator of justice.

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Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate in the NY-23 special election, has now been told by the California Milk Processor Board to pull one of his ads for infringing on their "got milk?" trademark -- but he's sticking with it.

The Owens ad says he'll fight on behalf of local dairy farmers to stop alleged price-fixing by milk companies, and ends with him saying, "We've got to find out -- who's got milk money?" The phrase "got milk money?" is then on screen, in a similar font as the "got milk?" ads.

"He has not sought our permission to use it," said California Milk Processor Board Executive Director Stephen James. "He does not have our permission to use it and if we don't police the trademark and make sure that it's not abused by anyone who just feels like slapping it on what they want to slap it on, then we lose the rights to the trademark."

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A federal judge has revoked $500,000 bail for former NYC police commissioner Bernard Kerik in his corruption case and ordered him to jail, Fox reports.

Prosecutors allege that Kerik got renovations on his co-op in the Bronx in exchange for recommending the construction company for city contracts. The trial in the case is set to begin Monday.

Fox 5 in New York reports:

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A new CNN poll shows slightly less than half of Americans "agree with President Obama on the issues that matter most."

Forty-eight percent say they agree with Obama, 51% say they don't. An April CNN poll showed the opposite, with 57% saying they agreed with the president and 41% saying they don't.

At the same time, Obama's approval ratings remain high. Fifty-five percent said they approve of the job he's doing as president, and 66% said "Obama has the personality and leadership qualities a President should have."

Yesterday, pranksters and activists teamed up to pull a hoax on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, holding a fake press conference claiming the Chamber had decided to do a 180 and support climate change legislation.

Real Chamber spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel burst in about 20 minutes into the event, yelling, "This is not an official event ... This is a fraudulent press activity and a stunt."

He also told reporters who were there, "If you have any questions, you are welcome to direct them at me, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

But when reporters -- some of whom were fake -- asked him if the Chamber would acknowledge that climate change is real, he brushed them off.

The Yes Men, which put on the stunt, released video of the presser through their publicist. Watch it after the jump:

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Despite political setbacks and a determined Democratic opposition, a new poll shows Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) leads his rival ahead of his 2010 reelection.

The Times-Picayune has the details, and shows Vitter enjoys a 48-36 percent lead over Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA).

Key bit:

Vitter had 47.6 percent to Melancon's 35.8 percent, with 16.6 percent undecided, according to the survey conducted last week by Southern Media and Opinion Research of Baton Rouge.

The poll was conducted for Baton Rouge businessman Lane Grigsby, who has contributed mainly to Republicans in the past, including Vitter. The survey is based on telephone interviews with 600 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Vitter's office still hasn't returned our calls about his census amendment and the justice of the peace who refuses to marry biracial couples. We'll keep you posted.

On a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and New York Stock Exchange CEO Duncan Niederauer called for better government regulation of alternative trading systems like dark pools -- which are essentially opaque, off-exchange places where large amounts of stock are traded.

"They should be required to adhere to a more robust regulatory framework," Schumer said.

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President Obama today said he is "pleased with the steps that have been taken" in the disputed Afghanistan election, and said both candidates have expressed a willingness to abide by constitutional law.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai today accepted a runoff election, scheduled for Nov. 7, against his main opponent Abdullah Abdullah. UN fraud investigators have thrown out a third of Karzai's votes, citing apparent fraud.

Obama, speaking to reporters today after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said "President Karzai as well as the other candidates, I think, have shown that they have the interests of the Afghan people at heart."

He also thanked Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and the U.S. military for their work in getting the Afghanistan elections sorted out.

"This has been a difficult election," Obama said, because of "violent forces opposed to democracy." But, he said, "we've seen elections take place" and there is a "path forward."

Video after the jump.

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