TPM News

One conservative writer is already declaring -- without citing any evidence -- that Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged shooter who killed 13 at Fort Hood yesterday, was acting at the behest of the Muslim Brotherhood. So it's a good time to lay out what we do and don't know about the Fort Hood shooting case and the Army psychiatrist at the center of it.

In an interview with Frontpagemag, author Dave Gaubatz blames the Fort Hood killings on, among other Muslim groups, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He says that Hasan was carrying out "the orders of the Muslim Brotherhood." And he suggests that Hasan was sent out by radical Muslim leaders:

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On a conference call with reporters this morning, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that Democrats are "very close" to securing the 218 votes needed to pass health care legislation, but that Republican delay tactics, and perhaps even intra-Democratic disputes over abortion and immigration issues, could force a delay on final passage, potentially until Tuesday of next week.

"Assuming...that we follow the schedule we have set, my expectation is we will finish debate on the bill, on the Republican substitute, and will be voting on the rule and the substitute and the bill, and will have final 7 to 8 o'clock tomorrow night," Hoyer said.

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Roll Call is reporting (sub. req.) this morning that Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) is unhappy with potential language about illegal immigrants not being covered under the health care plan.

The newspaper reports Velázquez warned President Obama yesterday that 20 members of her caucus will vote against the final bill if that language is included.

In their current forms, the Senate version of the bill blocks illegal immigrants from getting coverage, the House bill does not.

"He listened to us and he knows where we stand," Velazquez said, according to Roll Call. "We made it very clear that we support the language that is in the House. We expect that the current language will not change."

We've checked in with her office and with the White House and will update readers when we know where this stands.

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Gov. David Paterson (D-NY), who has faced intense pressure within the Democratic Party to not run for a full term in 2010 -- reportedly including the Obama administration itself -- has now launched two new TV ads, as sure a sign as any that he's not giving up.

Polls currently show him losing in a landslide against potential Republican nominee Rudy Giuliani. He would also lose the Democratic primary by an even greater margin against a possible challenge from state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

In one ad, Paterson himself speaks to the camera: "Some say I shouldn't be running for governor." He says this is because he's forced state legislators to cut the deficit, has asked for concessions from unions, and wanted big corporations to pay their share in taxes. "It might have been easier if all I thought about was running for governor," says Paterson, "but I think it's more important to do what's right for the people of New York."

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The stage is being set for a rare and historic weekend vote on landmark health care legislation in the House of Representatives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has left herself enough wiggle room to delay the vote in the event that the thorny issues of abortion and immigration prevent her from rounding up the 218 votes she needs to pass the bill, but she and other House health care leaders will be working throughout the day to resolve the concerns of the conservative Democrats who are still withholding support.

Any final agreements Pelosi makes with her caucus will be cemented by the Rules Committee, which, by procedural norm, will set the contours of the debate and vote on the House floor.

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Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) suggested today that the suspect in the Fort Hood shootings was "favorably inclined" to perpetrate a violent act.

"I think its a fine line between whether it's a terrorist attack or whether it's just someone who snapped. I don't know. There seems to be evidence that's coming in that could certainly point toward someone who would be favorably inclined to be involved in an act of terror," Perry said.

According to the Associated Press, the suspect, Nidal Hasan, came to the attention of federal authorities six months ago. The feds suspected Hasan of writing several Internet posts about suicide bombers, some equating them with soldiers who throw themselves on grenades to save the life of a comrade.

But a formal investigation had not been open, and authorities were not certain the posts were written by Hasan.

Poll: Public Wants Congress To Keep Working On Health Care A new CNN poll has mixed news for the health care bill, with a total of 59% saying that Congress should continue to work on it. However, only 26% said the current bills should be passed with only minor changes, with 33% saying major changes should be made. Only 24% said to start over on new bills, and only 15% said to pass no bill at all.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will sign at 11 a.m. ET the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, extending unemployment benefits and other aid in the recession. He will depart the White House at 2:20 p.m. ET, and will visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center at 2:35 p.m. ET. He will arrive back at the White House at 4:15 p.m. ET. He will meet at 4:25 p.m. ET with Congressman-elect Bill Owens (D-NY), and will meet at 5:10 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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