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There's still a chance that tonight's House vote on a health care reform bill may not happen -- or that even if it does, it may not with a victory for Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership.

Apparently, House GOP conference chair Mike Pence knows something journalists and political observers don't about the bill's chances tonight. He just posted this to his official website:

PENCE DENOUNCES HOUSE PASSAGE OF PELOSI HEALTH CARE BILL


(h/t Glenn Thrush)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders just emerged from a closed-door caucus meeting that included a personal appearance by President Obama confident the House will pass a sweeping health care reform bill today.

Addressing reporters outside the caucus meeting room just now, Pelosi looked back briefly before announcing what seemed like a deal to pass reform.

It was three years ago today that Pelosi led Democrats to retake the House after more than a decade of Republican control. She said the date was "appropriate."

"It is appropriate that the promise we made [to voters] ... will be manifested today," she said. "We will pass health care reform."

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Democratic leadership is saying this morning they are confident they have the 218 votes needed to pass the sweeping House health care, public option included.

Just in case, President Obama will make his way to Capitol Hill to speak with the Democratic House caucus at 11:25 this morning. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team will meet the press around noon.

Then things will get exciting as they start debating in a rare weekend session billed as health care Saturday.

If you want to see the sausage being made, tune into C-Span today, and for an explainer, keep reading.

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Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) said on MSNBC today that he agreed with House Minority Leader John Boehner that health care is the biggest threat the country has ever seen.

"It is in fact socialism," Tancredo said. "It is a true, very scary threat."

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Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), who wrote the foreword to Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America, said today she is "very concerned" about infiltration of the military by jihadists.

"We can't continue to be so politically correct that we're going to say this wasn't religiously motivated," Myrick told the Charlotte, North Carolina, CBS affiliate. She noted the reports that Nidal Malik Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" before he allegedly opened fire in the shooting spree at Fort Hood Thursday.

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President Obama spent nearly two hours this afternoon meeting privately with soldiers and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

While there, he awarded two Purple Hearts, the White House said.

No press was allowed to witness the visit, but an administration staffer told the pool which accompanies the president when he leaves the White House that Obama "visited with 19 soldiers, three families of soldiers in the ICU, as well as hospital staff."

Whether you call it a rally, press conference or "House Call," Republicans think Thursday's Capitol Hill Tea Party was a success -- and they are crediting Rep. Michele Bachmann for having the pizazz to increase turnout and press coverage.

"We didn't know what to expect, we didn't know what kind of energy would be there, but this thing took a life of its own," Brendan Buck, spokesman for the Republican Study Committee, told TPMDC.

"It came together better than we ever imagined it would in terms of size and energy," he said.

After chatting with press aides from various Republican offices, here's what we know.

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Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), a member of the Blue Dogs, has announced his opposition to the current health care bill from the House Democrats:

"After careful review of the current legislation pending in the House and the Congressional Budget Office's analysis, I believe the bill will not help control the long-term costs of health care and puts in place an infrastructure that is not fiscally sustainable over time. I am unable to support this legislation in its present form.

"Most of us realize that serious reforms are needed to fix what is broken in our health care system. Specifically, we should work to reform health insurance; ensure no one can be denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition; and slow the upward curve of health care costs. I will continue talking with Tennesseans and working with others to achieve these goals, improve our health care system and ensure our reforms help solve, rather than contribute to, our nation's long-term fiscal challenges."


Nov. 5, 2009: Thousands gather in front of the US Capitol to hear from a star-studded collection of Republican representatives and assorted conservative personalities in an anti-health care reform rally organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). So many Republican members of Congress rushed to join the party that some missed voting on some much bally-hooed amendments to the PATRIOT Act. Go here for full coverage from TPM.

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Bachmann called the event "the Super Bowl of freedom." See more pictures here.
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Randall Terry's anti-abortion folks make an appearance.
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TPMDC's reporters estimate the crowd at about 8,000 people.

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Rep. Joe "You lie!" Wilson (R-SC) meets with supporters who gathered for the rally. Wilson was welcomed to the tea party stage with cheers.

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A janitor sweeps up copies of the health care bill discarded by protesters outside Nancy Pelosi's office.

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Yesterday, the Club For Growth launched a new attack ad against Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL), a moderate who is facing a challenge in the GOP primary for Senate from the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio -- which was, in fact, a change from the Club's previous skepticism about getting involved in this race.

Back in July, when Crist was much further ahead in both polls and fundraising, the Club's executive director David Keating had said the Club was still looking at where it could best spend its money: "We have to look at his race versus all the others we're interested in, and there are going to be a lot of competitive races."

Today, Keating told TPM that Rubio's recent pick-up in fundraising, taking in about $1 million for the previous quarter, was an encouraging sign.

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