TPM News

In the run-up to today's disapproval resolution against Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), it's become clear that House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) has taken the lead in pushing for the resolution, even over Speaker Pelosi's initial inclination to see that matter as closed. But it's also clear that Clyburn's push for a formal apology from Wilson is rooted in a long and troubled relationship between the most senior African-American politician in South Carolina and a four-term congressman who until recently was best known as a die-hard proponent of keeping the Confederate flag flying over the State Capitol in Columbia.

Indeed, the friction has popped up quite recently. Clyburn recently told the Washington Post that he was particularly incensed when Wilson held a town hall at a high school in Columbia -- which Clyburn says is in his district, and is the place where his children went to school. "He came into my district, the high school where my kids went, where I was an officer in the [Parent Teacher Association], and that was on purpose," Clyburn said. "That was as unethical as one can be, and he didn't say one word to me about it."

(Ed.Note: A search of Google Earth and the House site's district finder shows that the high school -- identified in the local media as having been W.J. Keenan High School -- appears to actually be in Wilson's district, not Clyburn's. At least that's what the nine-digit ZIP code seems to suggest. But it is in fact just a few blocks from Clyburn's house. Clyburn lives right near the district border, and we can probably take him at his word that his kids went there, that he served on the PTA, and that he didn't take kindly to a right-wing GOP House member holding a town hall at that particular venue.)

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President Obama announced the launch of a new national standard for fuel efficiency at a General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, today, following up on a plan he announced in May.

During today's stirring campaign-style speech, Obama emphasized how far the economy has come in the past year -- thanks, he said, to the Recovery Act -- and promised to keep fighting for workers, saying, "I'm skinny, but I'm tough."

"Because of the steps we have taken, this plant is about to shift into higher gear. 150 of your coworkers came back to work yesterday," he said, to shouts and cheers. "More than 1,000 will be coming back to work in less than three weeks as production of the Cobalt ramps up. And next year, this plant will begin production of the Chevy Cruze, a new car that will get more than 40 miles per gallon."

"I just sat in the car. I asked for the keys and they wouldn't give me the keys," he joked. "I was gonna take it for a little spin."

He tied the speech into health care reform, saying that lower health care costs would lead to bigger paychecks.

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At her own local tea party event this past weekend, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) made it clear just how much she supports Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), in the wake of his "You lie!" outburst during President Obama's speech to Congress.

"And thank God for Joe Wilson. Thank God for Joe Wilson," Bachmann said, to the raucous applause of the crowd. "He looked into the camera -- Joe Wilson is my friend, he's the last person I talked to before I left Washington, DC. The sweetest, most mild-mannered, loving guy you've ever seen, such a huge heart. And he apologized for violating the rules of decorum in the House, and that's right. We don't do that in the House. But Joe didn't back down from his assertion, because Joe was right."

(Via Dump Bachmann.)

The Democratic field to succeed Ted Kennedy is now taking further shape, with one candidate getting in and another, who had been expected to run, getting out instead.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, who had taken out nomination papers, has now announced that he's not running. Lynch said in a statement: "the challenge of putting together the resources and organization necessary to wage a competitive statewide campaign in less than 90 days is insurmountable."

Meanwhile, Alan Khazei, founder the community service organization Be The Change, is getting in the race. Businessman Steve Pagliuca is also interested, but has not officially decided.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley is officially in, and Rep. Michael Capuano has taken out papers and has said he's "99.9 percent there." The Democratic primary will be held December 8.

President Obama gave a speech on the economy this morning at a General Motors plant in Ohio. Here are his remarks as prepared for delivery, released by the White House:

It is good to be back in Ohio, and it's good to be at one of GM's flagship plants with all of you. I just finished having a productive discussion with some of your coworkers about the challenges you're facing, both here and in your communities, and how we can meet them.

We talked about the economic troubles you've been weathering here in Trumbull County since long before our current crisis. Over the years, you've seen factories close, your friends laid off, and your sons and daughters move away in search of jobs and opportunity. I know it was painful around here earlier this year, when three shifts at this plant were cut down to one. And today, the local unemployment rate is unacceptably high - the second-highest in Ohio. I know at times, it seems like this community is on the brink - again.

There are some who see this pain and suggest that it's all somehow inevitable - that the only way for America to get ahead is for communities like yours to be left behind. But we know better. We know that our success on a nation depends on the success of communities just like this one. We know that the battle for America's future will be fought and won not just in the big cities, not just on the coasts, but in towns like Elkhart and Pittsburgh; Warren and Youngstown.

That's why I'm proud to be here with all of you. You work hard. You meet your responsibilities. You deserve better. You deserve better than the attitude that's prevailed from Washington to Wall Street to Detroit for too long; an attitude that valued wealth over work, selfishness over sacrifice, and greed over responsibility. And that's why I want you to know that every day I step into the Oval Office, I am thinking about you, I am working for you, and I am fighting on your behalf.

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Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) got a pretty rough earful from an older looking man at a meeting with senior citizens in Fremont, CA, and, well, said a couple less-than-artful things. The man ended his attack on health reform by telling Stark, "Mr. Congressman, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."

Stark responded, "I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."

Phew. Because peeing on a constituent probably wouldn't be a great way for Stark to get re-elected.

Here's the video:

A Republican House member from South Carolina, Bob Inglis, is now calling on his fellow South Carolina GOP Congressman Joe Wilson to apologize to the House for his "You lie!" outburst.

Inglis has posted this one Twitter: "Just said to GOP Conference meeting what I said privately to Joe Wilson: apologize to House for rule violation."

He then followed it up with this: "Part 1: Joe Wilson apologized to President. Part 2: He should apologize to House for rule violation. That would end the matter."

And this: "Joe Wilson analogy: I speed, lose control of my car and hit your car. Part 1: I fix your car. Part 2: I pay my speeding ticket. Case closed."

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In a new web ad from Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) re-election campaign, his wife defends his passion and work ethic, but confessed calling the heckler a "nut."

"I said, 'Joe, who's the nut that hollered out, "You lie?"' Roxanne Wilson says in the ad. "And he goes, 'It was me' .... I couldn't believe that Joe would say that. But he is very passionate."

She attributed the outburst to the anger her husband had seen "in the trenches" at health care town halls. She said she appreciated President's Obama graciousness in accepting Joe Wilson's apology.

She also recounted when she met her husband, at "teenage Republican camp" in 1966.

Video after the jump.

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RNC Chairman Michael Steele has released a new statement condemning the House Democrats' upcoming motion of disapproval against Rep. Joe Wilson -- which Steele incorrectly refers to as a censure -- in yet another sign that the Republicans are closing ranks around Wilson:

"In another stunning example of hypocrisy, congressional Democrats are wasting taxpayers' time and resources on a legislative measure to censure Congressman Joe Wilson so they don't have to talk about their exceedingly unpopular health care plan. Without question, Joe Wilson made a terrible error in judgment and has wasted no time in extending a personal apology to the president. The president has accepted his apology.

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Vice President Joe Biden landed in Iraq Tuesday in an unannounced visit in which he'll meet with Iraqi leaders and U.S. troops.

According to the press pool report, "the C17 carrying Vice President Biden touched down at Baghdad International Airport at 4:20pm." The trip over was "uneventful", with a departure from Andrews Air Force Base Monday evening and a change of planes at an air force base in England.

According to a White House press release, Biden with meet with Iraq's President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki among a number of other officials. This is Biden's third trip to Iraq this year. His previous visits were in January and July.