TPM News

Rothenberg Political Report has moved the Arkansas race for Sen. Blanche Lincoln's (D) seat to "leans takeover."

"Given the bent of Independent voters (in the recent Massachusetts special election but also in national surveys), we are increasingly doubtful that the Arkansas Democratic Senator can win another term. Of course, much depends on the eventual GOP challenger and how the economy behaves over the next nine months," Rothenberg writes.

"The burden of proof has shifted in our minds, from requiring Republicans to prove that they can defeat Lincoln to requiring Lincoln to show she can win reelection."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will be embarking on a political trip outside her home state of Minnesota, appearing at a February rally with the North Dakota Republican Party.

The February 12 rally, kicking off the state party's congressional campaigns this year -- they are heavily favored to pick up the open Senate seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan -- and the party is praising Bachmann for her "unwavering, conservative voice and common sense approaches."

"Now, more than ever, Washington needs to be reminded that the government answers to the people, not the other way around," Bachmann said in a statement. "I'm proud to stand alongside North Dakotans, who understand this fundamental principle."

In a speech this morning on internet freedom, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised technology as a tool for advancing democracy and called for a "single internet where all of humanity has equal access to information and ideas." Speaking at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Clinton delivered a firm indictment of online censorship -- but tread lightly on the subject of China.

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President Obama issued the following statement today regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Here's the full text:

With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Senate leadership is still considering what to do about health care legislation in the wake of the Massachusetts Senate election. But he said that whatever plan is agreed on, Democrats want health care off the table by March.

"I don't think we want this to go on for three more months," he said. "You have to make a decision." Schumer said that Democrats are making sure to rush a plan on reform and said that "it will take a few days" for the caucus to come up with plan to pass health care reform without their supermajority.

Reconciliation is one of a few options under discussion, Schumer said. But he said that "concerns about the political climate" make that plan less than appealing to some Democrats. "It's one of the considerations," he said when asked if Democrats worry voters will react badly to a health care bill passed with through reconciliation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) released the following statement today after his meeting with Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-MA):

"I had a pleasant meeting with Senator-elect Brown and I look forward to working with him. We have many issues to address over the coming year including helping our struggling economy, keeping families in their homes and creating jobs for out of work Americans. It is my hope that Senator-elect Brown will work with us to address these many issues as we move forward."

Trijicon, the company that produces the military rifle scopes with Biblical inscriptions, will end the decades-old practice and provide the military with modification kits to remove the markings, ABC is reporting.

General David Petraeus also addressed the scopes this morning, calling the matter "disturbing and a serious concern for me." That's a markedly different response from the Central Command spokesman who minimized the significance of the New Testament inscriptions this week, comparing them to "In God We Trust" on currency.

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A top Democratic pollster said today if Congress fails to pass health care it will be a "disaster" this fall.

Celinda Lake, who most recently served as the pollster for Attorney General Martha Coakley's losing campaign in Massachusetts, said there is deep frustration with Washington but moving away from health care would be the worst decision.

"We can't talk about it for a year and deliver nothing, that would be a disaster," Lake said. "We should pass it and then we have to go sell it. We have to tell people what is in it."

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