TPM News

It's been almost two months since Sen. Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts special election nearly derailed health care reform, but soon, Democrats will know if they have what it takes to fully rebound: This morning, House Dems will meet to review and assess the final health care reform package--a combination of the Senate's bill and a separate reconciliation bill (the details of which remain undisclosed) tweaking several of its key provision.

This step is key. It will largely determine if, how, and when Speaker Nancy Pelosi can muster the votes for the paired package, bringing the year-long fight over health care to a close. The vote will be extremely tight, and though leadership confidently predicts passage, at least one major issue--abortion--will have to be resolved before Pelosi can bring it to the floor.

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Yet another poll, this time from InsiderAdvantage, gives Marco Rubio a huge lead over Charlie Crist in the Republican primary for Senate in Florida.

The numbers: Rubio 60%, Crist 26%. This is nearly identical to yesterday's survey from Public Policy Polling (D), which put Rubio ahead by 60%-28%. The TPM Poll Average puts Rubio ahead by 56.2%-28.9%.

InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery told the Florida Times-Union: "I can tell you that I'm in shock because I was convinced that other pollsters were using some sort of system to strain for ultra-Republicans or something that was skewing the polls to the conservative side."

The progressive Senators tasked with guiding a climate change bill through the back-logged Senate say they're ready to grease the legislative wheels with nuclear power. Speaking at the Progressive Media Summit this afternoon, Senators said it was time to embrace the atom as the key to comprehensive climate change legislation this year.

"I happen to be one of the Senators who's concerned about waste," Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said. "But most progressives in the Senate believe nuclear power is part of the solution at this time."

Boxer was joined on the dais by Senators Bingaman (NM), Ben Cardin (MD) and Jeanne Shaheen (NH).

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The House has voted 416-0 to ban misleading mailers designed to look like official communications from the Census Bureau of the kind that two national Republican groups recently sent out.

Under the bill, co-sponsored by two House Republicans as well as several Democrats, mailers marked "census" will have to state the name and address of the sender, along with an unambiguous disclaimer that it's not affiliated with the federal government. It will be taken up by the Senate soon.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Illinois Senate race gives Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias a narrow lead over Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, in the race for President Obama's former Senate seat.

The numbers: Kirk 41%, Giannoulias 44%, with a ±4.5% margin of error. A month ago, after the party primaries, Kirk led Giannoulias by 46%-40% in Rasmussen's polling. The TPM Poll Average puts Giannoulias ahead by 45%-40.7%.

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Former Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-NY), who was narrowly defeated for re-election 2008 by Democrat Eric Massa, has announced that he will not run for the seat after Massa's resignation over sexual harassment allegations. This clears the way for Corning Mayor Tom Reed to receive the Republican nomination.

"Over the last week, I have heard from hundreds of my former constituents urging me to run for my old congressional seat. Their emotional plea to me was humbling and most appreciative," Kuhl said in a statement. "But, after careful consideration, I have decided to forego a run for Congress. I want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported me during my 28 years of public service. I look forward to helping the 29th District in any way that I can and I urge my neighbors and friends to support Tom Reed for this congressional seat."

A must-see moment on the House floor today from Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI). He yelled -- literally -- that the press corp is "despicable" and had failed in covering debate of the Afghanistan war.

Cynicism is that there's one, two press people in this gallery. We're talking about Eric Massa 24/7 on the TV! We're talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives and no press! No press!

"It's despicable!" Kennedy yelled.

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