TPM News

Jenny Sanford, the estranged wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, told Barbara Walters in an ABC interview that her husband insisted they take the fidelity clause out of their marriage vows.

"It bothered me to some extent, but ... we were very young, we were in love," she said. "I questioned it, but I got past it ... along with other doubts that I had."

She called the marriage a "leap of faith."

The interview will be aired this Friday on 20/20, the day her book is set to be released. She announced she was filing for divorce in December.

Mark Sanford was embroiled in a scandal last year after he admitted to visiting a lover in Argentina, after he disappeared from the state and telling his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

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The new Rasmussen poll of Texas finds incumbent Gov. Rick Perry continuing to lead Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican gubernatorial primary. However, the leader in that race could end up remaining under 50 percent, and thus face a runoff, thanks to significant support for a third candidate.

The numbers: Perry 44%, Hutchison 29%, and Debra Medina, a nurse and conservative activist, at 16%. Two weeks ago, Perry was ahead by 43%-33%-12%. The pollster's analysis points out just how daunting the math is for Hutchison at this point: "Turnout is often difficult to project for primaries. However, for Hutchison to win with the current attitudes, she would need more than 50% of the primary voters to be politically moderate."

Hutchison pointed out recently that this race could be headed to a runoff. At the rate things are going, that could very well happen, which would extend the race from the March 2 primary all the way to the April 13 runoff. A big question is whether Medina can continue to have a high level of support -- and if Hutchison can stop her own political bleeding.

The public option already died once. Today it died again.

House progressives have been trying to use the health care stalemate to revive the public option. Almost 100 have signed a letter urging Congressional leaders to include a public option in a separate bill, which could in theory pass the Senate with a simple majority of votes. If that happened--a big if--it could then be included as part of comprehensive legislation, securing progressives a major victory. But on a conference call today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put a second set of nails in the public option's coffin, saying it would not be part of any grand bargain to push ahead with health reform. But in so doing, she took a veiled swipe at the White House for not standing enthusiastically behind the proposal.

"The Senate never supported the public option," Pelosi said.

There was talk that there would be 51 votes for it, but it never passed on the floor of the Senate. It did pass in the House and, of course, I think it would be the way to go. But it isn't the way that the Senate went. And so I think that what you might see coming out of some reconciliation would be those areas of agreement that all three--the White House, the Senate and the House--had already agreed to...more than two weeks ago.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there are no procedural hurdles facing the Senate if it wants to take the necessary steps to make sure health care reform passes.

Pelosi has insisted for some time now that the Senate health care bill can not pass the House unamended, but that she can probably round up the votes if the Senate and the House both pass a sidecar bill making a number of pre-emptive changes to it.

"Don't even ask us to consider passing the Senate bill until the other legislation has passed both houses so that we're sure that it has happened, and that we know that what we would be voting for would be as effected by a reconciliation bill or whatever parliamentary initiative they have at their disposal," Pelosi said on a conference call this afternoon.

Senate aides have complained that her plan presents them with a big parliamentary difficulty: they don't know if they can pass legislation amending a bill that hasn't been signed into law yet.

Pelosi says that's simply not true.

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Democrats leading the Senate jobs push will likely unveil their initial package of legislation Thursday, but it will not include a key section, which will likely be adopted separately after action by the Senate Finance Committee, headed by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).

"Senator Durbin and I will be disclosing the jobs bill that we put together...will probably do something to disclose that on Thursday," said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

"Our jobs bill...contains the things that we think represent a consensus in our caucus of what we can do to stimulate the creation of additional jobs," Dorgan added.

But the package will not include a tax credit aimed at stimulating employment.

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Though two prominent Republicans have offered ideas for privatizing Social Security, the official GOP line in 2010 won't include that plan.

After Rep. Jeb Hensarling talked about wanting to privatize Social Security last night on MSNBC's "Hardball," TPMDC checked in with Republican aides on Capitol Hill.

Most of the GOP aides were reluctant to even entertain the question of whether Republicans will formally campaign on the idea, suggesting that it's a political third rail they would rather avoid. Indeed, the Democrats already jumped on Hensarling's remarks to suggest the GOP is "dusting off the old playbook."

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You'd think that if there were one Democratic initiative that Republicans in Congress might be bashful about opposing -- especially given the current anti-corporate climate in the country -- it would be a bid to stop foreign corporations from pouring money into our elections.

You'd be wrong. In fact, they're willing to stand up in support of those foreign corporations' right to do so.

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It's been apparent for quite some time that the Senate is unlikely to follow the House's lead in calling for the creation of an economy-wide market in greenhouse gas emissions. But today, at a town hall meeting in Nashua, NH, President Obama seemed, however reluctantly, to acknowledge the political reality.

"The most controversial aspects of the energy debate that we've been having: The House passed an energy bill, and people complained about, well, there's this cap and trade thing, and you just mentioned, you know, let's do the fun stuff before we do the hard stuff," Obama told former New Hampshire Rep. Dick Swett.

The only thing I would say about it is this. We may be able to separate these things out, and it-it's conceivable that that's where the Senate ends up, but the concept of incentivizing clean energy so that it's the cheaper more effective kind of energy is one that is proven to work and is actually a market-based approach.

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