TPM News

Two Congressional Republicans today blasted those RNC fundraising mailers that appear made to look like official Census Bureau communications. "Nothing could be more wrong," said one.

During a hearing of the House Oversight committee, which is looking into the mailers, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) declared: "I am obviously a member of the Republican Party. I have seen the Republican Party send out documents that say 'census.' I think it's wrong, I think it's deceptive, and I wish they wouldn't do it. I would hope our party would cease from doing that."

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President Obama's message to progressives who are dissatisfied with the Senate health care bill is two fold: First: Don't forget about the uninsured. Second: Don't forget what failure to pass this bill would do to the party and my presidency.

In a meeting with House progressives today, Obama made the pitch.

Speaking to reporters in the Speaker's lobby off the House floor, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said the President reminded them that "If this opportunity passes, much of our agenda, on the progressive would be difficult, if not impossible for a generation to get back to this issue."

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For the last several days, the magic number to pass health care reform in the House has been 216. Today it went up by one. That's because Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) has decided to put off his resignation until after the health care vote.

"In recent days it has become clear to the American people that the House will be the final battleground in their effort to stop President Obama's massive health care takeover from becoming law," reads a typically...restrained...statement from Boehner. "The House is the last line of defense against this 2,700-page big government monstrosity, and the American people need every vote they can get in the effort to stop it from being enacted."

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A pro-life group called Susan B. Anthony's List has been trying to pressure pro-life Democrats to vote against a health care bill if it doesn't include Stupak-like abortion language. Their latest effort was to poll voters in eight Congressional districts this week to prove that those pro-life members can either vote no, or face the end of their House careers.

But the poll seems to prove something else: These voters don't want to see a health care bill passed at all -- with or without abortion language.

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President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today summoned the nation's four largest health insurers responsible for rate increases the administration calls "jaw-dropping." They demanded the insurers - WellPoint, Cigna, Aetna and United Health Group - start disclosing their rate increases on the Internet.

Everyone involved called the talks "constructive," but shortly after the meeting a report surfaced showing the nation's largest insurer would stand to profit substantially if reform fails.

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein got his hands on a report from a consulting firm which evaluated Wellpoint stock and concluded, "Of course, healthcare reform is a double-edged sword for Wellpoint shares. Should reform fail, Wellpoint would be a primary beneficiary."

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White House press secretary Robert Gibbs continued to push the administration's support for embattled Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) at the White House's daily briefing with reporters today.

Lincoln has become the focal point of progressive discontent within the Democratic party since Lt. Gov. Bill Halter decided to run against her in the Democratic primary this week. The race has pitted the AFL-CIO, the netroots and other progressive groups backing Halter against the mainstream Democratic establishment, who so far has publicly backed Lincoln. On Monday, Gibbs said the White House is supporting Lincoln, "as an incumbent senator."

Today, Gibbs went farther, defending Lincoln's right to take stances that have angered the left.

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In response to the Liz Cheney Web ad that questions the loyalty of lawyers who have represented Guantanamo detainees, the president of the American Bar Association said it is "a divisive and diversionary tactic" to impugn "the character of lawyers who have sought to protect the fundamental rights of unpopular clients."

In a statement to TPMmuckraker, ABA President Carolyn Lamm said that lawyers have an ethical obligation to "provide representation to people who otherwise would stand alone against the power and resources of the government--even to those accused of heinous crimes against this nation in the name of causes that evoke our contempt."

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The manager of the night club where anti-gay California state Sen. Roy Ashburn was reportedly hanging out before his 2 a.m. DUI arrest Wednesday tells TPMmuckraker she didn't see him at the club that night.

Tuesday night is Latin night at Faces, explained manager Laurie Bonifield in a phone interview. The club describes itself as "Sacramento's premier GLBTI Nightclub since 1985."

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on Fox News this afternoon, and had to answer some tough questions about the recent internal fundraising presentation that included negative depictions of President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- and the RNC's own donors.

The fundraising presentation, which was originally reported by the Politico, included the infamous illustration of Obama as the Joker, and also compared Pelosi to Cruella de Vil. It also directed how to appeal to "ego-driven" large donors, and to appeal to small donors through "fear" and "extreme negative feelings" and "reactionary" attitudes against the Obama administration.

Steele said he just became aware of the presentation yesterday, and that the RNC is looking into it through an internal process. When asked by Megyn Kelly how to defend it, Steele responded: "Well you don't defend it. It was unfortunate."

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