TPM News

Bristol Palin, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter, has reportedly filed the paperwork to open a public relations and consulting firm.

The 19-year-old Palin filed with the state Commerce Department to open BSMP LLC, so-called because her full name is Bristol Sharon Marie Palin.

The Palins' lawyer said Bristol Palin is already an "ambassador" and speaker for the Candie's Foundation, a group that uses celebrity appearances and PSAs to promote abstinence among teens.

Palin is a single mother with a one-year-old son, Tripp.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic nominee in the January 19 special election to succeed Ted Kennedy in the Senate, will be officially endorsed tomorrow by members of the Kennedy family, the Coakley campaign announced in a press release.

The group will be led by Ted Kennedy's widow Vicki, accompanied by former Rep. Joseph Kennedy (a son of Robert F. Kennedy) and his son Joseph Kennedy III. Also in attendance will be Rep. Ed Markey, Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn, and interim Sen. Paul Kirk, who was previously a long-time aide to Ted Kennedy and a family friend.

It shouldn't be too surprising that Kennedy relatives would be supporting the Democrat. However, the optics of the event itself could be politically useful, in light of Republican candidate Scott Brown's recent TV ad, which uses footage of President John F. Kennedy proposing a tax cut in 1962. The ad declares that Brown's message of tax cuts today makes him just like JFK, so having actual Kennedys on hand to endorse Coakley could help counter whatever traction Brown might get.

A new Rasmussen poll suggests Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is in serious danger heading into 2010, with her trailing all four Republican challengers.

State Sen. Kim Hendren is ahead of Lincoln by 47%-39%; state Sen. Gilbert Baker is ahead 51%-39%. Businessman Curtis Coleman is ahead 48%-38%, and businessman Tom Cox is ahead by an identical 48%-38%. The margin of error is ±4.5%.

From the pollster's analysis: "If the race remains a referendum on Lincoln and the performance of the Democratic leadership in Washington, it could remain a difficult race for the incumbent. If that happens, Lincoln will have to hope for a stronger economy and an improved environment for Democrats nationally."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just returned to the Capitol from a health care meeting at the White House. Walking toward her office, I asked her whether the Senate bill's "Cadillac tax" on high-end health care plans, which both the Senate and White House are pushing, would be a hard sell in the House.

"It's not a very popular initiative in the House or in the public," she said. "It's something the President is committed to, and we'll see how it works out."

In case that's not clear, Mr. President.

Pelosi has long-held reservations about the policy, and has even gone as far as ribbing the President for reneging on a commitment not to raise taxes on middle class Americans by supporting it. That said, she's still optimistic that identical reform package will pass the House and Senate.

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Vice President Joe Biden released a statement today in response to Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) announcement that he will not run for reelection in 2010. Here is the full text:

"Senator Dodd is one of my best friends in life. We served together in the Senate for almost 30 years, and to every meeting, every hearing, every floor debate, he brought a keen intellect and a deep understanding of the subject matter on every issue. His knowledge and background in foreign policy are matched by few, and his expertise on matters relating to Latin and South America is respected worldwide. He's one of the most skilled legislators I've ever served with. I doubt anyone else could have led two major committees simultaneously and had such an impact on two of the most important issues facing us: health reform and restoring economic stability. I believe Chris will be long recognized as one of the most significant Senators of my generation. Every mother, every father, who has had to take medical leave to take care of a sick child or family member has Chris to thank. His commitment to the children of this country can be best understood by the landmark legislation he championed to protect their welfare. I believe the nation will miss his wisdom, wit and compassion. I count myself lucky because I know he's not going too far and will always be source of advice and counsel. Jill and I wish Chris and Jackie the best as they move on to their next endeavors and know the future holds only great things for their family."

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele released a statement today in response to the string of announcements by several Democrats that they will not run for office in 2010. Here's the full text:

"In the past 24 hours, four major Democrat leaders, Michigan Lieutenant Governor John Cherry, North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, and Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, have announced their plans not to run for office in 2010, on top of the four House Democrats and the party switch of Dr. Parker Griffith in December. These should serve as a major wakeup call to Democrat leadership that members of their own caucus don't want to be held accountable to the voters they have ignored for the past year. Whether these Democrats want to admit it or not, President Obama's government-run liberal agenda and their foolish decision to wholeheartedly embrace it has increased Republicans chances of regaining the majority and we are working hard to ensure this happens. The successes in Virginia and New Jersey combined with the last month of Democrat withdrawals, retirements, and switches, show that the Republican Party is solidly gaining momentum and is going strong into 2010. The real question is whether Harry Reid, now the Senate's most vulnerable Democrat, will follow Chris Dodd's lead and step aside."

The Securities and Exchange Commission is being sued over its failure to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests for information about what reforms, if any, it has undertaken since it failed to detect Bernard Madoff's multibillion fraud.

The government watchdog Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington announced the lawsuit today, saying that the SEC has yet to reply to CREW's October 2009 information request.

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Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on six federal charges stemming from his alleged plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight Christmas Day.

The Detroit Free Press details the charges:

Abdulmutallab was charged with six counts: attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, willful attempt to destroy and wreck an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft and two counts possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence.

The paper reports that the weapon of mass destruction charge carries a sentence of up to life in prison.

Abdulmutallab is currently being held in a Michigan prison while he awaits trial.

Read the full indictment here.