TPM News

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) just told a radio interviewer that, despite his personal travails, 2010 candidates are eager for him to campaign with them.

"A lot of people running for office next year, I've met with them, they actually want me involved in their campaigns," Ensign told Alan Stock of Las Vegas's KXNT News Radio. "I'm gonna try to be helpful without being hurtful."

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President Obama huddled at 5 p.m. Sunday with his top military and national security team, issuing orders for the Pentagon to implement his plan for sending more than 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama "issued orders" from the Oval Office to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Gen. David Petraeus, Adm. Mike Mullen, National Security Adviser Jim Jones, Gen. James Cartwright and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Before that meeting he spoke via phone with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"The president communicated his final decision on the strategy ... and issued orders on the strategy's implementation," Gibbs said.

Obama also will be in "close consultation with our friends and allies throughout the day" because the administration believes the war "is a shared international challenge."

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The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has called the Secret Service director and the couple who crashed a White House state dinner to testify at a hearing this Thursday.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wants Secret Service head Mark Sullivan and Michaele and Tareq Salahi to tell the committee what happened last week, when the Salahis, owners of a Virigina winery and prominent on the polo circuit, got into the state dinner without an invitation.

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Former Washington Times opinion editor Richard Miniter took his dispute with the newspaper to CNN over the weekend, telling Howard Kurtz that he is owed money and that he'd like the Unification Church to sell the Times.

Miniter also talked about the New York religious ceremony featuring Rev. Sun Myung Moon he says he was forced to attend.

It's worth noting that while Kurtz says Miniter has filed both a lawsuit and a discrimination complaint against the Times, the suit has not been filed. We've reported that Miniter's attorney, Larry Klayman, has said several times a suit would be filed, but several times pushed back his "deadline" for the Times to settle.

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Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) is set to break his silence this morning on his affair with the wife of a former top staffer, and the help he provided for the couple once the affair was discovered, which may have involved violating lobbying and campaign-finance rules.

Since admitting to the affair this summer, Ensign has said almost nothing about it. But he'll discuss it at 8am PST, in an interview with Las-Vegas-based News Radio 840 KXNT. We'll be listening, so stay tuned....

President Obama Thursday is hosting a jobs summit at the White House, with the administration putting its full attention toward the economy and unemployment.

Among the 130 attendees are small business owners, experts from the "green jobs" sector, business leaders, academics, city officials and representatives from nonprofits, the White House said.

Some names that jump out right away are Eric Schmidt of Google (he is an informal Obama adviser), New York Times columnist and Nobel economics prize winner Paul Krugman, Columbia Business School professor Joe Stiglitz and Anna Burger of the Change to Win union.

Full list of confirmed attendees after the jump:

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"More than 100 people" turned out at Ralph Nader's book signing in West Hartford and, as expected, the AP reports that "some of them" were holding signs calling on Nader to run for Senate. (Click here for our story last week on the grassroots effort to recruit Nader by the Connecticut Green Party.)

Nader remained undecided on a run, he told reporters after the signing. But he suggested the final decision rested in the hands of his supporters. From the AP:

"It really depends on what kind of momentum there is and how many people are willing to roll up their sleeves because I'm very accustomed to people saying 'run Ralph run' and then they drift away, predisposed and preoccupied with their daily life," he told reporters. "It has to be bottom up."

Senators will gather this afternoon to start banging out a final health care reform bill. Vice President Biden is doing a little hammering of his own in advance of the debate, taking on reform opponents in a new video posted to the White House website. Biden enlists a slew of health care providers advocating reform to take on those who have criticized the Obama administration's efforts to drive health care reform.

"When it comes to explaining what health care reform means to you, who do you trust?" Biden asks in the video. "Do you trust the people who defend the status quo, who say you'd be better off leaving things just the way they are? Or, would you rather hear from the people who actually know something about what's going on in our health care system?"

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Mike Huckabee has responded to the killing of four police officers in Washington State by saying that if the suspect in the case -- a man whose sentence Huckabee commuted in 2000 -- is found responsible, "it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State."

Huckabee's statement, posted late last night on the Web site of his PAC, downplays any agency on the governor's part in commuting the 95-year prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who had been convicted of aggravated robbery.

As Josh noted on the editors blog, Huckabee previously faced another controversy about a prisoner who won parole, Wayne Dumond.

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