TPM News

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), under fire in a GOP primary for his support for the bailout, is now claiming, inaccurately, that Barack Obama joined him in suspending his presidential campaign to address the 2008 financial crisis.

As we told you, the Arizona Republic reported Monday on an interview its editorial board had conducted with the senator:

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Congressional Democrats have acknowledged privately one reason health care hasn't passed yet is that they lost control of the message sometime last year, and they say they aren't about to let that happen again now that they see the finish line.

They say the angry town halls of August - when members in most cases didn't have a plan to defend, or couldn't get talking points together in the face of heated criticism nationwide - won't be repeated if they get the messaging straight.

Overall they blame themselves for not moving quickly. The House blames the Senate for dilly-dallying in the Finance Committee to try and win Republican votes. The Senate blames the White House and President Obama for not giving them more direction or a specific bill early in the process.

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A new CNN poll finds that Americans think both Democrats and Republicans are failing to act in a bipartisan manner -- and that the Democrats should be the first ones to give up some of their proposals.

Among a half-sample of a their larger national poll, CNN found that that only 47% say President Obama is doing enough to cooperate with Republicans in Congress, to 52% who say he is not doing enough. As for the Republicans in Congress, they have an even worse score of only 31%-67%.

A separate half-sample of the poll then asked some detailed questions about who is more to blame, and who should give things up. "Americans feel the ball is in the Democrats' court," adds CNN polling director Keating Holland. "They may not be held responsible for the problem, but since they are in charge of the government, Americans appear to think they are responsible for the solution."

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On Monday, the Senate voted for cloture on the Democratic jobs bill, 62-30. Today, they passed the bill itself in a vote of 70-28.

That means eight senators who voted against cloture (or were absent, which in a cloture vote is the same as a no vote) vote for the bill itself. All of them are Republicans.

The switchers who voted no on cloture but yes today:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Thad Cochran (R-MS) James Inhofe (R-OK) George LeMieux (R-FL) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Roger Wicker (R-MS)

And those who were absent Monday but voted yes today:

Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Richard Burr (R-NC)

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The Republicans who most vociferously blasted the Obama Administration for putting the attempted Christmas bombing suspect through the criminal justice system have apparently been silent on another high-profile terrorism case making its way through the civilian system.

Najibullah Zazi on Monday pleaded guilty in federal court to a plot to detonate explosives in the New York subway system. The government says that Zazi, a legal resident from Afghanistan, got training in 2008 from al Qaeda in Pakistan, and was motivated by anger over civilian deaths in his home country.

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The Senate Democrats' top budget guy told reporters today that the Senate can't pass a reconciliation package tweaking a comprehensive health care bill unless the House passes the Senate bill first. And if the House won't do that, he says health care reform is "dead."

"The only way this works is for the House to pass the Senate bill and then, depending on what the package is, the reconciliation provision that moves first through the House and then comes here," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) outside the upper chamber this morning. "That's the only way that works."

I pointed out that House leadership, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has repeatedly insisted they won't take a flier on a reconciliation package--that they will only pass the Senate bill after the smaller side-car reconciliation bill has been all wrapped up.

"Fine, then it's dead," Conrad said.

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It's getting harder and harder for Jeb Bush to hide whose side he's on in the Florida GOP Senate primary. In a new interview with Newsmax, Bush took his successor, Gov. Charlie Crist, to task over his support for the economic recovery package, calling Crist's decision to back the plan "unforgivable." Then he attacked Crist's attempts to back away from the decision as Marco Rubio gained traction in the primary race.

"He did it the day before the [stimulus] vote, it was a mistake, and then he denies that he would have supported the bill," Bush said. "I know I'm supposed to be politically correct, and I said I was neutral and all that, [but] I got a problem with that."

The video is after the jump.

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Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the single most vulnerable incumbent Republican Senator this year, has a message going into the campaign in his swing state: It's impossible for anybody to get to his right.

Burr is facing a primary challenge from two Republican candidates, Asheboro Councilman Eddie Burks and businessman Brad Jones. Burr is heavily favored to win his primary, and he told the Raleigh News & Observer that he's not too worried about it. "The fact is it is impossible for any candidate to get to the right of me from an ideological standpoint of my record," said Burr. "That is where anybody would have to attempt to make any progress in a Republican primary."

This is an interesting comment from a Senator in a swing state that narrowly voted for Barack Obama in 2008. As we've noted before, Burr's poll numbers show that he is neither popular nor unpopular, but that many voters still don't have an impression of him after the last five years of his service. Don't be surprised if the Democrats use this quote a lot, in order to introduce him to moderate voters.