TPM News

The chief spokesman for Gov. David Paterson's (D-NY) re-election campaign, Tracy Sefl, resigned today, reports the New York Post.

Sefl said in a statement, "My decision is a business one.''

"It has been a privilege to work with the governor over the past year ... I wish him and his team -- both at the campaign and inside the Executive Chamber-- much success," she said.

The Paterson campaign has suffered several blows in the past few months.

Last week, Paterson's likely Democratic rival, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, announced that he has raised $16 million -- compared to Paterson's $3 million.

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Nearly four dozen of the nation's leading health care luminaries--including Jacob Hacker, the man who brought the public option to light--are urging the House of Representatives to pass the Senate health care bill, and quickly pass a separate bill to modify it: an approach favored by some members of Democratic leadership, major unions, and reform advocates.

In a stark message to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her health care lieutenants--Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and George Miller (D-CA)--the experts say it's time for the House to act.

"Both houses of Congress have adopted legislation that would provide health coverage to tens of millions of Americans, begin to control health care costs that seriously threaten our economy, and improve the quality of health care for every American," reads a letter, obtained by TPMDC. "These bills are imperfect. Yet they represent a huge step forward in creating a more humane, effective, and sustainable health care system for every American. We have come further than we have ever come before. Only two steps remain. The House must adopt the Senate bill, and the President must sign it."

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The United States is prepared to give medical supplies to a team of Cuban doctors in Port-au-Prince who reportedly ran out of anaesthetic this week, a State Department spokesman tells TPMmuckraker.

"The United States has communicated its readiness to make medical relief supplies available to Cuban doctors working on the ground in Haiti as part of the international relief effort," said spokesman Darby Holladay.

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The Republican National Committee announced today that it raised $6.6 million in December. It has $8.4 million on hand, and no debt.

The RNC reports that it's 2009 fundraising total was $81.3 million, with the average contribution coming in at just under $40. The RNC also claimed nearly 1.2 million active donors -- including nearly 370,000 new donors last year.

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Freaked out and angry House Democrats don't know how to move forward on health care reform. But a significant contingent say it's time to radically rethink the approach: Instead of passing comprehensive reform, these Democrats say they should break the House's health care bill into chunks, pass their favorite ones, and send them over to the Senate to see if they can pass.

The gambit is political: get Republicans on the record opposing changes to unpopular insurance industry practices. But it comes with hidden dangers, both politically and substantively. And leading health care experts and advocates say these Democrats need to get real.

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A new Rasmussen poll now gives Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) a healthy lead in his Republican primary, after having previously been in a tight race with his potential right-wing opponent, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

The numbers: McCain 53%, Hayworth 31%, and Minutemen activist Chris Simcox with 4%. Back in November, McCain was barely edging out Hayworth by a 45%-43% margin, with Simcox also at 4%.

From the pollster's analysis: "For McCain, the GOP Primary appears to be his biggest challenge since no major Democrats in the state have stepped forward yet to run against him. Still, 74% of likely GOP Primary voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of McCain, a figure that has not changed since November. Hayworth's favorable ratings are down nine points to 58%. Perhaps more significantly, the number with a Very Favorable opinion of McCain has jumped 10 points since last fall to 45%."

Jon Stewart targeted MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on The Daily Show last night, slamming the host with his own "special comment."

Stewart put on a pair of glasses and impersonated Olbermann, mocking him for his over-the-top critique of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA): 'Now you are just calling people names."

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A new USA Today/Gallup poll out today shows 55% of respondents want President Obama and Congressional Democrats to "suspend work on the current health care bill ... and consider alternative bills that can receive Republican support." And 39% want to see Democrats "continue to try" to pass health care.

Broken down by party, 67% of Democrats want to see lawmakers continue working on health care -- but 87% of Republicans want to see them stop. Among independents, 56% want them to suspend their work on health care.

And only 32% of overall respondents thought health care should be the top priority.

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NYT: A New Search For Consensus On Health Care The New York Times reports on the latest efforts to find a new consensus for a pared-down health care bill: "The consensus measure would be less ambitious than the bills approved last year. It would extend insurance coverage to perhaps 12 million to 15 million people -- and provide political cover to Democrats, who said they could not simply drop the issue after spending so much time and effort on it. The pared-back approach would cover fewer than half of those who, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would gain coverage under the House and Senate bills. But it would not put the government on the hook for what critics say is a new entitlement, a change that would appeal to some Republicans."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart form the White House at 9:35 a.m. ET and Andrews Air Force Base at 9:50 a.m. ET, arriving at 11 a.m. ET in Cleveland, Ohio. Obama will tour the Wind Turbine Manufacturing and Fab Lab facilities at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, at 1:20 p.m. ET, and hold a town hall meeting at 2:05 p.m. ET. Obama will depart from Cleveland at 4:55 p.m. ET, arriving back at Andrews Air Force Base at 6 p.m. ET, and back at the White House at 6:15 p.m. ET.

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