TPM News

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton told TPMDC in an interview he isn't sure President Obama is fully committed to a strategy in Afghanistan that would destroy the Taliban.

During an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday Bolton said he thinks Obama is "more concerned with beginning a process of withdrawal in the summer of 2011."

"I fear that's an example of sending at best, a mixed, or more likely, a signal of weakness that our adversaries interpret to our detriment," Bolton said.

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February 18-20: The Conservative Political Action Conference takes place in Washington, D.C. Check out our first two CPAC 2010 slideshows here and here.

Fox News host Glenn Beck addresses the conference.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

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Conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) ends up winning CPAC's straw poll.

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Newt Gingrich and David Bossie of Citizen's United.

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Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN).

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Last night, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)--a long-time public option advocate--dealt a rough blow to members and progressives who think Democrats should pass the popular measure using the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process.

"I'm probably not going to vote for that," Rockefeller said. "I don't think the timing of it is very good."

Earlier in the evening, in a brief interview with TPMDC, Rockefeller expressed concern that playing hardball with the public option at this time could imperil reform, but he didn't say he'd oppose it.

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Scott Brown: 'I'm Not From Around Here. I'm From Massachusetts' Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reports that after Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) became the first vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) jobs bill, he quickly left the chamber and was then surrounded by reporters in the hallway. "I'm not from around here," said Brown. "I'm from Massachusetts."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice PResident Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Obama will meet with senior advisers at 10:45 a.m. ET. Obama and Biden will have lunch at 12:15 p.m. ET. Obama will meet at 3 p.m. ET with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Obama and Biden will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Obama will have dinner with business leaders at 6:45 p.m. ET.

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Virginia state Delegate Bob Marshall (R) released a statement today, expressing regret for any "misimpression" that he may have caused during a press conference about defunding Planned Parenthood, when he declared that an increased number of disabled children is a "vengeance" from nature for prior abortions by their mothers.

"A story by Capital News Service regarding my remarks at a recent press conference opposing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood conveyed the impression that I believe disabled children are a punishment for prior abortions. No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion," Marshall said in the statement. "I have devoted a generation of work to defending disabled and unwanted children, and have always maintained that they are special blessings to their parents. Nevertheless, I regret any misimpression my poorly chosen words may have created as to my deep commitment to fighting for these vulnerable children and their families."

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Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has signed the letter urging Senate leadership to pass a public option through reconciliation, Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee just announced on MSNBC.

Stabenow is the 22nd senator to do so, following Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) earlier today.

The letter, written by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), will be sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Prominent Democrats who have already signed include Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NY). You can read the full list here.

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Five Republicans joined Democrats in a key cloture vote moments ago, allowing debate on a jobs package to move forward. After overcoming this hurdle, debate on the bill can begin.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) broke with his party and voted with the Democrats. So did Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kit Bond (R-MO) and George Voinovich (R-OH).

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) was the only Democrat to break with his party.

The final vote tally was 62-30.

It had been uncertain earlier in the day whether any Republicans would help Democrats reach 60 votes and overcome the threat of a GOP filibuster. With Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) out of the Senate after being diagnosed with stomach cancer, Democrats needed at least two Republican votes to overcome a GOP filibuster threat.

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Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement today on President Obama's newly released health care reform proposal. Here's the full text:

"I appreciate the president working to move the health care agenda forward. Given the gridlock produced by constant Republican obstructionism, the White House's continued effort to reach a meaningful solution is welcome. The president's plan includes several essential elements - including efforts to hold down premium increases and eliminating the special Nebraska deal in the original Senate bill - that I think are vital.

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