TPM News

Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, has picked up two more endorsements from sitting House Republicans, Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Dana Rohrabacher of California, who are joining in the right-wing revolt against the nomination of moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava.

Cole's endorsement is big news, because he is in fact a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee -- the party organization dedicated to electing Republicans to the House. He was NRCC chair during the disastrous 2008 cycle, and is now going against the party's candidate in a seat that the GOP could potentially lose as a result of the Republican split.

"Doug Hoffman is right on the critical issues facing America -- and he is the only Republican who can win this special election," said Cole, whose endorsement was initially reported by Bill Kristol. "For those reasons I have chosen to endorse Mr. Hoffman and my leadership PAC has contributed to his campaign. I look forward to working with Doug in Congress and welcoming him into the Republican Conference."

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House leaders on both sides of the aisle are advising their members to prepare to work straight through November on a health care bill, suggesting House Democrats think Senate action will come sooner rather than later.

"The Democrat Leadership intends to keep the House in session as long as necessary in order to facilitate passage of Health Insurance Reform legislation," an assistant to GOP leader John Boehner wrote in an email to the Republican caucus this afternoon.

Majority leader Steny Hoyer sent a similar message to his members today. "The House will meet beyond the targeted adjournment date as we continue to advance health insurance reform legislation and other matters," he wrote.

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On Air Force One, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs wasn't sweating the news that Democrats and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) may not be coming through on the Senate health care bill.

Gibbs said he hadn't seen the reports about Lieberman saying he'd support a filibuster, but added, "I think Democrats and Republicans alike will be held accountable by their constituents who want to see health care reform enacted this year."

"I haven't seen the report from Senator Lieberman or why he's saying what he's saying," he said, citing polls showing support for health care. "And we know that if that doesn't happen, people say they'll be very disappointed by that, and we think people will make progress to ensure that this gets done."

Gibbs said President Obama hasn't been making specific calls yet but, "I'm sure we'll get involved in due time."

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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), a leading right-wing voice in Congress, has endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 special election, instead of moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava.

By our count, this makes DeMint the fourth sitting member of Congress to endorse Hoffman, and the first Senator to do so, following Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), and Rep John Linder (R-GA).

DeMint said: "Too often, we're told that Republicans have to be like Democrats to be competitive in states like New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. But the truth is voters don't want to be forced to pick between two liberals; they want a real choice. If voters want to give Washington more control over our lives, they can always vote for Democrats."

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim member of Congress, broke his silence on the Muslim "intern spy" flap last night, rising on the House floor to call out four GOP colleagues for their campaign against the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Ellison read the statement of the Congressional Tri-Caucus arguing the "charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of 'un-American' agitators were identified."

Watch the video after the jump (h/t Minneapolis Star-Tribune):

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Republicans are calling on President Obama to take a stand on Rep. Alan Grayson's (D-FL) controversial remarks about a female lobbyist. During his visit to Florida yesterday, Obama praised Grayson, calling the freshman representative "outstanding" in a speech praising other members of the state's Democratic congressional delegation.

"President Obama should immediately rescind his accolades and condemn Grayson's shameful comments, and Congressman Grayson should issue an apology," said RNC co-chair Jan Larimer.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid addressed a development, first reported by TPMDC, that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will filibuster a health care bill if it includes a public option.

"Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid's problems," Reid told reporters at his weekly press conference.

During a Q&A session with reporters, Reid offered a fairly spirited defense of Lieberman, signaling perhaps that he doesn't believe Lieberman will ultimately be an obstacle--or at least that he doesn't want to tip his hat: "I don't have anyone that I've worked harder with, have more respect for, in the Senate than Joe Lieberman. As you know, he's my friend. There are a lot of senators--Democrat and Republicans--who don't like [parts of this bill]... Sen. Lieberman will let us get on the bill, and he'll be involved in the amendment process."

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Chris Christie now appears to be denying that he was at fault in a 2002 car accident -- which runs counter to his own story in the police report at the time -- in response to Jon Corzine accusing him of abusing his office as U.S. Attorney to get out of trouble.

Christie appeared today on Fox & Friends, and was asked about Corzine's defense of a controversial ad that says Christie "threw his weight around" as U.S. Attorney, in order to get out of trouble when he hit a motorcyclist while driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Christie not only dismissed Corzine's insistence the ad's true subject is Christie's alleged abuse of his office -- and not Christie's weight -- but denied the story about the accident itself.

"I was not driving the wrong way down a one way street and the Governor knows it," Christie said. "I didn't hit someone, they hit me."

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RNC Chair Michael Steele looked pretty confident when asked talking about Virgina in an interview on Fox News this morning. He's got good reason to smile: a week before voters go to the polls to choose a new governor, GOP nominee Bob McDonnell is dominating the polls with double-digit leads.

Steele seemed so sure of a GOP win in Virginia he was already taking credit for his part in it. The RNC has spent more than $8 million on McDonnell this year. The DNC has only offered Deeds a $6 million investment.

"You've got the DNC running ads on YouTube and on Facebook," Steele said. "But we put real resources on the ground."

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Sarah Palin reported on financial disclosure forms released today that she received $1.25 million as a "retainer for book" from HarperCollins for her much-anticipated memoir "Going Rogue," the Anchorage Daily News reports.

As we've reported, Palin's memor, which will be released Nov. 17, topped bestseller lists almost as soon as it was available for pre-order. After resigning as governor of Alaska in July, Palin worked with ghostwriter Lynn Vincent on the book in San Diego this summer. And she'll discuss "Going Rogue" with Oprah Winfrey in an interview next month.

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