TPM News

TPMDC has obtained a copy of a Republican health care bill, making the rounds on Capitol Hill. Republican leaders have not officially unveiled the package, and warn that it is still changing, but the early draft, contains almost surprises.

Among the legislation's major goals are to enact malpractice reform, allow consumers to buy health insurance over state lines, cancel a federal comparative effectiveness research program created by the stimulus bill, and prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions.

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In a case already being compared to the Bernie Madoff affair, a lawsuit filed Monday in Broward County accuses south Florida "super attorney" Scott Rothstein of bilking investors in a scheme run out of the powerful firm Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, which now says it can't make payroll.

An attorney for one investor told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the amount of money missing could be over $100 million, though it's not clear where it went.

Rothstein and his wife are jet-setters who live in a 6-plus million dollar Fort Lauderdale home and were known for driving a veritable fleet of expensive sports cars and showering their favorite charities with big donations. A flamboyant character who was once pictured on billboards with Miami Dolphins great Dan Marino, Rothstein grew up in a lower-middle class family in the Bronx. He's now out of town and possibly out of the country -- no one knows where exactly -- and the Feds have reportedly shown up at his law firm offices.

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At a get-out-the-vote rally today in New Jersey, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) continued to use the legacy of the unpopular George W. Bush as a cudgel against Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie.

Menendez asked the crowd: "Are you going to vote for a Bush pioneer who will try to implement the same policies that led us into the worst economy since the Great Depression?"

Christie served as a U.S. Attorney in the Bush administration, and before that had raised money for the Bush 2000 campaign.

A Health Care For America Now spokesperson shot down the idea that progressives "inside the beltway" have a different view on Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) threats to filibuster health care reform than pro-reform groups outside D.C. do.

An article published in The Hill last night suggested progressives inside the beltway expected Lieberman to vote for cloture, based on discussions with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about private talks between the two senators.

Today, HCAN spokesperson Jacki Schechner denied that any such discussions had taken place and said that her group "is just as angry at Lieberman as anyone else" about Lieberman's anti-public option rhetoric. But Schechner that her group believes the threats from Lieberman to filibuster health care reform will prove to be hollow when all is said and done.

"It's political posturing," she said. "We think Lieberman will come around."

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean told TPMDC he supports groups like MoveOn targeting his fellow Democrats on health care because they have a "moral obligation" to stand with Senate leadership on procedural votes.

"There is no moral obligation to support the leadership on an issue," Dean told TPMDC in a wide-ranging interview this morning.

"But you have a moral obligation to help the leader run the senate the way he thinks it needs to be run. What these liberal groups are doing is fine," he said.

Dean called out Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and said caucusing with a party and benefiting from committee assignments as a member of the party is dependent on supporting the party leadership.

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Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) made a tough accusation against the Republicans at a Sunday get-out-the-vote rally in Virginia -- openly accusing them of being like the Taliban.

"I mean, if the Republicans were running in Afghanistan, they'd be running on the Taliban ticket as far as I can see," Moran declared.

The campaign of Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell, who has been attacked by the Democrats for his staunch social conservatism -- and a hard-right college thesis written in his 30s -- called Moran's comments "negative" and "vicious."

After that initial remark, Moran doesn't appear to be keeping this up. My TPM colleague Christina Bellantoni was at last night's rally, and tells me that Moran did not say anything like that last night. So he definitely toned it down after Sunday.

Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki have both recorded robocalls for Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 special election.

Rudy declares that now that Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava has dropped out, this leaves Hoffman as the only choice to oppose Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He does not mention that Scozzafava, who was forced out of the race by national conservatives for her being too moderate, has endorsed the Democratic candidate Bill Owens.

"Not only is Doug Hoffman the only candidate who has pledged not to raise taxes, and not to vote for wasteful pork," says Rudy, "but now that Dede Scozzafava has decided to suspend her campaign, voting for Doug is the only way we can stop Nancy Pelosi from gaining one more liberal vote for higher taxes, higher federal deficits, and government-run health care."

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As Christina mentioned yesterday, MoveOn is targeting the conservative Democrats in the Senate suggesting they may vote with Republicans to filibuster a health care bill.

Radio ads will run in Arkansas and Louisiana, directed at Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). You can hear the Landrieu ad below.

Accompanying the radio spots will be a broader direct mail campaign aimed at Lincoln and Landrieu, but also at Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the only Republican on the list.

Lincoln, Landrieu, and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) will also be faced with polling data showing that the public option is popular among their constituents, who do not want to see them obstructing the passage of a reform bill.

New Jersey independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett is walking back his claim that Sarah Palin meddled in the New Jersey race and encouraged him to quit, saying on MSNBC this morning that he'd heard about Palin's involvement not from her, but when "someone mentioned that she had said something."

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