TPM News

President Obama met privately with Senate health care reform advocates today, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). This comes a day after Rockefeller said he can't support the bill Sen. Max Baucus unveiled today in its current form. No details just yet, but I'll get them to you as soon as they're available.

Late update: In a statement, Rockefeller says "The President and I met today to talk privately about health care reform. I do not want to go into the specifics of the meeting but I will say that nothing is clearer than the President's commitment to providing affordable and effective health care for all Americans and he and I are united in our efforts to deliver on this promise.

The President is aware that I have concerns with the current Senate Finance bill offered by my friend Chairman Baucus. He is also aware that I have made clear I cannot vote for this bill in its current form. I am working to improve the Finance bill in Committee and it is my great hope that substantial progress can be made.

In an interview with TPM just now, Birther evangelist Orly Taitz fired back at Clay Land, the U.S. district court judge who tore apart Birtherism and threatened Taitz with sanctions in an order today, saying that "somebody should consider trying [the judge] for treason and aiding and abetting this massive fraud known as Barack Hussein Obama."

"This is so outrageous what this judge did -- it goes in the face of law and order," said Taitz, reached at her office in Mission Viego, CA. "Not every judge is as corrupt as Judge Land. Some judges believe in the Constitution. And some judges believe in the rule of law."

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As ABC's Terry Moran accidentally reported, President Obama called rapper Kanye West a "jackass" before an interview with CNBC on Monday. The comment was supposed to be off the record.

Now, we have the video:



Politico originally posted the video earlier today, then quickly took it down. Ben Smith wrote, "Wiser heads than mine at POLITICO made the call to take down the video of the "jackass" moment. Sorry about the tease if you missed it."

But CNN managed to grab the video before it went down.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released a statement today on the health care reform proposal from Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT).

"I appreciate Chairman Baucus' hard work over the past several months. His proposal is another important piece to the puzzle and brings us a step closer to having a comprehensive health insurance reform bill on the Senate floor. There will be a healthy and vigorous debate in the Finance Committee as Senators work to strengthen this proposal. I look forward to working with Chairman Baucus and Senator Dodd as well as the White House in the coming weeks to forge a final Senate bill that lowers costs, improves quality, preserves choice and creates competition."

Major labor union AFL-CIO released a statement on Sen. Max Baucus's (D-MT) health care reform proposal today.

"Despite months of painful negotiations, the Senate Finance Committee proposal released today absolutely fails to meet the most basic health care needs of working families and it fails to meet the expectations we have set for our nation," outgoing AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in a statement, according to The Hill.

"The Senate Finance proposal, sadly, is little more than a throwback to the failed policies of the last three decades that advantaged corporations over taxpayers and bestowed special breaks on the wealthy while ignoring the middle class," Sweeney said.

"We are counting on finance committee Democrats to fix the bill and side with working families, not insurance companies," Sweeney said.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) is still doing quite nicely in fundraising. A Republican source tells me that Wilson's post-outburst fundraising has now reached $1.7 million.

This is up from Wilson's total from late Monday afternoon, when he was at $1.3 million in the time since the incident.

Fundraising totals for Wilson's Democratic opponent Rob Miller were not immediately available. On Monday, Miller was at $1.5 million in the post-outburst period.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) released a statement today on the health care reform proposal released by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT):

"My goals for health care reform include a strong public option, long-term care reform and reform of the Medicare reimbursement system that has disadvantaged Wisconsin for far too long. I am disappointed that the Finance Committee bill, as written, comes up short on all three fronts. I hope my colleagues on the Finance Committee will change the bill to ensure it is not just health care reform in name only."

When it became clear several weeks ago that negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee were planning to pursue a private co-op model instead of a public option in their health reform bill, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)--a senior member of that committee, and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee--undertook a study into the history and effectiveness of health insurance co-operatives.

As part of that study, he asked the Government Accountability Office to bring together all of the research it had done over the years into the effectiveness of co-ops in the insurance market. Today, he sent a fairly scathing letter to Finance chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and chief co-op advocate Kent Conrad (D-ND) regarding the results.

Rockefeller, who says he regards the public option as a "must," writes, "there has been no significant research into consumer co-ops as a model for the broad expansion of health insurance. What we do know, however, is that this model was tried in the early part of the 20th century and largely failed."

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, when asked today about former President Carter's comments on race, said, "The President does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin."

Carter asserted yesterday that the recent animosity toward President Obama is based on his race.

Gibbs also said that Obama hasn't watched the video of Carter's comments or spoken with Carter about it.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) says that the Finance Committee's health care draft represents a step "in the right direction," but warns that "a number of issues still need to be addressed -- including cost assumptions and ultimate affordability to both consumers and the government as well as ensuring appropriate competition in the health insurance exchange."

What she ultimately decides to do will likely depend on how the bill changes during hearings next week. But for now, Democrats aren't particularly optimistic. You can read her entire statement below the fold.

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