TPM News

This morning, Attorney General Eric Holder is facing questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The focus, not surprisingly, has been on Holder's announcement last week that five 9/11 suspects will be tried in civilian court in New York.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made his argument against the trials, asking Holder how he would instruct the military to handle the hypothetical capture of Osama bin Laden.

Would you read him his Miranda rights? Graham asked. Would you get him a lawyer?

And if you didn't, he went on, would a subsequent trial -- if indeed the trial was held in civilian court and not a military tribunal -- be jeopardized?

Holder didn't have a clear answer, saying "it all depends" on the situation.

It was exactly what Graham wanted.

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Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a statement today on new breast cancer screening recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. She joins White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer in responding to the report. Here's the full text of her statement:

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On a conference all with reporters just now, Rudy Giuliani said there was one thing about Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to bring terror suspects to New York City he could stand fully behind.

"I was glad to see Holder say 'we're at war,'" Giuliani said on the RNC-sponsored call. "I had thought we had virtually stopped being at war with the terrorists."

The former New York City mayor was referring to Friday's press conference by Holder where he announced the plan to try terrorists in the city.

Giuliani said he hoped the use of the word would hearken back to a return to the Bush era "War On Terror" which Giuliani said President Obama has abandoned, both in rhetoric and actions. "I was under the impression that the Obama administration thought this was just an unfortunate situation we're dealing with."

"'War' is important," he said.

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The White House is pushing back against a Fox News report spinning the results of a new study on breast cancer screening.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer blogged a response to a Fox report suggesting "Critics See Health Care Rationing Behind New Mammography Recommendations."

Pfeiffer quoted from the report, which suggested "some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are blasting new guidelines from a government task force that recommends against routine mammographies for women under 50, questioning whether they are tantamount to health care 'rationing' in the fight against the No. 2 cancer killer in U.S. women."

His response:

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Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) is getting more support for his status as the only House Republican to support health care reform -- from the pro-Barack Obama, labor-backed group Americans United For Change.

Americans United has already run an ad in support of Cao, as part of their ad campaigns praising key swing members who voted in favor of the bill. And they'll be having another one soon, too, the Hotline reports.

Cao is widely seen as a vulnerable incumbent going into 2010, having been elected in an upset against an indicted (and later convicted) Democratic incumbent in a district that voted 75% for Barack Obama.

During today's Judiciary Committee hearing on the 9/11 trials, terrorism and the Fort Hood shootings, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) finally settled an old score.

After Sessions cited Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in his opening remarks, Leahy said, "I must admit, Sen. Sessions, that I'm delighted to hear someone from Alabama quote, approvingly, Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln. The world has come full circle."

"And they were winners, too," Sessions responded.

"Well, I appreciate that acknowledgment too," Leahy said. "We probably best leave this one alone."

Video after the jump.

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A new study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services adds some expert imprimatur to what many progressives have been saying all along: The Stupak amendment to the House health care bill--which will prevent millions of women from buying health insurance policies that cover abortion--is likely to have consequences that reach far beyond its supposedly intended scope.

The report concludes that "the treatment exclusions required under the Stupak/Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange."

In other words, though the immediate impact of the Stupak amendment will be limited to the millions of women initially insured through a new insurance exchange, over time, as the exchanges grow, the insurance industry will scale down their abortion coverage options until they offer none at all.

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The new survey of Missouri by Public Policy Polling (D) shows a dead heat in the race for this state's open Republican-held Senate seat.

The numbers: Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan 43%, Republican Rep. Roy Blunt 42%, with a ±3.6% margin of error. The last time PPP tested this race in January, Carnahan had an edge of 45%-44%. Carnahan also leads Blunt's primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Purgason, Carnahan has a 42%-35% lead. Blunt leads Purgason in the GOP primary by 53%-16%.

The pollster's analysis finds that Carnahan's personal ratings are much better than Blunt's. Her favorable rating is at 40%, to a 36% unfavorable, compared to Blunt's upside-down rating of 30%-38%. Nevertheless, this is a close race. One possible factor: President Obama's approval rating in the state is low, at 43%-52%.

"If Robin Carnahan had faced off against Roy Blunt in any election year between 1996 and 2008 she would likely have won given her superior popularity," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "But 2010 has the potential to be an extremely good year for Republicans, and that's made this race highly competitive."

Via Dave Weigel, it looks like Tom Coburn (R-OK) has become the first senator to cast his lot with the group of House Republicans pursuing a campaign against the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Though not explicitly invoked in a new letter to the IRS, the effort stems from purported revelations in the book Muslim Mafia, whose author recently made -- then retracted -- a call for a "backlash" against Muslims in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings.

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