TPM News

Last night, Jon Stewart demonstrated to British citizen John Oliver the importance of using American-style theatrics during election debates.

Stewart was skeptical about the UK debates, which include 76 rules of engagement, including: "Maximum three Churchill quotes," "no insulting participants' 15th century ancestors," "no headlocks," "the Queen's Corgi must be given equal time," and "no Hitler costumes."

He the told Oliver: "You know nothing about democracy. Rookie!"

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A Republican operative who was behind a sophisticated effort to make it harder for poor people and minorities to vote is back in the news. He's handling Missouri's lawsuit against the health-care reform law.

Mark "Thor" Hearne has been hired by Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder to challenge the law's constitutionality. Several other states are bringing similar claims. Kinder is mounting a fundraising effort -- even launching a website -- to pay for the challenge to the law because the state's Democratic attorney general has declined to get involved.

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It's no secret that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is considering dropping out of his Republican Senate primary fight with Marco Rubio to launch run as an independent. A Rasmussen poll out this morning may move him closer to jumping ship from the GOP.

Though the poll shows an independent Crist running behind Rubio (and ahead of likely Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek), it also shows an independent Crist has something the Republican Crist has been lacking for months -- momentum.

The new poll shows Rubio with 37%, Crist with 30% and Meek with 22% in a three-way matchup. The margin of error is 4.5.

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Geithner: If Banks Mess Up In The Future, 'Dismember Them' In an interview with ABC News, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner explained the goals of financial reform. "Our view is that we need to make sure that you're limiting how big they can get and how risky that they can get," said Geithner. "But if, in the future, if they mess up and they take themselves to the edge of the cliff again, then we want to make sure we can put them out of existence, dismember them, break them up safely without the American taxpayer having to bail them out again"

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart from the White House at 10 a.m. ET, and from Andrews Air Force Base at 10:15 a.m. ET, arriving at 11:10 a.m. ET in New York City. He will deliver remarks on Wall Street reform at 11:55 a.m. ET, at Cooper Union. He will depart from New York City at 1:05 p.m. ET, arriving back at Andrews Air Force Base at 2 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 2:15 p.m. ET. He will meet at 3:30 p.m. ET with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner He will deliver remarks at an Earth Day reception in the Rose Garden, at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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Last night Rachel Maddow took on the anti-financial reform group with a liberal-sounding message, Stop Too Big To Fail, with a special focus on DCI Group, the Washington astroturf specialists who have links to Stop Too Big To Fail.

Maddow notes that DCI used to work for the anti-health reform Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights, and DCI execs' were previously at R.J. Reynolds setting up so-called Smokers' Rights Groups.

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Republicans who think they can reclaim the majority this fall want to reprise a major element that swept them to power in 1994 as a new Democratic president suffered in the polls. Voters can expect to see this fall a new "Contract" pledging the GOP would be better stewards of taxpayer money and would shine sunlight on Congressional dealings.

But what's still unclear is whether it will be a Contract with America or the Contract from America. While House Republicans are drafting a new Contract with America they'll drop after Labor Day, top conservatives are glomming onto a potentially competing document that promises health care repeal and opposes a cap-and-trade system for climate change. That Contract from America was created in part with help from tea partiers and is making the rounds on the Internet.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) became the first member of Congress to sign yesterday, lauding that it was "created by the people" thanks to more than 450,000 people who submitted ideas online.

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President Obama today in New York will call for five "key proposals" that must be included in strong financial reform legislation, the White House said. Obama will say taxpayers must be protected if a large financial institutions fails and will call for "new transparency" to the system of financial markets and consumer financial protections.

The White House said he will say any legislation must include the "Volcker Rule," which sets limits on the size of banks and the risks that banking institutions can take and he also will say the measure must give investors and pension holders a bigger role in saying who manages the companies via "say on pay" reforms.

TPMDC obtained a brief excerpt of the remarks Obama has planned for this morning's speech at Cooper Union, which comes as the Senate nears a bipartisan deal on a measure our sources say could net 75 votes when all is said and done. Read them after the jump.

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The feathers are flying in the political attacks over Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden's declarations that people could control health care costs through the use of barter.

On Monday, Lowden doubled down on the barter idea. "Let's change the system and talk about what the possibilities are. I'm telling you that this works," Lowden said. "You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say I'll paint your house."

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee rolled out its new satirical website, "Chickens For Checkups," in which readers can send a form letter to Lowden asking how they can find a doctor who would treat various olden-days ailments such as rickets, "ill humours," "the vapors" and others, in exchange for various types of livestock or even "indentured servitude." (Hat tip to Greg Sargent.)

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General James Jones will speak tonight at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on America's relationship with Israel. Here are excerpts from his prepared remarks:

Since taking office, President Obama has pursued a two-state solution--a secure, Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a viable and independent Palestinian state. This is in the United States' interest. It is in Israel's interest. It is in the Palestinians' interest. It is in the interest of the Arab countries, and, indeed, the world. Advancing this peace would also help prevent Iran from cynically shifting attention away from its failures to meet its obligations.

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