TPM News

On Fox News this morning, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) predicted that a health care bill would not pass anytime soon. Boehner cited the apprehension of lawmakers from both parties. But the main obstacle to reform, the House Minority Leader claimed, is a U.S. public that has "soundly rejected" the efforts.

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A new survey of North Carolina by Public Policy Polling (D) finds first-term Republican Sen. Richard Burr in a vulnerable position headed into 2010, with narrow leads over three unknown Democratic challengers.

Burr leads former state Senator and Iraq War veteran Cal Cunningham by 45%-36%; he leads attorney Kenneth Lewis by 43%-37%; and he leads Secretary of State Elaine Marshall by 42%-37%. Against a generic Democrat, he has a statistically insignificant edge of only 42%-41%. The margin of error is ±4%.

Burr's approval rating is 35%, with 37% disapproval. As we've noted before, Burr's problem is not that he's unpopular -- it's that he hasn't made much of an impression at all with the voters, and his fate will rest heavily on the nature of the overall political cycle.

For all three Democrats, anywhere from 69%-81% of North Carolina voters don't have an opinion of them. And in the case of Kenneth Lewis, PPP's Tom Jensen speculates that respondents might have him confused with the very unpopular Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis. Jensen writes: "Lewis may need to invest down the road in some direct mail or Charlotte tv time to make sure voters in the area know he's not that Ken Lewis!"

The executive director of the Arizona GOP used a Republican voter database to stalk a female grad student, the woman has alleged in a criminal complaint.

The complaint, filed last month with the local sheriff's office and reported by the Huffington Post, alleges that Brett Mecum "is using Voter Vault to stalk." That's the sophisticated voter-targeting program that the GOP uses to turn its supporters out to the polls.

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In the midst of speculation about whether various swing-seat Democrats could end up retiring -- which would set back the Dems' chances of maintaining their majority -- two Blue Dogs are going out of their way to make it clear that they're staying.

Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) declared: "Come hell or high water you can count me as a candidate." Davis, age 66, was re-elected with 59% of the vote in 2008, at the time as his district voted 64%-36% for John McCain.

Meanwhile, Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN) dismissed any talk of him retiring. "I don't know why anyone would give credibility to these Republican rumors," said Peterson, also adding: "As for why they are working so hard to circulate this baloney, I think they're just trying to stir things up because they don't have a candidate to run against me." Peterson, age 65, was easily re-elected with 72% of the vote in 2008, while his district voted 50%-47% for John McCain.

Last week, we learned that Facebook users could win virtual currency for use in online games by sending an email to Congress opposing health-care reform.

In response, both the health insurers coalition thought to be behind the ads, and the P.R. firm hired by the coalition, claimed ignorance. A spokesman for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), which runs the coalition, Get Health Reform Right, told us yesterday that the coalition's contract explicitly forbids the use of such "incentivized ads," and said the ads that showed up on Facebook must be fakes. Pam Fielding, the president of 720 Strategies, which handled the campaign, said the same thing.

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On a flight from New York to Washington, D.C., this weekend, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took issue with a flight attendant's request to turn off his cell phone, calling her a "bitch" after she walked away.

According to Politico, the attendant asked both Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who was sitting next to him, to turn off their phones so the plane could take off. Schumer resisted, asking if he could finish his call. When told "no," he kept arguing, according to Politico's witness, a House Republican aide.

He eventually hung up. After the attendant walked away, Schumer turned to Gillibrand and called the attendant a "bitch."

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We've kept readers up-to-date on the fight up in Connecticut over GOP candidate Linda McMahon's involvement with World Wrestling Entertainment.

McMahon (R-CT) is one of several candidates hoping to challenge Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) next year. She is the former CEO of the wrestling corporation and wife of WWE principal Vince McMahon.

The McMahon camp is using President Obama's planned 30-second segment for a troops special this weekend (and past appearance on WWE during the presidential primary campaign) to suggest the Democratic argument against her candidacy is invalid.

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) now appears to be in a public feud with Sarah Palin, after he broke with other Republicans by calling for the United States to take action on global warming -- and specifically criticized Palin.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Schwarzenegger dismissed Palin's recent denunciation of climate-change science, and her call for President Obama to boycott the Copenhagen conference. "You have to ask: what was she trying to accomplish?" said Schwarzenegger. "Is she really interested in this subject or is she interested in her career and in winning the [Republican] nomination [for president]? You have to take all these things with a grain of salt."

Last night, Palin fired back at Schwarzenegger on her Facebook page, with a post entitled "Greener Than Thou?":

Why is Governor Schwarzenegger pushing for the same sorts of policies in Copenhagen that have helped drive his state into record deficits and unemployment? Perhaps he will recall that I live in our nation's only Arctic state and that I was among the first governors to create a sub-cabinet to deal specifically with climate change. While I and all Alaskans witness the impacts of changes in weather patterns firsthand, I have repeatedly said that we can't primarily blame man's activities for those changes. And while I did look for practical responses to those changes, what I didn't do was hamstring Alaska's job creators with burdensome regulations so that I could act "greener than thou" when talking to reporters.