TPM News

Th new University of New Hampshire poll, commissioned by the Boston Globe, gives Democratic candidate Martha Coakley a big lead in the January 19 spacial election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

The numbers: Coakley 50%, Brown 35%, and independent libertarian Joe Kennedy at 5%, with a ±4.2% margin of error. When undecideds were pushed, Coakley's lead became 53%-36%, with Kennedy's numbers staying the same. This poll contradicts yesterday's survey by Public Policy Polling (D), which gave Republican Scott Brown a one-point edge because of a lack of Democratic enthusiasm.

As the Globe notes: "Although the Senate race electorate is fairly firm in its choices - 61 percent say they have definitely decided whom they will support, and 15 percent are leaning toward a candidate - special elections can remain volatile until the last minute. Turnout is also highly unpredictable in an election that follows a holiday and could be affected by winter weather."

The new survey of Massachusetts by Public Policy Polling (D) sends a very alarming message to Democrats: Due to a fall in interest by Democratic voters, the race for the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat is a toss-up, and Republican Scott Brown even has a one-point edge over Democrat Martha Coakley.

The numbers: Brown 48%, Coakley 47%, with a ±3.6% margin of error. The election will be held on January 19. Independent candidate Joe Kennedy, a libertarian who is not related to the famous Kennedy family, was not included in the poll. If Brown were to pick up this seat in Democratic Massachusetts, it would surely spell the end of the health care bill -- Brown has made it very clear that he would use his power as the 41st Republican Senator to stop the bill.

The pollster's analysis notes that Republicans are far more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats are. "The Massachusetts Senate race is shaping up as a potential disaster for Democrats," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "Martha Coakley's complacent campaign has put Scott Brown in a surprisingly strong position and she will need to step it up in the final week to win a victory once thought inevitable."

Obama: Strong Health Care Reforms Will Take Effect Quickly In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama said that multiple reforms to the health care system will take effect immediately or within the first year of his signing the final bill -- a rebuttal to attacks from Republicans who say that the bill's benefits wouldn't kick in for several years:

"In short, once I sign health insurance reform into law, doctors and patients will have more control over their health care decisions, and insurance company bureaucrats will have less," said Obama. "All told, these changes represent the most sweeping reforms and toughest restrictions on insurance companies that this country has ever known. That's how we'll make 2010 a healthier and more secure year for every American - for those who have health insurance, and those who don't."

Pete King: 'We AreA Nation At War, And We Should Act Like It' In this weekend's Republican YouTube, Rep. Pete King (R-NY) attacked the Obama administration's handling of the Flight 253 attempted bombing:

"We can't gather the intelligence we need to foil future attacks if we are blindly granting terrorists the right to remain silent. But for some reason, we've already done that with the terrorist who tried to bring down Flight 253," said King. "We're a nation at war, and we should act like it. We need to pull together, remain vigilant, and send a clear signal - both to our friends and our enemies - that this government will stop at nothing to protect our homeland. That's how America sets an example for the world."

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So what exactly is going on with former Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN)? Ford ran unsuccessfully for Senator from Tennessee in 2006, and is now getting ready to challenge appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, in the Democratic primary in Ford's new home state of New York. The attacks between the two camps have already begun.

As Ben Smith reports, Ford has started staffing up for a run, signing up campaign aides that worked for New York's Republican-turned-independent Mayor Mike Bloomberg. "Harold is not going to be bullied or intimidated. It's good for New York to have a dialogue. It's good to have credible candidates exploring this race. So what are they so afraid of?" said a statement from Ford spokesman Davidson Goldin. "Let's be clear: New York needs a senator who will fight for jobs fight to improve our economy, fight for small business and have the independence to stand up and do what's right for our state, regardless of what the party bosses in Albany or Washington want."

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Rudy Giuliani appeared on CNN this afternoon in an attempt to explain what he meant when he claimed that no domestic terrorist attacks happened under President George W. Bush.

"I usually say, 'We had no major domestic attacks under President Bush since September 11,'" he told Wolf Blitzer.

"I did omit the words, 'since September 11,' and I apologize for that," he went on. "I do remember September 11. In fact, Wolf, I remember it every single day and usually, frequently during the day."

Video after the jump.

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A forthcoming Senate jobs bill will likely focus on four main sources of growth, according to a Senate leadership aide: Small business job creation, infrastructure jobs, green jobs, and public sector jobs.

As I noted earlier this week, Senate Democrats have made, and continue to make progress on a jobs package--likely to be their top legislative priority once health care reform is completely off their plate--and they've begun to winnow down a wide range of options into a package they could potentially expedite through the Senate.

Back in late summer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tasked his deputy, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Sen. Byron Dorgan with putting together a bill meant to address rising unemployment.

"Reid and Durbin were taking the longview, looking at a number of months of pretty dismal job news," the aide said. "They started taking a look at job numbers, anticipating that job numbers wouldn't be getting a whole lot better."

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January 8, 2010: Jean Biden, the mother of Vice President Joe Biden, passed away today in the home the Bidens share in Wilmington, Delaware. The Vice President said this in an official statement: "She was the center of our family and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times." She was 92.

Newscom/David K. Purdy/MCT

Then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) with his parents, Jean Biden and Joe Biden Sr., who died in 1992.


August 25, 1988: The Bidens visit The Scranton Tribune during their son's unsuccessful run for the White House.


August 27, 2008: Jean Biden's image appears on the screen above as her son speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. She was seated in the audience..

Newscom/Chris Fitzgerald/CandidatePhotos

Jean Biden with her son and daughter-in-law.

cc: West Virginia Blue.

November 4, 2008: Jean Biden leaves a voting booth in Delaware after casting her vote with her son.

Newscom/Laurence Kesterson/Rapport Press

Newscom/Laurence Kesterson/MCT

Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer.

• Fox News Sunday: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

• NBC, Meet The Press: DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA).

Former Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN), seems to be getting closer to officially declaring a Democratic primary challenge against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), reportedly hiring several staffers.

Politico's Ben Smith reports that Ford has hired Davidson Goldin, a former NY1 anchor, to be his spokesman. He's also hired the campaign manager from New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's campaign, Bradley Tusk, and a pollster, Doug Schoen.

Bloomberg is reportedly backing Ford for the run.