TPM News

After TPMDC posted Friday about the latest in the Fox News v. White House saga related to an interview with Ken Feinberg, a Fox executive stood firm to say the White House had excluded the network.

Several readers brought a Huffington Post story to our attention this weekend. They have an interview with Fox VP Michael Clemente where he claims White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs apologized for the situation.

I spoke to a Fox media relations aide this morning with another interview request for Clemente or the D.C. bureau chief. The aide referred us to this story in Mediaite, which also features Clemente saying Gibbs apologized. The aide would not make him available for an interview.

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Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) has four new ads -- count them, four -- as this close race against Republican Chris Christie goes into the home stretch.

One ad features President Obama, speaking in both English and Spanish. It's a sure sign that Corzine is relying on Obama, who is much more popular than Corzine, to get him over the finish line by motivating minority voters and other core Democratic groups:

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Obama: Big Banks Must Help Small Businesses In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama talked about his administration's commitment to small businesses -- and called on large banks that have been helped by the bailout to do their part:

"But while credit may be more available for large businesses, too many small business owners are still struggling to get the credit they need," said Obama. "These are the very taxpayers who stood by America's banks in a crisis - and now it's time for our banks to stand by creditworthy small businesses, and make the loans they need to open their doors, grow their operations, and create new jobs. It's time for those banks to fulfill their responsibility to help ensure a wider recovery, a more secure system, and more broadly shared prosperity. And we're going to take every appropriate step to encourage them to meet those responsibilities."

Johanns Denounces 'Shameful' Health Care Deals In this weekend's Republican address, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) went after the Democrats on health care:

"We're about to significantly alter one-sixth of our economy -- now is not the time to shut Americans out," said Johanns. "Reports of this deal-making are shameful. Why do Michigan, Rhode Island, Oregon and Nevada get special deals on Medicaid costs? Why do New Yorkers with Cadillac plans get a pass on paying the tax? It is shameful. So now, as a select few deliberate over legislation that will mean higher premiums across the board; higher taxes for hard-working families; and cuts to Medicare for senior citizens; I ask: will this improve your life?"

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Responding to news first reported by TPMDC, that the White House is pushing back on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's inclination to include an optional government insurance program in the Senate's health care bill, one of the left's most hardline progressive groups is taking aim directly at President Obama.

In an unprecedented move, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee will air a new TV ad, and is gathering signatures on an emergency petition, warning the administration not to support a health care compromise, favored by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), that could kill the public option.

The spot will air at least 100 times in Maine, augmented by an online fundraising drive. The group's recent ad targeting Snowe helped them raise over $100,000.

The petition reads, "Every day, insurance companies deny care and let people die. Getting one Republican senator's vote is not worth delaying reform -- too many real lives are at stake. We need you to fight and state clearly that anything less than a strong public option is not change we can believe in."

Over the course of the health care debate, liberal groups have targeted key senators standing in the way of reform. But though many on the left have long felt that the White House hasn't done enough to ensure the creation of a public option, PCCC is the first organization to make Obama the focus of a pressure ad. You can read their email to supporters below the fold.

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Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), who is currently running for the Republican nomination in a contested 2010 U.S. Senate primary, has now endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 special election -- the second sitting member of Congress to openly do so, after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

Tiahrt's press release blasts the moderate GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava, questions her party loyalty, and casts the race as a test for the soul of the GOP:

"Doug Hoffman will be a consistent vote for conservative principles in the U.S. House of Representatives. I have no doubt he will vote for anyone other than Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House, which is the most important vote of each Congress. I do not have that same confidence in his opponent, who has a very similar record to Ms. Pelosi."

Tiahrt claims the New York 23 election reflects the same battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party going on nationally.

"The Republican Party is either going to return to the party of fiscal responsibility and consistent conservative principles as it was under Ronald Reagan or it will continue down the path of 'sporadic moderation,'" Tiahrt exclaimed.

As noted before, Tiahrt is running in a Republican primary for Senate, facing off against fellow Kansas GOP Congressman Jerry Moran. Take this as a sign that support of Hoffman over Scozzafava could become its own litmus test for Republicans in the future -- as a mark of true conservatism, requiring that candidates will have not supported the GOP's actual nominee in this race.

Check out the full Tiahrt press release after the jump.

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Adding to the Fox News v. White House feud today is a dust-up over an interview with pay czar Ken Feinberg. Turns out, it was a sort of miscommunication, but the White House adds that if they had left Fox out it would be a case of "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

The version Fox has pushed all day is that the network was excluded from an interview roundtable with Feinberg yesterday, and that bureau chiefs from ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN came to Fox's defense.

TPMDC dug into it, and here's what happened.

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These deadlines seem to be made to be broken, and with all the hoopla surrounding the public option still unfolding, it could happen. But a leadership source tells me that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to unveil details of the Senate health care bill--the merged version of the Senate HELP and Finance Committee bills--early next week.

We know things are still changing. We know Reid has been leaning toward incorporating an opt-out public option in the final package. We know that other public option compromises are under consideration. We know that the White House has been trying to push back against Reid on this. What we don't know yet is what the outcome of all this sturm und drang will be. We may find out sooner than later.

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

• ABC, This Week: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

• CBS, Face The Nation: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Dr. , Afghan presidential candidate; Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA).

• Fox News Sunday: Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan presidential candidate; Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

• NBC, Meet The Press: SEn. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY.

Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, appeared on the Neil Cavuto show today, and brushed off any concerns that his candidacy could split the Republican vote and throw the race to the Democrat.

The polls in this race have shown Democratic candidate Bill Owens ahead of moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, with Hoffman in a close third place.

"Do you think it's still better to elect the Democrat than to elect the moderate Republican in that event?" Cavuto asked.

"Well, first of all I want to point out that the Republican is actually more liberal than the Democrat in this race," Hoffman replied. He explained that the district is a conservative one, and he only needs about a third of the vote to win this race against what he says are two liberal candidates. blasted an email to its members today, urging them to call the White House immediately and demand a strong public option.

"Tell President Obama to stand with Senate Democrats and the American public to ensure the Senate bill includes a strong public health insurance option--not Senator Snowe's 'trigger,'" the email reads.

As TPMDC has reported today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been pushing for a strong public option in the Senate version of the health care reform bill. But the White House has apparently been pushing back in favor for a trigger option, preferred by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).


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