TPM News

A new Rasmussen poll in Missouri finds that the 2010 Senate race is a real toss-up, with GOP Rep. Roy Blunt and Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan tied at 46% each.

Four-term Republican Sen. Kit Bond is retiring, opening up this perennial swing state for a top-tier Senate race in 2010. John McCain carried the state by about 0.1% in 2008, and the Democrats won the state's other Senate seat by a three-point margin back in 2006.

Former baseball player Curt Schilling has announced that he is not running for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

"Regardless of the amount of support and outreach that's been given to me, it just did not make sense," said Schilling, a conservative who campaigned in the past for George W. Bush and John McCain.

This leaves the state Sen. Scott Brown as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. A recent poll showed Brown severely trailing the Democratic frontrunner, state Attorney General Martha Coakley.

A number of reports suggest House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reversed a July deal she and Democratic health care leaders struck with Blue Dogs that weakened the public option.

But though that's not accurate to the letter, it is indicative of a private fight Pelosi's waging to keep a public option--preferably a strong one--in the final bill.

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Obama To Tell U.N.: Don't Wait For America To Solve World's Problems Alone In his upcoming speech to the United Nations today, President Obama will call for international cooperation -- and declare that America can't fix the world's problems alone. "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility," Obama will say, also adding: "Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet at 9 a.m. ET with Prime Minister Hatoyama of Japan. At 10 a.m. ET, he will address the U.N. General Assembly. At 12 p.m. ET, he will attend a meeting with leaders of peace-keeping troop contributing countries. At 1:05 p.m. ET, he will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony for fallen U.N. staff members. At 1:15 p.m. ET, he will attend a lunch hosted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, for heads of state and government. At 3:30 p.m. ET, he will meet with President Medvedev of Russia. AT 7:05 p.m. ET, the President and First Lady will host a reception for heads of state and government.

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I just spoke with Massachusetts state Sen. Bruce Tarr, the assistant Republican leader, and he told me that if the bill to provide for a temporary appointment to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat passes tomorrow, there could be plenty of room for legal challenges -- and a lot is riding on the final enactment votes tomorrow.

I asked Tarr whether Massachusetts Republicans would themselves file lawsuits, and he did not specifically say as much. However, he laid out scenarios under which other citizens of Massachusetts could potentially bring legal action.

One big issue, Tarr explained, is that this bill has been designated as an emergency law, in order to have it take effect immediately. Normally, under the state constitution, laws can only take effect after 90 days, which would defeat the purpose of the immediate appointment. However, an emergency law also requires a two-thirds vote within the legislature in order to pass -- and in the votes that have been held so far, it was only 97-58 in the House, and 24-16 in the Senate.

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Powerhouse fundraiser Hassan Nemazee had a lot of friends in Democratic circles. And one of the most important appears to have been the party's money-man par excellence, Terry McAuliffe.

But since the news broke yesterday that Nemazee had been charged with running a $292 million Ponzi scheme, the normally loquacious McAuliffe hasn't been his usual voluble self.

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Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele told students at a historically black college in Arkansas yesterday that Martin Luther King Jr. would be disappointed with President Obama.

"Dr. King would be disappointed in the political leadership of this country for failing to address the least of us," he said.

As Think Progress points out, a student then approached the microphone and asked, "In all seriousness, I'm curious what you think that Dr. King would think about your party's current attempts to block universal health care?"

"It's a great myth that we're doing all this blocking. I wish we had that kind of control with the numbers, but we don't," Steele responded. "As I've said to the president many times, 'If that's the bill you want, vote it up or down.'"

"It is my great pleasure to introduce Senator Joe Biden. I take personal pleasure in doing so as Senator Biden is not only a man of unique accomplishments in the Senate but I'm fortunate to call him a personal friend."

That's how alleged Ponzi schemer Hassan Nemazee kicked off a March 2002 panel discussion on Iran in Washington, sponsored by the American Iranian Council. (Nemazee's father is Iranian, according to Forbes.)

And Biden was no less effusive in response as he took the podium from Nemazee. Here's the video of the exchange, which provides more evidence -- not that it's needed -- that the generous Nemazee was about as well-connected as a person can get in top Democratic circles.

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This is somewhat complicated, and I'll flesh it out and get you video just as soon as I can. But with Democrats anxious to pass a health care bill, and avoiding delays seen as a high political priority, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) indicated today that there may be major delays in the health care process going forward. During today's health care hearing, he told CBO chief Doug Elmendorf today that the Senate Finance Committee must be provided with a complete CBO score of the final package before the panel can hold a vote on it.

"With respect to the issue of when scoring might be available, is critically important that we have scoring before a final vote is cast in the committee," Conrad said, "it is important for us to know, once there is a package, after the amendment process here, can you give us some rough estimate, in days to have a CBO score."

How long will that scoring take?

Elmendorf estimated that the full reporting could take two weeks:

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At a press briefing today following trilateral talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Middle East Envoy George Mitchell dodged several questions about the administration's position on an Israeli settlement freeze.

Mitchell attended the meeting with President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and shared notes with reporters before taking questions.

One asked if the administration had pushed Israel on a settlement freeze. Mitchell responded that the freeze "was discussed in all of the meetings," but quickly emphasized that Obama was pushing for the re-launch of negotiations.

Reporters took this to mean that the administration was backing off demands for a settlement freeze, and asked more questions to that effect, to which Mitchell responded that there's been no change in position.

The questions persisted, and Mitchell finally tried to stop them:

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