TPM News

Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) has long been a passionate golfer. Last year, Golf Digest ranked the lawmaker 32nd, with a handicap of 5.6, on its list of the top 200 golfers in Washington.

Like many members of Congress, Buyer has a history of mixing business and pleasure on the golf course. Now, it looks like the financial dealings of a questionable foundation created by Buyer were even more golf-driven than previously known.

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A day after she began a full whip effort for a health care bill with a robust public option, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues discussions with members in the hopes of reaching consensus before Thanksgiving.

"We will have a bill that will go to the floor and it will have a public option in it...the question is what form will that take," Pelosi said during her weekly press conference today.

Pelosi continues to use a steady stream of preliminary CBO numbers to convince squeamish members that a robust public option is a big money saver, and the most fiscally responsible way forward.

"Originally we were operating under a trillion dollars.... the president said a number around $900 billion. So that changed some of our discussions," Pelosi explained.

For example, the robust public option--that's how that has emerged because that takes you down $110 billion, and that's very significant when you're trying to go from just under a trillion to just under $900 billion. The negotiated rates, which has some support in our caucus, is over $900 billion.... Trying to give every option its fair shake, I have asked the CBO how do you get negotiated rates down under $900 billion. Some of the options are not palatable to members like putting significant numbers of people on Medicaid rather than into the exchange.

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The DNC is targeting RNC Michael Steele's rhetoric on health care reform in a new web video that launched today. Attempting to make good on President Obama's promise, made during his September health care address to Congress, to "call out" claims about health care reform that aren't truethe DNC is claiming Steele is "lying" about the health care reform bills currently the subject of intense negotiations on Capitol Hill.

President Obama's Organizing for America campaign arm sent this note to supporters living in Virginia yesterday.

Virginia, it's time to get fired up. I've just announced that I'll be visiting next Tuesday to rally you and your neighbors in support of Creigh Deeds and our movement for change. Creigh Deeds has offered real solutions to address Virginia's challenges in transportation and the economy, and it's up to us now to build the support that will make those solutions a reality.

We made history here in Virginia last year. Together with your neighbors, you built a movement in order to move this commonwealth and our country forward.

But from day one, we knew we were working toward something far greater than simply one election. It was about changing the way politics in our country works -- from the bottom up, face to face, one conversation at a time. And it was about getting beyond the divisiveness and petty politics that have kept too many out of the process.

That promise is now ours to keep.

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Health Care for America Now is up with a new television ad blasting America's Health Insurance Providers (AHIP) for dropping a report suggesting insurance premiums would increase under the Senate Finance Committee.

It says AHIP's report is filled with "lies" and criticizes industry profits and insurer CEO pay. It closes with a call to action: "Tell Congress. We need good health care we can afford. With the choice of a public health insurance option."

The ad is tied to an afternoon press conference with families who have suffered due to problems with insurers. They plan to challenge AHIP officials today during the industry lobbying group's conference in at the Capital Hilton.

TPMDC will be on hand for the HCAN protest, where activists plan to carry signs reading, "It's a crime to deny care."

Watch the ad after the jump.

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A lobbyist for the American health insurance companies told an audience this morning that the the bipartisan journey to health care reform President Obama began earlier this year has reached its end.

AHIP lobbyist Steve Champlin spoke at the opening session of the health insurance trade group's "State Issues Conference" in Washington last night. His message? The GOP should stay away from any bill put forward by the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

Champlin, reported by the Huffington Post:

"There is absolutely no interest, no reason Republicans should ever vote for this thing. They have gone from a party that got killed 11 months ago to a party that is rising today. And they are rising up on the turmoil of health care. So when they vote for a health care reform bill, whatever it is, they are giving comfort to the enemy who is down."

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Democrats already have their talking points ready for what's seeming more likely - that they will lose the governor's mansion in Virginia.

Activists on the ground and Democratic officials and campaign operatives from across the state are telling TPMDC they are losing hope in the final two weeks of the race between former attorney general Bob McDonnell (R) and state senator Creigh Deeds (D).

It's the most expensive race the Democratic Governors Association has ever run, spokeswoman Emily DeRose tells TPMDC. The DGA put in $3 million toward the Common Sense Virginia group before the primary to run against McDonnell, and then gave $1 million directly to Deeds. The DNC has pledged $6 million in total.

Here's what we know - Deeds is in serious trouble. He's bleeding support from Democrats who are worried about a lackluster campaign and think a McDonnell win seems inevitable.

But - there's a glimmer of hope in President Obama, who continues to attract massive crowds at political events, and would really like to pull out a victory in the state that put him over the top last fall.

The polls showing Deeds behind are capturing the preference of likely voters, which in most cases are identified by having voted several times. If Obama can help Deeds bring out core groups of his '08 winning coalition - young people and new black voters - it could make the difference.

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Patricia Sullivan, a Tea Party organizer seeking the Republican nomination against Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), is filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics over Grayson's use of the House floor to promote his "Names of the Dead" Web site:

As a Mom, Patricia has learned to apply swift correction to bad behavior. She will be filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics later today. It is her hope and desire that the OCE will forward the complaint to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

If the committee sees fit to censure the violations of Representative Grayson, perhaps the residents of the 8th Congressional District will no longer be subject to the constant embarrassment they have endured over the last few months.


Grayson's office did not have any comment on Sullivan's press release. A source in the office said that they've reached out to the Ethics Committee and the House Administration Committee for their opinion, and are also speaking to their FEC attorney.

Check out the full Sullivan statement after the jump.

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A group of big-name musicians -- including Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash and dozens of others -- is demanding the White House release information about which songs were played at high volume to punish or interrogate prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

According to the Washington Post, the musicians announced today they support a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the National Security Archive, a research institute.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared yesterday on Laura Ingraham's radio show -- and called upon listeners to support Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, instead of the moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava.

Bachmann quite correctly said the race is a "mess," and said that she's read that the Republican candidate is now in third place, with the Democrat in first place and Hoffman as the real chance to keep the seat in the GOP column. Interestingly, there has not been any publicly-released poll at this time showing Hoffman in second place. The latest Siena poll had Democrat Bill Owens in first place with 33%, Scozzafava with 29%, and Hoffman with 23%.

Ingraham repeatedly pressed Bachmann on who she supported. Her bottom line: "Hoffman is on the ascendancy, and we have to win this seat. And people need to get behind the winning candidate, and it looks like that's Hoffman."

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