TPM News

Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS), a Blue Dog Democrat from a key swing seat, will not be running for re-election in 2010, the Kansas City Star reports.

Moore was first elected in 1998, and faced close re-elections in 2000 and 2002, before getting more and more comfortable margins in the last three elections. The district voted twice for George W. Bush by strong margins -- 53%-42% in 2000, and 55%-44% in 2004 -- but it swung to Barack Obama by 51%-48% in 2008.

A Republican source tells us that the seat could be a strong pickup opportunity for them. One potential GOP candidate would be former state Sen. Nick Jordan, the 2008 nominee, who lost that year by a 56%-40% margin. Jordan is conservative, but is reputed to be in touch with the state party's moderate wing and could provide a unifying force in an open-seat race.

A Democratic source was more optimistic, citing the district's base in the Kansas City suburbs and parts of the liberal college town of Lawrence. "We think this is a strong seat for us," the source said. "Dennis Moore's going to be a hard act to follow for any candidate, but we know what it takes to win in this seat, and demographics are certainly in our favor."

WaPo: Rise In Stock Ownership Among Lawmakers Brings Ethics Concerns The Washington Post reports on the increasing trend of lawmakers' private investment portfolios creating an appearance of conflict on various issues, with the problem happening on both sides of the aisle: "This juxtaposition of investments and policy has become more common as stock ownership has soared on Capitol Hill over the past two decades. The investments increasingly put lawmakers in the position of voting or advocating on matters that could affect their personal wealth, whether the lawmakers realize it or not."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver remarks at 11:40 a.m. ET, at an event highlighting several initiatives designed to boost science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. He will have lunch with Vice President Biden at 12:35 p.m. ET, and meet with the Cabinet at 1:45 p.m. ET. He will meet at 4:50 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At 5:50 p.m. ET, he will deliver remarks and present the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

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Appearing yesterday on This Week, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) said he wouldn't vote to break a filibuster if the health care reform bill remains as it is now.

Nelson, a moderate whose vote Democrats may need to break an expected Republican filibuster of the bill, said he voted to begin debate in the hopes that the bill will be made suitable through amendments.

His demands: no public option (including an opt-out), stronger anti-abortion language and more cost control.

On Meet the Press yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said the Senate health care bill won't make it out of the Senate as is.

"I don't think anybody feels this bill, as Senator Reid put it down, though he made a lot of progress in blending bills together -- I don't think anybody thinks that this bill will pass," Lieberman said.

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Ben Nelson: If Bill Isn't Improved, I Won't Vote to Get It Off The Floor Appearing on This Week, Sen. Ben Nelson, made clear that his vote last night to proceed with debate on the health bill was contingent on being able to amend the bill in the next stages of the process -- and that he has a continuing list of issues with the bill, including abortion and other concerns: "Even if that -- even if that was perfected, where I could support that particular provision, if the public option is wrong, if the CLASS act is still in it, if -- if there are a whole host of other items that are the same as they are right now, I wouldn't vote to get it off the floor."

McCain: I Enjoyed Palin's Book, Criticism of Campaign Aides 'No Big Deal' Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told the Associated Press that he enjoyed reading Sarah Palin's book. "I enjoyed the book and she and I are dear friends. I talked to her on the phone yesterday. We got along fine," said McCain, who downplayed the book's harsh criticism of McCain's presidential campaign aides: "In campaigns there's always tension. Outside of combat, it's the most tense situation. There's always differences that arise, but it's no big deal."

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In light of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's statement tonight--that he welcomes negotiations on a public option compromise--Sen. Chuck Schumer's spokesman Brian Fallon emails a statement to TPMDC. He says discussions with centrists, such as they are, are in the earliest stages.

"Leading up to tonight's vote, some senators expressed a desire to discuss the public option currently in the Senate bill. Of course, Senator Schumer did not rule that out. But no such talks have yet taken place, and there is not any compromise at hand beyond what Leader Reid has already inserted into the bill. Senator Schumer remains a strong proponent of the opt-out, level playing field public option."

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) told TPMDC earlier today that Schumer had been tasked as the point man in negotiations between senators who support a public option, and those who prefer a "trigger" compromise.

This statement seems to suggests that those discussions are in their infancy, whatever Schumer's role in them is.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) raised hackles among liberals earlier this week when he claimed that the public option wasn't a part of the 2008 presidential campaign. He repeated that claim to reporters tonight, though acknowledged, when pressed, that then-candidate Barack Obama did in fact include a public option in his campaign health care proposal.

"This is a kindof 11th hour addition to a debate that's gone on for decades," Lieberman told reporters tonight. "Nobody's ever talked about a public option before. Not even in the presidential campaign last year."

I asked in response, "How do you reconcile your contention that the public option wasn't part of the presidential campaign given that all three of the [leading Democratic] candidates had something along the lines of the public option in their white papers?'

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Remarks, as prepared for delivery, by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a press conference on Nov 21, 2009, after the Senate voted 60-39 to move to debate a health insurance reform bill:

"I want to commend the Senators who showed tonight that they are not afraid of debate, and the courageous Senators like those standing with me now who led the way.

"What happened just now has never happened in the long history of the United States Senate. For the first time ever, the Senate will debate a bill that puts health care decisions in the hands of the people.

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