TPM News

On This Week with George Stephanopoulos this morning, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated that President Obama will go farther than language in a House health reform bill now does in order to make sure no public funds go toward abortions.

Stephanopoulos asked her whether Obama would "explicitly rule out any public funding for abortion."

"Well that's exactly what the President said and that's what he intends that the bill he signs will do," she said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told John King on CNN's State Of The Union this morning that she doesn't see how Afghanistan will become a democracy.

I do not believe we can build a democratic state in Afghanistan. I believe it will remain [a] tribal entity.

The Democratic Senator also said the current mission in Afghanistan isn't clear, and that Congress must be given a clearer idea of US objectives and time lines in Afghanistan.

This all comes in the wake of rising opposition among Democratic lawmakers to sending more US troops to Afghanistan. On Friday, Sen. Carl Levin gave a floor speech urging President Obama not to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) of "You lie!" fame appeared on FOX News Sunday to say that he's done apologizing for heckling President Obama during his health care speech to Congress on Wednesday.

"I am not going to apologize again," Wilson told Chris Wallace.

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Appearing on FOX News Sunday this morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared that a health reform bill in the House "is dead" and that "we should just throw it in the garbage can."

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) agreed, sort of, saying that the House health care bill is "not gonna pass."

Graham also pronounced that "the public option is dead."

"It's probably been dead a long time because the public is very afraid," the GOP Senator said.

When FOX's Chris Wallace asked Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) whether the public option was indeed dead, she said "I don't know," and suggested instead that "the public option in some ways has become a distraction."

Over on ABC, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said on This Week with George Stephanopoulos that "I'm going to keep fighting" for the public option.

And what of a more moderate trigger option of the sort supported by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)? "A phony baloney idea," Graham said.

Well then. Sounds like there's plenty of room for a bipartisan agreement on health reform.

The President, in an interview with Steve Kroft that will be broadcast on 60 Minutes at 7 p.m. tonight, says of health reform: "I'm the one who's going to be held responsible. So I have every incentive to get this right."

In excerpts released by CBS, Obama also says:

I have no interest in having a bill get passed that fails. That doesn't work. I intend to be president for a while, and once this bill passes, I own it.

Here's the video:

Obama: Losing Insurance Can Happen To Anybody In this week's YouTube address, President Obama warned that losing health insurance is something that can happen to anybody -- and according to a new report from the Treasury Department, it will happen to half of all Americans under 65, unless something is done about it:

"If you're under the age of 21 today, chances are more than half that you'll find yourself uninsured at some point in that time. And more than one-third of Americans will go without coverage for longer than one year," said Obama. "I refuse to allow that future to happen. In the United States of America, no one should have to worry that they'll go without health insurance - not for one year, not for one month, not for one day. And once I sign my health reform plan into law - they won't." Cornyn: Instead of More Speeches, Obama Should Listen To Republicans In this week's Republican address, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) praised President Obama for taking a bipartisan approach to the Afghanistan War -- and attacked Obama's health care proposals:

"He's paid lip service to bipartisanship while rejecting the ideas that would build bipartisan support," said Cornyn. "As a result, the President has alienated not only independents and divided his own party, but Republicans as well. And, he's ignored the clear wishes of the American people. So the President gave another big speech this week to try to turn his numbers around. But instead of talking, the President and Congressional Democrats should spend a little more time listening."

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Mourners gather near Ground Zero in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2009, to mark the eighth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. Construction recently started on the site's new office towers and memorial.

Newscom/Jason Reed/Reuters/MCT

Marta Waisman holds a picture of her daughter, Gabriela Waisman, at the rainy ceremony in New York.

Newscom/UPI/Chris Hondros

Newscom/UPI/Chris Hondros

The reflecting pool at the World Trade Center, filled with mourners' flowers.

Newscom/UPI/Chang W. Lee

The president and first lady, along with the entire White House staff, observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn at 8:46 a.m., the moment the first plane crashed.

Newscom/UPI/Gary Fabiano

The Obamas greet family members of the victims after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon.

Newscom/UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

The memorial benches behind the Pentagon.

Newscom/UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

Commemorating the passengers of United Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa.

Newscom/UPI/Archie Carpenter

Firefighters bear the American flag during the ceremony at Ground Zero.

Newscom/UPI/Chris Hondros

Biden and Bloomberg place flowers in the reflecting pool near Ground Zero.

Official White House Photo by David Lieneman

The Vice President receives an American flag after finishing his speech. He read the poem "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver. "Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine/ Meanwhile the world goes on/Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain/ are moving across the landscapes."

Official White House Photo by David Lieneman

The Congress marked its remembrance of 9/11 on Sept. 9, 2009.

Newscom/ CQ Photos

Iraq War veteran Rob Miller, the Democratic candidate against Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), has officially passed the $1 million mark in fundraising in the time since Wilson's "You lie!" outburst during President Obama's speech to Congress.

The Miller campaign has just made the announcement of his big haul, which came from over 25,000 individual contributors. "We will put this generous support to work to restore common-sense leadership to Washington, create jobs, and stand up for men and women in uniform," Miller said in the press release. "If there was ever a time to put bickering and name calling aside and be part of the solution, it's now."

Wilson defeated Miller in 2008 by a margin of 54%-46%, which was much closer than Wilson's previous races. A new poll has given Miller a one-point edge in the wake of the "You lie" incident, with 44% to Wilson's 43%.

Still, it's a long time between now and November 2010, and Wilson should probably be able to take in quite a bit of cash himself. It's going to be a fun race!

Late Update: The NRCC announced today that Wilson himself has raised over $700,000. So there's definitely a market out there for "You lie!"

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has just announced that he will not run in the special election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

"I believe that my leadership positions and seniority in the House allow me to accomplish more for my Congressional District and for Massachusetts," Markey said in a statement. "I have therefore decided not to become a candidate for the Senate."

State Attorney General Martha Coakley is officially in the race, and Reps. Stephen Lynch and Michael Capuano have taken out nomination papers and are expected to launch their campaigns. A recent poll gave Coakley a big lead. The Democratic primary will be held in three months, on December 8.

Newt Gingrich's 527 group sent a letter to porn exec Allison Vivas Wednesday telling her she'd won their "Entrepreneur of the Year" award and inviting her to an "intimate event" with Gingrich.

"I'm honored, and more than a little surprised, to receive this prestigious award," Vivas said today in a cheeky press release. "Rest assured, I'll take the opportunity to inform Mr. Gingrich of some of the major challenges facing the adult entertainment industry in the current market .., from obscenity prosecutions to content piracy, I'll make sure he walks away from that dinner educated about the realities of the online porn market."

The statement made the rounds, and now Media Matters reports that the group's spokesman sent a short statement clearing things up: "We have notified Allison Vivas that the notice she received was sent by mistake. We regret the error."

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