TPM News

Via Dave Weigel, it looks like Tom Coburn (R-OK) has become the first senator to cast his lot with the group of House Republicans pursuing a campaign against the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Though not explicitly invoked in a new letter to the IRS, the effort stems from purported revelations in the book Muslim Mafia, whose author recently made -- then retracted -- a call for a "backlash" against Muslims in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings.

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A lobbyist working with the Chamber of Commerce says that if a planned study on the economic impact of health-care reform doesn't support the business community's agenda, he'd recommend burying it.

"If you're doing something like this you want it to be back up the position you've taken," Brian Worth of the International Electrical Contractors (IEC) told TPMmuckraker. If the report showed that reform wouldn't cause significant job losses, said Worth, "I would say sit on it, and don't release it."

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Attorney General Eric Holder just wrapped up his opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on the Justice Department. Here are his full remarks, as prepared for delivery and released by the Justice Department:

When I appeared before this committee in January for my confirmation hearing, I laid out several goals for my time as Attorney General: to protect the security of the American people, restore the integrity of the Department of Justice, reinvigorate the Department's traditional mission, and most of all, to make decisions based on the facts and the law, with no regard for politics. In my first oversight hearing in June, I described my early approach to these issues.

Five months later, we are deeply immersed in the challenges of the day, moving forward to make good on my promises to the committee and the president's promises to the American people.

First and foremost, we are working day and night to protect the American people. Due to the vigilance of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we have uncovered and averted a number of serious threats to domestic and international security. Recent arrests in New York, Chicago, Springfield, and Dallas, are evidence of our success in identifying nascent plots and stopping would-be attackers before they strike.

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The Save Darfur Coalition lashed out at President Obama today, claiming he is not doing enough to confront the human rights crisis still unfolding in Sudan. The group, one of the largest focused on protecting the victims of genocide in the region, say that Obama's decision not to raise the issue publicly during his trip to China suggests he is not willing to push for peace in the region.

"President Obama's public silence on Sudan in Beijing sent an unfortunate message to the Sudanese government and other key actors that he is not willing to lead publicly for peace in Sudan," Save Darfur president Jerry Fowler said in a statement. "The Administration's new Sudan strategy cannot succeed without vigorous multilateral leadership that starts with the President. Tacking Sudan on to a laundry list of items behind closed doors is not that kind of leadership."

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In an interview with CNN, President Obama said he "probably won't" read Sarah Palin's new book, Going Rogue, explaining that "I don't get a chance to read much other than briefing books these days anyway." He then said that he expects the book to do well, and that Palin has "excited a lot of people" in the Republican Party.

Watch the full clip here:

In his opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning, Attorney General Eric Holder responded to criticisms about his decision to bring five terror suspects, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Opponents of the decision have said a civilian trial will give Mohammed a platform to spew jihadist rhetoric.

"I'm not scared of what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has to say at trial," Holder said. "And no one else needs to be afraid either."

"I have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is," Holder said.

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A new poll of Minnesota by St. Cloud State University finds that Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential Republican candidate for president in 2012, would lose his Democratic-leaning home state to President Obama if the election were held today.

The numbers: Obama 49%, Pawlenty 40%, with a ±5% margin of error.

In 2008, Obama beat John McCain in Minnesota by 54%-44%. As the Star-Tribune notes, Pawlenty received less than 50% of the vote in each of his two elections as governor. He won 44% of the vote in a three-way race in 2002, and in 2006 he narrowly edged out his Democratic opponent by a 47%-46% margin.

On Hannity last night, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she's "all for" profiling Muslims if it saves "innocent American lives."

Speaking about the Fort Hood shooting, she said there were "massive warning flags that were missed all over the place" because of a "fear of being politically incorrect."

"Profiling" the alleged shooter, she said, would have meant investigating the "simple things, like looking at his business card that had the secret code word for who it actually was" he was working for.


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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will unveil and discuss his health care bill to Democrats at a special 5 pm caucus meeting tonight, leadership sources say. Reid hopes to brief the caucus before the bill is publicly unveiled, and that could happen late tonight. A CBO analysis of that legislation is expected to be unveiled publicly somewhat earlier in the day, and despite some last minute road bumps, Reid is very pleased with the report.

Reid may give the public 72 hours to review the bill before holding a cloture vote on a motion to proceed this weekend, though he may call for that vote slightly earlier.

Republicans, led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) are expected to call for the entire bill to be read aloud before debate can begin in earnest after the Senate returns from a week-long Thanksgiving recess at the end of the month.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow picked up our report -- with credit -- on the C Street house losing its tax exempt status last night.

She tied residents of the Christian house to the effort to stop health-care reform, and interviewed Jeff Sharlet, the author of a book on the shadowy religious group that owns the house.

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