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Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), chairman of the powerful Rules Committee, wrote in a CNN op-ed today that the health care bill should be scrapped entirely.

"The Senate health care bill is not worthy of the historic vote that the House took a month ago," Slaughter wrote.

She listed her problems with the Senate bill: an individual mandate, no public option, no antitrust exemption and the Nelson abortion language, among other things.

"Supporters of the weak Senate bill say "just pass it -- any bill is better than no bill. I strongly disagree," she wrote. "It's time that we draw the line on this weak bill and ask the Senate to go back to the drawing board. The American people deserve at least that."

(H/T The Hill)

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It's a classic story of you-don't-scratch-my-back-I-don't-scratch-yours: According to the developing narrative of yesterday's decision by the Diaz-Balart brothers to withdraw their endorsement of Gov. Charlie Crist for Senate, the southern Florida representatives were miffed that Crist didn't appoint who they wanted for a state judgeship.

Crist claims he never saw a letter from Lincoln Diaz-Balart calling on him to nominate a friend of Diaz-Balart's son to the Gasden County bench. In October, Crist appointed someone else. Though no one is admitting directly that the political slight is what caused the brothers, important backers for the embattled Crist, local political reporters report all signs point to the judicial nomination as the moment things went sour.

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Governor Howard Dean raised the ire of the White House and Democratic leaders last week when he publicly denounced the Senate health care bill, and urged liberal members to kill it. Dean's influence with progressive reformers goes without saying, so members weren't shy about dismissing his proclamation.

But he seems to have changed his tune.

Here he is on the Rachel Maddow show last night.

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Sarah Palin's war on the media continues?

The woman who once called on the press to "quit makin' things up" took it a step further yesterday by allegedly banning four members of the media from a book event in Wasilla, Alaska.

On a four-person "banned list" -- yes, that term was actually used by police -- were a blogger, a videographer, a local radio host, and another person who hasn't been identified. TPMmuckraker reached two of the four by phone in Alaska this morning. Here's what happened.

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Some new numbers by Public Policy Polling (D) have some bad news and good news for former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), if he decides to run for governor in 2010: Even the state's most Republican Congressional district, which is represented by Michele Bachmann, doesn't actually like him -- but they'd still vote for him against a Democrat.

Coleman's favorable rating here is only 41%, with a 42% unfavorable rating and a margin of error of ±3.7%. However, in gubernatorial general election match-ups Coleman leads Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak by 49%-36%, and he leads former Sen. Mark Dayton by 50%-36%.

Intuitively, you would think that Coleman might benefit from a certain "we was robbed" mentality with the party base, after his disputed re-election defeat by Democrat Al Franken. But in a district that John McCain carried by 53%-45%, and which also views its fiery conservative Congresswoman quite favorably, Norm's ratings are pretty lackluster.

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In November, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed a health care bill by almost the slimmest of margins. The final vote was 220-215. One Republican--Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA)--voted with 219 Democrats to pass the bill.

Pelosi probably could have forced a wider victory, but freed up vulnerable members to vote against the bill for political reasons. Next year, though, her caucus will be faced with a fairly different, less progressive bill--something modeled on the Senate's health care package--and she'll likely have to draw on a marginally different coalition of members.

On the left, Pelosi could lose some progressives, miffed about the demise of the public option, and unhappy with the abortion language in both bills. On that score, she could lose a number of resolutely pro-choice Democrats. Cautioning that the abortion language in the conference report hasn't been finalized yet, and that nobody's committed to vote one way or another, one keyed in aide said members like Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jane Harman (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) have grave concerns about both the House and Senate bills' abortion provisions.

Of course, with 218 members needed to pass a bill, and 219 Democrats voting 'aye' the first time around, Pelosi faces a nearly zero-sum game. If she encounters defections from her progressive wing, she'll have to make up those votes among conservative-voting freshmen, sophomore, and Blue Dog members, who opposed the House bill the first time around.

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