TPM News

Chris Christie appeared today on Morning Joe, where he got a great reception as he and the hosts slammed Democratic Jon Corzine's ads saying that Christie "threw his weight around" to get out of trouble in traffic violations.

"Listen, it's silly," said Christie. "But if you had Jon Corzine's record -- highest unemployment in 33 years, highest tax burden state in America, highest property taxes in America, I mean, you'd want to talk about anything but that. And so -- you know, but the great thing about it is they deny they're talking about my weight."

Jim Cramer, chimed in, slamming Corzine for attacking Christie as "a fat, sleazy guy with a corrupt family who's against mammograms."

Interestingly, this comes a week after Joe Scarborough attacked Christie for being afraid to come on the show. What did he have to worry about?

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said on CNN a few moments ago that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will have to be a magician to please everyone when he mergers multiple Senate committee health reform bills into one that'll reach the Senate floor.

"Now the task is to the majority leader," Nelson said. "He's almost got to be Houdini to put together a package that can get 60 votes."

Nelson also said he expects "some version of the public option" to be in the final bill, though he said it may hinge on Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

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Vice President Joe Biden will travel to St. Louis, MO, on Thursday "to discuss how Recovery Act investments are creating jobs and aiding law enforcement in keeping our communities safe," the White House announced. Biden will be joined Thursday afternoon by Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) at the St. Louis County Police and Fire Training Center, where they'll deliver remarks.

On Friday morning, Biden will travel to Reno, NV, where he'll appear with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) at the University of Nevada, Reno, "to discuss the progress of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," the White House announced.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has scheduled the first hearings for the climate change legislation that had been stalled on Capitol Hill.

Boxer (D-CA) said they will begin Oct. 27 and that President Obama's Cabinet secretaries will testify during three days of hearings.

She said her aim is to pass "strong clean energy jobs bill" and send it to the full Senate "as soon as possible," adding that her staff has sent a draft of the bill to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Secs. Steven Chu (Energy), Ken Salazar (Interior), Ray LaHood (Transportation) will be there Oct. 27, along with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"I am pleased to report we are continuing to expand support for our bill. Momentum for this effort is growing every day, and we are broadening and deepening our coalition with each step in the process," Boxer said.

Overnight, it seems the RNC started tweaking the new, which emerged yesterday as something of a fail for Michael Steele.

This morning, Steele's much-derided "What Up?" blog has undergone a name change, one of several changes at the site we'll be tracking throughout the day. Steele's posts can now be found at a chairman's blog called "Change The Game."

The RNC did not respond to questions about the changes this morning.

Late Update: Politco covers yesterday's controversy, and catches up with Steele. "Betas are about learning, and I promise that we are learning today," he said. "We never meant for the site to ever be complete. It will never be complete."

One of the key dynamics at yesterday's historic Senate Finance Committee hearing was the schism between Democrats and Republicans on the findings of a health insurance industry-designed analysis of the Baucus Bill. While Republicans were cautiously willing to accept the report, Democrats used it to highlight the need for true reform. And now, President Obama's grassroots political organization is attempting some similar jujitsu.

In a letter to members, Organizing for America describes the industry report as "a blatant scare tactic designed to frighten voters and bully Congress...Send a message urging Congress to stand with voters, not D.C. lobbyists, and pass real reform."

You can read the entire letter below the fold. Yesterday, Democratic senators were almost giddy that the unpopular industry had decided to take them on, predicting that the move would actually make reform more likely to pass. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) even predicted that the report had even improved the chances that the final bill will include a public option.

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Hillary Clinton Calls For Political Freedom In Russia Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at Moscow State University, calling for human rights and political freedom in Russia. "In an innovative society, people must be free to take unpopular positions, disagree with conventional wisdom, know they are safe to challenge abuses of authority," said Clinton. "That's why attacks on journalists and human rights defenders here in Russia is such a great concern: because it is a threat to progress."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet at 9:45 a.m. ET with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan. At 2:05 p.m. ET, he will join Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to tour the Fairfax County Parkway Extension construction site, and he will speak at 2:20 p.m. ET. AT 3:50 p.m. ET, he will sign an executive order restoring the White House Advisory Commission and Interagency Working Group, concerning the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. He will also observe the holiday of Diwali. At 7:10 p.m. ET, he will deliver remarks at an event celebrating the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) threw down the gauntlet on the public option for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last night. Appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show, Schumer essentially put the fate of the public option in Reid's hands -- saying that while the bill passed Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee doesn't include a public health insurance option, it's up to Reid to decide whether to include a public option in the bill that merges the Senate Finance Committee bill with the bills passed by others committees -- all of which do include a public option.

"Leader Reid has the option of putting it in the final bill," Schumer said of the public option. "If he puts it in the final bill, in the combined bill, then you would need 60 votes to remove it. And there clearly are not 60 votes against the public option. And so we're urging him to do that, and he's seriously considering it."

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The new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey further confirms that this race is going down to the wire, with Republican nominee Chris Christie ahead of Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine by just one point.

The numbers: Christie 41%, Corzine 40%, and independent Chris Daggett with 14%, with a ±2.8% margin of error. Two weeks ago, Christie had a lead of 43%-39%-12%.

The pollster's analysis finds that both candidates have become quite unpopular:

"People obviously are listening to the negative ads from both sides. Both Corzine and Christie get a split, at best, on the 'honesty' question," Carroll said.

"Corzine has failed to control the state budget, Christie ads proclaim. Voters agree. Christie is too vague on what he'd do as Governor, Corzine ads proclaim. Again, voters agree.

"The Corzine team obviously likes the mammogram attack on Christie. They keep running it. But New Jerseyans don't like it. 'Unfair,' they say, almost 2 - 1."