Here are the additional major developments in the "Hot Mike" Duvall story, in which the married California GOP lawmaker and family values crusader resigned yesterday after a hot mic picked up his bragging to a colleague about his sexual encounters with two women -- one of whom is reportedly a lobbyist for an energy company before the committee of which he is vice chair:
â¢ Duvall's resignation will not stop lawmakers from investigating the matter, including whether Duvall traded votes or other influence on utilities issues for sex, according to Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Democrat. Indeed, one member of the ethics panel that will oversee the investigation told the Los Angeles Times that it could expand to look at other lawmakers' affairs with lobbyists.
Speaking to the American Nurses Association in the Eisenhower buiding this morning, President Obama reiterated much of what he said on health care last night before a joint session of Congress - while tailoring a lot of it for his audience.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again, I just love nurses," Obama said in his opening remarks. "I don't know what it is - I love nurses. Michelle knows about it."
He then adopted a more serious tone to address the new data released by the Census Bureau this morning, which shows that in the last year, both the poverty rate and the number of uninsured has risen.
"The reason I need nurses so badly is because now is the time to act and I will not allow reform to be postponed," Obama said. "We don't need more partisan distractions."
Vice President Biden reemphasized the administration's commitment to the principle of the public option this morning on NBC, but said the White House is prepared to listen to alternatives. Obama is "willing to sign a bill by whatever mechanism you call it, that guarantees that there is a choice for people that is affordable," he said.
Specifying that they are committed to "the underlying principle" of the public option, he said "[Obama] will not yield on the basic principle...if Americans cannot find affordable coverage, we'll provide you with the choice. If there's another way to do that, through a trigger as offered by one of our Republican colleagues...if you figure it out, that principle, he's prepared to listen to the congressional approach. He did not take anything off the table."
Biden also noted that the public option is competitive and would not be government-controlled, but rather privately run - "it would have to be paid for by its own premiums, just like the way insurance companies work. But if they have a better way to accomplish that principle, we're prepared to listen to it."
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)--Budget chairman, and member of the gang of Six--is a noted public option skeptic, and has always been on hand to pour cold water on House health care reform proposals, which, he says, fail to lower the growth in the cost of health care. But even he was impressed with last night's speech.
"I think the speech was very helpful because the President was very clear, he wants to reach across the party divide, to work together, to achieve a result that's critically important for the country," Conrad said. "You know really, here, failure is not an option."
Needless to say, winning the approval of both Ben Nelson AND Kent Conrad is no small feat.
Vice President Biden admonished Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) for his outburst at President Obama's speech last night and said he "embarrassed an institution I love." Speaking on The Today Show with Meredith Viera, he also said Wilson realized what he did and apologized, and "we accept the apology." Watch the video below.
Biden also said "the real message" to come out of the incident was the reaction of others: "John McCain and the Republican leadership - what did they do? They immediately stepped away from Joe's outburst. I think what you saw last night was the exception to the rule....I saw unity in the Congress in terms of the response to Joe Wilson's demeaning comment, not only to the President, but to an institution I love."
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) appeared on the Bill Press radio show this morning, and said that Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) written apology for having shouted "You lie!" at President Obama wasn't good enough.
Instead, Clyburn says Wilson should go to the well of the House -- the same place where he made the insult -- and give a public apology there.
"That's a cowardly way to do it," Clyburn said of the written statement. "He ought to man up and go down to the well of the House and say, I acted with a lack of decorum the last evening, and I apologize to the President of the United States, and I apologize to my colleagues in both bodies, and I apologize to the people of South Carolina for having done so.
Appearing on The Today Show this morning, Vice President Biden said he believes "we'll have a [health care] bill before Thanksgiving." Biden is making the rounds on cable television this morning, discussing his optimistic prospects for health reform following President Obama's speech last night.
Biden: Health Care Bill By Thanksgiving
Vice President Biden told ABC's Good Morning America that President Obama has "re-centered" the debate on health care, and that a bill will be passed soon. "I believe we will have a bill," said Biden. "I've been in the Congress for a very long time, eight presidents. I believe we will have a bill before Thanksgiving."
Obama's Day Ahead
President Obama will deliver remarks on health insurance reform at 10:15 a.m. ET, from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. He will meet with the Cabinet at 10:45 a.m. ET, and have lunch with Vice President Biden at 12:30 p.m. ET. At 1:45 p.m. ET, he will meet with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, with Sec. of State Hillary Clinton at 2:45 p.m. ET., and with Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner at 3:30 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, he will welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House. At 7:30 p.m. ET, he will chair a meeting with the Homeland Security Council on H1N1 preparations.
Last night, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) gave the Republican response to President Obama's address to Congress. Here is the transcript:
Rep. Charles Boustany: Good evening. I'm Dr. Charles Boustany, and I'm proud to serve the people of Louisiana's 7th congressional district. I'm also a heart surgeon, with more than 20 years of experience during which I saw firsthand the need for lowering health cost.
Republicans are pleased that President Obama came to the Capitol tonight. We agree much needs to be done to lower the cost of health care for all Americans.
On that goal, Republicans are ready, and we've been ready to work with the president for common-sense reforms that our nation can afford.
"Afford" is an important word. Our country's facing many challenges. The cost of health care is rising. Federal spending is soaring. We're piling huge debt on our children. And families and small businesses are struggling through a jobless recovery with more than 2.4 million private sector jobs lost since February.