On MSNBC this afternoon, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) once again trotted out the possibility that Democrats will pass health care reforms through the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process if Republicans try to extract too many concessions from the bill.
"We are making concessions," Schumer said. "But there's a limit."
"I wouldn't take anything off the table," he added.
It's the second time in a week that Schumer--who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, and who was a Finance Committee point man on the public option before being closed out of negotiations--has floated the idea. President Obama did the same this week, and though it's unclear whether the messages are co-ordinated, the two are meeting, at Schumer's request, tonight.
Based on the news that health care events are edging into violence, an anti-health care reform protester in New Mexico named Scott Oskay is calling on his hundreds of online followers to bring firearms to town halls, and to 'badly hurt' SEIU and ACORN counter protesters.
Popularized in part by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, the hashtag symbol he's using, #iamthemob, has gone viral on twitter, appearing several times a minute according to a recent search.
Anti-reform activists have scheduled a protest outside SEIU Missouri offices tomorrow, and officials there are taking these threats seriously.
Late update: Looks like they're also getting death threats by phone.
Hours after the Labor Department said unemployment dropped for the first time since 2008, President Obama said, "The worst may be behind us."
"As we begin to put an end to this recession, we have to think about what comes next," he said. The U.S. "can't go back" to the greed and irresponsibility of the old economy, he said, but needs "a new foundation."
Obama's tone was hopeful, yet stern, saying there is still a "steep mountain" to climb.
"We will not have a true recovery as long as we're losing jobs," he said. "And we won't rest until every American looking for work has a job."
Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, the insurgent conservative Republican candidate for Senate in the GOP primary against moderate Gov. Charlie Crist, has issued his demands to Crist regarding the new Senate vacancy:
"As Governor Crist considers who he will appoint as Florida's next U.S. senator, I urge him to take great care in his selection. Florida deserves an interim senator who will go to Washington and serve as a true check on President Obama's push for more wasteful government spending, government-run health care and cap-and-trade. The last thing Florida needs is a U.S. senator that will stand with President Obama instead of challenging the wrong direction he is leading our country and offering constructive conservative solutions moving forward.
Though Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tells a different story, Democratic Congressional aides say members have been briefed on how to respond if their public events are disrupted by angry protesters. Some members have been given a sheet with guidance on how to handle the situation, should the need arise.
And the Associated Pressreports that "White House aides distributed briefing materials explaining to senators the points Obama is stressing, as well as how to answer commonly asked questions,"
I guess we'll know soon enough how effective these 'best practices' are when the tea bags hit the fan. But it's yet another sign that Democrats take the threat--mainly rhetorical but also physical--seriously.
Nancy Snyderman, host of MSNBC's Dr. Nancy, today repeated a day-old GOP talking point accusing the Obama administration of compiling an "enemies list" of health care reform opponents.
"There have been some rumors this morning that the White House is in fact collecting names, which certainly hearkens back to the Nixon era of having an enemies list. Has the White House responded?" she asked an MSNBC reporter, Mike Viqueira.
The White House, of course, responded yesterday when Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, very clearly, ""Nobody is collecting names."
Viqueira corrected his colleague for the most part, but said some people were worried about the "Orwellian overtones" of a new White House strategy for fighting health care reform opponents.
The meme started when Linda Douglass, the communications director for the Health Care Reform office, appeared in a video asking people to flag misinformation on health care to a White House email address.
Sen. John Cornyn took issue with that request and wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to stop the flagging program. "Citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights," he wrote.
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), whose town hall event last night was disrupted by demonstrators organized through Glenn Beck's 912 Project, will be holding another discussion with her constituents on August 13 -- only this time, it will be a telephone town hall, the Tampa Bay Tribunereports.
At her meeting last night, Castor left after only 15 minutes, because she was unable to get a word in edgewise over the shouts of "Tyranny," "You work for us," and other such objections. Fights broke out, though nobody was arrested.
Castor told the paper that she will hold the meeting in this alternative format because she'll be able to reach more people.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has sent out a fundraising e-mail to its supporters, seeking to bring in money as a reaction to the Tea Party protests that have disrupted Democrats' town hall meetings.
The e-mail links to this Web video, attacking three villains Michael Steele, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck for being behind this:
"We must stand against this tiny, vocal minority," the e-mail says. "The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has set a goal to raise $50,000 online by Friday, Aug. 14." (Emphasis theirs.)
During the course of the last week, you may have wondered why anti-health care reform activists are so riled up--what buttons are being pushed by the people encouraging the town hall disruptions.
Well, here's video footage of a Patients First bus tour event in Pueblo, CO, that shines some light on that.
Patients First is a project of Americans for Prosperity--one of the key conservative interests groups helping to organize the town hall protests we've been covering. The speaker repeats the debunked conservative canard that Democratic health care reform will mandate physician assisted suicide. "Adolf Hitler issued six million end of life orders--he called his program the final solution. I kind of wonder what we're going to call ours."
And after comparing Democratic health care reform efforts to the murderous regimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, the speaker advises his audience to "go to offices of members of Congress and put the fear of god in them."