TPM News

The new ABC/Washington Post poll finds Democrats in a tricky the public divided on health care reform as it now stands -- but some internal numbers find potential for Democrats to break through, with no clear Republican alternatives in sight.

The poll found 48% of respondents in favor, and 49% against, the health care proposals current being developed by Congress and the Obama administration. In addition, opponents were more intense, with 39% strongly against and 10% only somewhat against, compared to 30% strongly in favor and 18% somewhat in favor.

In addition, 52% expect their own personal health care costs to increase if the bill is passed, and 56% expect the country's overall costs to increase.

However, respondents were also asked: "Do you think leaders of the Republican Party are mainly presenting alternatives to Obama's proposals, or mainly criticizing Obama's alternatives?" In this case, only 31% said the Republicans were presenting alternatives, with 61% saying they were mainly criticizing Obama.

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The Republican Governors Association got a $200,000 donation last year from Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein, who is being accused of a fraud worth as much as $1 billion. The RGA did not respond to requests for comment about the contribution, and it's not known whether the money has, or will be, returned.

Rothstein was until his fall a top donor and fundraiser for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is now locked in a hotly contested U.S. Senate primary with conservative Marco Rubio.

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White House aides traveling with President Obama on his trip abroad say his brief remarks on human rights and technology at the Shanghai town hall with Chinese students on Monday mark a key turning point in U.S.-China relations.

"I have never heard that kind of a discussion publicly in China before," Jeff Bader, senior director of the National Security Council for Asian Affairs, told reporters traveling with Obama in Beijing. "This was as direct a discussion on human rights as I've seen by any high-level visitor with the Chinese."

Bader said during private discussions with Chinese officials, Obama was "equally candid in describing human rights as a core, a fundamental, bedrock principle of U.S. foreign policy." He said Obama holds up the United Sates as an example while recognizing it remains an "unfinished project."

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Good Morning America aired an interview this morning between former Gov. Sarah Palin and Barbara Walters.

Palin, on a media tour promoting her memoir, which comes out today, spoke about 2012 speculation, President Obama and the negativity of the media.

Watch the highlights:

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Fox News is finally getting the Obama interview it's been waiting for.

Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett tweeted earlier today that he'll be interviewing President Obama Wednesday.

I will interview POTUS on camera Wed am here in Beijing. 4 other networks will too. 10 mins per. Many had asked. Can say now.

It'll be interesting to see if the ongoing war between the White House and Garrett's employer will come up...

Obama And Hu Vow Cooperation, But Produce Few Deals At their press appearance today, President Obama and Chinese President Hut Jintao promised greater cooperation between the two countries on issues such as climate change and nuclear disarmament. During their appearance, however, Hu pointedly called on Obama to reject protectionism -- the U.S. recently imposed tariffs on Chinese-made tires and steel pipes -- and Obama called on China to relax controls that keep their currency artificially weak on the world market.

Obama's Day In China President Obama participated in a welcome ceremony in Beijing at 9:45 a.m. local time (8:45 p.m. ET last night). He held a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao at 10 a.m., and an expanded meeting at 10:45 a.m. They made joint press statements at 12:15 p.m. Obama toured the Forbidden City at 1:20 p.m. He met with U.S. Embassy employees and their families at 2:55 p.m. He held a bilateral meeting with Chairman Wu Bangguo at 5:55 p.m., and attended a state dinner at 6:30 p.m.

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Last night, a number of Senate progressives, led by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), met with Majority Leader Harry Reid to make sure his eyes are still trained on the importance of a public option, and to game out a strategy for getting 60 votes to pass a health care bill with a public option on the floor.

According to sources, the meeting was meant to serve as a reminder to that progressives still feel very strongly about the importance of including a public option in the Senate's health care bill and that they've compromised enough.

Today, Reid expects to receive an analysis of his bill from CBO, which he'll circulate among members of his caucus. It should show that the cost of the bill is below $900 billion, and that it reduces the deficit in both the near and long term.

The AFL-CIO is heading to Congress this week to sell Democratic leaders on the union's new plan to "create or save" 2 million jobs over the next year. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will present the 5-point plan to a meeting of the Democratic caucus tonight before presenting it to the public at a speech in downtown Washington tomorrow morning.

TPMDC got an early look at the proposal this evening.

Essentially, the AFL-CIO plan calls for dramatically increasing the amount of government money spent on job creation efforts. Trumka will praise the stimulus package in his speech tomorrow, but will also criticize the government's economic recovery program for not spending enough on infrastructure repairs or encouraging loans to small businesses.

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