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Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) has reportedly decided that he will not run for Senate in 2010 against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, depriving the Republicans of what would have been a top recruit.

Polls have shown Reid with weak popularity ratings, but at the same time he's built up an impressive war chest, and the Republicans simply haven't been able to attract a solid candidate.

A group of Republicans have released a poll showing Reid losing to state GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden, but this does seem a bit suspicious -- it's part of a draft effort to get Lowden to actually become a candidate.

On the U.S. attorney firings, Congress has also released thousands of pages of White House and RNC emails and other documents pertaining to the firings.

Here are the White House documents. Here are the RNC documents.

At a town hall today in Hillsboro, Mo., Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) faced a rambunctious audience.

"I don't understand this rudeness. Do you think you're persuading people when you shout out like that?" she said when people tried to shout her down.

"I don't know what else I can do. If you want me to go home..." she said. An audience member yelled back, "Go home!" but McCaskill continued the meeting.

President Obama used today's town hall to try to counter the fear-mongering out there about the health care bill, by presenting an image of this instead being a calm and rational discussion.

Oh, and no death panels: "There are some things I've been hearing lately that we need to dispose of. The rumor that's been circulating around lately is, the House of Representatives somehow voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on Grandma 'cause we've decided it's too expensive to let her live anymore."

He pointed out that the provision for counseling on end-of-life arrangements was put there by a Republican Senator, Johnny Isakson of Georgia. As for the death panels: "I am not in favor of that. I want to clear the air here."

President Obama today addressed claims that, by asking people to flag misinformation about health care reform, his administration is compiling an "enemies list."

"Suddenly it's being portrayed in the media as 'Obama collecting an enemies list!' C'mon, guys. I'm trying to be responsive," he said during a town hall in Portsmouth, N.H. "All I'm trying to do is answer questions."

Lately, there's been an ongoing debate about the Tea Party groups that have been fighting health-care reform. Are these groups organic manifestations of popular discontent, or are they in fact controlled by corporate-funded Washington lobbying groups -- in particular, FreedomWorks, the small-government organization, founded by former GOP congressman Dick Armey, that's worked closely with the Tea Baggers since their inception?

Well, an excerpt from the Tea Baggers' own internal discussions, obtained by TPMmuckraker, sheds some light on that point -- and it points to the latter.

Read More →

President Obama just addressed the "death panel" meme at his town hall. He is not in favor of death panels.

There are some things I've been hearing lately that we need to dispose of. The rumor that's been circulating around lately is, the House of Representatives somehow voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on Grandma 'cause we've decided it's too expensive to let her live anymore.


Obama was responding to a little girl who asked about the protesters outside saying "mean things" about reform.

"This arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allows Medicare to reimburse people for consultations for end-of-life care," Obama said. "The irony is, that actually one of the chief sponsors of the bill [Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson] ... very sensibly thought this is something that would expand people's options, that got spun into this idea of death panels. I am not in favor of that. I want to clear the air here."

Here's a photo of that spraypainted swastika at Rep. David Scott's (D-GA) Smyrna district office, provided to us by his office:

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