TPM News

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will be making yet another out-of-state political trip -- this time to Iowa, the key first caucus state.

Bachmann has been invited Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a close ally, to be the keynote speaker at his annual Defenders of Freedom event on April 10, 2010.

"I am honored to have Michele come to western Iowa to share her brand of conservative leadership with us," King said in his press release. "Together Michele and I have led the charge in the U.S. House to fight the Obama/Pelosi/Reid health care nightmare. It was her idea that sparked our 'Declaration of Health Care Independence' and am proud to call her a friend, ally in the conservative cause, and fellow warrior in the culture war."

Pete Domenici, Jr., a son of former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and currently a candidate for governor of New Mexico, made a very amusing gaffe -- with his campaign seemingly bragging in advance about his great performance at the state Republican convention, only to crash and burn at the event itself.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Domenici's campaign mailed out a flier that arrived at some homes on Saturday, the same day the convention was taking place: "The 2010 Convention Was A Great Success! Thousands of Signatures Put Pete On The Ballot!" However, the convention turned out to not be quite a success -- Domenici scored less than five percent of the delegate vote, far short of the 20 percent needed to gain an automatic place on the primary ballot, and thus requiring him to gain ballot access through a petition drive.

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Republicans seem to think that stopping health care reform will improve their chances in the 2010 elections. At the same time, Democrats say that finally passing comprehensive reform will show the voters that they're the change party they promised they would be, boosting their chances at holding on to their majorities in the House and Senate.

But a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that both sides are wrong...and right. There doesn't seem to be clear a political win -- or loss -- for either side yet, though arguably opinion appears to be tilting slightly in favor of the Democrats.

Oh, and there's more: even after a year of slogging through the health care fight, most Americans still want reform -- and soon.

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After much hand wringing, the Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)--one of the House's most progressive members--has decided to support health care reform after long opposing it. Why did he change his mind?

Kucinich cited two main motivating factors in his decision: a hard sell by President Obama, and a belief that the legitimacy of his presidency might be on the line.

"I've had four separate meetings with the President," Kucinich said at his press conference this morning. "When the President of the United States wants to have a conversation with you, you take that seriously."

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The new national survey from Public Policy Polling (D) finds that the Republicans are ahead on the generic Congressional ballot -- and despite their greater unpopularity, they might actually be seen as the better party of change.

The numbers, among registered voters: Republicans 46%, Democrats 43%, with a ±2.6% margin of error. The approval rating for Congressional Democrats is only 31%, with 56% disapproval -- and it's even worse for Republicans at 23%-60%. In addition, support for President Obama's health care plan is at 45%, with 49% opposition.

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The House Judiciary Committee of Hawaii is considering a measure that would allow government officials to ignore information requests from people who don't believe President Obama was born in the United States (and thus not eligible to be president).

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New data shows groups fighting to sink health care reform legislation on Capitol Hill have spent about $5.5 million on television ads in the last 30 days, far outpacing pro-reform groups who have spent about $200,000 in the same time period.

Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis group which tracks ad spending, gave me the totals in an interview this morning as more reports from spending in local Congressional districts pore in to his office.

Campaign Media Analysis estimates that $28 million has been spent on health care television ads since Dec. 15. That figure is about equally split between opponents and proponents of the bills, but the numbers have grown increasingly lopsided in recent days. Tracey said that on Tuesday alone ad spending totaled about $750,000 with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is at the top of the heap, spending about $550,000 per day on ads opposing the bill.

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced this morning that he will in fact vote for the Senate health care bill. Kucinich's switch was a major pickup for Democrats who are clinging to a razor thin majority on health care reform and have been struggling to find the votes to get it passed.

"This is not the bill I wanted to support," Kucinich said. "However after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth and friends, I decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation."

Kucinich originally voted no on the House version of the bill last fall, citing concerns the legislation didn't go far enough to help struggling Americans. He repeatedly said he couldn't support the Senate bill before his announcement today.

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Fresh off a tense town hall with Muslim constituents last month, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) has blasted out a letter enthusiastically endorsing the group ACT! For America, and its leader, Brigitte Gabriel, who has made a number of extreme comments against Muslims.

ACT! For America's national conference and legislative briefing is scheduled for June in Washington, D.C. The group describes itself as "a collective voice for the democratic values of Western Civilization, such as the celebration of life and liberty, as opposed to the authoritarian values of Islamofascism, such as the celebration of death, terror and tyranny."

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