TPM News

A new Rasmussen poll finds that Curt Schilling could have a tough time if he were to run in the special election in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

Only 26% of likely voters think Schilling should run, compared to 53% who say he should not. Only 34% of voters say it is either somewhat or very likely that they would vote him, compared to 54% who say it is not very or not at all likely. Only 25% said Schilling is qualified to serve in the Senate, while 46% say he is not.

Schilling is thinking of getting into the race, running as a Republican in this very Democratic state. Clearly, he would have a tough hill to climb.

Vice President Biden claimed today that the president has a "clear majority" of support for health care reform in both houses of Congress, with or without the GOP.

"I don't know whether he got the Republicans" during his speech to Congress yesterday, Biden said on Good Morning America, but "I'm confident he has a clear majority of the House and the Senate for reform."

On the one hand, this seems like a no-brainer -- President Obama likely didn't sway many Republicans with his address, but the Democrats do have a majority.

But Biden may also be signaling that it doesn't matter whether the president is able to get any Republicans to support his reform plans, because he already has the votes he needs.

Hmmmm.....

The New Mexico Independent reports:

Gov. Bill Richardson, his chief of staff Brian Condit, budget secretary Katherine Miller and security officers were gone within minutes from the scene of an accident Saturday in which a houseboat was sideswiped and another was smashed into at Elephant Butte State Park, according to an eyewitness.

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The money keeps rolling in for Rob Miller, the Iraq War veteran and Democratic candidate against Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).

The DCCC tells me that in the time since Wilson yelled "You lie!" during President Obama's speech last night, Miller has now taken in $200,000, from 5,000 contributors.

Late Update: As of 2 p.m. ET, Miller has now taken in $350,000, from 10,000 individual contributions, the DCCC tells me.

Late Update: As of 2:42 p.m. ET, Miller has now taken in over $400,000, from 11,000 contributors.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said she was pleased with Obama talking last night about "handcuffing the public option" in an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe today. Watch the video below.

"He talked about handcuffing the public option, which is essential...for a moderate like me," she said. "Without handcuffing it, it could morph into a comprehensive government plan, which I think most moderates can't support."



Read what McCaskill had to say on Rep. Joe Wilson after the jump.

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Last night, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) issued an apology -- "I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President's remarks" -- and called the White House after heckling Obama during his nationally televised health care speech.

That's the first time most Americans heard of Congressman Wilson, but it's not, it turns out, the first time Wilson's emotions got the best of him and he was forced to apologize.

Flashback to mid-December 2003, when Essie Mae Washington-Williams came forward with the bombshell that she was the illegitimate daughter of the recently-deceased patriarch of South Carolina politics, Sen. Strom Thurmond.

Rep. Wilson, a former page of Thurmond's, immediately told The State newspaper that he didn't believe Williams. He deemed the revelation "unseemly." And he added that even if she was telling the truth, she should have kept the inconvenient facts to herself:

"It's a smear on the image that [Thurmond] has as a person of high integrity who has been so loyal to the people of South Carolina," Wilson said.

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Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) just tweeted that Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) apology for heckling the president Wednesday isn't enough -- the congressman should be reprimanded.

"Rep. Wilson apologized immediately afterward but I don't think that's adequate," he wrote. "There ought to be a reprimand or censure of Rep. Joe Wilson to discourage that kind of conduct in the future."

Wilson yelled, "You lie!" during President Obama's address to Congress, after Obama said public insurance wouldn't be provided to illegal immigrants. Wilson apologized soon after the speech.

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:

• 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.

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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."

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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."

Watch the video after the jump.

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