TPM News

President Obama Wednesday will detail both the substance of his final health care reform legislation proposal and the process for getting it through Congress once and for all.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters during his daily briefing today that Obama will offer the pathway to final passage by outlining the "next steps." But Gibbs also dodged questions on specifics or how the president would help Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid secure enough votes in their chambers.

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Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) doesn't want to answer any questions about his continuing obstruction of legislation to extend unemployment and COBRA benefits to out of work Americans, and keep Medicare doctors fees from dropping significantly. But according to a producer for ABC News, he's so mad he's giving reporters the middle finger--literally.

Here's the video of the exchange that supposedly included the...unfriendly...gesture.

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Feb. 27, 2010: American speed skater Jonathan Tuck leads his heat at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver. Team USA won silver in the finals.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire




Feb. 28, 2010: Biathletes compete in the men's 4 x 7.5 kilometer relay in Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Belousov




February 17, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Shaun White during his finals run. White won gold in a record-breaking halfpipe performance.

Photo by Newscom/Daniel Mears




February 24, 2010: American skier Lindsey Vonn careens down the slope in the giant slalom. Vonn won gold in the downhill event.

Photo by Newscom/Franck Faugere/DPPI/Icon SMI




Feb. 28, 2010: Members of the United States hockey team after losing to Canada in a thrilling gold medal game.

Photo by Newscom/Qi Heng




February 22, 2010: Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the United States perform their free dance during the ice dancing finals. The American pair finished fourth.

Photo by Newscom/Luo Gengqian




February 26, 2010: American speed skater Apolo Ohno celebrates after the 500m short track -- before learning he'd been disqualified. Canada's Charles Hamelin won the event.

Photo by Newscom/zumasportswest




February 27, 2010: Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert preparing to tape his show from the Olympics

Photo by Newscom/R Chiang JKing/Splash News




February 22, 2010: Canadian Kyle Nissen launches a jump in the men's aerial final.

Photo by Newscom/R Chiang JKing/Splash News




February 27, 2010: The gold medal-winning USA men's bobsled team (from left): Curtis Tomasevicz, Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen and driver Steven Holcomb.

Photo by Newscom/Steve Ringman/Seattle Times/MCT




February 19, 2010: Australia's Emma Lincoln-Smith during the women's skeleton finals.

Photo by Newscom/Peter Blakeman/Actionplus




February 19, 2010: France's Raphael Mathieu, Jan Henri Ducroz and Tony Angiboust compete against the United States in the men's curling event.

Photo by Newscom/Harry E. Walker/MCT




February 15, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Seth Wescott takes a slim lead against Canada's Mike Robertson in the snowboard cross final. Wescott won gold in the event.

Photo by Newscom/Daniel Mears/Detroit News/PSG




February 16, 2010: American figure skater Johnny Weir competes in the men's short program at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire




February 23, 2010: Rosanna Crawford of Canada, Johnson Haley of the USA, and Weronika Nowakoska of Poland compete in the 4 x 6km relay biathlon.

Photo by Newscom/ptsphotoshot




February 17, 2010: Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin of the United States compete in the double luge.

Photo by Newscom/Sven Simon/Imago/Icon SMI




February 23, 2010: The women's ski cross event at Cypress Mountain, Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/Brian Peterson/zumawire




February 18, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Kelly Clark competes in the women's halfpipe. Clark won bronze in the event.

Photo by Newscom/Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/MCT




February 25, 2010: Team USA skier Johnny Spillane makes the second-longest jump on the large hill during the men's nordic combined event.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire




February 28, 2010: The closing ceremony.

Photo by Newscom/Imago/Action Plus

California state Rep. Chuck DeVore, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Senate, has a fun online activity going on today: Asking visitors to go a special Web site and hunt the demon sheep!

The site is a takeoff on an infamous Web video that was put out a month ago by the campaign of his Republican rival Carly Fiorina, who was attacking the third candidate in the race, former Rep. Tom Campbell, as a "fiscal conservative in name only." The video depicted Campbell as some sort of monstrous creature with glowing red eyes -- perhaps a wolf, perhaps a demon -- in sheep's clothing.

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Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is already infamous for blocking a temporary extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for out of work Americans. But included in that package is legislation to prevent a mandatory pay cut for doctors--and by standing in its way, he's triggered a 21 percent fee reduction to doctors seeing Medicare patients starting today.

Republicans say they support a temporary measure to avoid the cuts, but they have been unable to rein in Bunning, and, as such, the Senate has failed to act on a House bill that staves them off.

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A trio of Democratic lawmakers took to the phones this afternoon to call out Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) for his decision to block a month-long extension of federal transportation and highway funds, a move government officials say will leave thousands out of work for the foreseeable future (not to mention the thousands of doctors that will see their income drop.)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (SC) and DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen (MD) on the call. All three slammed Bunning for blocking the extension, but Van Hollen's take was a bit more nuanced. He began his comments to reporters by thanking Bunning for blocking the bill.

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Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) announced over the weekend that he will not run for the the Senate seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, and that he has endorsed Rep. Brad Ellsworth to be the new Democratic nominee.

"I believe my friend and colleague, Congressman Brad Ellsworth, is the right man to fulfill the task of ensuring a Democrat is elected to succeed Senator Bayh," Hill said in a statement.

As we have reported, the fact that nobody filed the petitions necessary to appear on the Democratic primary ballot -- Bayh announced his retirement the day before the signatures were due -- means that the state Democratic Party's central committee has the authority to name a new candidate. That meeting of the committee will come some time after the May 4 primary, and before a June 30 deadline.

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