TPM News

Palin To Media: Honor Our Troops -- Stop Making Things Up About Me In her farewell address yesterday, former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) gave this memorable statement about the media -- essentially declaring that her critics don't respect our troops. "Democracy depends on you. That is why our troops are willing to die for you," said Palin. "So how about in honor of the American soldier, ya' quit makin' things up?"

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will attend the U.S./China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, at 9:30 a.m. ET. At 2 p.m. ET, he will meet with FIFA President Joseph Blatter. At 2:45 p.m. ET, he will welcome the WNBA Champions Detroit Shock to the White House. At 7 p.m. ET, the President and First Lady will host a reception for ambassadors.

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Sarah Palin Resigning Governorship Today Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) will officially resign today, at the governor's picnic in Fairbanks. The big question now: What's next for her in politics? "I cannot express enough there is no plan after July 26. There is absolutely no plan," she told the Associated Press. "The decision (to quit) was made in the vacuum of what was best for Alaska, and now I'm accepting all the options, but there is nothing planned."

Axelrod: Obama Saw Gates Discussion "Veering Off In The Wrong Direction" Appearing on Face The Nation, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod explained President Obama's decision Friday to clarify his comments on the Henry Louis Gates arrest. "I think he understood that the debate was veering off in the wrong direction and as he said, that his words may have contributed to that," said Axelrod, "so he felt a responsibility to step forward and kind of cool the situation down and acknowledge the fact that he had, as he said, calibrated his words poorly and had contributed to that. So that is what he did and I think it has had the desired effect."

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Obama Takes On Health Care Detractors In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama said that the current health care proposals would help small businesses that are currently being crushed by the rising costs of health insurance. And he went beyond that, taking on his critics as being politically motivated:

"Some have even suggested that, regardless of its merits, health care reform should be stopped as a way to inflict political damage on my Administration.," said Obama, an apparent reference to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). "I'll leave it to them to explain that to the American people. What I'm concerned about is the damage that's being done right now to the health of our families, the success of our businesses, and the long-term fiscal stability of our government."

GOP Address: Dem Plan Will Force People Off Their Current Health Coverage In this week's Republican YouTube, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) attacked the Democrats' health care proposals, using the recent Congressional Budget Office reports as a main weapon:

"According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Democrats' proposal will drive health care costs higher than ever," said McMorris Rodgers. "The agency also warns that millions will be forced off their current coverage under the Democrats' plan, even though they continue making the discredited claim that if you like your plan, you can keep it."

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On July 11, President Obama traveled to Ghana, where he delivered an address hailing the nation's democratic progress. The White House recently released new photos from the trip. Here, the President prepares to give his speech at the International Conference Center in Accra.

Pete Souza / The White House

After speaking to the Parliament, Obama greets the crowd.

Pete Souza / The White House

Obama shakes hands following his speech to the Ghanian Parliament.

Pete Souza / The White House

President Obama and the First Lady visit a women's clinic at La General Hospital in Accra.

Pete Souza / The White House

Obama visits Ghana's Cape Coast Castle, which is located in a former slave port.

Pete Souza / The White House

The Obama family received a tour of the castle, where slaves were once loaded onto slave ships. Obama remarked that the compound reminded him of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Pete Souza / The White House

"I'll never forget the image of my two young daughters, the descendants of Africans and African-Americans, walking through those doors of no return but then walking back (through) those doors," Obama later said of his family's tour.

Pete Souza / The White House

Obama greets a man at Cape Coast Castle.

Pete Souza / The White House

A crowd gathers to see President Obama's return to a hotel in Accra after his trip to Cape Coast.

Pete Souza / The White House

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by daughters Malia and Sasha, participate in a departure ceremony at Ghana's Accra airport.

Pete Souza / The White House

Obama shakes hands at his departure ceremony.

Pete Souza / The White House

The President delivers a farewell address before leaving Ghana.

Pete Souza / The White House

Check out this new Web video from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), in which he he says we need to keep the F-22 fighter plane in order to deal with emerging international threats -- including India, which is an ally of the United States:

"It's important to our national security because we're not just fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," Cornyn says. "We're fighting -- we have graver threats and greater threats than that: From a rising India, with increased exercise of their military power; Russia; Iran, that's threatening to build a nuclear weapon; with North Korea, shooting intercontinental ballistic missiles, capable of hitting American soil."

The stuff about North Korea and Iran should be expected as a talking point about national security. But why is he including a country that is not in any way an enemy, with a military that does not pose a credible threat to the US in the first place?

(Via Joshua Kucera.)

TPMDC's update on the biggest initiatives on Capitol Hill.

  • Health Care: After a tumultuous day (and week) it seems as if the Energy and Commerce Committee will continue marking up health care legislation next week. Latest word is that chairman Henry Waxman says he expects to proceed Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

  • Appropriations: The House passed appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services. It will lift the ban on federal funding of needle exchange programs.

  • Defense Spending: By a vote of 87-7 the Senate passed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. Sens. Russel Feingold (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted with five conservatives against passage.

The fallout from David McKalip's racist email showing President Obama as a witch doctor continues.

A Florida newspaper reports that the prominent St. Petersburg neurosurgeon has said he'll step down from the influential post of delegate to the American Medical Association, saying "I think people will wonder if they can trust me."

The AMA position gave McKalip a role in shaping the national platform of the doctor's lobby. The AMA yesterday had issued a statement distancing itself from the email.

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It's often been observed that the essence of politics in the Bush-Cheney-Rove era was to attack your opponent over your own weaknesses, and to campaign on the opponent's own strengths -- for example, the 2004 Republican campaign attacked Vietnam War veteran John Kerry as a military coward, while campaigning on the bravery of an incumbent who got out of combat duty.

In that spirit, take a look at this new Web video from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), attacking his potential opponent Charlie Melancon, a Blue Dog Democratic Congressman, for raising money in Massachusetts. It's entitled "Liberal LuvFest":

And speaking of love-fests and people doling out cash...David Vitter was identified in 2007 as having slept with prostitutes, and admitted to an unspecified "serious sin."

(Via The Note.)

Here's the latest--though not to say final--word on the status of health care negotiations in the House. If you were wondering why the Energy and Commerce Committee would go live with a district-by-district analysis of the impact health care reform will have on its members, that's because it now looks like Waxman will not be fast-tracking the legislation by bypassing the panel altogether.

After several hours of chaos, it seems as if there's been something of a rapprochement between leaders and Blue Dogs and the mark-up process will continue next week. But as today's developments should make abundantly clear, with tensions this high anything can change.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has just released a district by district analysis for its members of the impacts of Democratic health care reform legislation. Here's what it says about the constituents of Mike Ross, the Blue Dog on the panel who's taken the lead in attacking the legislation.

Under the legislation, small businesses with 25 employees or less and average wages of less than $40,000 qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance. There are up to 12,500 small businesses in the district that could qualify for these credits....

Each year, 6,700 seniors in the district hit the donut hole and are forced to pay their full drug costs, despite having Part D drug coverage. The legislation would provide them with immediate relief, cutting brand name drug costs in the donut hole by 50%, and ultimately eliminate the donut hole.

There are 144,000 uninsured individuals in the district, 22% of the district. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationwide, 97% of all Americans will have insurance coverage when the bill takes effect. If this benchmark is reached in the district, 124,000 people who currently do not have health insurance will receive coverage.

You can read the report on Ross' district here, and the rest of the reports here.