TPM News

Speaking before what was described as a friendly crowd at the Monroe Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Sen. Mary Landrieu said she was opposed to much of the Democrats' legislative agenda.

Asked under what circumstances she would support a public option, Landrieu responded, "[v]ery few, if any. I'd prefer a private market-based approach to any health care reform that would extend coverage," according to the Monroe News Star.

"I'd like to cover everyone -- that would be the moral thing to do -- but it would be immoral to bankrupt the country while doing so," Landrieu said. The public option as currently conceived is expected to be a deficit reducer.

Read More →

Push Builds To Quickly Fill Kennedy's Seat The New York Times reports that Democrats are quickly stepping up efforts to change Massachusetts law so that Ted Kennedy's Senate seat can be filled by an interim appointment. Said state Rep. Michael Moran, chairman of the election rules committee: "Ted Kennedy was one of the most impressive senators we've ever had, and to have him write a letter just prior to his death saying this is something Massachusetts needs -- how do you not take that seriously and give your position another look?"

Palin Supports Glenn Beck Sarah Palin posted a note to her Facebook page yesterday, supporting Glenn Beck. "FOX News' Glenn Beck is doing an extraordinary job this week walking America behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and outlining who is actually running the White House," wrote Palin. "Monday night he asked us to invite one friend to watch; tonight I invite all my friends to watch."

Read More →

The Topeka Capitol-Journal reports that freshman Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) told a town hall meeting a week ago that the GOP still had to find a "great white hope."

"Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope," said Jenkins. "I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington." As examples, Jenkins mentioned Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Read More →

The mud-slinging continues between the two gubernatorial campaigns in New Jersey.

The campaigns of Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie had an amusing back and forth over the newly-revealed 2005 traffic incident by Christie, in which he was pulled over for speeding and driving an unregistered, uninsured car. The Christie campaign confirmed to the local press that his then-job as a U.S. attorney was discussed during the traffic stop, though Christie does not recall how it was brought up.

Christie spokesperson Maria Comella gave this statement to the Star-Ledger: "Before the Corzine campaign wastes any more of the governor's Wall Street millions on opposition research, we're going to let them know Kim [Christie's running mate, Kim Guadagno] received a ticket in 2007 for driving while on a cell phone and Chris got detention in the 9th grade for too much talking in class."

In response, Corzine spokesperson Lis Smith gave this to TPM -- an open accusation that Christie abused his office during the traffic stop: "They may think it's funny, but a federal prosecutor using their power to pressure local law enforcement into giving them preferential treatment is no laughing matter. In fact, several public officials in New Jersey have been forced to resign over the very same thing. At the end of the day, it is more and more evident that Christie has always had one set of rules for himself and another for everyone else."

Read More →

Ever since he supported then-candidate Obama during the 2008 presidential election, Ted Kennedy has been a crucial ally to the president. Here, President Obama and Ted Kennedy share a laugh during a national service event in Washington in April 2009.

White House photo / Lawrence Jackson

Kennedy addresses members of Congress at a White House health care summit.

White House photo / Pete Souza

Kennedy sits with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) during a health care summit at the White House.

White House photo / Pete Souza

Ted Kennedy with President Obama in April 2009.

White House photo / Pete Souza

Obama and Kennedy have a private conversation in the East Room of the White House.

White House photo / Pete Souza

President Obama meets with former President Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office.

White House photo / Chuck Kennedy

President Obama assists Ted Kennedy into the White House's East Room to attend a health care summit with members of Congress on March 5, 2009.

White House photo / Pete Souza

Kennedy and his wife Vicki wave to the audience during "Some Enchanted Evening: A Musical Birthday Salute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy" at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on March 8, 2009. (It was a belated celebration; Kennedy's 77th birthday was on February 22.)

White House photo / Joyce Boghosian

President Obama presents the 2009 Medal of Freedom to Ted Kennedy's daughter Kara, on his behalf. The ailing senator was too sick to attend the August 16 ceremony.

White House photo / Chuck Kennedy

Obama and Kennedy walk through the South Lawn of the White House in April 2009.

White House photo / Pete Souza

The official funeral arrangements for Sen. Ted Kennedy, as reported by the New York Times:

Thursday, Aug. 27: Kennedy's body will be taken, via motorcade, from his family's home in Hyannisport to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library outside Boston. His body will lie in repose at the library.

Friday, Aug. 28: His body will lie in repose at the library, for public viewing, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time.

A memorial service will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Vice President Biden and Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ), among others, will speak.

Saturday, Aug. 29: A funeral Mass will be held in the morning at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston. President Obama will reportedly speak at the Mass.

Kennedy's body will then be taken by plane to Arlington National Cemetery, and the burial will take place at 5 p.m.

The Mass and burial are closed to the public.

In lieu of flowers, the Kennedy family has asked that donations be made to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate. The family has also set up a web site,, for sharing public memories.

Speaking before 500 Wyomingites in Gillette last night, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) took flack from colleagues and voters for participating in bipartisan health care reform negotiations on the Senate Finance Committee...and quickly gave up the game.

"If I hadn't been involved in this process as long as I have and to the depth as I have, you would already have national health care," he said. "It's not where I get them to compromise, it's what I get them to leave out."

State Rep. Timothy Hallinan called for Enzi to ditch the so-called "Gang of Six" talks.

Read More →

It's been obscured, understandably, by the Kennedy news. But the story of Chris Christie's ill-advised loan to a subordinate is only getting more interesting -- and something tells us there could be another shoe to drop.

To refresh: Christie, a Republican, currently leads Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the New Jersey governor's race. And he's made his zeal as a corruption-fighter a cornerstone of his campaign. But last week, the state's public television network reported that Christie had made a $46,000 loan to an assistant U.S. attorney, Michele Brown. The loan -- given at 5.5 percent interest and secured by a second mortgage on Brown's house -- was made in 2007, while Christie was serving as U.S. attorney, and was Brown's boss. It hardly helped that Christie was forced to admit he hadn't included the loan in his income tax returns or on his financial disclosure reports. (See the mortgage document here -- interestingly, it was duly filed with the Morris County Clerk's office.)

Read More →

Chris Christie, the former U.S. Attorney and current Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey, now has another public flap to deal with. New Jersey 101.5 FM radio reports that Christie was ticketed for traffic violations in 2005 -- and the story gets a bit murky from here.

Christie was pulled over for speeding, and turned out to be driving an unregistered and uninsured car. He was cited for all three violations. The tickets were marked "NO DEAL," a disclaimer reportedly used by police when they feel that a driver's behavior merits not going easy on them. Christie later paid a fine, and the unregistered vehicle offense was dismissed. The Lambertville municipal court's office has also confirmed the authenticity of the tickets to TPM.

According to the radio station report, a Christie spokesman (who is not named by the station) said Christie was accompanied by his wife and children, as well as Michele Brown -- the now-former aide who yesterday resigned her post amidst the scandal over the undisclosed $46,000 loan she'd received from Christie in 2007.

Read More →

Though Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) lost the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee late last year, he never lost the respect of his colleagues in the House. He was given the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus, and as a lifelong advocate of health care reform, House leaders had planned to ceremoniously name health care reform legislation after him.

With the news of Ted Kennedy's death, though, he says that's an accolade he'd be happy to share. "I want a bill," Dingell insisted to me. "I don't care who it's named after. I have great respect for Teddy I would share any honor I get with him and do so happily."

"You don't count your chickens before they hatch," Dingell warned, "and we have to do a bill before we name it after anybody."

This morning, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV)--the Senate's longest serving member--called for health care reform legislation to bear Kennedy's name.

Read More →