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UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just filed for cloture on the motion to proceed to debate on his health care bill. That pretty much seals it. Unless conservative Democrats take a very public stand by voting "no," the bill unveiled yesterday will be the bill the Senate hashes out on the floor.

The Senate will be in session this Saturday evening, ahead of a scheduled 8 pm cloture vote on the motion to proceed to debate historic health care legislation, TPMDC has learned. Assuming Majority Leader Harry Reid has the 60 votes he needs to leap that hurdle, Democrats will likely have to eat up 30 hours before they can hold the actual vote--at a 51-vote threshold--on the motion to proceed itself. Still with me?

Doing some math, that means the bill won't be cleared for debate and amendments and so forth until, at the earliest, 2 am Monday morning. Even if that happens, the bill will likely have to be read aloud (another two day process) so we're still looking at debate in earnest after Thanksgiving recess.

And since nothing says Saturday night like Senate cloture votes on procedural motions, we'll bring you all the action live.

Novmeber 19: President Obama shows off his Taekwondo skills as South Korean President Lee Myung-bak looks on. The President was given an honorary Taekwondo belt by the South Korean government to mark his first visit to the country. Obama visted in South Korea as part of an 8-day trip to Asia.


Obama and Lee pass by the South Korean Honor Guard on their way to the presidential office in Seoul. Obama later calls the ceremony "the most spectacular ceremony for a state visit that we've been involved with as we've traveled."


Obama and the South Korean President shake hands before their summit.


Obama and Lee give a joint press conference after their talks.



The President walks with Kathleen Stephens, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, and Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. forces in Korea, before addressing troops at Osan Air Force Base.


Obama greets troops at the base.


In his remarks to the troops, Obama says: "We pledge to be there when you come home. I mean, it's nice here, but we want you coming home because you've always taken care of America, and America needs to take care of you."


The President also says in his remarks: "At every stop on my journey, one truth is clear: The security that allows families to live in peace in Asia and America, the prosperity that allows people to pursue their dreams, the freedoms and liberties that we cherish -- they're not accidents of history; they are the direct result of the work that you do, the strong alliances that we have."


Despite a lot of complaining by conservatives, the American people don't actually have any problem with President Obama bowing to the Emperor of Japan -- and that's according to the new Fox News poll.

Respondents were asked: "When the president of the United States is traveling overseas, do you think it is appropriate for him to bow to a foreign leader if that is the country's custom or is it never appropriate for the president to bow to another leader?"

The numbers: Appropriate 67%, Never appropriate 26%. Even a majority of Republican respondents were okay with the bow, by a 53%-40% margin. Democrats weigh in at 84%-9%, and independents 62%-30%.

It's very interesting that Fox actually gave the full context of the bow, telling respondents that it would be the country's custom. There's still no verdict, however, on Joe Biden bowing to Jon Stewart.

Bill McCollum, the likely GOP nominee in the Florida gubernatorial race, is calling on the Republican Governors Association to give back a $200,000 donation from accused fraudster attorney Scott Rothstein, whose political support has become a hot issue in the race.

The statement from McCollum, who is in Austin for the RGA conference this week, comes on the heels of a demand from the Democratic Governors Association that McCollum ask the RGA to give the money back.

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On the heels of a New York Times report that Rudy Giuliani won't be running for Governor of New York, the New York Daily News now reports that Rudy will instead run for Senate against appointed Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand -- and that if elected, he'll use it as a stepping stone to make another run for President!

The Daily News cites a source close to Rudy:

If elected, the source said, he would use that as a stepping stone to run for President in 2012 - and would not run for re-election to the Senate. A Giuliani spokeswoman downplayed the reports.

The New York Senate seat is up for a special election in 2010, due to the appointments of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Kirsten Gillibrand as Senator, but would then be up again for its regularly-scheduled election in 2012. Recent polls have actually given Rudy a lead over the lesser-known Gillibrand, though this would quickly be put to test in an actual campaign in a heavily Democratic state. For one thing, Rudy would face a lot of questioning about whether he's just using the Senate seat as a temporary stepping stone to the presidency.

Rudy's spokesperson downplayed the report: "When Mayor Giuliani makes a decision about serving in public office, he will inform New Yorkers on his own."

Late Update: Giuliani's spokeswoman is denying the story.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) better have a chat with his friends on the other side of the aisle.

At a press event this afternoon, Republicans lambasted the Senate health care bill for not adopting the language in the House's Stupak amendment, and reiterated their point that a vote to proceed to debate may as well be a vote for abortion.

"This first vote is the key vote," Nelson's Nebraska colleague, Sen. Mike Johanns, told reporters today.

That statehood camaraderie isn't likely to be lost on Nelson, who will soon have to decide whether to vote to allow the bill to proceed to debate. Nelson has gone to great lengths to distinguish this early procedural votes for more consequential votes down the line. But he says he still hasn't decided what his next move is, and isn't too pleased with the abortion provision in the Senate health care package.

House Minority Leader John Boehner's office has posted a long statement blasting the Senate health care plan, specifically targeting the abortion provisions with an accusation it levies an "abortion premium fee."

As we have been reporting, abortion has been a major negotiating point, though the Senate version of the health care bill seems to be winning approval from pro-choice lawmakers today.

Boehner (R-OH) claims on his blog that "a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan" under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan.

The GOP office says:

"It's right there beginning on line 11, page 122, section 1303, under 'Actuarial Value of Optional Service Coverage.' The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account - and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services. ... The Commissioner must charge at a minimum $1 per enrollee per month.

We've asked senate officials for a response and will update when we hear back.

After the jump, the language from page 122 (and more) of the bill related to abortion. Read the bill in full here.

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One of the authors of the Bush Justice Department's notorious memos approving torture has set up a legal defense fund to help pay anticipated lawyers' fees in connection with the episode.

A website for the Bybee Legal Defense Fund "explains how contributions may be made to help Judge Jay S. Bybee pay costs and expenses he is incurring or may incur in connection with claims, investigations or proceedings relating to his service as Assistant Attorney General for the Office Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice or his service on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit."

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