TPM News

President Obama completed his eighth meeting of the war council this afternoon without making a decision about how many more troops to send to Afghanistan.

The Situation Room meeting, held before Obama leaves for a more than week-long trip to Asia, ran from 2:30 to 4:50 p.m.

Administration officials continue to say Obama is considering his options as the Washington Post reports the top ambassador is unhappy with troop levels increasing.

Per the White House:

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I just spoke to Connie Mackey, president of the Family Research Council Action PAC, and she told me that if a conservative candidate were to emerge to run against Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in the 2012 Republican primary, FRC Action will back them.

"Well of course there is an audience that would love to see Olympia Snowe out of office, within the ranks of social conservatives, that's for certain," said Mackey.

A new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) found that a generic conservative challenger would lead the moderate Snowe in a Republican primary by a whopping 59%-31% margin.

"I think a couple years ago, we wouldn't have thought it was possible," said Mackey. "However, those numbers are interesting, and I think those numbers might just track the fact that a lot of Americans are waking up to the liberal policies, what they mean and how they're playing out. And it may be affecting her, with her votes for the stimulus, and breaking from her party. And we would like to see a conservative have a chance to remove her from office up there."

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Much like Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Sen. Ben Nelson, looks like the 39 Democrats voting against the House health care bill Saturday are getting squeezed from both sides.

We've been writing about all the left-leaning campaigns going after Democrats on health care, and plenty of efforts to hit Republicans as party of "no."

TPMDC has been chatting with Republicans who want to pick off vulnerable House Democrats in 2010 and they (not surprisingly) are pleased as punch by the internal warfare.

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Porn star Stormy Daniels, who is running for U.S. Senate in Louisiana against incumbent Republican David Vitter, said in an interview with Marie Claire that she would provide a contrast to the hypocrisy of the incumbent, a family-values politician who was implicated in a prostitution scandal.

Q: Why shoot for the Senate?

A: I was drafted by a group called Draft Stormy, a grassroots movement in Louisiana that wanted someone who was the polar opposite of current senator David Vitter. They figured I would be perfect because I am open and honest about my sexuality, unlike Vitter. I realized that this is my chance to make a difference, to do something unselfish, noble, and to help a lot of people.

Q: You're referring to Senator Vitter's link to a Washington, D.C. escort service . . .

A: I'm not one to judge someone's sexual activity, but what annoys me is that he's so hard-core "family values," and he puts his wife and kids out there, saying he's a Christian family man. Then he's caught up in a prostitution scandal. He's a hypocrite.


Daniels also said that her career won't be a problem. "It's actually starting to work in my favor," she said. "I have nothing to hide. A sex tape of me isn't going to pop up and shame me; there are 150 of them at the video store."

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A conservative author's call for a backlash against the "Muslim community" earlier this week was nothing more than an honest typing error, the editor of the Web site that interviewed Dave Gaubatz tells TPMmuckraker.

Gaubatz's statement -- "Now is the time for a professional and legal backlash against the Muslim community and their leaders" -- was scrubbed from the Web site of Family Security Matters after it was reported by TPMmuckraker. The phrase Muslim community was altered to read "Muslim Brotherhood."

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November 11: As Americans throughout the country gather to honor veterans and the fallen, President Obama commemorates the with remarks at Arlington National Cemetery: "To all of them -- to our veterans, to the fallen and to their families -- there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice."

Newscom/UPI/Kevin Dietsch




Obama and Brigadier General Karl Horst greet a visitor to Arlington National Cemetery after a Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. After his speech, Obama walked through Section 60, where many who died in Iraq and Afghanistan are laid to rest.

Newscom/UPI/Kevin Dietsch




American Legion Post 21 and Cub Scout Pack 134 hold a sunrise flag-raising ceremony at Juilliard Park in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Newscom/ZumaWire




John Padykula, 91, a Purple Heart recipient, sings ''God Bless America'' at a program at Bay Pines VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Newscom/ZumaWire




Retired Navy Seabee Hilrie Kemp, 72, waves a flag at a ceremony held at a community center in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Newscom/ZumaWire




East Bay High School JROTC color guard cadets stand at attention at the same ceremony in St. Petersburg.

Newscom/ZumaWire




The UK has its own day for honoring its veterans: Armistice Day. Here, observers gather for a moment of silence and plant crosses outside Birmingham's Hall of Memory.

Newscom/ZumaWire




UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah leave a service at Westminster Abbey in London. At the ceremony, the Queen led the country in observing a two-minute silence to honor the "passing of a generation."

Newscom/Ptsphotoshot




Spectators in Killeen, Texas watch a Veterans Day parade pass. Killeen is home to Fort Hood, the site of a shooting that claimed the lives of 13 servicemen and women. A memorial service was held November 10 to honor the fallen.

Newscom/ZumaWiret




Soldiers from Fort Hood march in the parade in Killeen.

Newscom/ZumaWire




Actor Tony Curtis acts as Grand Marshal for the 91st annual Veterans Day Parade in New York City.

Newscom/Richard B. Levine




Spectators at the parade in New York City.

Newscom/Richard B. Levine




ROTC members carry a giant US flag in the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.

Newscom/Richard B. Levine




The color guard marches at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial in Santa Rosa, California.

Newscom/ZumaWire




The Pledge of Allegiance is recited at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial.

Newscom/ZumaWire




Holly Griffin, the widow of Sgt. Maj. Craig A. Griffin, puts roses at the 1st Special Forces Group's memorial wall after a service at the unit's compound in Fort Lewis, Washington.

Newscom/Joe Barrentine/Tacoma News Tribune/MCT




Bagpiper Seamus Neary plays at a Veterans Day event in Fort Lewis, Washington.

Newscom/Joe Barrentine/Tacoma News Tribune/MCT




President Obama lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

Jeff Malet/Maletphoto.com




Soldiers stand at attention at Arlington National Cemetery during the memorial service.

Jeff Malet/Maletphoto.com




A flag is brought out for the ceremony.

Jeff Malet/Maletphoto.com




Arlington National Cemetery.

Jeff Malet/Maletphoto.com




Earlier in the day, President Obama has breakfast with veterans in the East Room of the White House.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a lunch for veterans and their families at the Naval Observatory residence in Washington DC.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




Dr. Jill Biden also spoke at the lunch.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann




The Vice President speaks to a luncheon attendee.

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann

For the veterans and active duty soldiers whose service spanned World War II to Afghanistan who gathered at the Vice President's house with family and supporters in today, it was the deaths of 13 soldiers far from any battlefield took center stage.

The Nov. 5 shootings at Ft. Hood dominated the speeches at the luncheon, hosted by the Vice President and his wife. The audience included veterans, active duty servicemembers, their families and volunteers from the Veteran's Administration. Former Gen. Eric Shinseki, now the secretary of the VA, said the Ft. Hood shootings had directly touched the agency he heads. He spoke to the slayings as did Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill when it was their turn to speak. Before they ate, the crowd bowed their heads in a moment of silence for Ft. Hood.

Shinseki said the focus was more than just veterans honoring their fallen active duty brothers and sisters.

"Among the fallen and wounded at Ft. Hood are three VA employees whose national guard unit had been activated," he told the crowd.

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Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told The Advocate today that language repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy will likely be included in next year's defense authorization bill.

"'Don't ask, don't tell' was always going to be part of the military authorization," he said.

If the repeal makes it through Congress, it will go into effect Oct. 1, 2010. Frank also said that discharges under the policy could be stopped, potentially, by executive order before the law becomes effective.

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