TPM News

The air wars have begun in the 2010 Arkansas Democratic Senate primary. A day after Lt. Gov. Bill Halter launched his first TV ad of the race, the woman squaring off against him to keep her job, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, went on the air with her own commercial, aimed squarely at Halter's message.

Lincoln's ad focuses several of her stances that have drawn the ire of national progressives. She touts her decisions to oppose cap-and-trade, the health care public option and other bills as evidence she stands against the norm in Washington.

"Some in my party didn't like it very much," Lincoln says of the votes, "but I approved this message because I don't answer to my party."

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared last night on Larry King Live, with the two eminently quotable legislators debating health care policy. Bachmann used the opportunity to call for an investigation of the Obama administration.

"I think that we can come together. But I think a big question that has to be addressed right now, Larry, is, what in the world is going on in the White House?" said Bachmann. "Because today, the president offered a judgeship to the brother of a member of Congress. Tonight, the president has that same member of Congress at the White House, pressuring him to change his vote on health care." She then called for an investigation.

Grayson responded: "Well, my esteemed colleague from Minnesota has just deployed another weapon of mass distraction that the Republicans use from time to time to try to change the subject away from health care."

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Despite an ever-strengthening primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) still has plenty of powerful friends in Washington. But after today, Lincoln can't count EMILY's List, one of the strongest support networks for pro-choice women candidates in the country, among her allies.

In a strongly-worded rebuke of Lincoln on the the group's blog this morning, EMILY's List chair Ellen Malcolm rejected the woman whom her group once counted among its rising stars.

"Since she wasn't there for us," Malcom wrote, "we won't be there for her."

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Republicans jousting in a primary to challenge Rep. Travis Childers are now sparring over a GOP proposal to privatize Social Security and create a voucher system for Medicare.

Support is growing for the Rep. Paul Ryan's plan on Capitol Hill, and he picked up another supporter in Angela McGlowan, a former Fox News analyst and candidate in Mississippi's First Congressional district.

McGlowan backs private Social Security accounts, according to the Commercial Appeal. The newspaper reported last week "McGlowan has been criticized for her suggestion the public should be allowed to invest at least some of the social security money the federal government deducts from paychecks."

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Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) will take over as Ways and Means Committee chairman, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats today following Rep. Charlie Rangel's decision to step down from the post temporarily.

Levin will be "acting chair," Democrats say.

Early reports after Rangel's announcement had been that Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) would get the position. But a Democratic aide told TPMDC there were concerns that Stark was too liberal to head the tax-writing committee.

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Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), fresh off a filibuster that delayed the extension of unemployment benefits and ground the Senate to a virtual halt, got the royal treatment on Fox News this morning. Fox newsman Brian Kilmeade went so far as to call the GOPer a "rock star."

"People looked at you as a rock star because the average American, for the first time, is concerned about spending," Kilmeade said.

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President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden last night hosted a reception for 31 Congressional Democrats to thank them for pay-as-you-go legislation, and 10 members in the group happen to have voted against health care reform the first time around.

As Democrats attempt to shore up enough votes to finish their yearlong push on health care, Obama is helping leaders secure as many wavering Democrats as possible. The White House says he is doing what he can to convince fiscal conservatives the health care measure that passed the Senate is the right choice.

A White House party certainly isn't going to convince the lawmakers who opposed the health care bill last fall but it could help, and Obama made the pitch last night.

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A California Republican family values legislator who was arrested early Wednesday morning for drunk driving had recently left a gay club, sources tell a local news channel.

State senator Roy Ashburn was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol on Wednesday at 2am in Sacramento, after police saw the car he was driving swerving erratically. An unidentified male passenger was in the car with Ashburn.

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House To Vote On Jobs Bill The House is set to vote today on a $15 billion jobs bill, which was passed last week in the Senate. Due to modifications made in the House, the Senate will have to vote on the measure again before President Obama can sign it.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Obama will meet with senior advisers at 10:30 a.m. ET. Obama will sign the Travel Promotion Act at 11:35 a.m. ET. Obama and Biden will meet with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at 3 p.m. ET.

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