TPM News

I just spoke to Ned Lamont, the Connecticut businessman and former Greenwich selectman who won the 2006 Democratic primary against Sen. Joe Lieberman, only to lose to the newly-independent Lieberman in the general election, and who has now formed an statewide exploratory committee for a potential run for governor.

My first question to Mr. Lamont: Does he expect to win the endorsement of the state's Junior Senator?

"I, um, I wouldn't expect that," Lamont said, after a brief pause. "But I certainly reached out to Sen. Lieberman today, if he wants to hear why I'm doing this, and why I think it's important."

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November 4, 2009: A rally in Tehran marks the 30th anniversary of the storming of the U.S. embassy, and its subsequent 444-day occupation. Some dissenters used the occasion to renew protests against the presidential elections held earlier this year, even clashing with police after the Revolutionary Guard threatened to crack down on such protests. But many were demonstrating against the U.S. and Israel.

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Protesters hold a poster of U.S. President Barack Obama.

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A demonstrator holds an effigy of one of the American hostage held in the Embassy 30 years ago.

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American stars and stripes fill in the outline of a gun.

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Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has been actively seeking seeking the endorsement of none other than Sarah Palin in his race for Senate, the Washington Post reports, a sharp turnaround from prior image as a moderate and even his own open criticism of Palin herself.

In a memo, Kirk wrote that he was hoping for Palin to support his candidacy when she comes to Chicago to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show, saying that "the Chicago media will focus on one key issue: Does Gov[ernor] Palin oppose Congressman Mark Kirk's bid to take the Obama Senate seat for the Republicans?"

Kirk has formerly had a reputation as a moderate Republican able to win in Democratic areas, such as his own district that voted for Barack Obama by 61%-38%. And in October of 2008, he openly declared of Palin, "I would have picked someone different."

But the pressure of seeking the Republican statewide nomination, with a primary electorate that has become increasingly right-wing, sure has him looking for the Palin stamp of approval.

The AARP is planning a major announcement on health care tomorrow, an official told TPMDC tonight. But the group won't confirm today's AP story that AARP is ready to endorse the health care reform bill presented by House Democrats this week.

AARP's announcement will come at a press conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the group's D.C. headquarters, the official said. Should it be the subject of the briefing, an AARP endorsement of the House bill would be a big victory for supporters of the Democratic reform package. AARP is second to none when it comes to influence on policies related to seniors, and the backing would give the bill a stamp of approval from one of the most powerful non-partisan groups in the country.

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The Republican boycott of Senate climate change legislation continues today. But yesterday, Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), whose objections sparked the boycott, insisted, in a tense, almost tearful moment, that his concerns were sincere, and implored Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)--chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee--to humor him.



Voinovich himself sounds pretty earnest. But at the same time, It's hard to fault Boxer, who, after years worth of hearings on the issue, knows that all the additional EPA studies and GOP placating in the world won't win her a single minority vote in committee. So why not move ahead?

Has the tea party movement gotten so boring that it's holding conventions now?

Apparently. Tea Party Nation, a Nashville-based group with an online social network, is holding the first-ever "National Tea Party Convention" in February.

We don't have many details, and the organizers declined to divulge anything before their official announcement. But in the original announcement on their site and on Twitter, the group disclosed that the keynote speaker is ... Sarah Palin!

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The White House could probably laugh off the House Republicans' health care bill. But when the Democrats' bill comes to the floor conservatives will no doubt complain that their, better proposal is getting short shrift, so the Obama administration is getting out in front of that.

"House Republican Health Care "Plan": Putting Families at Risk," is the title of White House talking points, hitting a number of key aspects of the GOP plan.

"Unlike the House Leadership bill, the Republicans' bill takes us backwards rather than forwards."

"No Elimination of Discrimination Based on Pre-existing Conditions."

"The Republicans' bill leaves affordable health insurance out of reach for millions of Americans."

You get the idea. Read the entire sheet below the fold. It'll give you a sense of the plans failings, and the line Dems will be taking against it in the days (and possibly weeks) ahead.

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Sen. Jim DeMint says Republicans must be "rock solid" conservatives to win in 2010, and predicted a national "army" will rise up next year.

TPMDC listened in last night on a call run by DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund as they ticked off the races they are watching and detailed the conservative direction they think Republicans need to head toward.

DeMint said he wanted to "harness the energy" he saw during the tea parties.

He said he wants to show that "anywhere in the country," a "principled Republican with conservative principles" can win.

"That is going to change politics in America," he said. "You're going to see an army of Americans fighting for freedom in this next election."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) chief of staff Michelle Marston, a long-time veteran of Capitol Hill who has guided Bachmann in her much-increased national TV presence this year, has quit her post.

The Politico reports:

In an e-mail exchange with POLITICO, Marston declined to say why she's going.

"I'm just not talking about it, and frankly I don't think there's a story here," Marston wrote. "Now, the thousands of people calling our office to tell us [they're] coming to Capitol Hill tomorrow - that's a story."

...

A conservative Republican House member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, suggested that Bachman's views - and her willingness to state them - make it hard for her to keep staff.

"When your captain's crazy, it's time to find a new ship," the lawmaker said.

The House will likely vote on its health care reform bill at 6 p.m. Saturday, although the time is not yet official.

The Rules Committee, which will meet at 2 p.m. Friday to prepare the bill for debate, is not expected to allow amendments.

The committee has, however, been working to secure votes for the bill by adjusting the language. Chairwoman Louise Slaughter told CQ Politics that she'd added anti-abortion language put forward by Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN).

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