TPM News

Yesterday, the House ethics committee announced it is forming a special subcommittee to investigate Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in a case involving the bailout and a bank in which her husband had a stake.

This is separate from the leaked ethics document, and the committee is taking it more seriously than many of the already-dismissed cases outlined in that document. So what is Waters, a ten-term representative and the second ranking Dem on the House Financial Services Committee, accused of?

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In a curt, terse letter delivered today, public option champion, and progressive caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva says he wants to see some major changes to the House's health care bill--reflected in a so-called manager's amendment--before it comes to the floor.

  • Americans in every state in the nation must be able to take advantage of the benefits of the bill; thus the bill shall explicitly state that the public option must be available without any triggers or opt-out provisions.

  • If the Secretary is forced to negotiate provider reimbursement rates in the public plan, a ceiling shall be determined and set for such rates.

  • The bill shall fully repeal the McCarran Ferguson Act for health and medical malpractice insurance, as oppose to merely amending the Act.

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Vice President Biden will be headed to upstate New York this Monday, to campaign for Democratic candidate Bill Owens in the NY-23 special election.

Biden's visit is coming the day before the election, in a final push to get out the Democratic vote against Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and Republican Dede Scozzafava.

Hoffman will be bringing in his own big name: Country singer John Rich, who will be headlining a GOTV rally on Monday.

The Chamber of Commerce, whose intransigent stance on global warming has lately been in the spotlight, is now being slammed in comments on its own Facebook page.

Many of the comments, which appear on the "Just Fans" setting, accuse the Chamber of vastly inflating its membership numbers. Mother Jones reported earlier this month that the Chamber's claim to represent 3 million members is off by a factor of 10.

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Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) has found a new lever in his primary campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA). Sestak is hitting Specter for his early (and possibly continuing) opposition to the confirmation of Dawn Johnsen, whom President Obama nominated to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel back in February.

"As the administration deals with crucial legal issues from interrogating and prosecuting terrorists to closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Arlen Specter and Senate Republicans have decided to tie the President's hands by denying him a critical advisor," Sestak says in a new statement.

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Chris Christie appeared yesterday on the Don Imus show, and cracked some jokes about his weight. I didn't realize just how funny it was until I saw this YouTube, via Jim Geraghty.

In addition to predicting that he'll be a "big fat winner," and sarcastically giving his weight as 550 pounds, Christie also put forward his accomplishments on economic stimulus: "We gotta spur our economy, Don. Dunkin' Donuts, International House of Pancakes -- those people need to work, too."

Michael Steele told Republican party leaders across the country today that one year after voters handed both houses of Congress and the White House to the Democrats, the GOP is poised to regain prominence on the political landscape.

In his "2009 Political Update," an email sent to the party's list of activists, Steele says the summer's town hall meetings and next week's elections in New Jersey in Virginia prove his first year at the helm of the GOP has been a success. He writes,

"Just one year ago, many political pundits had written the epitaph of the Republican Party. ... Today, Republicans have begun to reestablish the trust of voters on a majority of issues; and, I am proud to say are turning an important corner and are moving forward with strength."

Inside the document, Steele suggests are signs that the GOP still has a few corners to turn before it's back to the ideological unanimity found during its years in absolute power over D.C..

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Vice President Joe Biden this afternoon outlined a report collecting the jobs saved or created across the country, the product of states sending in their data.

As TPMDC reported this morning, he was joined by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), who was a key ally when President Obama was selling the stimulus to the American people this winter.

Biden said the report shows the $787 billion economic stimulus plan has created or saved 642,239 jobs through the federal government and an estimated "at least" another 400,000 jobs. He said it is only a third of the way through.

"So far we have created over a million jobs," Biden said. "We know that more jobs are on the way as we continue to spend out these dollars."

Biden said the detailed site is "quite simply something that has never happened before in the federal government."

He bemoaned worries that millions would go to polar bears and frisbee parks, adding, "So far, thank god, that's a dog that has not bitten yet."

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Two new polls show that the New Jersey gubernatorial race continues to be neck and neck between Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

• In the new Rasmussen poll, respondents' initial preferences were Christie 42%, Corzine 39%, and independent Chris Daggett 12%. After Daggett supporters were asked if they were sure they would vote for him -- along with the process of pushing undecideds who might lean towards a candidate -- the result becomes a Christie lead of 46%-43%-8%, with a ±3% margin of error.

• The new Stockton College/Zogby poll: Corzine 40%, Christie 39%, and Daggett 14%, with a ±3% margin of error.

• The new Neighborhood Research (R) poll: Christie 42%, Corzine 35%, Daggett 8%, with a ±5.3% margin of error.

So which poll, out of these three or any others, should you believe? Keep in mind that a poll with Corzine up by two points is not significantly different from a poll with Christie up by two points, statistically speaking. The vast majority of polls have shown this race to be within just a couple points -- and they're probably right.