TPM News

President Obama has not yet called Republican governors-elect Chris Christie in New Jersey or Bob McDonnell in Virginia.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters in his gaggle today that Obama did not watch the returns last night, a trend which is not unusual since he didn't watch returns for his own races as they came in.

"He wanted them to enjoy their night with their families and supporters," Gibbs said.

Gibbs said he sent Obama some email updates throughout the night and spoke with him on the phone. (As for what the races mean, all politics is local, Gibbs said this morning.)

The president was "disappointed" that his "friend" Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) was defeated, Gibbs said.

The president did talk to Corzine and state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-VA) last night.

Gibbs said Obama will call the victors today.

McDonnell is holding a press conference this afternoon.

A federal judge yesterday granted a request by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to block the authors of Muslim Mafia from publishing any of the documents taken by Chris Gaubatz while he was posing as an intern during a "counterintelligence operation" for the book.

Separately, Muslim Mafia author Dave Gaubatz and his son Chris are now being represented by the lawyer who represented shock jock Michael Savage in his 2007 copyright infringement suit against CAIR. We'll have more on this soon.

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Most of the commentary about last night's elections has centered around Republican pickups in the New Jersey and Virginia statehouses. But what's gone largely unnoticed is that the two congressional seats up for grabs last night both went to Democrats, and that will have immediate ramifications for health care reform.

The NY-23 seat abdicated by Republican John McHugh (who resigned to become Secretary of the Army) went to Democrat Bill Owens--the first Democrat to hold the seat in over a century. And the CA-10 seat abdicated by Democrat Ellen Tauscher (who resigned to become Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs) went to Democrat John Garamendi.

That creates some simple arithmetic. Yesterday, Democrats had 256 voting members in the House. By week's end, they'll have 258. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could afford to lose no more than 38 Democratic votes on a landmark health care reform bill. Next week, after Owens and Garamendi are sworn in, she can lose up to 40. For legislation this historic and far-reaching, she'll need every vote she can get--and both seem likely to support reform.

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It looks like the Chamber of Commerce is concerned that it be seen as willing to play a constructive role in the coming Senate debate over climate change legislation -- whatever the reality.

That's the message to be drawn from a letter that the business lobby sent -- and posted on its website -- to Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) yesterday.

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Virginia's Republican Governor-elect Bob McDonnell will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. today at the Virginia State Capitol. The presser comes the day after McDonnell's big win over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) tried to deflect attention from big GOP wins last night in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections, saying instead that the Democratic upset in the NY-23 congressional race was the real race to watch -- and that it shows that Republicans are "eating themselves."

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GOP's Hopes Rekindled, But Internal Arguments Could Continue The New York Times reports that the mixed election results from last night -- with Republicans winning solidly in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, but losing the NY-23 special election -- will simultaneously rekindle the GOP's hopes and continue arguments about the party's direction. "Conservatives can win when they emphasize the right things and don't allow their message to get co-opted," said former Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis. "The Democrats and some of their friends in the media attempt to paint all conservatives as fire-breathing cavemen."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will participate in a 10:30 a.m. ET credentialing ceremony for foreign ambassadors. He will depart the White House at 11:15 a.m. ET, arriving at 1:30 p.m. ET in Madison, Wisconsin. He and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will meet with students at Wright Middle School at 2 p.m. ET, and Obama will deliver remarks on strengthening the education system at 2:30 p.m. ET. He will depart from Madison at 3:55 p.m. ET, arriving back at the White House at 5:55 p.m. ET. He and the First Lady will host an event at 7:15 p.m. ET, celebrating classical music.

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DNC chair Tim Kaine says last night's Democratic defeats in two big states President Obama won last year -- including Kaine's home state of Virginia -- do not mean the American people are turning on the president.

"Obama is actually more popular today than he was on Election Day last year," Kaine told CNN this morning.

Kaine broke down the results from the Democratic point of view on air. "You just need to read these as local races with local concerns," he said of New Jersey and Virginia.

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