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A new Rasmussen poll of New York looks at how former Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) might do if he ran against appointed Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the general election, as an independent, rather than challenging her in the Dem primary. The answer is that he wouldn't get very far -- but Gillibrand wouldn't walk away with the contest itself, with a potential split in the Democratic vote.

The numbers: Gillibrand 39%, an unnamed generic Republican candidate 34%, and Ford 10%. It doesn't appear that Rasmussen polled a two-way general election between Gillibrand and Ford, or Gillibrand against a generic Republican. Rasmussen had to use a generic Republican precisely because there is no GOP candidate right now, and the party's recruiting efforts have kept coming up short. (We'll see whether the Republican victory in Massachusetts gets anybody interested in this race.)

From the pollster's analysis: "Unlike in many other states, the national health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats is less of a factor in Republicans' favor in New York. Forty-eight percent (48%) of Empire State voters favor the plan, while 49% oppose it. Those numbers include 26% who Strongly Favor it and 38% who Strongly Oppose, again a narrower gap than is found in most states and nationally."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tonight acknowledged that the House may pass the Senate health care bill word-for-word, now that Democrats have 59 seats instead of a filibuster-proof 60 in the Senate.

It was apparently the first time the White House directly acknowledged that as an option.

"We've got a bill that's passed the United States Senate. And one of the ways that is being discussed to get health care reform, to make it a reality, is to have the House work on the Senate bill," Gibbs said on MSNBC.

"Health care reform legislation isn't gonna go through the Senate until Sen.-elect Brown becomes Sen. Brown. But that doesn't have to stop health care reform," he added.

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Today marks the one year anniversary of Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th President of the United States. TPM takes a look back at some of the most resonating images of the President's first year, courtesy of the White House official photographer Pete Souza.

January 20: President-Elect Obama waits at the U.S. Capitol before taking the official oath of office.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




February 2: President Obama shifts Oval Office furniture around with help from Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R).

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




February 2: The President talks on the phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




February 10: The Democratic Blue Dog Coalition meets with Obama in the State Dining Room.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




February 25: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stays behind to speak with Obama following a meeting with congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




February 26: The Commander-In-Chief takes a late night solo walk to the Oval Office.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




March 2: The Obamas play in the snow on the White House lawn.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




March 5: Obama greets his daughters as they return from school.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




April 3: Aboard an Air Force One trek to France, Obama confers with Secretary of State Clinton.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




April 7: Presidential aides gather in an Air Force One conference room. Speaking on the phones are National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones (left) and Secret Service agent-in-charge Joe Clancy (right).

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




May 20: The President seizes on a beautiful Spring day, moving his meeting with senior advisers out to the Rose Garden.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




June 4: Obama navigates the steps inside the Pyramids during a tour of Egypt.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




July 3: Obama watches his daughters fish in a pond near Camp David.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




July 7: The President has a breakfast meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




July 7: The First Family enjoys dinner atop their Moscow hotel overlooking the Kremlin.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




July 8, 2009: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ushers members of the G-8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, to move inside for dinner.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




July 11: The President approaches a stage to give his farewell remarks to the people of Ghana.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




August 12: After the swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the President looks on as she receives an embrace from her mother.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




September 27: On a family tour of the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument, President Obama and his daughter Sasha stop to read one of Thomas Jefferson's speeches.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 9: Hours after learning of his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize win, the President looks over his remarks to be delivered to the press in the Rose Garden.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 13: The President and his daughter Sasha enjoy a dance at the Fiesta Latina event on the South Lawn.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 14: The President sits in deep thought as he listens to senior adviser David Axelrod at a climate change meeting.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




December 19: The President, snow ball in hand, chases Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel into the Rose Garden and the knee-deep snow.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




December 19: The First Lady, Malia and Sasha have some fun in the snow with Bo.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




December 24: On Christmas Eve, Obama chats with Vice President Biden after health care reform is passed in the Senate.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




December 29: On vacation in Hawaii, Obama hugs his daughter Malia while waiting to be connected to a conference call concerning the Christmas Day terrorist attack.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

With all the talk of Democratic organizing failures in the wake of the Massachusetts Senate race, it's important to remember that even the media-crowned all powerful conservative movement can stumble now and again. As we reported -- twice -- a group of tea partiers had planned to hold a National Day of Strike on Jan. 20. Their goal was to run companies that support Democratic candidates out of business with public protests and boycotts.

Now that the day of the strike has come, the tea partiers are nowhere to be seen. The website devoted to the project is full of questions from confused would-be strikers, and the organizer of the protest has disconnected his phone.

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In an interview with TPMDC this evening, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) reversed course--apologizing for a harsh statement he released last night in the wake of the Massachusetts special election, and saying, explicitly, that if he's assured the bill will be fixed down the line, he'd vote for the Senate health care bill.

"I'm easy. I'm strongly inclined to vote for the thing, even though I don't like the health care tax thing," Frank told me. "But you know, I was ready to vote for the bill when I had people on the left yelling at me not to vote for it. So you know I'll vote for any of it... to try and move the process along."

Frank was quick to qualify his remarks, though, noting that a vote from him would require promises from leadership and the White House that at least one controversial element of the legislation would be fixed in subsequent legislation. "I take it back...I would want assurances that we were going to amend the health care tax piece," Frank said.

Last night, Frank cast significant doubt on whether Democrats could conceivably pass a health care bill at all. In a statement issued after Sen.-elect Scott Brown's (R-MA) victory last night, Frank said "I am hopeful that some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform. Because I do not think that the country would be well served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened."

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Tea Party Nation members spent less than an hour celebrating Republican Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts before they got to work to end another Republican's Senate candidacy.

Organizers of the Tea Party Nation, which has banned "liberal trolls" from its Web site in advance of next month's convention in Nashville, last night told members the "next battle" is in Illinois to make sure Rep. Mark Kirk does not win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

The primary is Feb. 2 and the Tea Party Nation warns that if Kirk (R-IL) wins, "this fall Illinois will have a choice between two liberals for the Illinois Senate seat." They call Kirk a "RINO," which stands for Republican In Name Only, with a "consistently liberal" record compared to Pat Hughes, who they called a "solid Conservative."

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