TPM News

Former President Bill Clinton rallied support for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine last night, headlining a Democratic Party fundraiser in the party stronghold of Essex County, and then a rally in the nearby town of Little Falls -- with a clear focus on encouraging people to vote for Corzine out of the state's fundamental agreement on Democratic issues.

"It is an important election and elections matter," said Corzine, whose own net approval ratings are consistently in negative territory. "Elections aren't really about the candidate, they're about the direction the society will take, that New Jersey will take. Just think back to 2000, and think what would have happened if the right guy who'd gotten elected had been sworn in."

Corzine said how if Al Gore had been sworn in after the 2000 election, the country wouldn't have lost millions of jobs, and there would not have been a war of choice -- focusing on the unpopularity of the Bush administration, which just so happened to have appointed Corzine's Republican opponent Chris Christie as a U.S. Attorney.

When Bill spoke, he talked about the Republican Party's direction. "The Republicans seem to have two strategies at the state and national level," said Bill. "One, they left us a terrible mess and they complain that the President isn't fixing it quickly. And second, their strategy is to just hope that we mess up."

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Yesterday, TPM reported that 76 House Republicans want to officially commend the 9/12 tea partiers' march. Today, the Washington Independent unearths a similar resolution, introduced earlier this month, to honor the "fact-finding reporting" done by Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe III, the "government watchdogs" who filmed undercover video of ACORN.

Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced the resolution to honor the "exemplary actions" of the young conservatives, who dressed up as a prostitute and a pimp and secretly filmed ACORN workers giving them advice on how to commit fraud.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said on MSNBC this morning that if it were up to him, the Democrats' health reform plan would be "stronger" than it currently is -- but that Republican filibuster threats prevent that.

"I would like to see more choice," he said. "I would like to see a stronger plan than we're doing."

I want more people to have options. The Republicans are filibustering so people have fewer options.

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The Republican National Committee is up in arms over a Washington Times report that the Obama administration is allegedly using access to the White House as a fundraising tool for the Democratic National Committee, and the RNC is now calling for an investigation.

"The seriousness of this issue requires an immediate investigation looking into the degree and details of fundraising efforts between the White House and DNC, whether there was any quid pro quo offered to donors, and the names of White House officials who were involved in such activities," RNC chairman Michael Steele said in a statement.

In an op-ed on CNN.com today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) urged the President to send more troops to Afghanistan, claiming the current counterinsurgency strategy, beefed up with more resources, "can lead to success there."

"I sympathize with our president, because sending men and women into harm's way is the most difficult decision that a commander-in-chief must make," McCain said. "However, Americans are already serving in harm's way in Afghanistan, and the sooner we can provide the reinforcements and resources they need, the safer and more successful they will be."

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Are investigators edging away from the idea that Census Bureau worker Bill Sparkman was killed in an act of anti-government violence?

Kentucky police have been largely silent for weeks now on the probe of Sparkman's case, in which the part-time Census worker was found dead in a rural area of the state, blindfolded and gagged, with a rope around his neck and the word "Fed" written on his naked chest.

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Try to look surprised: The Obama Administration has doled out access to the White House and to top aides as a way to keep top Democratic donors feeling special.

The Washington Times has a good rundown today on how it all works, including invitations for two bundlers to bring their families to the famous bowling alley at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House.

As in past administrations, access to the White House is an irresistible addition to the Dems' quiver of perks for donors.

The Times reports:

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One of the most puzzling things about Sen. Joe Lieberman's opposition to the public option is that he says it's based in a belief that a new government "entitlement" will end up being a large burden on taxpayers. In fact, the public option will be paid into (i.e. not subsidized like an entitlement) and the vast consensus among experts, partisan and non-partisan, is that a public option will save the government lots of loot. Moreover, they conclude that the bigger the plan is, the more money it will save.

Yesterday, I asked Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Lieberman's Connecticut colleague Chris Dodd (D-CT) what they thought of Lieberman's backward thinking.

Singing the praises of her preferred 'trigger' solution, Snowe said "[triggers] obviously can have a maximum impact...certainly, not as comparable to a full public option and what they want, but on the other hand what you're doing with the public option is basically crowding out the private sector, because of the government's, you know, inordinate advantage in the market place."

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Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) -- a key health care player fresh off his apparent declaration that he'd filibuster a public health insurance option with the GOP -- seemed to try to link health care reform with the country's bailout outrage and fatigue in a video clip played on Fox News last night.

Once you set a national government insurance company up, no matter what you say at the beginning, if it hits hard times, they're gonna come to the Congress to bail them out. And who's going to pay for that bailout? The taxpayers.

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Yesterday Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said he'd filibuster a health care bill if it contains a public option. Many reporters and analysts took this as a sign that an alternative political strategy of courting Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who prefers the public option only as a fall back, would re-emerge.

Well, Snowe herself disagrees.

"I don't see how you get to 60 [votes to replace the public option with a trigger]," Snowe told reporters last night.

Having a public option in the bill, she said, will "make it infinitely more difficult to change that on the floor...I just don't see how that works."

For what it's worth, Lieberman also said he opposes the trigger option yesterday, too. So he's not necessarily making a public push to get Snowe back into the game.

TPMLivewire