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Check out this incredible Web video that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee came out with yesterday evening, attacking Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) in the Illinois Senate race. They don't just say Kirk morphs between his moderate image versus his conservative positions -- he's now a full-fledged Decepticon:

"Now that he's running for Senate, Mark Kirk has become a Transformer," the announcer says.

Unfortunately, this is only a Web video. The DSCC is not putting this amazing piece of advertising on TV.

Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) has a new attack ad against his Republican opponent in this year's election, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, continuing to hammer Christie for having awarded contracts to John Ashcroft and others. This new ad uses footage of Christie at a contentious House hearing from a few weeks ago, with Christie leaving the room:

"But when the time came for telling the truth, Christie got up and left," the announcer says. "Chris Christie. Unbelievable."

Christie currently leads Corzine in the polls, but the incumbent still has some cards to play by attacking his challenger's credibility, and connecting him to the national Republican Party in this blue state -- note the reference to "Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft."

In remarks in the Rose Garden this afternoon, President Obama again pegged opponents to his health care reform push as politicians who don't care about the average American.

"I know that there are those in this town who openly declare their intention to block reform. It's a familiar Washington script that we've seen many times before. These opponents of reform would rather score political points than offer relief to Americans who've seen premiums double and costs grow three times faster than wages," Obama said.

"I understand that some will try to delay action until the special interests can kill it, while others will simply focus on scoring political points."

Obama began his remarks about half an hour late, apparently waiting until after the Senate approved an amendment that removed additional funding for F-22 fighter jets from the defense budget.

He said adding $1.75 billion to buy more jets would have been "an inexcusable waste of money."

Yesterday, Harold Pollack reported that Olympia Snowe had shifted her stance on the public option.

I believe that the reforms we are creating will result in more competitive, affordable and innovative options for Mainers, yet we can all agree that we must not leave universal access to chance. That is why I also support a public plan which must be available from day one.

I've reached out to Sen. Snowe's office to confirm that these words are indeed hers--a source suggests that the statement was delivered at a Maine health care rally by one of Snowe's aides on her behalf.

Remember that Snowe has long been a proponent of a "triggered" public option, which would give insurance companies time to meet certain benchmarks and only mandate the creation a public option if they fell short. Snowe also sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which has been wrangling over the public option--and alternatives thereof, such as the co-operative model--for weeks. If Snowe now supports a public option "available from day one" it could be a notable shift. That language echoes the principles of the campaign Health Care for America Now almost word for word--for all intents and purposes it means "no trigger."

So what happens if pressure from progressive activists doesn't get health care passed? President Obama says the budget reconciliation process is still one option. "[W]e moved forward on the basis of the assumption that we could get a bill through the regular order and the regular process by October," Obama told liberal bloggers on a conference call last night. "If I think that is not possible, then we are going to look at all of our options, including reconciliation. Not because that is my preferred option but because what I think would be unacceptable for the American people is inaction."

A budget reconciliation bill can't be filibustered, and back when Congress was passing its budget, it included so-called reconciliation instructions for health care in the event that the standard congressional process didn't result in a viable bill by October. But there are procedural difficulties with reconciliation itself that would likely complicate Democrats' efforts to pass the sort of reform they want purely via the budget process.

A new survey by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) -- the social conservative champion whose career became mired in the 2007 D.C. Madam prostitution scandal -- could potentially be vulnerable in 2010, but is currently leading a likely Democratic opponent.

The numbers: Only 44% of respondents approve of his job performance, to 36% disapproval. Furthermore, only 38% say he deserves another term, against 47% who it's time to give someone else a chance.

At the same time, Vitter get 44% support against potential Democratic candidate Charlie Melancon, a socially conservative Democratic Congressman, who gets 32%. Melancon lacks name recognition, though, with only 26% favorable, 32% unfavorable, and 42% not sure.

From the pollster's analysis: "David Vitter's polling in the mid-40s is a very similar position to where Mary Landrieu was a couple years ago at this time," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. "Republicans were never able to translate that into a serious challenge, so it will be interesting to see if Democrats are better able to capitalize on Vitter's vulnerability."

Late Update: This post mistakenly listed a wrong number for Charlie Melancon's showing against Vitter. It has been corrected.

Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK), a Blue Dog, went on Fox News today to say he wants President Obama to slow down on health care legislation, saying Congress "might miss a target deadline going into the August recess. We might take it into the fall."

"I think you're gonna see some compromise come out," Boren said. "We've gotta slow things down."

That falls in line what a Blue Dog aide told a Reuters reporter today -- that they'd ask Obama to slow down on his push for reform. The president is meeting this afternoon with Democrats from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, seven of which are Blue Dogs.

Boren has been outspoken on health care reform. "If health care reform is going to happen, it's going to have to happen in a bipartisan way," he told the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce. "It's really up to the president."

A bipartisan bill, as Greg Sargent points out, could only exist if the White House dropped its most important goals. So, in essence, Boren is demanding Obama roll over in submission to the Republicans.

During an conference call yesterday evening with progressive bloggers, President Obama told activists to keep up the pressure. "It is important just to keep the pressure on members of Congress because what happens is there is a default position of inertia here in Washington," Obama said. "And pushing against that, making sure that people feel that the desperation that ordinary families are feeling all across the country... People have to feel that in a visceral way. And you guys can help deliver that better than just about anybody."

Though Obama didn't mention particular members, and didn't specify party, bloggers themselves have been aiming their fire at congressional centrists. Which is to say, this stands in stark contrasts to earlier reports, sourced to conservative Democrats on Capitol Hill, that Obama disapproved of progressives and progressive groups targeting Democrats.

A new Rasmussen poll has some fairly decent news for Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who has of course just emerged from a recount and a six-month long legal battle to take his new political office, with his favorable ratings improving from past lows.

The poll finds Franken's favorable rating at 49%, with 49% disapproval. While that would be considered lukewarm for most politicians, consider the fact that Franken and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) went though a particularly brutal campaign that saw each of them get only 42% of the vote, and both had low favorables and high unfavorables as recently as May.

Interestingly, Coleman is also at 49%-49%, as he reportedly contemplates a run for governor. It's probably a safe bet that the two sets of people who like Franken or like Coleman don't overlap very much.

The poll also finds that 60% of Minnesotans think he can still be an effective Senator, despite the late start.

Roll Call reports that 91-year-old Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) has returned to work after a weeks-long illness. Byrd was hospitalized for about six weeks, leaving him unable to vote on any legislation. During his absence, and with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) also suffering severe health problems, the Democrats' 60 vote majority was effectively reduced to 58. Now it's back up to 59. Sixty are required to overcome a filibuster--and will almost certainly be required to pass health care legislation in the Senate.