TPM News

The White House will announce soon whether President Obama will attend the climate change meetings in Copenhagen, a long anticipated decision that will signal how much effort and political capital the United States wants to spend on promising to curb carbon emissions.

As world leaders and climate experts have criticized a lack of action in Washington in the leadup to the talks, the White House is trumpeting more action in the 10 months since Obama took office than the world saw under President George W. Bush.

When questioned about the delay, White House officials pushed back.

"We go into Copenhagen with a very, very strong hand - if we have an outline that's helpful, but we go in with 10 months of unprecedented leadership on these issues," a senior administration official told reporters in a briefing today.

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After a rash of mistakes and apologies over the past weeks, Fox News has sent a memo to employees announcing a new "zero tolerance" policy for on-screen errors. FishBowlDC obtained the memo, sent last Friday, which warns mistakes could lead to written warnings, suspensions and termination.

"Please know that jobs are on the line here. I can not stress that enough," the memo reads.

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A wide-ranging affidavit by Washington Times editorial page editor Richard Miniter in the lawsuit he is filing against the Times provides a detailed picture of the inner workings of the newspaper that has been rocked in recent weeks by the canning of three executives and the resignation of its top editor.

Budget meetings Miniter attended show that the newspaper relies on a roughly $40 million annual subsidy, delivered weekly, from the Unification Church, he alleges in the affidavit. Church leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon founded the Times and his son Preston controls its parent company. Miniter writes:

70. Based on what I learned in budget meetings, the paper relies on a roughly $40 million annual subsidy from the Unification Church and cannot survive without that subsidy, which is paid in weekly amounts. Of the slightly more $70 million the Washington Times spends annually, less than $37 million comes from advertising and subscription revenue. In addition, the number of paid subscribers has been falling since July 2008 and advertising revenue is plunging as competition from the Washington Examiner and others intensifies.

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Sarah Palin was on The O'Reilly Factor Friday night for the second part of a multi-part interview (see our highlight reel of Part 1 here, and stay tuned for the Part 2 highlight reel coming later this afternoon).

When Bill O'Reilly asked the "very bold and fresh" question of whether she believed she was "smart enough, incisive enough, and intellectual enough to handle the most powerful job in the world," Palin gave a confusing if not entirely unpredictable answer.

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A new Rasmussen poll of Arizona finds that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is known nationally for his hard-line stance against illegal immigration, would be the strongest possible Republican candidate for governor in next year's election.

Democratic state Attorney General Terry Goddard, the likely Dem nominee for governor, was tested against three Republicans. Goddard leads incumbent Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who succeeded to the office after Dem Gov. Janet Napolitano was appointed Secretary of Homeland Security, by 44%-35%. Goddard edges state Treasurer Dean Martin by 40%-38%, within the ±3% margin of error.

Arpaio, however, leads Goddard by a convincing margin of 51%-39%. He is not currently a candidate, but that could change with numbers like these.

Late Update: The new Rasmussen primary poll has Arpaio as the heavy favorite for to the Republican nomination: Arpaio 47%, Martin 22%, Brewer 10%, and others in the single digits.

A shadowy conservative group with ties to the operatives behind a host of GOP dirty tricks is working to undermine state restrictions on political robo-calls, as it gears up to unleash a barrage of such calls in 2010 races.

Last month, American Future Fund Political Action (AFFPA) informed the FEC that it's planning robo-calls in congressional races. Jason Torchinsky, a lawyer for AFFPA, wrote that the group "wishes to distribute pre-recorded telephone calls ... as part of a nationwide program of political outreach." The calls, wrote Torchinsky, "will expressly advocate the election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidates for Federal office."

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today unveiled state-by-state analyses of the beneficial impacts of health care reform. Using the Senate bill, the report underlines, among other things, the number of working and middle class people who would receive federal assistance, and the extent to which the legislation would reduce the number of uninsured in that state.

So, to pick three states totally at random, if you wanted to know what the goodies for Nebraska, Arkansas, and Louisiana, would be, you can just click.

And, in case you're wondering, the reports do not address the state-by-state impact of the public option.

In a speech today, President Obama announced several new programs, including an annual White House science fair, to boost interest in science and math education, especially among minorities and girls.

"If you win the NAACP championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person, and you produced the best experiment or design, or the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement too," Obama said to an audience that included students, the first American female astronaut Sally Ride and those guys from Mythbusters.

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A new national survey from Public Policy Polling (D) finds that health care has put the Democrats in a tricky situation -- passing a bill with a public option doesn't offer a clear political benefit, but not passing anything would cause an even greater problem.

The Democrats lead on an initial generic Congressional ballot by 46%-38%. If they pass a health care with a public option, the gap becomes 46%-41%. If they don't pass a health care bill at all, though, it becomes a 40%-40% tie -- reminiscent of the loss in Democratic support in 1994, after they failed to pass a health care bill.

"Clearly Democrats need to pass a health care bill if they want to do well at the polls next year," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "But they don't need to take an all or nothing approach. Allowing the status quo to remain rather than accepting a bill without a public option would be a poor decision politically."

The poll was conducted from November 13th to November 15th, before this past weekend's vote in the Senate to proceed with debate on the health care bill. The margin of error is ±3%.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson did not give back donations to his presidential campaign from accused fraudster Hassan Nemazee, and Richardson may have also kept $5,000 given by Nemazee to his 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

The donations to Richardson have come under increased scrutiny since Forbes reported last week that Nemazee's investment firm was gunning for a state contract at the same time Nemazee gave the money to the '06 gubernatorial campaign. Carret Asset Management, partially owned by Nemazee, won the contract in 2007 and has made nearly $2 million in fees.

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