TPM News


March 17, 2010: Capitol Hill will join today in nationwide celebrations of St. Patrick's Day, the yearly holiday commemorating Ireland's most famous patron saint. We take a look at pols celebrating the shamrock.

Here, Sen. Ted Kennedy, his wife, Joan Kennedy and their children attend the Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17, 1980.

Newscom/zumawire




March 17, 1983: President Reagan, then-Speaker of the House Thomas 'Tip' O'Neill and then-House Minority Leader Robert Michel attend a luncheon in honor of St. Patrick's Day on Capitol Hill.

Newscom/rollcall




March 17, 1996: Pat Buchanan attends Chicago's south side St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Newscom/UPI




March 17, 2000: President Clinton receives a bowl of shamrocks from Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern on St. Patrick's Day at the White House.

Newscom/UPI




March 17, 2003: Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, then-Governor of New York George Pataki, former Mayor Edward Koch and then-Governor of New Jersey Jim McGreevey attend New York City's 5th Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Newscom/zuma




March 17, 2005: President George W. Bush and Prime Minister of Ireland Bertie Ahern walk through the U.S. Capitol Rotunda after a St. Patrick's Day Luncheon.

Newscom/rollcall




March 17, 2008: Then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton waves to supporters as she walks down the Boulevard of the Allies during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Pittsburgh.

Newscom/UPI




March 17, 2008: Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern presents President George W. Bush with a bowl of shamrocks during a St. Patrick's Day reception in the East Room of the White House.

Newscom/UPI




March 17, 2009: President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Brian Cowen of Ireland attend a St. Patrick's Day lunch hosted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in the Rayburn Building, U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




March 17, 2009: The fountain on the North Lawn of the White House runs green in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Newscom/UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

A group of Catholic nuns has written a letter, sent to every member of Congress, urging them to pass health care reform. The support is a rare break from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has publicly opposed the bill over its abortion language.

The nuns, who are the heads of organizations representing a total of 59,000 Catholic sisters, wrote, in part, that the Senate bill will "make historic new investments -- $250 million -- in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it."

Full text of the letter below.

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Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), a pro-lifer, has confirmed that he will vote yes on the Senate health care bill.

"I am convinced that the Senate language maintains the Hyde Amendment, which states that no federal money can be used for abortion," Kildee said in a statement. "The Senate bill includes a 'conscience clause' and allows states to ban plans that include abortion."

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One of the key issues bedeviling House Democrats who are still on the fence about health care reform is the unpredictability of the Senate. They wonder whether the Senate will be able to pass a reconciliation bill--making needed changes to the comprehensive health care bill--that hasn't been riddled with holes by Republican procedural bullets.

Today, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)--chair of the Senate Budget Committee--didn't provide them much peace of mind.

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In a striking interview on MSNBC this morning, Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) made, perhaps unintentionally, a strong case for a single-payer health care system.

Speaking with host David Shuster after an announcement by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a progressive who advocates single-payer, that he would vote for health care, Shadegg argued that Democrats only got Kucinich's vote by "breaking arms." He suggested Kucinich wouldn't readily vote for the bill because it rewards insurance companies.

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Appearing on Don Imus' show on Fox Business today, New York Gov. David Paterson for the first time appeared to deny that he improperly intervened in the domestic violence case of a top aide.

Asked by Imus what happened when he reportedly spoke on the phone with the woman who had accused Paterson aide David Johnson of assaulting her on Halloween last year, Paterson responded in narrow terms (emphasis ours):

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After Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) launched a TV ad proudly declaring that she doesn't work for labor unions, the Arkansas AFL-CIO is hitting back -- attacking Lincoln for taking the union's money for years, only to attack them now.

Lincoln's ad came in response to an attack ad against her by Arkansas For Change, an independent expenditure arm for a group of unions that are supporting her opponent in the Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

In a new statement released this afternoon, Arkansas AFL-CIO President Alan Hughes declares that Lincoln is turning into "yet another hypocritical, flip-flopping DC politician." Hughes also says: "Only someone who has become a career politician in Washington DC could spend ten years asking for our support, take hundreds of thousands of dollars from blue collar workers, then turn around and attack us as 'outsiders' because we wouldn't help her this time around."

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President Obama celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a speech at the Friends of Ireland Luncheon on Capitol Hill, underscoring the United States' unique and continuing relationship with Ireland. Here are his complete remarks:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Please, everybody be seated. To Speaker Pelosi; distinguished members of the House and Senate; Republican Leader Boehner; Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; my outstanding Vice President and his newest chief of staff -- (laughter) -- to Prime Minister Cowen and the entire Irish delegation, as well as the extraordinary leaders from Ireland and Northern Ireland -- it is my privilege to welcome all of you for this wonderful St. Patrick's Day tradition.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) responded today to criticism over his recent remark that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has Democrats "all liquored up on sake" and "making a suicide run" with their plan to pass health care reform.

Graham's explanation for those comments? "I'm just trying to let people know that what they're doing is fanatical, it's not rational."

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A new survey by Public Policy Polling (D) shows Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) continuing to lead his unknown Democratic rivals -- but at the same time, he continues to be a vulnerable incumbent.

Burr's approval rating among registered voters is only 35%, with a disapproval rating of 37%, and a whole 28% undecided -- he is neither popular nor unpopular, and instead has not really made any impression with the voters. Against a generic Democrat, Burr has 41% to the generic Dem's 39%.

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