TPM News

On Sunday, we reported that two GOP Senators -- Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Kit Bond (R-MO) -- had suggested "regime change" as a good U.S. goal for Iran.

Well, add Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to that list. Last night on The O'Reilly Factor, the former GOP presidential nominee endorsed "regime change" in Iran.

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One point that often gets overlooked in the current freak-out over ACORN, is that the US attorney firings were, in part, a different manifestation of the same Republican-driven campaign to discredit and sideline the group that we've seen recently.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night interviewed David Iglesias, and reminded us that Iglesias was fired in large part for not pursuing bogus voter fraud cases tied to ACORN. The New Mexico GOP, along with Karl Rove, understood that hampering the registration of poor and minority voters was crucial to boosting Republicans' chances in the minority-heavy state. And that pressuring law enforcement to bring voter fraud cases implicating ACORN, despite the lack of evidence, was the best way to do it.

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Former California GOP congressman John Doolittle has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of Jack Abramoff crony Kevin Ring.

Ring, a former top aide to Doolittle, was indicted last year for allegedly bribing lawmakers and members of the executive branch, after he left Capitol Hill and went to work for Abramoff. The indictment charged that, among other crimes, Ring provided lavish meals and events tickets to members of Doolittle's staff, and that Ring provided Doolittle's wife, Julia, with a lucrative non-profit job, arranged by Abramoff. Julia Doolittle has also been named as a co-conspirator.

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Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced his public option amendment before the Senate Finance Committee. In making the pitch to the panel's skeptics, he's noted that it will save the federal government about $50 billion over 10 years, and would be, as its name implies optional--i.e. it's not a "government takeover" of health care.

Late update: To the chagrin of chairman Max Baucus, Rockefeller is lambasting the insurance industry, and citing a number of ways other health care reform bills do a better job at reining in their excesses. He cited insurance industry whistleblower Wendell Potter, who said that, without a public option, health care reform legislation might as well be named the "Insurance Industry Profit Protection Act."

The House bill, Rockefeller noted, would place strict limits on the so-called medical-loss ratio (i.e. percentage of each premium dollar that can go to profits, administrative costs, and other non-health care related activities.)

Late, late update: It's worth mentioning that you can follow the hearing at this link.

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) continues to be a scold to the liberals in his party. Before a crowd of over 200 gathered at a senior center in Nebraska, Nelson said health care reform ought to pass with 65 votes--a feat which would require at least five Republicans to break with their party.

"I think anything less than that would challenge its legitimacy," he said.

Nelson didn't go so far as to say that he'd oppose a bill that had less than 64 other votes. But he did say he disagreed with the party's legislative approach to the issue.

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The campy new TV ad from Americans United has to be seen to be believed. The ad, running in Orlando, Louisville and Washington, presents the CEO of Humana and Republican leaders as being dressed up as monsters for Halloween.

The ad fires back at Humana for telling its senior citizen clients that Democratic health plans would cut their Medicare coverage. "But we shouldn't be surprised. Whether it's the insurance companies or their Republican allies, the case against health insurance reform always gets down to one word," the narrator says, followed by the sound of a woman screaming over spooky music.

Most notably, Humana CEO Michael McCallister is dressed up as the Devil. Also, John Boehner probably wouldn't appreciate the drag element of making him a witch.

As I laid out moments after the proposed amendments to the Baucus bill were announced, the public option will have its day on the Senate Finance Committee.

That day is today. The 23-member panel will consider amendments sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that, if adopted, would add a public option into the panel's health care reform bill.

Two things to keep in mind if you're watching the hearing or reading news accounts about the developments: the two proposals are very different, and neither is expected to pass. The Rockefeller amendment is a version of what we've come to know as the "robust" public option. It would, for a time, be tied to Medicare, and, thereafter, be able to use the government's considerable leverage to bargain down payment rates with providers.

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U.S. Plans To Isolate Iran If Nuclear Talks Fail The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration is preparing to further cut Iran's economic links with the rest of the world: "While officials stress that they hope Iran will agree to open its nuclear program to inspection, they are prepared by year's end to make it increasingly difficult for Iranian companies to ship goods around the world. The administration is targeting, in particular, the insurance and reinsurance companies that underwrite the risk of such transactions."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet at 11:30 a.m. ET with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Obama and Vice President Biden will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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The FBI says it's reviewing why it didn't reveal to prosecutors in the corruption case of Congressman William Jefferson that an agent on the case had an affair with a key government informant, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

And in a court filing unsealed today, first noted by the Times-Picayune, Jefferson prosecutors detail more about the FBI agent, John Guandolo, and the list of sexual conquests he wrote.

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Conservative commentator Glenn Beck received a plaque-mounted key to his hometown of Mount Vernon, WA (60 miles north of Seattle) on Saturday, September 26, 2009. The event was part of the official "Glenn Beck Day" organized by Mayor Bud Norris and opposed by many residents -- including the city council.

Newscom/Ed Hille/Philadelphia Inquirer




Protesters started waiting outside McIntyre Hall two hours before Beck arrived. According to KATU.com, there were more than 800 people by the time the ceremony started.

CC:Erna Louisa




"Now, I would give my right arm to live in a town like Mount Vernon. And I discovered today that there are a ton of people ready to cut it off," Beck said Saturday, referring to protesters. "It doesn't bother me, because I have the key to their house now."

CC:Erna Louisa




During the event, an airplane circled overhead with a banner saying, "Change the Locks."

CC:Erna Louisa




Protest planners said they were angry about Beck's stance on immigration, 9/11 victims and for calling Obama a racist. A few protesters held signs like this one, referring to Beck's stunt of boiling frogs alive on TV last week.

CC:Erna Louisa




On Wednesday, September 23, the Mount Vernon City Council passed a resolution saying, "Mount Vernon City Council is in no way sponsoring the mayor's event on Sept. 26, 2009, and is not connected to the Glenn Beck event in any manner."

CC:Erna Louisa




Before heading to Mount Vernon, Beck held an event at Safeco Field in Seattle, where fans paid up to $500 to take a picture with the Fox News personality.

Newscom/ZumaWire




Mayor Bud Norris walks past protesters wearing shirts that say "Hate Is Not A Mount Vernon Value" outside the City Council meeting Wednesday. He said he simply wanted to honor someone who grew up in Mount Vernon and now is on the national stage. Norris seemingly tried to downplay the city's gift to Beck, saying, "It's a key that fits nothing."

Newscom/ZumaWire




Beck supporters (with a few protesters mixed in -- most were gathered in another area) line the street in front of McIntyre Hall. According to News Hounds, one anti-Beck protester said about the event: "It is just wrong that someone can be given the key to the city at a closed event where citizens are not allowed to attend, take pictures or be heard."

Newscom/ZumaWire

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