TPM News

In an email to supporters, the pro-reform group Health Care For America Now is calling for its coalition partners (which it describes as The Grim Reaper and the ghosts of those who have died for lack of health care), to join them in a demonstration to lobby Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) to support health care reform.

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A lot of people in Sen. Joe Lieberman's former party are now stepping up to set the record straight, and say they don't agree with his analysis of the impact of the public option.

At the White House briefing today, a reporter asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs whether he agrees with Lieberman, who says both that a public option will cost tax payers dearly, and drive up the cost of health insurance for everybody else--positions that are disputed widely by experts.

Gibbs was pretty direct: "I think we would disagree and I think elements of the Congressional Budget Office would disagree with the analysis that Senator Lieberman has made."

In making those statements, he joins other high profile Democrats who also dispute Lieberman's position. However, though Democrats don't agree with Lieberman, none have publicly chastised him for going rogue yesterday. According to Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, this is reflective of Senate leadership's strategy of winning over the Connecticut senator without pushing back too hard and, perhaps, entrenching his opposition to health care reform.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) told CBS's Bob Scheiffer today that he might not vote with Democrats to move a health care reform bill forward, saying his vote would depend on if the bill is "fiscally responsible."

"Some people argue that we should vote to go forward on a bill even if we don't like it," he said. "As we get further along in this, I view procedure and substance as being largely one and the same. I'd like to move forward, but some of that's going to depend on is it fiscally responsible."

For other moderates who've said they might filibuster a bill -- such as Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) -- the public option is the sticking point.

But Bayh wouldn't go that far.

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Creigh Deeds has a new ad in the Virginia gubernatorial race, quoting newspaper editorials that implore voters to pick the substance of Deeds over the style of Bob McDonnell, who is ahead in all the polls.

"The [Roanoke] Times said it best, if you want 'slick,' go with the other guy," the announcer says. "But if you want an honest, proven leader who can move Virginia forward, it's Creigh Deeds for Governor."

On a conference call with reporters this afternoon, the Deeds campaign explained how they plan to beat the expectations and win the Virginia gubernatorial race.

"The name of the game is getting out the vote. And people say, 'how do you expect to win at this point?" said campaign adviser Mo Elleithee. "And the answer is simple. If we can get out a significant number of people who voted for Barack Obama and Mark Warner in 2008, then we are very much in this game, and that is to be our main objective this week."

The campaign is especially targeting what it calls "Obama-surge voters," the new voters or infrequent voters who came out to polls to help Barack Obama win the state in 2008, as the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since 1964. Polling has consistently shown that Republican voters are more motivated than Democrats in this race, with polls often showing that the likely-voter pools this time around actually voted for McCain last year.

The campaign plans to get to about 175,000 doors across the state between now and election day, with a target of 200,000 doors on the big day itself, plus there will be over 700,000 GOTV calls. The question is, will it be enough to prove all the current polls wrong?

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) released a statement today about the news reports that link Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president's brother, to drug trafficking and the CIA.

Kerry said he has "serious questions about the information that Congress is receiving."

"We should not condemn Ahmed Wali Karzai or damage our critical relations with his brother, President Karzai, on the basis of newspaper articles or rumors. But the appropriate congressional committees must be immediately provided with the most comprehensive and untainted information about his alleged entanglements," he wrote.

Kerry had somewhat defended Ahmed Karzai on Monday, saying he had seen no "smoking gun" proving his ties to the drug world.

Full statement after the jump.

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The GOP may have lost a recent battle over President Obama on social politics, but a House Republican Leader today said he's not ready to let Democrats win the culture war.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the leader of the GOP conference in the House, issued a fiery statement denouncing to Obama for signing a hate crimes bill into law today.

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Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) released this statement today, giving some precious wisdom in explaining why he voted against honoring the ancient Chinese sage Confucius:

Congressman Flake Releases Statement Regarding His Vote Against Honoring the 2560th Birthday of Confucius

Washington, D.C., Oct 28 - Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona's Sixth District, today released the following statement regarding his vote against H.Res.784, a bill "honoring the 2560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius and recognizing his invaluable contributions to philosophy and social and political thought."

"He who spends time passing trivial legislation may find himself out of time to read healthcare bill," said Flake.


Heh. Heh.

Senate Democrats are worried they may be delayed debating the merged health care bill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent to the Congressional Budget Office Monday while they wait for the CBO to score the measure.

Roll Call is reporting (sub. req.) that senators are concerned the score may not be available for another week and a half, which would postpone the debate beginning late next week.

As Brian detailed yesterday, there are plenty of unanswered questions about the bill.

TPMDC interviewed former CBO chief Doug Holtz-Eakin, who served as an economic adviser to the McCain campaign last year.

"It's so unclear to me what actually is being proposed," he told us, adding he was surprised any senators have been able to take sides since the details are scarce. "There are a million questions."

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