TPM News

A new set of White House talking points offers a preview of how the Democrats will frame health care reform once President Obama signs the legislation into law. Crafted by David Axelrod and already popping up in Obama's stump speech, the talking points are focused on two key themes - what will health care reform do for the average person, and a suggestion that Republicans are defending big insurance.

The 14-page PowerPoint presentation sent to House Democrats and obtained by TPMDC advises rank-and-file members to keep it simple and focus on the 85 percent of people with health insurance.

The talking points were delivered at a recent caucus meeting for House Democrats by Axelrod's senior adviser David Simas. Capitol Hill aides say members will try out the messaging during the next break and if they work, expect to hear them a lot in the fall.

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Marco Rubio has led a pretty charmed life lately, as he's vaulted past Gov. Charlie Crist to take a commanding lead in the race for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.

But that could be ending. Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Rubio had charged computer supplies, groceries, and products from a music equipment store and a wine store, among other items, to the Florida GOP. And over the weekend, the St. Petersburg Times added to the picture, with a detailed look at the finances of the various political action committees that Rubio set up over the last decade, as he charted a course from little-known local pol to Speaker of the Florida House.

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A new TV ad against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) -- created by GOP strategist Floyd Brown, the man behind the Willie Horton TV ads in 1988 -- accuses Reid of being supported by Arab slave-masters.

The ad, sponsored by an independent group called the Republican Majority Campaign, goes after Reid's support from MGM Mirage Chairman Jim Murren, who appeared in a Reid ad boasting of Reid's support for his CityCenter project, and the jobs that were created in Las Vegas. The announcer then attacks Murren's business partner from Dubai, Sheik Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, accusing Maktoum of using "slave labor" in his country: "Slave labor in Dubai, union labor in Las Vegas -- and both the slave-bosses and the union-bosses want Harry Reid re-elected."

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on a radio show today that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has Democrats on a "suicide run" by using reconciliation to pass fixes to health care reform.

"They're scrambling to round up the votes and Nancy Pelosi, I think, has got them all liquored up on sake and you know, they're making a suicide run here," Graham said on South Carolina radio station WVOC.

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Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) today made the following statement regarding Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) financial reform proposal. Here's the full text:

"Republicans want to reach a bipartisan agreement with Chairman Dodd on substantive financial reform that protects taxpayers, strengthens our economy, and preserves the competitiveness of our financial markets. Over the coming days, my Republican Banking Committee colleagues and I will give Chairman Dodd's proposal the serious consideration it deserves. Given the magnitude, complexity, and importance of this task, it is critical that we have sufficient time for a thorough review. This bill is 1,336 pages long. Forcing the Banking Committee to vote on this proposal in a single week is unrealistic and undercuts the potential for bipartisan agreement. Strong reform should not fear scrutiny."

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner released the following statement today on Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) financial regulation plan. Here's the full text:

"This is a strong bill. We hope the Committee and the Senate will move forward quickly to pass comprehensive reform. We need a strong, independent consumer financial protection agency that is accountable for setting and enforcing clear rules across the financial marketplace. And we need strong authority to limit risk-taking and protect the taxpayer. Enacting reform will help reduce uncertainty about the rules of the road going forward. Passing strong reforms here at home will also give us the ability to put in place a level playing field internationally, with high standards. As the President said, as the bill moves forward, we will take every opportunity to work with Chairman Dodd and his colleagues to strengthen the bill and will fight against efforts to weaken it."

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