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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the Virginia gubernatorial race has Republican Bob McDonnell still leading Democrat Creigh Deeds by a healthy margin.

The numbers: McDonnell 50%, Deeds 43%, with a ±4% margin of error. This is essentially unchanged from the last Kos/R2K poll in early August, when McDonnell was ahead 51%-43%.

This differs from yesterday's Rasmussen poll, which put McDonnell ahead by only 48%-46%, and suggested that his hard-right college thesis was hurting him.

It's long been known (reported at TPMDC and elsewhere) that, among the now defunct Gang of Six, two senators were advocates for giving poor and middle class taxpayers greater government assistance to buy health insurance: Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and, unexpectedly Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

But now Snowe says that, if she's to support the final package out of the finance committee, the subsidies in the bill will have to be strengthened. "[T]here would have to be more subsidies," she told the New York Times.

That's something liberals support to, though it would require more revenue, which likely means new taxes. And Snowe's been less forthcoming about how to pay for the subsidies than about her general support for them.

Still, reformers on the left probably won't be too excited by this. Despite advocating for greater government assistance, Snowe also opposes a public option unless it's affixed to a trigger mechanism, and supports the "free-rider" provision, which would make it profitable for employers to discriminate against poor people.

Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) is the first candidate to come out with a TV ad in the special election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. In Capuano's new ad, he very strongly ties himself to Ted Kennedy's legacy, and puts himself forward as the truly progressive candidate.

"Only one candidate stood with Ted Kennedy against Bush's Iraq War, and mirrors his progressive record," the announcer says. "Mike Capuano: passionate, progressive, supports a strong public health care option, equal marriage, middle class tax cuts, ethics reform, pro-choice, and against the death penalty."

After courting Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) for months--making concession after concession and coming up empty, and angering Democrats who were shut out of negotiations--Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus may be preparing to make amends by undoing some of the damage he made in the name of consensus.

A new report out from Roll Call suggests the new goal is a bill that can win each of the panel's Democrats plus, perhaps, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

"I think there's a view on the part of the chairman and on the part of just about everyone who was there to try and come up with a consensus that every Democrat, and perhaps Olympia Snowe, could support," after meeting with committee Democrats. "I would say, just about everyone in the room thought it's doable."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) opposes the bill as it stands from the left, and has said that other Democrats on the panel were infuriated by the length and failure of the process. Snowe, meanwhile, hasn't said one way or another what she'll do. Democrats were initially skeptical that she'd sign on, but a number of signs yesterday suggest that she's leaning toward supporting the bill as it moves out of committee.

If Snowe opposes the bill, Baucus can afford to lose no more than one Democrat. So consensus--or near consensus--within the party will be critical for him.

Values Voters Summit Begins Today, To Feature GOP Presidential Straw Poll The Values Voters Summit is kicking off today in Washington, and will feature such conservative politicians as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and others. Most notably, the event will have a 2012 presidential straw poll, which will test the current appeal of various Republican politicians among religious right activists. The results of the straw poll will be announced on Saturday.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama does not have any public events scheduled today. At 1 p.m. ET, he will have a closed-press meeting with recipients of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

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President Obama is filming his unprecedented five Sunday show interviews today with ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Univision.

The interviews, which will focus on health care reform, are being taped in the White House.

Fox is not included in the lineup, possibly because the network ran "So You Think You Can Dance" during last week's address to a joint session of Congress.

Howard Dean and Democracy for America have launched a new campaign called America Can't Wait, to bring grassroots pressure to bear on elected officials to pass health care reform with a public option through via the filibuster proof budget reconciliation process.

In a letter to supporters, obtained by TPM, America Can't Wait founder Howard Dean to supporters writes that pursuing the 51-vote should be the priority over the regular legislative order because it will be more likely to produce a public option.

"At least 218 House and 51 Senate Democrats have said they would vote for the final healthcare bill if it included the choice of a public option rather than vote against the bill and kill reform," Dean writes.

Some have said it takes 60 votes to pass any bill in the U.S. Senate. It's a myth.

It's a myth because while any Senator can attempt to block most Senate bills with a procedural tactic called the filibuster, there are exceptions. Senate rules don't allow filibusters of certain bills that affect the budget. That's right; the healthcare reform plan including the choice of a public option can be passed in a budget bill by a majority vote in the U.S. Senate.

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Former Bush administration official Ellen Sauerbrey, who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, is warning that President Obama's policies point in a very dangerous direction: economic fascism.

The County Times of St. Mary's County, Maryland, reported on an appearance that Sauerbrey -- a former two-time GOP nominee for governor -- put in at a local Republican dinner this past Saturday. The paper reports that Sauerbrey said that President Obama was surrounded by a cult-like following, edging towards that of Juan Peron or Adolf Hitler. She told the paper that she was not making a comparison between Obama and Hitler, but instead saying that the conditions in this country were such that a dictator could usurp the rights of citizens:

She said that the Obama administration advanced "fascist, socialist ideals."

"I'm really afraid for the future of our country," Sauerbrey told attendees at the annual Lincoln/Reagan Dinner of Sept. 12 in Callaway. "Our Constitution is indeed being dismantled."

In an interview with TPM, Sauerbrey disputed some of the article -- but made clear the dangers of economic fascism and a breakdown in economic freedom and the rule of law.

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Things just keeping getting worse for Queen Birther Orly Taitz. Yesterday, a federal judge not only threw out her latest "birther soldier" lawsuit, but also took the time to demolish Birtherism generally and threaten Taitz with sanctions if she files more frivolous suits.

Now, in response to Taitz's comments to TPM calling the judge corrupt and suggesting he should be tried for treason, a fellow member of the California bar has filed a formal complaint against Taitz.

"I respectfully request that you investigate Ms. Taitz's conduct and impose an appropriate sanction. She is an embarrassment to the profession," writes Subodh Chandra, who practices in Ohio and is also an inactive member of the California bar.

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Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, will ask for between 30,000 and 40,000 more troops for the war there, according to sources sited by CNN and Fox News.

The debate over whether to send more troops to Afghanistan has heated up recently, with lawmakers speaking out passionately on either side.

President Obama said yesterday that he will not make any decisions about a troop increase until he forms a clear strategy for the war in Afghanistan.

"There is no immediate decision pending on resources," he said. "Certainly you don't make determinations about sending young men and women into battle without having absolute clarity about what the strategy is gonna be."