TPMDC Saturday Roundup

Obama: ‘We’re A Nation Still Capable Of Doing Big Things’
In this weekend’s YouTube address, President Obama touted the achievements of the past week, with the passage of reforms to the country’s health care system and student loan program.

“Education. Health care. Two of the most important pillars of a strong America grew stronger this week,” said Obama. “These achievements don’t represent the end of our challenges; nor do they signify the end of the work that faces our country. But what they do represent is real and major reform. What they show is that we’re a nation still capable of doing big things. What they prove is what’s possible when we can come together to overcome the politics of the moment; push back on the special interests; and look beyond the next election to do what’s right for the next generation.”

McConnell Promotes ‘Repeal And Replace’ Platform
In this weekend’s Republican address, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promoted the GOP’s position on the new health care law, that they will “repeal and replace” it with a new law that retains the popular aspects of it:

“We can do better. We can expand access to people with preexisting conditions. We can keep people from being kicked off their plans. We can lower costs and premiums. We can do all of these things without undermining the things we do best and without raising taxes that kill jobs in a bad economy,” said McConnell. “The American people know that. That’s why they’ve been clamoring for a different approach, and that’s why Republicans are committed to repealing this bill and replacing it with common sense solutions that achieve the good things that folks on both sides want to achieve without all the nasty consequences we’re already beginning to see.”

White House’s Second Pick For Transportation Security Withdraws Nomination
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding, the Obama administration’s second nominee to head up the Transportation Security Administration, has withdrawn from his nomination. “I feel that the distractions caused by my work as a defense contractor would not be good for this administration nor for the Department of Homeland Security,” Harding said in a late-evening statement released by the White House.

Stupak: ‘True Motives’ Of Pro-Life Groups Were To ‘Kill Health-Care Legislation’
In a new guest column in the Washington Post, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) fired back at his conservative critics who accused him of betraying the pro-life cause. “The true motives of many blogs and organizations claiming to be pro-life have become clear in recent days: to politicize life issues as a means to defeat health care reform. One group even sent an e-mail to supporters saying they are ‘working feverishly to stop this legislation from going forward,'” Stupak writes. “The pro-life groups rallied behind me — many without my knowledge or consent — not necessarily because they shared my goals of ensuring protections for life and passing health-care reform but because they viewed me as their best chance to kill health-care legislation.”

Reid Becomes Open To Recess Appointments
Politico reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has become supportive of the idea of President Obama recess-appointing two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, whose nominations have been bottled up by Senate Republicans. “He has decided that enough is enough and would support such a move,” said spokesman Jim Manley.

RNC Tees Up next Supreme Court Campaign Finance Fight
The Republican National Committee will ask the Supreme Court to overturn the ban on unlimited “soft money” contributions to political parties, after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled against the RNC in their lawsuit. “Today’s decision leaves special-interest groups and labor unions with more power to influence our elections than political parties,” said RNC lawyer and former George W. Bush administration Solicitor General Ted Olson. “We will demonstrate to the Supreme Court that the First Amendment does not tolerate that result.”

Senate Dem Newcomers Take Aim At Rules
The Washington Post reports that a group of first-term Democratic Senators are taking the lead in calling for reform of the Senate’s rules, which would involve altering or eliminating the filibuster. “The more the American people understand the system’s broken, the more the people are going to support rules reform,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), who was elected in 2008.