Archive for March, 2010

Joe Biden drops the f-word during health care signing

Ah, Joe Biden. If you didn’t exist, we’d have to invent you.

In the middle of the elaborate ceremony surrounding the signing of the health care bill, the vice president gave a fulsome introduction to President Barack Obama.

Biden then embraced the president and said in his ear – loud enough for the mikes to pick up – “This is a big [expletive] deal.” And he didn’t say Fargo.

You have to listen very carefully:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs didn’t bother to deny Biden’s assessment. This what he sent out via Twitter:

gibbs

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Your morning jolt: DNC chair says ‘Bring back pre-existing conditions’ will make a ‘helluva bumper-sticker’

Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Atlanta. (Associated Press)

Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Atlanta. (Associated Press)

Less than 24 hours after the U.S. House passed a history-making overhaul of the American health care system, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee was in a grungy backroom of the Georgia World Congress Center – watching his salad wilt as one more reporter quizzed him about the implications of health care.

Former Virginia governor Tim Kaine was the keynote of Monday night’s annual state Democratic fund-raiser, which gathered 1,600 or so people into the Tom Murphy Ballroom.

Some excerpts from the backroom interview:

Q: Sunday morning, you were on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Did you know then you had the votes?

Kaine: I was highly confident, but I did not know the outcome. There were still some moving pieces – largely the discussion[s] with Bart Stupak and those who had been with the first round. Those were still ongoing. I was quite optimistic …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: DNC chair says ‘Bring back pre-existing conditions’ will make a ‘helluva bumper-sticker’ »

Hijinks at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner

About to head over to the Georgia Democrats’ annual fund-raiser, to listen to national chairman Tim Kaine talk about the implications of Sunday’s health care victory.

But hardcore politicking will be happening there, too. Already we’ve picked up two examples.

On Friday, in an interview with WGAU (1340 AM) in Athens, state Democratic party chairman Jane Kidd was asked whether it was time to winnow the field of gubernatorial candidates. She replied:

“Well, yes. As a matter of fact, I do think – anytime before qualifying, you have to hope that your candidates are looking at everything that’s going on in their races, and for the good of the party, let’s keep the competition down to as few candidates as possible.”

Apparently, former National Guard commander David Poythress thought Kidd was talking about him. He sent out this bit of sarcasm this afternoon:

I hope Kidd can convince Barnes to not destroy the Party for the second time in less than a decade. With so many critical …

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Sanford Bishop to Sonny Perdue: ‘I did the right thing, and thanks for your concern’

We told you earlier this afternoon about Gov. Sonny Perdue’s targeting of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) for the vote he cast in favor of the health care bill last night.

The congressman just sent the governor a detailed reply. See the entire thing here. But this is the meat, starting with Perdue’s accusation that the health care bill was contaminated by “the Cornhusker kickback:”

As for the “backroom, sweetheart deal” in the Senate health reform bill such as the extra Medicaid funding for Nebraska, I strongly agree with you that it does not belong in the final legislation. The reconciliation bill removes the increased Medicaid funding for Nebraska.

In closing, you correctly stated in your letter that my vote on health care reform legislation is one of the biggest decisions in my congressional career. I was fortunate to have received input from thousands of my constituents in the Georgia’s Second Congressional District before casting my vote in favor of the …

Continue reading Sanford Bishop to Sonny Perdue: ‘I did the right thing, and thanks for your concern’ »

Special election to fill Nathan Deal seat set for April 27

My AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington reports the following:

North Georgia residents will to have to wait until at least the end of next month before they get a new representative in Congress.

Gov. Sonny Perdue on Monday set April 27 for the special election to replace U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, who officially resigned his seat representing Georgia’s 9th congressional district following Sunday’s health care reform legislation vote.

Deal announced on March 1 he was quitting Congress after 18 years to concentrate on his campaign for governor. The Gainesville Republican also was facing a U.S. House ethics investigation into the dealings between an auto salvage company he owned and a state-funded inspection program.

At least 13 candidates have filed with the Federal Election Commission to replace Deal, although it’s unclear how many of them are planning to run for the special election as well as the general election this fall.

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Organizers worry tea party heckling could hurt movement

Tea Party demonstrators outside of the U.S. House chamber on Capitol Hill on Saturday/Associated Press

Tea Party demonstrators outside of the U.S. House chamber on Capitol Hill on Saturday/Associated Press

People are still talking about the invective directed U.S. Rep. John Lewis and other members of Congress on Saturday outside the U.S. Capitol. Politico.com just posted an article about the dangers posed by the tea party hecklers, which includes this:

Regardless of who yelled what, the reports themselves could be problematic for the tea party movement, said Adam Brandon, a spokesman for FreedomWorks, the small government group that helped organize tea partiers’ congressional office visits last week.

“Tattoos last forever,” said Brandon, quoting his boss, FreedomWorks chairman and former House Republican Leader Dick Armey. “If the movement gets tattooed as at all sympathetic to those (racist and homophobic) views, I won’t want to be involved in it anymore. It’s very distracting not only to our side, but also to the debate and the country.”

Jenny Beth Martin, an …

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Sonny Perdue and health care as a wedge issue

The state House is currently debating HR 1086, a proposed constitutional amendment declaring that the federal government can’t compel participation in any health care system.

Republicans are clearly looking at Sunday’s vote in Washington as a wedge issue that can be used in Georgia through November. And Gov. Sonny Perdue is positioning himself as the hammer driving that wedge.

Last week, the governor wrote a very public letter to U.S. Reps. John Barrow of Savannah and Sanford Bishop of Albany, both Democrats who hadn’t announced their positions on health care reform. Vote no, Perdue advised.

On Friday, Barrow announced he was a no vote. Bishop said he was a yes vote.

On Saturday, Perdue dashed off an op-ed piece for the Sunday papers – again leaning on Bishop. But not John Lewis, David Scott or Hank Johnson, who also had declared themselves in favor. “Congressman Bishop’s vote on health care will further devastate our state’s budget. It will eventually result in an …

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Congressman who shouted ‘baby killer’ raises his hand

Roll Call, the D.C. newspaper, says the “baby killer” mystery from last night has been solved:

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) acknowledged in a statement Monday he was the Member who shouted “baby killer” on the floor Sunday night while Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) addressed the chamber.

“Last night was the climax of weeks and months of debate on a health care bill that my constituents fear and do not support. In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase ‘it’s a baby killer’ in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership,” he said.

“While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself.”

Neugebauer said he apologized to Stupak for the outburst.

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A contrarian conservative says health care repeal will go nowhere

From Sam Olens to Max Wood, from Newt Gingrich to John Boehner, Republicans this morning are swearing oaths. The health care bill passed by the U.S. House on Sunday will be undone, they say.

Leave it to David Frum, the former George W. Bush aide, to provide the contrarian conservative point-of-view. This posted on CNN.com:

Some Republicans talk of repealing the whole bill. That’s not very realistic. Even supposing that Republicans miraculously capture both houses of Congress in November, repeal will require a presidential signature.

More relevantly: Do Republicans write a one-sentence bill declaring that the whole thing is repealed? Will they vote to reopen the “doughnut” hole for prescription drugs for seniors? To allow health insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions? To kick millions of people off Medicaid?

It’s unimaginable, impossible.

But Frum has a list of fixes that he thinks conservatives ought to make, beginning with blocking the coming income …

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Health care aftermath: Nathan Deal resigns, forces gather for counteroffensive

What happened after the House passed the health care overhaul:

– According to Congressional Quarterly, “Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) resigned from Congress less than an hour after he voted ‘no’ on the health care reform bill, according to the House Clerk’s office.”

CQ said the resignation by Deal, who is a GOP candidate for governor, was effective at 11:45 p.m. Sunday. Deal had postponed his resignation, originally scheduled for March 5, to cast a vote on the health care bill.

– Opponents of the health care overhaul announced a Saturday start to the counterreformation.

The Georgia chapter of Americans For Prosperity announced that it would start its counteroffensive strategy on Saturday, with a regional gathering of activists. U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell), Neal Boortz, Herman Cain and Martha Zoller will be on hand – though the exact time and place was not included in the notice.

– Opponents of health care reform announced a 10 a.m. rally at the state Capitol in an attempt to …

Continue reading Health care aftermath: Nathan Deal resigns, forces gather for counteroffensive »