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The Rundown

8 a.m. ET: When it comes to health-care reform, the world's greatest deliberative body is living up to its name.

With Republican negotiators urging that the pace of talks in the Senate slow down, Max Baucus announced Thursday night that his Finance panel would not mark up a bill next week, robbing Democrats of the ability to brag that health-care reform will at least clear committee in both chambers before recess. (In a move that surely will further endear him to liberals, Baucus mentioned Thursday that he had "no idea" how he would vote on Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination.) Mike Enzi said a race to finish a bill by next weekend would result in a "train wreck," and the six primary negotiators plan to keep talking through August.

In the House, a coalition of liberals denounced the deal between Henry Waxman and Blue Dog Democrats as unacceptable, but don't appear to have the votes within the Energy and Commerce Committee to derail the bill. That panel worked steadily through a draft of the measure Thursday, defeating an amendment to remove the public insurance option and approving an amendment setting forth guidelines on funding abortions. The committee hopes to finish its markup today or tomorrow.

While the Senate will stay in Washington for another week, the House recess begins just hours from now. The Fix reports, "the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is planning an August offensive against more than two dozen Republican House members that aims to paint them as roadblocks to reform." Note that the campaign involves e-mails and robocalls, not paid advertising. Republicans are sending their lawmakers home with talking points on how Democrats' health reform plans could make the economy worse. (GOP members are also encouraged to criticize Obama for planning to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Remember that issue?) Democrats, meanwhile, are heading home for August with a plan to villify insurance companies -- Nancy Pelosi got that ball rolling Thursday -- and to emphasize the idea that America's current subsidies for the uninsured already represent a "hidden tax."

As for that slew of polls released in the last 48 hours, Ben Smith notes that Obama's average support of 52 percent "now neatly matches the number of voters who elected him," that "Republicans are acting like Republicans again ... and disapproval among independent voters is growing steadily." John Dickerson observed a focus group with independents this week from which he divined this message: "We're behind you, Barack, but slow down." Mark Blumenthal concludes that while the recent surveys show significant opposition to Obama's health-care plan, the response was more positive once pollsters started providing descriptions, which "tells us that more Americans might support the reform proposals if they knew more about them." Paul Krugman identifies a larger problem: "It’s not just that many Americans don’t understand what President Obama is proposing; many people don’t understand the way American health care works right now."

Did the Henry Louis Gates controversy help send Obama's poll numbers downwards? Jon Cohen points out that Obama's approval numbers among white respondents in a Pew survey went down after Obama first waded into the controversy. Yesterday's "beer summit" was designed to reverse that trend. The Washington Post called it "an extraordinary scene that Obama's aides hoped would convey a hopeful message about race relations," though Dana Milbank suggested it wasn't "a cure for what ales us."

Ever the professor -- or perhaps the host of an after-school special -- Obama said the entire affair provided "a positive lesson" for America about race.E.J. Dionne expressed disdain Thursday for the way Obama had framed the event: "The problem with 'teachable moments' is that the term sets up one group of people as teachers while another group is consigned to the role of pupils."

By Ben Pershing  |  July 31, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Irony. The political numbers are starting to match the bankrupt corporate negatives. Lots of disadvantages and no Liberty, but opinions will still vary. Everybody gets Obamacare and AIG runs it. That should work well. Lets impeach logic next and call it justice. Frauds.

Posted by: Dermitt | July 31, 2009 9:26 AM

Sorry Let's. There perfection.

Posted by: Dermitt | July 31, 2009 9:27 AM

This bill should never clear the house. They have got to take out the mandates. This is america, we have the right to make our own choices about our own well being. No bueaurocrat has the right to make that decision for us. Also, the same healtcare should be mandatory for our reps in Washington that is forced on the people. If it's not good enough for our servants it's not good enough for us, the people who are going to be paying for it and already are paying for our reps wonderful "want for nothing" healthcare.

Posted by: aabmh | July 31, 2009 9:54 AM


* Fed-funded, nationwide vigilante "Gestapo" has co-opted and compromised local law enforcement -- using warrantless, covertly implanted GPS devices to stalk, harass unjustly targeted American citizens.

* Microwave/laser radiation "directed energy weapons" deployed to silently TORTURE and degrade the health of the "targets."

* "Intelligence-based policing" a pretext for a security/military/intel social purge executed at the GRASSROOTS with the cooperation of local law enforcement.


OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 31, 2009 10:04 AM

I've been hering about this motley crew for some time now, andthough I'm new to the blogassphere, I been traveling not on this continent, I don't know who are the BlueDOg Democrats. Does anyone have a list? Seems like the progressives aught ta go after these AH-es with a vengence.

Posted by: Man-in-the-Moon | July 31, 2009 11:15 AM

Its ok for rahm the vulgar, pelosi, waxman and obama to WATERBOARD DEMOCRATS BUT NOT OK TO WATERBOARD MUSLEMS TRYING TO KILL US.

Posted by: bobojake | July 31, 2009 11:28 PM

the blue dogs are democrats that BARELY WON election in 2008 in republican states that voted for McCain. if they don't stand up to the liberals shoving their universal coverage down our throats they'll find themselves in the evergrowing unemployment lines come 2010.

Posted by: visionbrkr | July 31, 2009 11:54 PM

I'm sorry but I've never seen a video tape of your birth Pershing so there's nothing to comment on because you don't exist.

Posted by: tstraker69 | August 2, 2009 1:02 PM

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