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Centrist Dem’s spokesman says nixed public option wouldn’t be enough

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The spokesman for Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu told Raw Story Monday that removing the public option from the Senate’s health care reform bill wouldn’t be enough to win her vote.

“The senator’s number one concern is passing a bill that drives down costs,” Landrieu’s Communications Director Aaron Saunders said during a phone interview with Raw Story.  “And that’s costs for families, costs for small businesses and costs for the government.”

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A New York Times story indicated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may drop the public option from the final version of the Senate’s health care reform legislation.

According to the Times,  in order to appeal to Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe “as well as to centrist Democrats like Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana,” Reid’s effort to reconcile competing health care reform proposals “would not include a proposal for a government-run insurance plan, or public option, despite the clamoring of liberals who support it, senior Democratic Senate aides said.”

The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent says Reid’s staff is “aggressively shooting down” the Times story and that no decision has been made on the public option. Even so, the public option may not make or break the votes of Nelson, Snowe and Landrieu.

Staff for Snowe and Nelson did not immediately return phone calls from Raw Story, but Saunders in Landrieu’s office said the public option was not her primary concern. According to Saunders, Landrieu will support a bill if it has “cost-containment approaches” for families, small businesses and the government.

“She’ll look at the comprehensive bill,” Saunders said. “But the number one priority is that it contains costs.”

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The Times article added that top staffers from both the Senate Finance and the Senate health committees have begun meeting to hash out differences between the legislation endorsed by their respective panels. The health committee proposal includes a public option and is “far more expensive,” per the Times.

Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak says it doesn’t matter which plan passes the Senate. According to Mackowiak, a former spokesman for Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, “the end game is reconciliation.”

“The Senate can pass anything, it doesn’t matter what it is,” Mackowiak told Raw Story, noting the House has the votes to pass legislation, and that if the Senate passes any version of a health care reform bill the measure will automatically go to a conference committee where members of both Houses will decide what to present as the final version.

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“All they need to do [in the Senate] is pass anything the first time, then it goes into conference where they can’t filibuster it, and it becomes as simple as a 51 majority that could pass sweeping health care reform for the country,” Mackowiak said.

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CNN

GOP strategist walloped for urging Dem lawmakers to leave Trump alone and worry about being re-elected instead

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On CNN Saturday, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and Republican strategist Doug Heye clashed after the latter suggested Democrats should value their re-election over holding President Donald Trump accountable for wrongdoing.

"We have to remember, this is not a trial as we think of trials in courtroom," said Heye. "This is a political process. It is designed to be a political process, and that's why this whole process is played out the way that it has so far. I would say to Maria, the Republicans aren't spending money to shore up Republicans per se. They're spending money to go after vulnerable Democrats who are going home and then coming back and telling Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership, I'm getting killed back home."

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2020 Election

William Barr made it clear this week that he’d sign off on a sham investigation into the Dems’ 2020 nominee

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

A perfect storm propelled New York's sleaziest real estate developer to an Electoral College victory in 2016 despite winning three million fewer votes than his opponent, but Nate Silver made a compelling argument that the letter James Comey sent to Congress just 11 days before Election Day announcing that the FBI was re-opening its probe into Hillary Clinton's emails was decisive.

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Bill Barr is serving notice to DOJ officials that he’ll ruin them if they investigate Trump: MSNBC host

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An MSNBC discussion about Bill Barr running interference within the Justice Department for Donald Trump ended with "AM Joy" host Joy Reid suggesting that the attorney general's very public "media blitz" over the so-called "Horowitz Report" is a warning shot to anyone in the DOJ who thinks about investigating the president.

As Reid explained it, "He did a whole TV blitz to basically say that his own agency, the FBI, was spying on the Trump campaign, something that the inspector general said did not happen."

Reid took that to its logical conclusion.

"Now he’s saying, ‘Well, I’ve got a different report that’s going to find the motivations’ that he’s basically saying are bad motivations by people in the FBI.  And if you’re that FBI agent and then you hear that Donald Trump may be again looking for foreign help and maybe again getting help from Russia or forcing help from Ukraine, what do you do?" she asked. "Would you then not be concerned that, should you go ahead and investigate foreign interference in our election, that William Barr may come after you?"

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