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Rep. Tom Periello (D-Va.) made an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe today to discuss healthcare reform.

He seems to have made quite an impression on host (and former Congressman) Joe Scarborough. Here's what Joe tweeted just after Perriello's apperance

JoeNBC I think Rep Tom Perriello (D-Va) has a bright future in politics.

Perriello noticed, and thanks Scarborough for the high praise:

tomperriello RT @JoeNBC I think Rep Tom Perriello (D-Va) has a bright future in politics. // Thanks, Joe.


Specter: Take stock of Afghan mission before sending troops

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) on Thursday took a wait-and-see approach on the issue of sending additional U.S. forces to Afghanistan.

The Obama administration sent additional troops in February but has indicated it will wait until the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal issues his recommendation on troop levels there.

Specter tweeted:

Before committing more troops, we must determine whether securing Afghanistan is essential to prevent al-Qaida from launching another attack

Senate Republicans and Democrats have become divided whether or not to deploy more troops. Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) stated his opposition to the idea, while the committee's top Republican John McCain (Ariz.) said he favors increasing the force's size.

The Republican-turned-Democrat appeared to take a similar tack as the White House, hesitating to opine on the issue before learning more information about the scenario.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room


Stearns now on Twitter

As Twitter becomes a more popular means of communication, members of Congress who don't use the microblogging service are catching on.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) is the latest congressman to sign up for Twitter. He is now tweeting under the handle @RepCliffSterns.

Stearns' first tweet discussed his position on President Barack Obama's policy czars:

Congressman Stearns calls upon President Obama to provide transparency about the appointment of czars -- http://bit.ly/P2Yj2

It is unclear if Stearns will tweet himself but a sample of his feed indicates that his staff is handling the work thus far. Several tweets refer to the congressman in the third person and multiple applications have been used to tweet.

Stearns currently has 39 followers.



Poor time to nix missiles - Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)
Constitution Day - Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.)
Border security this morning - Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)
No tax money to drug dealers and gangs - Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
Missile cuts send wrong message - Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.)
Rally for reform - White House
Bipartisan deal without bipartisan support - Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Wis.)
100th tweet to eat - Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)
Message meeting on Iraq & Afghanistan - Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.)
Glenn Beck's fuzzy math - DNC


Camp remembers slain pro-life activist on Constitution Day

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) used today's "Constitution Day" holiday to remember an anti-abortion activist slain in Michigan last Friday.

Camp posted a tweet on Thursday praising the member of James Pouillon, who was shot to death last Friday while protesting outside of a high school.

Camp tweeted Thursday:

It's Constitution Day. I'm thinking of James Pouillon; I knew him 20 yrs. Killed Friday expressing his 1st Amdmnt Rts defending the unborn.

Pouillon had been a controversial pro-life activist within Camp's home district, having been allegedly killed by Harlan Drake over concerns about Pouillon's often use of graphic abortion images in protests.

Constitution Day, celebrated each September 17th, is meant to celebrate the drafting of the Constitution, and the values and rights contained within it.


Deeds, McDonnell heat up the tweets at latest debate

The ever-competitive Virginia governor's race showed its fierceness on Twitter today during a debate between Creigh Deeds (D) and Bob McDonnell (R).

The two candidates squared off in the the second of four scheduled debates this morning. Staff members for Deeds and McDonnell tweeted unusually strong attacks at each other during the event, underscoring the intensity of the campaign as Election Day nears.

Virginia's gubernatorial election had attracted significant national attention as political observers see it as a bellweather of the GOPs ability to stage a comeback in the 2010 midterm contests. As evidence, "Meet the Press" host David Gregory moderated today's debate in McClean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

McDonnell faced bad publicity after the contents of his graduate thesis were revealed to contain passages critical of working women and non-traditional families. The Republican, however, has been able to sustain a significant lead in the polls and a fundraising edge over Deeds.

During today's debate, members of McDonnell's staff tweeted under the former state Attorney General's account and state Sen. Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey shared live updated from his own account.
Here are some of the barbs from earlier on Thursday:

McDonnell staff: @CreighDeeds the astronomer...talks about "space"

Abbey: 1st question - @bobmcdonnell thesis - "working women / feminists are detrimental to society." Question what has changed?

A: @bobmcdonnell answer: a lot of my close friends are women

M: @CreighDeeds getting angry ~staff #vagov

A: @bobmcdonnell - "drinkable fuel" - not sure i like your green energy ideas

M: @CreighDeeds confuses audience, mass hysteria ~staff #vagov

A: I know [former governor] Mark Warner, I've worked for Mark Warner - @bobmcdonnell you are no Mark Warner

M: @CreighDeeds, you've really shared these concerns with @BarackObama? prove it ~staff #vagov

A: bob's insulted? no bob the working women and families are insulted by your record and your blueprint for va

M: Bob ends positive, @CreighDeeds ends angry - staff #vagov


Congressman remembers folk star Mary Travers

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) on Thursday tweeted memories of the late Mary Travers, one part of the folk trio "Peter, Paul and Mary." Travers passed away from leukemia on Wednesday.

The freshman Democrat tweeted:

A loss to the world and her friends,Mary Travers of Peter Paul and Mary. The end of an era, and a life well-lived: http://bit.ly/14dvsk

Travers -- who was one of the most iconic figures in fold music -- was 72-years-old.

Here is live footage of the group's performance of "Blowin' in the Wind"


Maryland basketball coach to attend Obama rally

University Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams is attending a healthcare rally on Thursday featuring the First Basketball Fan as a headliner.

President Barack Obama is speaking at an event the university's on-campus arena, the Comcast Center, which Williams' Maryland Terrapins call home.

The coach -- who won the 2002 NCAA National Championship -- tweeted:

Getting ready to hear President Obama speak here at the Comcast Center at 11:00

The former Maryland point guard did not say if he will take on the president one-on-one after the speech. Our guess is that it won't happen.


Cosby agrees with Carter racism claims

Comedian Bill Cosby agrees with former President Jimmy Carter that racism plays a role in much of the opposition to President Barack Obama.

The former star of the self-titled "Cosby Show" took to Twitter and Facebook to share his thoughts on Carter's remarks. Carter said on Tuesday that the "9/12" protests and other "tea party" protests were motivated by racist attitudes among the participants.

Cosby tweeted late Wednesday:

I agree with President Carter that racism is playing a role in recent outbursts against President Obama.

In a statement on Facebook, Cosby wrote:

During President Obama’s speech on the status of health care reform, some members of congress engaged in a public display of disrespect. While one Representative hurled the now infamous “you lie” insult at the President, others made their lack of interest known by exhibiting rude behavior such as deliberately yawning and sending text messages.

Various polls prior to the election indicated that between five and ten percent of Americans would never vote for an African American president. That number, of course, only includes those who actually admitted to their prejudice. How many others harbored such feelings but did not respond honestly when asked the question? And how many people oppose Obama’s plan because the President is African American?

In "Birth of a Nation," D.W. Griffith used white actors in black face to portray black legislators as having low intelligence and acting like fools. Today, we have a band of real life congressional fools seemingly bent on blocking any meaningful reform of the health care system. But if we allow even one American to die simply because he or she cannot afford treatment, we are creating a shameful scenario that could aptly be called “Death of a Nation.”

Cosby has been politically active throughout his career, speaking out on issues of race, socioeconomic status, and education.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room


McCain: Missile shield cancellation a 'victory for Putin'

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on Thursday that the Obama administration's decision to nix a proposed missile shield in Eastern Europe "a victory for [Russian Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin."

A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed early on Thursday that the Defense Department would scrap the missile defense system but denied that the cancellation had "anything to do with Russia."

McCain, who is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted:

Missile Defense Shield scrapped by the Admin–reversal of our commitment 2 our allies & a victory for Putin http://mccain.senate.gov/pu...

The missile defense system, which President George W. Bush originally proposed, would have placed radar units in the Czech Republic and interceptors in Poland in order to protect against a potential Iranian nuclear threat. Then-President Putin said that the program was instead a regional power grab by the U.S.

"This decision calls into question the security and diplomatic commitments the United States has made to Poland and the Czech Republic, and has the potential to undermine perceived American leadership in Eastern Europe," McCain said in a statement.

"Given the serious and growing threats posed by Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, now is the time when we should look to strengthen our defenses, and those of our allies," he added.

While Republicans have roundly criticized the move, the Obama administration has defended it as a tactical move to better fend off Iran. President Obama in brief remarks at White House the White House today said he contacted Russian officials to reiterate that their opposition to the previous system was "unfounded."

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room