Evan Bayh

It usually takes some effort to unpack China's various climate pledges, and this latest one is no exception. Last week, Beijing declared that the country would aim to reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020. This doesn't mean China's overall emissions will drop, it just means that CO2 emissions per unit of GDP will decline. Because China's economy is growing at such a torrid pace, overall emissions will keep ticking upward—it's just that the rate of growth will slow.

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While the House bill comes down much harder on Big Pharma than the Senate, it gives the medical device industry a big break. As The Wall Street Journal points out today, the House bill cuts the $40 billion tax on the device industry that’s in the Senate Finance Committee down to $20 million.

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Could Evan Bayh be backing off his threat to join the Republican filibuster of the health care reform bill?

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Tim Kaine, Mensch

Time has excerpts from David Plouffe's new book. The section about the whirlwind day he and Axelrod spent interviewing the three veep finalists--Biden, Bayh, and Kaine--is the most interesting.

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With Joe Lieberman and, now, Evan Bayh threatening to support Republican filibusters of health care reform, it's worth taking a moment to contemplate what that would mean in terms of majority rule--or lack thereof. By most accounts, there are five non-Republican senators who might support a filibuster if reform includes a strong public option. The five are Evan Bayh, Mary Landreiu, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, and Ben Nelson. Assume, as a worst case scenario, all five were to follow through on the threat.

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I understand Evan Bayh's concern about the deficit--it is large, and eventually the bond markets (particularly our foreign creditors) might have something to say about it. But, for the moment, I think he needs to take a couple deep breaths. The big problem with his op-ed in today's Journal is that it doesn't deal directly with the biggest source of the recent spike in the 10-year deficit--namely, the worst recession since the 1930s.

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Matthew Yglesias has some harsh, not-suitable-for-a-family-blog words to describe the new moderate caucus that Senator Evan Bayh is creating. Bayh apparently announced the creation of this caucus on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Matt suggests its purpose is to "soak up special interest cash in exchange for blocking the progressive agenda" and notes that its members, so far, are not willing to identify themselves. I'm not so sure about the cause-and-effect of the special interest money. I think Bayh comes by his mindless centrism* naturally.

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Tracy Flicks

New York’s new senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a very ambitious politician. Just months after deposing a four-term GOP incumbent in 2006, she raised nearly $700,000--more than any other freshman legislator. As a sophomore in the House, she attempted to bypass more senior members for a seat on the coveted Ways and Means Committee. And she lobbied intently for the Senate appointment. “[H]er eye has been on that prize for a long, long time,” Jonathan Schiller, a founding partner of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, where Gillibrand worked as a partner, told the New York Observer.

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Drama Club

The morning after the presidential election, a group of top Obama staffers and consultants gathered for brunch at a restaurant a few blocks from their Chicago headquarters. The mood was understandably emotional, and, before long, chief strategist David Axelrod rose to offer a valedictory. According to one person in the room, Axelrod lavished praise on his operatives for their discretion, for their collegiality, and for their resistance to all manner of Washington-think. But, even as Axelrod spoke, a burst of Washington-style drama was making a mockery of these virtues.

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Evan Bayh, of all people, nails it, via Mike Allen: "He said things that were simply unacceptable, and I think he needs to apologize for that." Re Lieberman's chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee: "You have got to expect an apology, a sincere apology, and you have got to ... tell him: Look, we're going to give you a chance here. But if you don't do the right things as chairman, if you know, we see any continuation of this kind of behavior, well, then, ...

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