Politics Today: Will the Dream Live On?

Politics Today is CBSNews.com's inside look at the key stories driving the day in Politics, written by CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris:

**Memorial service for Sen. Ted Kennedy tonight...

**Outnumbered Republicans in Massachusetts protesting potential move to allow governor to appoint Kennedy successor...

**Health care fight continues...

SEN. TED KENNEDY: Thousands lined the streets – and, according to the Kennedy family, 25,000 lined up to pay their respects at the JFK Library in Boston on Thursday. Today, Kennedy will lay in repose for a second day at the library before an invitation-only "Celebration of Life Memorial Service" at 7pm.

Speakers tonight include: Vice President Joe Biden, his niece Caroline Kennedy, his nephew former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II, D-Mass.; Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass.; Boston Mayor Tom Menino; Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; John Kerry, D-Mass.; and John McCain, R-Ariz.

On Saturday morning, Kennedy will be taken to the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as the Mission Church, in Boston for a funeral Mass. President Obama will deliver the eulogy; former Presidents Clinton, Carter and George W. Bush will also attend.

CBS News has learned that Kennedy's sons Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and Edward Kennedy Jr. are also expected to deliver remarks.

Following the funeral on Saturday, Kennedy will be flown to Washington, D.C. and will be buried next to his brothers John and Robert in Arlington National Cemetery. His motorcade will stop by the U.S. Capitol en route to the cemetery.

Today's Kennedy coverage online:

CBS News

Boston Globe

Boston Herald

Politico's Jonathan Martin, "Hub fans bid 'Teddy' adieu"

New York Times' Abby Goodnough, "Massachusetts Mourns a Kennedy Brother, Again"

Cape Cod Times' Patrick Cassidy, "Cape Cod's final farewell"

New York Times' John M. Broder, "Despite Successes, Kennedy Left Unfinished Business in the Senate"

Washington Post's Philip Rucker, "Late Senator's Staff Became the Other Kennedy Family"

Associated Press' Calvin Woodward, "Nixon dug deep for dirt on Ted Kennedy": "President Richard Nixon considered Ted Kennedy such a threat that he tried to catch Kennedy cheating on his wife, even ordering aides to recruit Secret Service agents to spill secrets on the senator's behavior."

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
SUCCEEDING KENNEDY: "A Democratic push to appoint a successor to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy is sparking a political tempest in Massachusetts, infuriating Republicans and dividing Democrats who only five years ago passed a law requiring that voters decide on Senate vacancies," report the Wall Street Journal's John Hechinger and Philip Shishkin.

"On a day when members of both parties paid their respects to Mr. Kennedy, a Democratic icon who died this week of brain cancer, Republicans accused Democrats of hypocrisy. In 2004, the state's Democrat-controlled legislature changed the law to prevent the governor from appointing an interim successor after a U.S. Senate seat becomes vacant. Instead, the new law requires that a special election be held between 145 and 165 days after the position becomes vacant.

"Now, with Mr. Kennedy dying three years before his term was up, some Massachusetts Democrats are reversing course, calling for Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint an interim replacement to hold office until the special election can be held. They now argue the state shouldn't be without full Senate representation for months, especially with pressing issues such as health care before Congress.

"If the law were changed, it would be part of a grand bargain among the state's top lawmakers. Patrick would be expected to name a caretaker to fill the seat, a political luminary who would pledge not to run in a special election," report the Washington Post's Ben Pershing and Paul Kane. "Speculation has centered on former governor Michael S. Dukakis, former state attorney general Scott Harshbarger and former state treasurer Shannon O'Brien -- all Democrats -- as potential appointees. Another prospect is Paul G. Kirk Jr., a confidant of the late senator and chairman of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, where Edward Kennedy now lies in repose."

The Boston Globe's Frank Phillips and Matt Viser report, "Massachusetts voters would go to the polls either Jan. 19 or 26 to choose a successor to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, under an electoral calendar that the state's chief election officer presented to Beacon Hill leaders yesterday.

"Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who oversees state election laws, said Governor Deval Patrick is legally required to choose either of those dates and notify town and city officials of his decision by early next week. State law requires the governor to set the process for a special election in motion 'immediately'' upon a Senate vacancy.

"Galvin said he calculated the dates after meeting with House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray, and top Patrick aides. Under the schedule set by state law, a Jan. 19 election would require a Dec. 8 primary; a Jan. 26 election would mean a Dec. 15 primary.

The Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot asks, "Was Joe Kennedy born to run for Ted's seat?": "As the Bay State mourns the loss of one of the most powerful figures in the storied Kennedy clan, all eyes are on Joseph P. Kennedy II, an enormously popular golden boy who could be Camelot's last hope of retaining the Kennedy seat.

"While several friends and colleagues said the eldest son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy has distanced himself from politics, one source said he's recently discussed running for the seat.

"But family friend Philip Johnston said, 'Despite the best efforts of some of us to persuade him to get back into politics, we haven't been successful.'"

McClatchy Newspapers' David Lightman, "After 56 years, Kennedy family may lose control of Senate seat"

5192097HEALTH CARE: "With a virtual civil war raging over parts of President Obama's healthcare agenda, the smoke of battle has obscured a surprising fact: Democrats and Republicans actually agree on a bundle of proposals that could make medical insurance better for millions of Americans," reports the Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook.

"The consensus proposals include such popular ideas as barring insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting injuries and illnesses, cutting insurance coverage off when a policyholder gets sick and imposing a lifetime cap on benefits.

"The 'reforms are quite possibly the least controversial of all the issues in health reform -- and among the most important,' said Drew Altman, president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan research group.

"Now, lawmakers from both parties are increasingly eyeing the areas of agreement as a possible fallback if Obama's more ambitious approach collapses."

Bloomberg News' Laura Litvan writes, "Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, one of three Senate Republicans negotiating on health care, said the soaring federal budget deficit "puts a stake in the heart" of $1 trillion measures being considered by lawmakers.

5194644"Grassley, the top Republican on the finance committee, said a bipartisan plan being discussed by panel members will have to be scaled back to have any chance of passing in the wake of new deficit projections released this week. He also said he may not agree to a health-care compromise unless he's certain his state's hospitals won't be harmed.

"'It's going to have a big impact on whether I'll even support something,' he said at a town-hall meeting Aug. 26 in Le Mars, Iowa. He voiced concern that rural hospitals will be hurt by a pledge last month by hospital trade groups to produce $155 billion in cost savings over 10 years as part of an Obama administration drive to curb health-care expenditures.

"Grassley's opinion matters because his talks with two other Republicans and three Democrats on the finance panel offer the last chance for a bipartisan accord to remake the $2.5 trillion medical-care system. Democrats are threatening a party-line vote if they can't agree, a move that Republicans warn will undercut public support for any plan.

On the House side, "Two senior House Democrats said an agreement struck with centrist Blue Dog Democrats in late July on a public health insurance option might be altered before a health-care bill reaches the House floor," reports the Wall Street Journal's Martin Vaughan.

"Under the Blue Dog deal which was included in legislation that passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Secretary of Health would negotiate payment rates to doctors and hospitals under the new public plan.

"But that provision drew sharp criticism from more liberal House Democrats, who want those payment rates to be pegged to the Medicare program. They argue that negotiated rates would give insurance companies undue influence, and wouldn't lower costs enough.

"'To have negotiated rates costs the American taxpayers money,' said Rep. Xavier Becerra (D., Calif.), in a Thursday conference call with reporters. 'If one of your principles is to really drive costs down ... how you structure the public option will be an important consideration.'"

Meantime, "Democrats are counting on an appeal to the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to reinvigorate their flagging proposal to overhaul the health care system," writes the Boston Herald's Edward Mason. "But whether it's called health care or Kennedycare, it's name may still be mud.

"'Win one for Teddy,' that will be the spirit you'll see,' said Ralph G. Neas, chief executive of the National Coalition on Health Care.

"Besides appealing to lawmakers to put aside their differences for Kennedy's sake, Democrats led by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) want to name the bill Kennedycare after the late senator.

"And the sentiment reaches the highest levels of Congress, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Kennedy's work would help make his dream a reality. ...

New York Times' Kevin Sack, "Dealing With Being the Health Care 'Villains'"

New York Times' David D. Kirkpatrick, "Some Roman Catholic Bishops Assail Health Plan"

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT VS. CIA: "With the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuses, long-simmering conflicts between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department burst into plain view this week, threatening relations between two critical players on President Obama's national security team," report the New York Times' Peter Baker, David Johnston and Mark Mazzetti.

"The strains became evident inside the administration in the past several weeks. In July, Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, tried to head off the investigation, administration officials said. He sent the C.I.A.'s top lawyer, Stephen W. Preston, to Justice to persuade aides to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to abandon any plans for an inquiry.

"Mr. Preston presented what was, in effect, a closing argument in defense of the C.I.A., contending that many potential cases against intelligence operatives were legally flawed and noting that they had already been investigated, some more than once. In none, he said, had prosecutors found grounds for charges.

"But the Justice Department was unmoved, officials said. Despite the C.I.A. pressure and the stated desire of the White House not to dwell on the past, Mr. Holder went ahead with an investigation that will determine whether agents broke the law in their brutal interrogations."

The Washington Post's Carrie Johnson and Anne E. Kornblut write, "The back story to Monday's appointment of a career prosecutor to review CIA interrogation methods illustrates Holder's influence in the new administration and sheds light on the emerging and delicate relationship between the White House and the Justice Department. In this and other big battles, including the decision to release memos this year by Bush administration officials giving the green light to harsh interrogation tactics, Holder and his Justice Department have prevailed over strong objections from the CIA and the intelligence community. Holder hasn't won every one of those battles, but he has won many.

"In this case, on a matter of civil liberties and national security, the victory signals a dynamic that could play out on a range of sensitive issues that will come to define the Obama administration and its differences from the Bush era, including the detention of terrorism suspects and the protection of state secrets…

"This week, after Holder announced his decision to examine about 10 cases of alleged detainee abuse by CIA interrogators in overseas prisons, the White House said it was his prerogative. But the official accounts did not mention Holder's conversations with the White House, nor Obama's deep, if cautious, engagement with the issues."

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S VACATION: Associated Press' Philip Elliott, "What vacation? Obama still in news spotlight": "Barack Obama's first presidential vacation began with a hurricane, was interrupted for a major economic announcement and is ending with a sad eulogy for a famous friend. So much for the relaxation plan."

Boston Globe's Susan Milligan, "Like his predecessors, Obama finds respite can be elusive"

Cape Cod Times' George Brennan, "Obama pedals to Aquinnah"


**"As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama pledged to right the wrongs he said bogged down efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Seven months into the job, he's earning high praise from some unlikely places," report the Associated Press' Ben Evans and Becky Bohrer.

"Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., says Obama's team has brought a more practical and flexible approach. Many local officials offer similar reviews. Even Doug O'Dell, former President George W. Bush's recovery coordinator, says the Obama administration's 'new vision' appears to be turning things around."

**In Afghanistan, a week after the presidential election there and "with the winner still undeclared, increasing accusations of fraud and voter coercion threaten to undermine the validity of the results, deepen dangerous regional divisions and hamper the Obama administration's goals in this volatile country," report the Washington Post's Joshua Partlow and Pamela Constable.

**Possible 2012 presidential candidate Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., has some harsh words for the president's economic stimulus and health reform plans, reports Bloomberg News' James Rowley. Pawlenty charged that the president's "$787 billion economic stimulus program still isn't working and that his health-care overhaul proposal would lead to medical rationing.

"With only 15 to 20 percent of the money spent, it 'would be ludicrous to claim' the stimulus program is "what pivoted' the $14.1 trillion economy 'at the so-called bottoming or now a potential beginning of recovery,' Pawlenty said. Most of the money appropriated by the Democratic-controlled Congress was 'misdirected' and 'largely wasted' on projects that won't create jobs, Pawlenty said in an interview taped in St. Paul for Bloomberg Television's 'Political Capital with Al Hunt.' 'Only $160 billion of it was stimulative.'

... Pawlenty said any 'fair critique' of Democratic health- care legislation includes the argument that 'death panels' would make life-or-death treatment decisions. That's because Obama's plan 'may lead to a different form of decision- making,' he said."

**With Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla., about to announce the replacement for former Sen. Mel Martinez's seat, the St. Petersburg Times handicaps his possible choices:

**Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont, surprised everyone by announcing yesterday he would not seek his fifth 2-year term as governor, reports the Burlington Free Press' Terri Hallenbeck, and that has thrown the state's "political landscape into a frenzy."

**The Santa Fe New Mexican's Steve Terrell suggests that the end of a federal investigation of Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., may open up doors in the Obama administration for him.

**"Rex Rammell, a long-shot candidate slated to run against incumbent C.L. 'Butch' Otter in the May GOP primary, made the comment at a Republican rally Tuesday in Twin Falls, where talk turned to the state's planned wolf hunt, for which hunters must purchase an $11.50 wolf tag," reports the Associated Press. "When an audience member shouted a question about 'Obama tags,' Rammell responded, 'The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those.'

"Rammell told the Associated Press on Thursday that he saw no reason to apologize because he was joking. 'What I would say to all my Democrat Idahoans: Take a deep breath and relax,' he said. 'We're not going to go out and hunt Obama.' He also told the Times-News newspaper in Twin Falls, 'I would never support him being assassinated.'"

  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBS News' senior political editor.