In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Organized labor is now making a big push for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy in the home stretch of the special election for Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat.

SEIU local 1199 has now launched this ad, attacking GOP candidate Jim Tedisco for opposing the stimulus bill, praising Murphy for supporting it -- and making sure to remind viewers that President Obama endorses Murphy:

According to the latest FEC filing, SEIU 1199's political action fund is spending $75,000 on this ad buy.

Financial executives have spent so much time testifying before Congress these days that earlier this week, The Hill offered CEOs a Dos-and-Don'ts guide to staying on lawmakers' good side. Something tells me that the good folks at the Security Traders Association of New York (STANY) haven't read it.

In a letter to the Senate Banking Committee today, the STANY offers a hilariously hyperbolic plea for rejection of the 90% tax on bailout bonuses that the House passed last week. You can read the full letter right here, but here are some key passages ...

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MSNBC's Contessa Brewer had much the same reaction to the House GOP's alternative budget as did our own Elana Schor. "Where's the beef?" She sounded off in what her co-anchor called a "rant", but what might have better been described as an accurate assessment of the Republicans' budgetless budget.

Nouriel Roubini has weighed in. So have Simon Johnson, Brad DeLong, and Paul Krugman.

Now you, the taxpayers, are being asked for your comments on the government's new bank rescue plan -- not by the Treasury Department, but by the FDIC. Are you disturbed by the re-branding of toxic mortgage-backed securities as "legacy assets"? Are you ready to get past this bonuses business and put your trust in the Obama administration? Here's the link to submit your reaction in detail.

The full release on the public comment period is posted after the jump.

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In a new op-ed piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rick Santorum makes a certain message pretty clear, doing everything except coming right out and saying it: He won't be supporting Arlen Specter against his right-wing primary challengers this cycle.

Santorum refers to Specter as a "political Houdini" who tacks right during a primary, explaining his newfound opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, while also supporting the big-spending stimulus bill. And Santorum remembers how Specter tried to recruit a moderate to run in the GOP Senate primary in 1994, to oppose a right-wing Congressman who was in the race -- Rick Santorum.

And check out this final portion:

In 2004, President Bush and a Senate colleague from Western Pennsylvania made the difference for Specter. Those dogs don't hunt anymore. This year, his help may come from Peg Luksic, Larry Murphy, and anyone else who helps split up the vote next spring - anyone other than Pat Toomey, that is.

It will be fun to watch. And watch I will.

Just to make it absolutely clear, Santorum was referring to himself when he mentioned "a Senate colleague from Western Pennsylvania" who made the difference for Specter in the 2004 primary -- and that dog doesn't hunt anymore.

(Via Phil Singer.)

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was in fine flip-flopping form during a speech today at the Heritage Foundation, as the Washington Independent reports.

"The problem started when we bailed out AIG," McCain told the conservative crowd at Heritage. "I would have let AIG go bankrupt. If they have to fail, they fail."

It's been well-noted in the blogosphere that McCain originally supported bailing out AIG in September, when his presidential run was in its, er, last throes. But what's most interesting, per the Independent, is that McCain came out against "controlling the salaries and bonuses of TARP-taking executives."

But I thought McCain wanted to let AIG fail exactly because that would deny bonuses to "greedy execs"! He told us so on his Twitter feed!* Sounds like it's time for some Straight Talk TM on AIG executives: Do we let the company fail to deny them bonuses, or let the company fail and make no attempt to prevent them from grabbing bonuses on their way out?

*This is the first and last time Twitter will appear in any of my posts.

This might not look too good for Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate for Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat in the special election this Tuesday.

A few days ago, the DCCC launched an attack ad against Tedisco for having written a letter to a judge in 2003, requesting leniency for a mortgage executive who pled guilty in a corporate corruption case.

The Albany Times Union reported at the time (via Nexis) that there were two notable people who wrote letters -- Tedisco, and a major state lobbyist named James Featherstonhaugh. Today's FEC filings show that Tedisco has just received yesterday a maximum donation of $2,400 from...James Featherstonhaugh.

Keep in mind that Tedisco and the GOP have been attacking Democratic candidate Scott Murphy, a businessman, as being one of a kind with the corrupt Wall Street leaders who gave us the AIG bonuses. So taking a maxed-out donation from a lobbyist who asked for leniency in a corporate crime case -- which Tedisco also asked for -- does kind of undercut the message.

The Tedisco campaign has not responded to a request for comment.

There were few details in today's outline of the House Republican budget alternative -- but on the thorny question of future bank bailouts, the GOP had a clear plan. And it looks a lot like Paul Krugman's preferred method.

TPMDC noted the first stirrings of the GOP's Krugman love earlier this week, when House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) joined the liberal economist in lamenting the taxpayer subsidy built into the Obama Treasury's latest bank rescue plan. But today's Republican budget alternative goes even further, directly repeating Krugman's past criticism of the Treasury's bailout ethose:

In sum, the message with bailouts of this magnitude is that your profits will be private but your losses socialized.

Now, House Republicans go on to extrapolate a future of socialized losses as well as profits -- a prediction one suspects Krugman would reject. And then they go right back to Krugman-ville with this proposal:

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Stung by their stereotyping as the "party of no," House Republicans eagerly promoted the unveiling of their alternative to President Obama's budget today -- but when they finished speaking, reporters had one big question: Where's the actual budget? You know, the numbers that show deficit projections and discretionary spending?

There certainly was no hard budgetary data in the attractively designed 18-page packet that the House GOP handed out today, its blue cover emblazoned with an ambitious title: "The Republican Road to Recovery." When Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was asked what his goal for deficit reduction would be -- President Obama aims to halve the nation's spending imbalance within five years -- Boehner responded simply: "To do better [than Obama]."

When pressed further by reporters, Boehner promised that Republicans would release their actual budget within the next few days and pointed a finger back at the president.

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Michele Bachmann's office is now clarifying her proposed legislation to require that the dollar remain the currency of this country, rather than switching to some kind of global money.

This comes after Bachmann questioned Tim Geithner over China's proposal to adopt a global currency -- more accurately, an exchange unit made up of a basket of individual countries' currencies -- rather than relying on the dollar as a reserve currency. You might recall that Bachmann interpreted this to mean the United states could abandon the dollar.

So is Bachmann trying to legislate against other countries and the global economy adopting different exchange mechanisms or reserve currencies? The answer is no. "She's talking about the United States," Bachmann spokesperson Debbee Keller told Greg Sargent. "This legislation would ensure that the U.S. dollar remain the currency of the United States."

Of course, nobody was even remotely pitching the idea of replacing the U.S. dollar here in the United States.