In it, but not of it. TPM DC

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) are rolling out their proposal to cut carbon emissions today, and early leaks of the plan suggest that the duo is prepared to ensure that the Obama administration is not the most liberal player in the climate change debate.

Waxman and Markey's bill will set targets of a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020, compared with Obama's proposed 15% cut, and an 83% reduction by 2050, a more ambitious goal than Obama's planned 80% trimming. This is more than just a numbers game: By moving the goalposts further left than the White House, the two House Democrats set the stage for a meaningful compromise on climate change ... but can it happen this year?

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Bobby Jindal's denunciations of federal spending to monitor volcanoes is now attracting some serious critcism from a Republican Senator -- namely Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, whose state has been recently disrupted by a series of eruptions from Mount Redoubt.

"Recently there were some comments made about federal spending for volcano monitoring being wasteful," Murkowski said from the Senate floor, without naming Jindal directly. "I can assure you that monitoring volcanoes is critically important to the nation and especially to my home state of Alaska."

In Jindal's speech, he said: "While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes ... $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC."

The massive eruptions from Mount Redoubt were serious enough to cancel all airport service in and out of Anchorage for several hours -- even though the city is about 100 miles away from the volcano. Memo to Bobby Jindal: "Volcano monitoring" in some parts of the country is not all that dissimilar from "hurricane monitoring" on the Gulf Coast.

Our long national nightmare is finally over (probably), and we may have an anonymous bureaucrat in the Office of Management and Budget to thank for it. Last week, it was reported that he (or she) sent a memo to the Pentagon suggesting that the White House had had enough with the term Global War on Terror (GWOT) and would henceforth prefer the term Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

Soon enough, though, reporters got wind of it and administration officials--OMB chief Peter Orszag and Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell--began walking the claim back.

But today, none other than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirms it: Whether a directive's been issued or not, the administration has dropped GWOT from its lexicon.

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Poll: Americans Don't Blame Obama For Economy A new ABC/Washington Post poll finds the public agreeing with the Obama administration that it has inherited the problems it has to deal with. Only 26% of Americans think the Obama administration deserves blame for the current economic problems, compared to 80% who blame banks and businesses, 70% who blame the Bush administration, and 72% who blame consumers. President Obama's approval rating remains high at 66%, with 60% approval on the economy specifically.

Obama Going To London For G20, Biden In Washington President Obama and Michelle Obama are headed to the United Kingdom for the G20 summit. They left Washington early this morning, and will arrive in London in the evening. Vice President Biden is in Washington today, just back from his trip to Latin America, and will be planning an upcoming event of the Middle Class Task Force, and will make phone calls to House and Senate members to discuss the budget.

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A new Gallup poll finds Americans are closely divided on Tim Geithner's performance, with a large amount of undecideds, as well.

The numbers: Approve 42%, Disapprove 40%. Democrats approve at 61%, Republicans disapprove with 63%, and independents are nearly the same as the overall top-line numbers.

From the pollster's analysis: "It is not a good sign for Geithner, perhaps, that he receives significantly lower approval ratings than does his boss. In the same poll in which Geithner receives 42% approval, Obama receives a 64% approval rating (and a 30% disapproval rating)."

The DNC has unveiled its new anti-Rush Limbaugh billboard, set to be put on display tomorrow in Limbaugh's home town of West Palm Beach:



(Click image to enlarge.)

The slogan, "Americans didn't vote for a Rush to failure," was the winner of a contest held by the DNC, in which Democrats across the country submitted their ideas for the DNC to pick from.

Jed Lewison, writing at Daily Kos, observes that GM's Rick Wagoner isn't the only CEO at a bailed-out company to be asked to step down by the government -- a counterpoint to the double-standard question raised today by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), and numerous media outlets (including TPMDC).

It's true that the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve asked Robert Willumstad to resign after three months in AIG's top spot, and that Fannie and Freddie's CEOs were also asked to resign last year.

Here's where those cases diverge from GM: the government controlled the majority of AIG when it ousted Willumstad and had already placed Fannie and Freddie directly into conservatorship when it booted their CEOs. The government also has become a leading shareholder at Bank of America and Citigroup, while taking the discrete step of lending money to GM ... while planning on showing the door to upwards of half of GM's board in the coming days.

None of this is intended to take a side in the double-standard debate that TPM readers have dismissed as a false equivalency -- merely to observe that it would be equally false to compare the circumstances behind Wagoner's resignation to those behind the AIG and Fannie-Freddie departures.

On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid laid the smackdown on progressive grassroots groups that are marshaling their efforts against a group of conservative Democrats. But did the grassroots get the message?

It's becoming difficult not to conclude just that. When reports of Reid's statements broke, I put out calls to some of the more high-profile groups--including Campaign for America's Future (CAF), MoveOn, and Americans United for Change (AUC)--and the response has been...telling.

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The Minnesota DFL Party just put out a scathing press release regarding NRSC chairman John Cornyn's statement that the legal processes surrounding the disputed Senate election could last "years." The release declares: "Minnesotans, not Washington (or Texas), will decide who will represent them in the U.S. Senate."

Key quote from party chairman Brian Melendez:

"Former Senator Coleman's own attorney acknowledges that he'll lose his lawsuit. And apparently, the national Republicans have even less faith in his appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. But once Coleman's state appeals have run their course, the game is over. If he keeps filing more lawsuits, then he can do it after Senator Franken gets sworn in."

There's one thing that has be asked about NRSC chairman John Cornyn's bold statement that it could take "years" to resolve the Minnesota Senate situation: While it would obviously benefit D.C. Republicans to keep Al Franken out of the chamber, wouldn't this also trigger a huge backlash against the state GOP?

I asked Prof. Lawrence Jacobs of the University of Minnesota what sort of problems it could create for the state Republicans, if the national party were to keep the state without full representation for such a long time. And here's what he said:

Senator Cornyn's strategy may make political sense for Washington Republicans eager to maintain their leverage through the filibuster. But this national strategy could backfire in Minnesota against state Republicans coming into a big 2010 election year. Usually, the president's party loses seats in the Midterm election but a backlash against Minnesota Republicans could hurt them in the race for Governor and for the competitive congressional races for the seats currently held by Michele Bachmann and by first year Representative Erik Paulsen.


It should be noted that this isn't really Cornyn's problem -- there is no Senate election scheduled for 2010 in Minnesota. But could such an impasse really imperil Bachmann? Nooooooo!

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