In it, but not of it. TPM DC

In an interview with Bloomberg News, President Obama warned that the unemployment rate will likely reach 10% this year, before the economy turns back around.

"What you've seen is that the pace of job loss has slowed," said Obama. "The economy is going to turn around, but as you know, jobs are a lagging indicator and we've got to produce 150,000 jobs every month just to keep pace, just to flatten this out."

As The Hill reported late last night, House Republicans plan to vote as a bloc against the Iraq-Afghanistan war funding bill, due to included funding for the International Monetary Fund. Obviously, this is a big change for the party that routinely attacked then-Sen. Obama in last year's campaign for allegedly voting to de-fund the troops when he voted against a funding bill that didn't include a timetable for withdrawal.

In fact, check out this Town Hall column by House Republican Leader John Boehner, from April 2008:

But there is a clear distinction between saying you support the troops and backing up those claims with genuine action. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) once said "we shouldn't play chicken with our troops" when it comes to funding our troops in harm's way, and his colleague Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) urged General Petraeus at the start of the surge to request "every possible piece of equipment and resource necessary" to keep our troops safe. These words turned into little more than empty rhetoric when both proceeded to vote against funding our troops last year.

Read More →

The Republican Governor's Association has a new ad in this year's New Jersey gubernatorial race, where Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine currently trails Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie in all the polls. The ad has a piece of rhetoric we haven't usually heard from the GOP -- attacking Corzine for being from Wall Street:

"Wall Street banker Jon Corzine told us he'd bring jobs to New Jersey," the announcer says. "Hello! Unemployment's up 73%, and our business climate ranks among the worst in the nation."

Corzine was chairman of Goldman Sachs from 1994 through 1998, and then went into politics after he was forced out of the company's leadership. Obviously, Wall Street's reputation these days is nowhere near what it was back then.

This continues an interesting pattern we saw earlier this year in the NY-20 special election -- with the Republicans taking the unconventional, populist approach of attacking the Democrat as an out-of-touch fat cat.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that a group of Bobby Jindal supporters in Louisiana have set up their own PAC, called the Jindal For President Draft Council Inc., to urge the Louisiana Governor to run for President and to build up support for him across the country.

Rama Mohanty, one of the lead organizers, said that Jindal's people are not involved with the draft PAC, but they are aware of it. "They are supportive of what we are doing," said Mohanty.

Jindal spokesman Kyle Plotkin indicated differently, though. "The governor has said that he has the job he wants, and he hopes to be re-elected (in 2011) to continue to move Louisiana forward," Plotkin told the Times-Picayune. He added: "It's flattering, but the governor does not support this effort. This is a distraction from the critical issues that we face, and the governor will not be involved in any capacity."

(Via Newsmax.)

A fun pattern has emerged among the Republican efforts to reach out to voters through the new social-networking online media: They're failing massively, with episodes that just make them look stupid and ham-fisted, and even sometimes force them to apologize for offending people.

Michael Steele has made a big deal of reaching out to online media in the same way that Democrats have done very effectively -- cultivating what is known on his side as the "rightroots." And of course, honorable mention goes out to former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who spoke of the GOP's need to compete in the "ethernet." So how's it working out for them?

In just the last few days, we had two ignominious events from just one state. A prominent South Carolina GOP activist, Rusty DePass, said on his Facebook page that Michelle Obama was a gorilla (and not in the sense of the evolutionary fact that we are all apes -- DePass actually seems to be offended by this). He kind of apologized -- but said Michelle started it.

And another South Carolina Republican operative, Mike Green, apologized for a racist Tweet against President Obama himself:

Read More →

Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who has been the only Senator from Minnesota for the last five and a half months, is now predicting that the heavily-litigated Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman will be over by July 4 -- or she'll be mad.

"I have predicted the 4th of July, when the corn is knee high on the 4th of July," Klobuchar told Minnesota Public Radio. "I've already predicted that it would be done when the ice melted on Lake Minnetonka. That was incorrect. And I've now predicted the 4th of July. And if that is incorrect I will make no more predictions. I'll just be mad."

WaPo: Documents Suggest CIA Mistakes In Torture Of Detainees, False Confessions The Washington Post reports that new documents show that key Guantanamo detainees told the Combatant Status Review Tribunal that they either lied to the CIA in order to stop being tortured, or were later informed of mistakes in their capture. "They told me, 'Sorry, we discover that you are not Number 3, not a partner, not even a fighter,'" said Abu Zubaida. And Khalid Sheikh Mohammed described his interrogation: "Where is he? I don't know," Mohammed said. "Then he torture me. Then I said yes, he is in this area."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet one-on-one with President Lee Myung-bak, of the Republic of Korea, at 10:30 a.m. ET. They will have an expanded meeting at 10:45 a.m. ET, and then a joint press availability at 11:35 a.m. ET, and a working lunch at 12 p.m. ET. At 4:30 p.m. ET, Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with Sec. of Defense Robert Gates.

Read More →

The CIA is now walking back Director Leon Panetta's comments that former Vice President Dick Cheney may be hoping for the country to be attacked by terrorists again.

"The Director does not believe the former Vice President wants an attack," CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said in a statement to CNN. "He did not say that. He was simply expressing his profound disagreement with the assertion that President Obama's security policies have made our country less safe. Nor did he question anyone's motives."

For the record, here's what Panetta said to the New Yorker about Cheney's recent speeches. "I think he smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue," said Panetta. "It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that's dangerous politics."

After the New York Republicans won a state Senate majority in a fantastic feat of party-switching last week. they have now lost it. And now...nobody has the majority. It's a 31-31 tie.

State Sen. Hiram Monserrate, one of two Democrats who switched his organization vote to the Republicans, has now switched back to the Democrats -- and the old Democratic leader Malcolm Smith is now out of his leadership office, and has been replaced by a more amenable choice, state Sen. John Sampson.

At the same time the other Democrat who switched, Pedro Espada, insists that he is still Senate president -- the office that he, Monserrate and the 30 Republicans voted him into -- and that Monserrate still supports him.

Read More →

Indigo Journal, a liberal blog in South Carolina, reports that GOP operative Mike Green posted a racist joke about President Obama on his Twitter account over the weekend -- and in a brief conversation with TPM, Green did not deny it. (Late Update: Green has now admitted it in a new set of Tweets, and apologized. See new section after the jump.)

Green posted this, then deleted it some time later:


That post is not currently on Green's actual Twitter page, but Indigo Journal has what purports to be a screenshot, documenting it from when it was still up. I called Green to ask if this was true. "I don't know," said Green. "Let me give you a call back." I also asked Green if anyone else writes on his Twitter account, or if it's just him. Again, he said he would have to call back. He has not yet called back.

Read More →