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TPMDC Sunday Roundup

Leahy: "C'mon, Stop The Racial Politics" Against Sotomayor
Appearing on State of the Union, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) attacked Republicans for calling Sonia Sotomayor a bigot, and for questioning her work with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund -- likening it to attacks on African-American judicial nominees in previous decades. "I hope we don't go back to the day when we used to have African-Americans up for confirmation and say 'Yes, but you belong to the NAACP so, you know, we're really suspicious of you,'" said Leahy. He added: "C'mon, stop the racial politics."

Gates On Afghanistan: "The American People Are Pretty Tired"
Sec. of Defense Robert Gates told the Los Angeles Times that victory in Afghanistan is a "long-term prospect" -- and that American forces must begin to turn it around within a year, or lose public support. After "the Iraq experience, nobody is prepared to have a long slog where it is not apparent we are making headway," said Gates. "The troops are tired; the American people are pretty tired."

Rangel: "We Don't Have Any Republican Answers" On Health Care
Appearing on Face The Nation, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) said it's the Republicans' fault that the health care bill has proceeded without bipartisan support: "We've been dealing with this bill for -- for over six months. And we've had hours of hearings. And the fact that it's not bipartisan is not because we Democrats don't want to have a bipartisan bill. We don't have any Republican answers. It's easy to say what you don't like about this bill. But it would be far more constructive if we had something to work on."

Hatch: Obama Can't Sell Health Care If The Debate Lasts
Also on Face The Nation, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that President Obama is going too fast on health care: "I mean, you're talking about one-sixth of the American economy. You're talking about myriad problems here. You're talking about people who are all over the map, as far as what they really want to do. And I think there's a really good reason why the president wants to do it. He knows he can't sell if it lasts -- if the debate lasts very long because it is so expensive and costly."

McConnell: Obama Shouldn't Get The Health Care Bills In Congress -- Either Before August Recess Or Later
Appearing on Meet The Press, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed President Obama's calls for a health care bill before the August recess. "Well I don't think he ought to get the particular bills that we've seen out of either the House or the Senate before August," said McConnell, "because they're really not the right way to go." He later added: "This is a bill that shouldn't pass at any point -- before the August recess, or later in the year."

Orszag: "We've Stepped Back From That Precipice" On Economy
Appearing on State of the Union, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said the economy has averted a total disaster, but it will still take some time for employment to pick up again. "Where we are is the sense of free fall that we had back in December ... we've stepped back from that precipice but we're not yet in the growth zone," said Orszag. "Most private sector forecasters are suggesting that won't happen till later this year."