TPM News

If you listen carefully, you can hear it: the a low rumble of excitement at Republican gatherings and executive suites across New York. A growing number of conservatives say that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) is vulnerable this year, and they know the man that can beat him -- CNBC host and supply-side economics uebermensch Larry Kudlow.

Kudlow has expressed some interest in mounting a bid. One of the men who's urging him to run, self-proclaimed "Wall St. guy" and Kudlow friend John Lakian, told me today that Kudlow is at "the 70 or 80 or 90% tipping point" toward throwing his hat in the ring. According to Lakian, one of the men behind the Draft Kudlow movement on Facebook and the web, the time is right for a man with Kudlow's extensive Wall St. connections to make a run for office.

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Scott Brown may boast about driving a truck -- but it took YouTube to make those boasts go viral. And of the many lessons being drawn from Brown's victory in the Massachusetts special election last month, here's one being kicked around the tech world: Brown closed the GOP's online strategy gap.

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You thought Republicans were going to be able to wiggle away from their historic support for privatizing Medicare and Social Security? Think again.

Leading Democrats aren't letting the GOP put much distance between themselves and a new, long-term budget proposal written by their top budget guy, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

"That's their budget plan," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)--chair of the House Democrats' reelection committee--told me in a brief interview. "He's the ranking Republican member on the Budget Committee. That is their so-called roadmap. And it's a roadmap right into the economic ditch that we got ourselves to begin with.... Put it this way. For seniors on Medicare, it's a dead end."

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele released a statement on today's vote in the House of Representatives to raise the national debt ceiling. Here's the full text:

"In his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged that he and his Congressional Democrat lieutenants would budget like any cash-strapped family would. But today, House Democrats followed their Senate Democrat colleagues by taking our federal government into uncharted fiscal territory, passing a $1.9 trillion increase to America's credit card limit, the largest one-time increase in our history. This vote comes on the heels of President Obama's budget that will more than double the national debt over the next ten years. Vulnerable Democrats are trying to use Obama's budget gimmicks like PAYGO and his so-called 'spending freeze' as fig leaves to cover their blatant fiscal irresponsibility. But families across America see behind those fig leaves and are telling Democrats to either stop their binge spending or to find a new line of work come November."

Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) has now declared that the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, businessman Scott Lee Cohen, should consider withdrawing from the race in the wake of publicity surrounding a 2005 arrest for domestic violence.

Cohen allegedly threatened his girlfriend at the time by putting a knife to her throat and throwing her against a wall. The case was dropped after the woman, who had previously been arrested for prostitution and later pleaded guilty, failed to show up to court.

"I do believe that the person who's had these matters brought up about himself should at least have a chance to talk about them to the public, but if his explanations are unsatisfactory, and so far they have been, then he has to do the appropriate thing," said Quinn. He added: "Our country and our state are bigger than ourselves. The Democratic Party is bigger than me or any other candidate. If there are matters that are raised about your conduct that disqualify you from running in a proper way for an election in the fall, then the only appropriate thing is to step aside. And I think that's what we're looking at here."

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With prosecutors aiming to preempt problems that could arise from an expected Supreme Court decision, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was re-indicted today on corruption charges including that he tried to sell his appointment of Barack Obama's successor in the Senate, the AP reports.

The new 24-count indictment does not include new allegations of wrongdoing.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a hard enough time getting President Obama's executive nominees confirmed before Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) won his special election. Now, with Democrats' supermajority erased, and Republicans happy to filibuster just about everything, Reid has a message for the White House: If I can't work with these people, you can get it done, too.

Speaking on the Senate floor today, Reid outlined a way Obama can get his nominees situated, even if Republicans oppose them unanimously.

"There isn't enough time in the world--Senate world at least--to move cloture on every one of these. We have spent all week--all this week--on two people," Reid said.

"I have been someone...who has tried hard not to do--have the President do recess appointments. But what alternative do we have?" Reid asked rhetorically.

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A couple of weeks ago, Sen. John McCain got into a heated exchange with an Obama counterterrorism official who corrected the senator's false statement that the accused Christmas bomber traveled to Detroit on a one-way ticket.

Well apparently McCain, the third-ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, didn't learn his lesson. Last night on Fox he once again claimed that the "fact" that Umar Abdulmutallab was traveling on a one-way ticket should have been a red flag.

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Sen. Michael Bennet's campaign will get a presidential boost later this month, with a visit from President Obama on tap for Feb. 18.

Bennet (D-CO) is facing a tough primary challenge and the seat is a top target for Republicans. He was appointed to replace Sen. Ken Salazar, who stepped down to become Obama's Secretary of the Interior.

Craig Hughes, Bennet's campaign manager, sent supporters an email today announcing the Obama visit as a "special day."

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