TPM News

President Obama honored those who have served America, saying the end of the Iraq War is an “extraordinary achievement.”

Today’s veterans are equipped with the skills to help rebuild America, and civilians must meet those vets halfway, Obama said in his Saturday address. Watch:

Leon Panetta became the first U.S. defense secretary to visit libya, saying on Saturday the country faces a long, hard road ahead after Qaddafi’s long rule.

Senate leaders have agreed to a plan that will prevent key policies, including a two percent payroll tax cut for employees, from lapsing on January 1, 2012, according to top aides. But the agreement will only extends the measures for two months, setting Democrats and Republicans up to relitigate this same fight fight early next year. And it comes at a political cost to Democrats who were forced to relent on a provision forcing President Obama to take a public position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The $30 billion package will be paid for by increasing the fees lenders pay to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It includes two month extensions of the existing two percent payroll tax; emergency unemployment benefits; and the "doc fix" which prevents Medicare physicians from experiencing a deep automatic pay cut.

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Updated 6 pm ET Saturday, December 17 Shortly after the marathon second hearing on the "Stop Online Piracy Act" was adjourned Friday afternoon, opponents of the bill began claiming (temporary) victory.

Popular social news website Reddit, the Progressive Campaign Change Committee and Net Coalition, a group representing leading Web companies including Google, Yahoo and Amazon, all sent out messages welcoming the temporary delay in moving the bill forward.

Now, the House is unlikely to touch SOPA until January 17, 2012, the next calendar date that the House is in session, although it could restart the markup hearing as early as next week, depending on what congressional leadership decides.

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Brace yourself, but there isn't going to be another GOP debate until 2012.

Now that that information has sunk in, let Benjy Sarlin walk you through the candidate's final pitches before voters descend on the Iowa caucuses in January:

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is clearly preparing to bring his best game against the Democratic effort to recall him from office. And he's raising a lot of money for it.

As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, Walker has raised $5.1 million since this past July -- much of it in the past month, aided by a state law that allows the target of a recall to raise unlimited funds. In all, Walker has received 18,000 donations since November, the month when the recall process was triggered.

Also, $2.4 million of the total has come from out of state -- notably a $250,000 donation from Bob Perry, the Texas businessman who financed the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth campaign of 2004, which spread false information about Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's war record.

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From the department of inappropriate attacks, a challenger to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) accused her of supporting access to Plan B for minors because she is not married.

In an email to supporters Thursday, State Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R), slammed Cantwell for her support of making Plan B available to minors -- a policy recently supported by the FDA but overturned by the Obama administration. According to the Seattle Times, the email noted that Cantwell is unmarried and votes frequently - as the email put it - to "undermine the role of parents in child rearing."

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