TPM News

Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

• CBS, Face The Nation: CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford, Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, CBS News Justice Correspondent Bob Orr, New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent David Sanger.

• CNN, State Of The Union: National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.

• Fox News Sunday: Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-AZ).

• NBC, Meet The Press: White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

In a stark assessment of shootings of locals by US troops at checkpoints in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in little-noticed comments last month that during his time as commander there, "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

The comments came during a virtual town hall with troops in Afghanistan after one asked McChrystal to comment on the "escalation of force" problem. The general responded that, in the nine months he had been in charge, none of the cases in which "we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it."

In many cases, he added, families were in the vehicles that were fired on.

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Advocates who want to take California's medical marijuana law to the next level so it can be fully legalized and taxed are putting the political argument in terms they think everyone in the nearly bankrupt state can understand -- pot can be the next cash crop. With competitive statewide races for governor and Senate on the fall ballot as well, legalizing pot may well be the next frontier in the culture war.

Advocates who succeeded in getting the legalization measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot say it's an obvious solution for the Golden State's fiscal woes. Detractors of the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 come in many cases from law enforcement. Others fear that because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the state would be targeted in a lawsuit.

Supporters of full legalization -- medical marijuana is allowed in California -- say they hope the federal government takes a close look at what they believe will be a winning issue this fall. They say the Obama administration has taken a look-the-other-way approach as more states legalize medicinal marijuana.

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When President Obama announced that he would open vast swaths of America's coastline up to offshore drilling, the media, and even some of Obama's greatest allies were quick to point out that he'd reversed an early campaign pledge.

"What wouldn't do a thing to lower gas prices is John McCain's new proposal -- a proposal adopted by George Bush as well -- to open up Florida's coast line to offshore drilling," Obama said on June 20, 2008, standing in front of a Florida shoreline. "Offshore drilling would not lower gas prices today. It would not lower gas prices tomorrow. It would not lower gas prices this year. It would not lower gas prices five years from now."

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The new Rasmussen poll in Ohio gives Republican candidate Rob Portman a small lead in the open Senate race for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. George Voinovich.

Portman, a former Congressman and Bush administration official, leads Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher by 43%-38%, and leads Dem Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner by 45%-38%. These numbers are not significantly changed from Rasmussen's poll last month.

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who earlier this week said repeal of health care reform is "not going to happen," has somewhat backed off the claim. Corker told the Weekly Standard today that he meant it won't happen until at least 2012.

"I think a lot of people are talking about this election cycle generating results that will repeal it," he said. "It's an issue as simple math. I mean as long as Obama's [president], it takes 67 votes in the Senate for that to occur."

But he suggested that Republicans may try to thwart the law other ways in the meantime.

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Some of the biggest names in the GOP are organizing an outside group to help Republicans win in the 2010 midterms -- and donors have already pledged a whopping $30 million for the new project, according to National Journal.

The new group -- which, as a 527, can collect unlimited soft money donations and won't be regulated by the Federal Election Commission -- is called American Crossroads. It's a name you'll likely hearing a lot, in part because, as the Wall Street Journal points out, the group's ambition to raise $52 million makes it "the largest ever planned by a pro-Republican outside campaign entity."

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Appearing on Sean Hannity's TV show last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) accused the Democrats of trying to incite Tea Partiers to make racist statements against Democrats in order to discredit conservatives -- specifically citing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's dramatic march to the Capitol two weeks ago, during the health care debate.

"Well, remember, President Obama brought his campaign manager back into the White House to sell this health care deal. And there's been a continuing mantra through the conclusion of trying to pass health care," said Bachmann.

"Remember when Speaker Pelosi walked arm in arm in a civil rights march across Independence Avenue, from the House buildings over to the Capitol. In three years I have never seen Nancy Pelosi cross the street the way that you saw in that picture. They deliberately went through that crowd, perhaps to try and incite something."

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