TPM News

The 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa, Fla. won't get underway for another 636 days. But that hasn't stopped the Republican National Committee from spending over $636,800 on the convention more than a year and a half before it starts.

That's 18 times the amount spent that was spent in a comparable time frame four years ago, the Washington Post reported, causing more than a few raised eyebrows within the party.

Critics of RNC Chairman Michael Steele have also focused on a lucrative job given to his longtime aide, Belinda Cook, convention-related gigs given to her family and friends and a variety of large expenses footed by the RNC.

Read More →

Right after Peter Orszag left the White House, there was a moment of tension between himself and some of his former colleagues when he took to the New York Times to propose a tax cut compromise that the administration doesn't support. The idea was to extend all the Bush tax cuts temporarily, but only as part of a grand bargain to tackle comprehensive tax reform in two years. Democrats worried that Republicans would just ignore the caveat and put Democrats in a corner by adopting the "Orszag plan" as their own.

Here's freshly minted Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) to me and a few reporters this afternoon. He supports a temporary extension of all the tax cuts "Because Peter Orszag is a very serious person who had the eye and the ear of the President... I take him very seriously. I'm pro-Orszag."

Going into today's leadership meeting with President Obama at the White House, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) drew the battle lines against Democrats in a floor speech this morning, attacking Dem proposals to have the Bush tax cuts expire on incomes of over $1 million.

As The Hill reports, McConnell slammed a proposal from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), though he did not directly name Schumer according to the prepared remarks. McConnell fired back, saying that this was a purely political move to raise taxes on businesses.

"Some Democrats now say they only want to raise taxes on businesses that make more than $1 million a year," said McConnell. "Where did that number come from? Well, it turns out this figure has no economic justification whatsoever. Nowhere will you find a study or survey which indicates that raising taxes on small businesses with over $1 million in income will create jobs or help spur the economy."

Read More →

For weeks now, Republicans have been intoning darkly about the possibility that Americans will see a historic tax increase if Congress (read: Democrats) and the White House don't act. At the same time, they've come out strongly against just about all of the compromise proposals Democrats have put forward to prevent the Bush tax cuts on the middle class from expiring.

The implication is that Republicans are willing, if it comes down to it, to let all the tax cuts expire at the end of the year, and pin it on the Democrats. But what if Democrats turned those tactics right back on the GOP:? They could hold firm on their framework -- which would allow the top-income tax cuts to expire quickly -- and then unload on the Republicans if January 1 comes and taxes rise.

Not that it matters: They're not gonna do it.

Read More →

That's how Rep. Steve King (R-IA) referred to Barack Obama on the House floor Monday while accusing him of providing special favors to black farmers who suffered discrimination at the hands of the federal government. HuffPost's Ryan Grim:

Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, referred to President Obama as "very, very urban," while charging that as a senator he gave special favor to African American farmers who were victims of government discrimination. In case anybody missed his meaning in a speech on the House floor Monday evening, King emphasized the word "urban," drawing the first syllable out.

Republican Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) often appears on Fox News to discuss her theory that agents of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah are infiltrating the U.S. through the Mexican border by posing as illegal immigrants.

On Sunday, former (and possibly future) presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was shocked that the Obama Administration is ignoring the threat: "This porous border, where we see people running across at will, if Hezbollah, a very, very deadly terrorist organization, can use that network to get into the U.S., all of these pat-downs at the airport are meaningless."

Read More →

Appearing on Greta Van Susteren's show last night, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) offered a preview of how today's summit at the White House might turn out -- and it won't exactly be friendly.

Van Susteren asked how they would react if President Obama doesn't agree to their demand to prevent any and all tax increases -- that is, to preserve the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts, as they apply to the top income brackets.

"Well, I mean, Greta, we're going to the White House tomorrow to say to the president, look, you know, we've had an election that, frankly, I don't think many of us have experienced in the time we've been here in Washington that's been so dispositive," said Cantor.

"There was, as Paul said, an outright repudiation of the direction that this administration's been taking us over the last two years. So it is where -- it is up to the president to say, look, we're not going to agree on everything. But one thing we can agree on was that this election was about the people saying it's time for Washington to deliver results, and priority one's got to be more jobs for more Americans."

Read More →

Jon Stewart last night did was he does best: poke fun at the media. He premiered a new segment, an assault on puns in cable news, aptly titled "You're Not Punny."

"They're not just painful and unpleasant, they take us out of the newscast," Stewart said. "It's like in the movies, when people start phone numbers with '555.' It's completely unnecessary."

Read More →

A national survey released Monday from Public Policy Polling (D) suggests that New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I) would not start out with any broad national appeal if he were to mount a third-party run for president in 2012. What's more, the ex-Republican Bloomberg would take more votes from the GOP nominee's column, helping President Obama.

In two-way races, Obama leads Mike Huckabee by 48%-45%, leads Sarah Palin by 51%-42%, leads Newt Gingrich by 49%-43%, edges out Mitt Romney by 47%-46%, and leads Marco Rubio by 48%-37%.

With Mike Bloomberg thrown in for a three-way race with Romney, Mayor Mike gets only 11%, with more of it apparently taken from the Republican column. As a result, Obama's lead grows to 44%-38%, plus Bloomberg's 11%.

Read More →