TPM News

They've made it explicit. Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to sabotage the recovery -- or at least stall it -- by blocking all short-term measures to boost the economy, even ones they previously supported.

In a Capitol press conference Wednesday, the Senate's top Democrats argued that Republicans don't want to pass measures like a temporary payroll tax holiday for employers because they'll improve President Obama's re-election chances.

"Our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate are driven by putting one man out of work: President Obama," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

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The organizers of Netroots Nation 2012 are doing their darndest to keep the conservative Right Online conference from horning in on their action.

Netroots is headed to Providence, RI next year -- offering attendees a chance to be close to major cities on the East Coast for less bucks, organizers say -- and, unlike this year's conference in Minneapolis, RightOnline won't be able to crash it.

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James Risen, the award-winning national security reporter for the New York Times who has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors to testify in a case against a CIA whistleblower, accused the government of attempting to intimidate him and his sources in an affidavit he filed to quash the subpoena.

"I take very seriously my obligations as a journalist when reporting about matters that may be classified or may implicate national security concerns," Risen wrote. "I do not always publish all information that I have, even if it is newsworthy and true. If I believe that the publication of the information would cause real harm to our national security, I will not publish a piece."

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Having reviewed the sum total of Jon Huntsman's accomplishments and biography, indeed looked deep within the former Utah governor's very soul, Club For Growth announced its findings on Wednesday: "Meh."

The conservative anti-tax outfit dubbed Huntsman a "frustrating figure," whom they nevertheless credited with pursuing "pro-growth" policies in Utah. On the negative side, they took off major points for increasing state spending ("inexcusable"), backing TARP, and once supporting cap-and-trade legislation to combat climate change. They were especially concerned with the governor's belief that Americans deserve proper health care.

"We find Governor Huntsman's statement that 'health care is a right' to be simply flabbergasting," they wrote. "We're not sure what part of the United States Constitution Governor Huntsman was referring to when he made that statement, but he certainly needs to explain what he was thinking."

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The Justice Department is accusing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of taking out of context comments by Attorney General Eric Holder's about using the civilian court system to try terrorism suspects.

McConnell, in an op-ed for the Washington Post, accused Holder of making an "audacious" claim about the war on terrorism during his speech before the American Constitution Society last week.

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With the economy still struggling to regain some traction, and with unemployment still hovering over nine percent, a Bloomberg-commissioned poll released Wednesday shows that a plurality of Americans say they're worse off now than they were when George. W. Bush was president.

In the poll, 44% of respondents said they are personally worse off now, while 34% said things were worse when Bush occupied the White House.

Further, citing rising gas prices and a expressing doubts about the ability for the economy to turn around in the near future, 66% said the country was on the wrong track.

Those findings pile on top of a spate of recent surveys that have a painted a gloomy picture of Americans' attitudes about the nation's economic health, and shown widespread pessimism about President Obama's ability to do anything about it. According to the latest TPM Poll Average, just 40% of Americans approve of Obama's job performance when it comes to the economy, compared to 55.8% who disapprove -- and things have been getting markedly worse in the past few months.

The Bloomberg poll was conducted June 17-20 among 1,000 adults nationwide. It has a 3.1% margin of error.

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Jose Antonio Vargas revealed Wednesday that he is an undocumented immigrant who discovered his status when he visited the DMV when he was 16. He says he'll lobby for the Dream Act, a bill that would give young people who were educated in this country a path to legal permanent residency.

Vargas revealed his status in a piece he wrote for the New York Times and in an interview with ABC News.

He first came to the United States from the Philippines in 1993 when he was 12. Vargas was able to obtain a license from Oregon using the address of the father of a friend, and that license didn't expire until earlier this year. In the meantime he launched a career in journalism, working at the Washington Post, the Huffington Post and profiling Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg for the New Yorker.

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Here's an impressive package of candor from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who spoke to reporters Wednesday at a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Christan Science Monitor.

McConnell admitted that his party is divided over President Obama's military action in Libya, but that you're only hearing about it because Obama's a Democrat. Many of these same divisions, he said, existed under President Bush, but party loyalty "muted" the dissent.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) says she isn't dismayed by a recent Field Poll survey demonstrating her plunging re-election rating in California, even though growing worries over the economy continue to hound her ahead of next year's re-election bid for a fourth term.

"I know I can't work any harder than I'm working," she told TPM following a senate vote yesterday. "I think a lot of this is the context of the economy: 12% unemployment. I understand that [and] I'm doing everything I possibly can."

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Al Gore is calling out President Obama for his lack of leadership on the environment, saying the White House has failed to "make the case for bold action on climate change."

The ex-Veep's criticism is part of a lengthy Rolling Stone essay out Wednesday that recounts how the climate change movement faltered after coming so close to achieving its legislative goals in 2009.

"[Obama's] election was accompanied by intense hope that many things in need of change would change," Gore says. "Some things have, but others have not. Climate policy, unfortunately, is in the second category. Why?"

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