TPM News

Newly-elected Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is putting all the bad news right out there. With the RNC releasing a year-end federal report showing over $21 million in debt, he simultaneously put out a statement saying that fully-adjusted numbers would ultimately show that it's even worse -- that is, he has an even bigger hole to dig out of.

"While the year-end FEC report reveals the Republican National Committee is $21 million in debt, I believe it is best to get out all the facts as we know them associated with our financial position," Priebus said in a statement. "To date, the committee has approximately $23 million in debt: $15 million in loans, and $8 million owed to vendors."

Priebus also implicitly put the blame on his predecessor as chairman, Michael Steele, who he defeated this past January. In the statement, Priebus says that prior fundraising operations were very inefficient:

"The RNC transition team is committed to improving the committee's financial situation in two areas: lowering costs of raising small donations and restoring the trust of major donors in the Republican Party. The RNC did raise nearly $105 million in 2010 mainly through low-dollar solicitations online and in the mail, but the costs to raise it were simply too high at approximately 64 cents for every dollar raised. Even more troubling, our major donor programs are at 10-year lows.

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is still being asked about his lawsuit, settled last week, over an olive pit in a Capitol Hill cafeteria sandwich that destroyed one of his teeth.

In an appearance Monday night on Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show, Kucinich elaborated (again) on the extent of his mouth injuries, also explaining that his public appearances post-injury were done without knowledge of the extent of the damage until an infection set in, and that multiple dental implants were done with varying success.

"This was a very difficult series of dental and medical events that I had to deal with," said Kucinich. "I didn't ask for it. It just happened. But I'm glad it's over. And it really is resolved. And it was resolved amicably, which is the way that I like to resolve disputes."

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John Bolton, who served at the ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush, visited On the Record With Greta Van Susteren to talk about about the ongoing protests in Egypt.

The wisdom that he brought to the discussion? That opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who headed the International Atomic Energy Agency for 12 years, is "a dilettante."

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Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential presidential candidate who is trying to elevate his profile (such as his recent action movie trailer-style Web video) is also stepping up his tough-guy rhetoric -- calling President Obama "chicken" on entitlement spending.

In an appearance Monday on Fox & Friends, Pawlenty criticized Obama's State of the Union address for not proposing clear solutions for Social Security's fiscal situation, such as Pawlenty's ideas of means-testing cost-of-living adjustments and raising the retirement age for future entrants. (As we've posted before, means-testing would be somewhat left-wing, as it would have the effect of redistributing wealth.)



"Most American people understand we got a problem. Those are reasonable solutions. You could rally people to that cause," said Pawlenty. "But he didn't even tee it up. He won't even address it. You know he's got all this soaring rhetoric, but the fact of the matter is he's chicken to address the real issues."

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At a hearing today, Colleen LaRose, the Pennsylvania woman facing terrorism charges and allegedly known as 'Jihad Jane' online, is expected to change her plea to guilty, CNN reports. The government alleges that LaRose used the Internet to recruit people for violent global Jihad, and that she planned to murder the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

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Awais Younis, the 26-year-old Virginia man who federal authorities say threatened to set off bombs on the D.C. Metro system, sent threatening messages to a female acquaintance of his who was living in the New Orleans area at the time. The woman informed the FBI of the threats, and an agent reportedly took photos of the messages on what appears to be an iPhone.

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Far from Iowa, likely Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told a crowd of Jewish Israelis yesterday that he'd be just as mad as they are if anybody tried to kick him out of America the way Israelis are being asked to not build or live in disputed lands.

"I cannot imagine as an American being told that I could not live in certain places in America because I was Christian, or because I was white, or because I spoke English," Huckabee said. "I would be outraged if someone told me that in my country, I would be prohibited and forbidden to live in a part of that country, for any reason."

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As unrest continued to spread in Egypt yesterday, Jon Stewart took it upon himself to help Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak prepare for his likely ouster and exile from the country.

In the continuing segment, "Mess O'Slightly-To-The-Left O'Potamia," Stewart said that the Egyptian people had issued a "last call" on Mubarak's presidency.

"You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here," Stewart said. "In fact, you probably shouldn't go to your home. They're probably thinking abut lighting it on fire."

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