TPM News

President Obama delivered a statement following today's White House meeting with BP executives, where the company agreed to establish a $20 billion escrow fund to help pay for spill claims, and he offered some details about the fund and how it will work.

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is standing by his comments that President Obama has a "default mechanism" that "favors the black person" in a dispute -- and says that Americans need to talk about this.

"I have no regrets about what I said. I stand by what I said because what I said is accurate. It's factual," King told Radio Iowa on Tuesday. "I think the president should answer and Attorney General Holder should answer for the Justice Department being used in the way it is, but what I said was accurate and it was objective."

"You have the professional hyperventilators out there who have the radar screen up all the time, trying to find something that they can twist or embellish. That's what's going on," King added. "I don't want anybody to think that Steve King loses a minute's sleep over this."

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It hasn't gotten much attention nationally, but on Monday a man and a woman in their 20s showed up at an entrance to one of the most important military bases in the country with a car full of guns and fraudulent military ID.

The pair was promptly arrested at a gate of Florida's MacDill Air Force Base -- which is home to U.S. Central Command, among other important units. But what they were intending to do is still not publicly known. Here's a look at what we do know:

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Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey told reporters today that Senate candidate Rand Paul is an "amateur" who made two big mistakes -- appearing on Rachel Maddow's show and declaring himself as a leader of the tea party movement.

"Rand Paul made an amateur, freshman, rookie mistake -- he thought MSNBC was a legitimate news organization," Armey said at a lunch today hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "These are not professional people. ... Bless his heart, he walked right into a buzzsaw."

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The House Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into eight lawmakers is focusing on fundraisers held in the two days before the final vote on financial reform legislation, according to news reports.

According to The Hill, the OCE is specifically looking into a fundraiser held for Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) two days before he pulled an amendment that could have hurt certain auto dealers.

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Democrats are asking House Minority Leader John Boehner to put his money (or at least his signature) where his mouth is. Boehner took to the Sunday shows this weekend to say he supports forcing BP to pay for the full cost of damages in the Gulf, but has been largely mum on how, legislatively, he proposes to do that. Now, Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Jay Inslee (D-WA), authors of a bill that would retroactively and permanently remove the $75 million liability cap on BP and other oil companies, are inviting him to join their efforts

In a letter delivered to Boehner today, which was passed my way, Holt and Inslee question Boehner's commitment to forcing BP to pay up, and suggest a way for him to clear the air. "[W]e ask that you personally state whether you will lead your caucus in supporting legislation to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to require BP to pay, in a timely manner, for all containment and removal efforts and reasonable damages resulting from this disaster."

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BP has agreed to place about $20 billion in an escrow account to be used to pay damage claims resulting from the Gulf Coast oil spill, The New York Times is reporting.

CNN and the AP have also confirmed the deal.

The Times is also reporting that the fund will be overseen by Kenneth Feinberg -- the pay czar charged with overseeing top Wall Street salaries under TARP. Feinberg also oversaw the 9/11 victims compensation fund.

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The Republican National Committee is knocking President Obama today for waiting 58 days since the Gulf Coast oil spill began to meet with BP executives -- during which time he went golfing a half dozen times.

The RNC's new web video -- called "What Took So Long?" -- flips through Obama's non-oil spill calendar items of the last two months, and shows pictures of him with Paul McCartney and Bono, raising money for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), going on a family vacation, meeting with the New York Yankees, and, of course, playing golf. According to the RNC, Obama was off having a grand time while the Gulf suffered.

The video also resurrects James Carville's now-famous declaration that "we're about to die down here" in the Gulf. Matt Lauer's question on why Obama didn't pick up the phone and call BP is played on a loop. And there are oily birds.

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Are Republicans in Washington sweating the fact that Nevada Senate hopeful Sharron Angle used to be a member of the far right Independent America party? Not for the moment--or at least not while Angle's sequestering herself from the press.

Yesterday evening I asked John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, what he makes of her 1990s-era membership in the party and what bearing it will have on her campaign.

"I don't think it makes much difference because we've had--a lot of famous Republicans used to be in different parties. Ronald Reagan. In Texas, Phil Gramm and our governor, Rick Perry, so I don't think that makes any difference," Cornyn said.

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