TPM News

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) kept the door wide open Thursday to foregoing a deficit reduction plan and giving President Obama the authority to raise the debt limit unilaterally, with no policy strings attached. But pressed on whether this strategy, first proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, would pass the House if all else failed, he couldn't say.

"Mitch described his proposal as a last ditch effort in case in case we're unable to do anything else," Boehner said at his weekly press availability, "And what may look like something less than optimal today, if we're unable to get to an agreement, might look pretty good a couple of weeks from now."

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The Republican party's last presidential nominee is warning one of its rising 2012 presidential stars that her rhetoric over the debt ceiling is starting to sound a little familiar. And that could blow it for the GOP next year.

"There are Republicans who are committed, like Michele Bachmann, to vote against raising the debt limit under any circumstances," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told the National Review's Robert Costa.

"Bachmann, [McCain] warns, is acting 'sort of like Senator Obama did.'"

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As the debt talks devolve into the rhetorical equivalent of a backyard sandbox, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been labeled the big, bad bully ruining the otherwise well-behaved debt ceiling negotiations between Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the White House and Congressional leaders.

But if that's the case, one GOP aide asks, why did Reid compliment Cantor for his honesty after the first White House meeting? Cantor never tried to cover up his stubborn resistance to tax increases and was very forthright about it from the get go.

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After many a false start, the popular European music service Spotify launched Thursday in the United States to much fanfare.

But what's the big deal? We've got a plethora of music experiments underway in the United States, and cloud-based music services are making their way into the U.S. market from Amazon.com, Apple and Google.

One of the main conceptual differences: Subscribers don't have to own the music to listen to it.

Instead, the service, which has 15 million tunes in its database, streams music to its users on demand. The tunes and playlists that listeners call up and create can be cached on their computers and mobile devices if they choose to pay Spotify's monthly fees.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made clear that he wants to avoid a catastrophic debt default when he proposed a solution that would allow President Obama to raise the debt limit, but put a large political onus on the Democratic party.

Now, he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are privately crafting a modified version of that plan, which would ease up on the politics, but include some of the spending cuts bipartisan negotiators have identified.

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Behind the scenes, leading members of both parties have concluded that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is an impediment to resolving the debt limit standoff, and should back down. Now, Democrats are publicly calling for him to get real or go home.

"House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has shown that he's shouldn't even be at the table," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in a blistering floor speech Thursday morning. "And Republicans agree."

In a press conference shortly after Reid's floor speech, one of his top deputies, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) explained the Dems' frustrations.

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New Yorkers have never been accused of having the sunniest outlook on politics in their state. But that was before Andrew Cuomo became their governor.

Cuomo continues to be held in very high esteem, notching a 71% favorability rating in the latest poll from Siena College, with only 21% of New York voters having an unfavorable view of him. Despite inheriting a nine billion dollar deficit, the TPM Poll Average of Cuomo's favorability remains at a high 75.9%, having scored victories with a budget deal that cut spending while not raising income tax rates and pushing through a bill legalizing gay marriage in the state.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, who has been accused by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley of grabbing her neck in a chokehold during an argument over the court's decision to uphold Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation, is rejecting calls from pro-Bradley activists that he take a leave of absence while the matter is being investigated.

The ABC affiliate in La Crosse reported:

Spokesperson for Prosser Brian Schimming said Prosser would not take leave, and said other work place settings and standards were "not comparable" to the work setting of the state supreme court. Schimming said Prosser, Walsh-Bradley and other justices have been working together without any issues since the June incident.


On Tuesday, liberal groups held a rally at the state Capitol, calling for Prosser to take a leave, with speakers comparing such an action to standard procedures in cases of alleged workplace violence.

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A day after the AP and TPM reported Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) sold off millions of shares in oil and gas industry stock following claims of hypocrisy from ThinkProgress and Al Sharpton, Kelly's office tells reporters the sales happened "well before" a constituent questioned Kelly's portfolio in a June town hall.

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