TPM News

Hindered by their midday taping time, the Daily Show had to wait until last night to comment on President Obama's State of the Union address. Their verdict? For all the hoopla, it was pretty "eh."

Jon Stewart opened the show by theorizing that Obama had not, as it appeared, handed a hard copy of his speech to Vice President Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner, but rather had given them a buddy cop screenplay he thought they'd be perfect for.

"It's called Motormouth & Waterworks," Stewart intoned. "John Boehner is Ralph Waterworks, and Joe Biden won't shut the fu*k up."

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Despite his public denials flatly saying he's not running for president, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) nevertheless seems to be making a lot of the right moves to do so -- particularly an upcoming trip to Iowa. Or instead, could he just be trying to keep the actual candidates on their toes?

The Iowa Republican web site reports:

Sen. DeMint is scheduled to travel to the home of the First-In-The-Nation caucus on Saturday, March 26th.

DeMint will be in Iowa to keynote an event for Congressman Steve King. The event, which is being billed as a "conference," will not be held in the 5th Congressional District, which King represents, but rather it will be held in Des Moines.

Steve King, of course, is the staunch conservative Congressman who has, among other things, accused President Obama of having "demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race -- on the side that favors the black person." Interestingly, King is also a close ally of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who has also been popping into the Hawkeye State.

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The FBI has begun investigating a series of incidents in which a man told Planned Parenthood clinics around the country that he was running an underage sex trafficking ring, according to a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood.

The FBI has been interviewing people at the clinics -- a total of eight spread out over five states and D.C. -- over the past two days, the spokeswoman tells TPM. She said Planned Parenthood has been giving law enforcement all the information they have.

The FBI did not return a request for comment.

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In July 2005, Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France, Karl Rove's involvement in Plamegate came to light, and William Rehnquist was still the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And until now, that month was also the last time that Americans held a net favorable opinion of the Republican Party, according to Gallup.

In a Gallup poll released today, more Americans viewed the GOP favorably than unfavorably for the first time in five and a half years. In the poll, 47% of respondents said they had a favorable impression of the party in general, versus 43% who had an unfavorable image of the party.

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Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) is tripling down on his President Obama-is-a-socialist live-tweeting during the State Of The Union, this time drawing in Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well: "But we are the party of N-O against socialism and that's what Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama have been proposing is a greater take over of everything and human endeavor in America."

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Mitt Romney, one of the early presumptive frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, is playing as coy as all other jockeying contenders hoping to take on Obama when it comes to when -- or, you know, "if" -- he'll announce a run for for the White House. At the same time, though, he's stumping hard and setting the stage for a run where he'll try and set himself apart as the experienced businessman on the ballot.

As Romney is doing his thing, his advisers are doing theirs and offering up a look at Romney's 2012 strategy, which the National Journal's Reid Wilson reports might include skipping the Iowa caucuses in favor of bringing home a big win in New Hampshire.

Here's what Romney's non-campaign campaign sounds like, from an appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News show last night:

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Could Sharron Angle, the Republican former Nevada state Representative who lost her campaign last year against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after she made such hard-right comments as alluding to the people's "Second Amendment remedies" against the government, now have her eye on a presidential campaign?

Angle was in the key first presidential caucus state of Iowa last night, to attend a premiere of a Christian movie called The Genesis Code, about a young man and his love interest trying to reconcile religious faith with scientific facts (on the idea there must be some misunderstanding about them being in conflict at all).

And while she was there, the question was asked whether she might run for president -- which she didn't rule out!

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House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) penchant for playing golf is well known, and now, it seems, so is his tendency to pull a mulligan once in a while.

In an interview with CNN's Kathleen Parker on Wednesday evening, Boehner admitted he erred when he suggested to a Pennsylvania newspaper in June 2010 that the retirement age for Social Security should be raised to 70.

"I made a mistake when I did that because I think having the conversation about how big the problem is is the first step," Boehner said. "And once the American people understand how big the problem is, then you can begin to outline an array of possible solutions."

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[Continued from here]

The Aftermath

The three-day siege of Mumbai triggered international outrage.

The United Nations put Lashkar chiefs on a blacklist. Pakistan detained Hafiz Saeed, the group's founder, for another in a series of short-lived house arrests. U.S. diplomats worked to prevent India from military retaliation. Western authorities scrambled to reassess the threat from Lashkar.

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by Sebastian Rotella ProPublica

This story was published as part of Amazon's Kindle Singles program, and is available for reading on that device [1].

On a November night two years ago, a young American rabbi and his pregnant wife finished dinner at their home in the mega-city of Mumbai.

Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg had come to India on a religious mission. They had established India's first outpost of Chabad Lubavitch, the Orthodox Jewish organization, in a six-story tower overlooking a shantytown. The Chabad House offered a synagogue, a cyber-café, two floors of guest rooms, India's biggest Hebrew library and a dining room that could seat 50 for festive meals. The Holtzbergs' guests that evening were two American rabbis, an Israeli grandmother and a Mexican tourist.

Hundreds of miles away in Pakistan, a youthful terrorist chief named Sajid Mir was preparing a different sort of religious mission. With the support of Pakistan's intelligence service, Mir had spent two years using a Pakistani-American businessman named David Coleman Headley to conduct meticulous reconnaissance on Mumbai, according to investigators and court documents. He had selected iconic targets and the Chabad House, a seemingly obscure choice, but one that ensured that Jews and Americans would be casualties.

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