TPM News

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) doesn't want to answer any questions about his continuing obstruction of legislation to extend unemployment and COBRA benefits to out of work Americans, and keep Medicare doctors fees from dropping significantly. But according to a producer for ABC News, he's so mad he's giving reporters the middle finger--literally.

Here's the video of the exchange that supposedly included the...unfriendly...gesture.

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Feb. 27, 2010: American speed skater Jonathan Tuck leads his heat at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver. Team USA won silver in the finals.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire

Feb. 28, 2010: Biathletes compete in the men's 4 x 7.5 kilometer relay in Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Belousov

February 17, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Shaun White during his finals run. White won gold in a record-breaking halfpipe performance.

Photo by Newscom/Daniel Mears

February 24, 2010: American skier Lindsey Vonn careens down the slope in the giant slalom. Vonn won gold in the downhill event.

Photo by Newscom/Franck Faugere/DPPI/Icon SMI

Feb. 28, 2010: Members of the United States hockey team after losing to Canada in a thrilling gold medal game.

Photo by Newscom/Qi Heng

February 22, 2010: Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the United States perform their free dance during the ice dancing finals. The American pair finished fourth.

Photo by Newscom/Luo Gengqian

February 26, 2010: American speed skater Apolo Ohno celebrates after the 500m short track -- before learning he'd been disqualified. Canada's Charles Hamelin won the event.

Photo by Newscom/zumasportswest

February 27, 2010: Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert preparing to tape his show from the Olympics

Photo by Newscom/R Chiang JKing/Splash News

February 22, 2010: Canadian Kyle Nissen launches a jump in the men's aerial final.

Photo by Newscom/R Chiang JKing/Splash News

February 27, 2010: The gold medal-winning USA men's bobsled team (from left): Curtis Tomasevicz, Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen and driver Steven Holcomb.

Photo by Newscom/Steve Ringman/Seattle Times/MCT

February 19, 2010: Australia's Emma Lincoln-Smith during the women's skeleton finals.

Photo by Newscom/Peter Blakeman/Actionplus

February 19, 2010: France's Raphael Mathieu, Jan Henri Ducroz and Tony Angiboust compete against the United States in the men's curling event.

Photo by Newscom/Harry E. Walker/MCT

February 15, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Seth Wescott takes a slim lead against Canada's Mike Robertson in the snowboard cross final. Wescott won gold in the event.

Photo by Newscom/Daniel Mears/Detroit News/PSG

February 16, 2010: American figure skater Johnny Weir competes in the men's short program at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire

February 23, 2010: Rosanna Crawford of Canada, Johnson Haley of the USA, and Weronika Nowakoska of Poland compete in the 4 x 6km relay biathlon.

Photo by Newscom/ptsphotoshot

February 17, 2010: Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin of the United States compete in the double luge.

Photo by Newscom/Sven Simon/Imago/Icon SMI

February 23, 2010: The women's ski cross event at Cypress Mountain, Vancouver.

Photo by Newscom/Brian Peterson/zumawire

February 18, 2010: Team USA snowboarder Kelly Clark competes in the women's halfpipe. Clark won bronze in the event.

Photo by Newscom/Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/MCT

February 25, 2010: Team USA skier Johnny Spillane makes the second-longest jump on the large hill during the men's nordic combined event.

Photo by Newscom/zumawire

February 28, 2010: The closing ceremony.

Photo by Newscom/Imago/Action Plus

California state Rep. Chuck DeVore, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Senate, has a fun online activity going on today: Asking visitors to go a special Web site and hunt the demon sheep!

The site is a takeoff on an infamous Web video that was put out a month ago by the campaign of his Republican rival Carly Fiorina, who was attacking the third candidate in the race, former Rep. Tom Campbell, as a "fiscal conservative in name only." The video depicted Campbell as some sort of monstrous creature with glowing red eyes -- perhaps a wolf, perhaps a demon -- in sheep's clothing.

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Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is already infamous for blocking a temporary extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for out of work Americans. But included in that package is legislation to prevent a mandatory pay cut for doctors--and by standing in its way, he's triggered a 21 percent fee reduction to doctors seeing Medicare patients starting today.

Republicans say they support a temporary measure to avoid the cuts, but they have been unable to rein in Bunning, and, as such, the Senate has failed to act on a House bill that staves them off.

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A trio of Democratic lawmakers took to the phones this afternoon to call out Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) for his decision to block a month-long extension of federal transportation and highway funds, a move government officials say will leave thousands out of work for the foreseeable future (not to mention the thousands of doctors that will see their income drop.)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (SC) and DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen (MD) on the call. All three slammed Bunning for blocking the extension, but Van Hollen's take was a bit more nuanced. He began his comments to reporters by thanking Bunning for blocking the bill.

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Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) announced over the weekend that he will not run for the the Senate seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, and that he has endorsed Rep. Brad Ellsworth to be the new Democratic nominee.

"I believe my friend and colleague, Congressman Brad Ellsworth, is the right man to fulfill the task of ensuring a Democrat is elected to succeed Senator Bayh," Hill said in a statement.

As we have reported, the fact that nobody filed the petitions necessary to appear on the Democratic primary ballot -- Bayh announced his retirement the day before the signatures were due -- means that the state Democratic Party's central committee has the authority to name a new candidate. That meeting of the committee will come some time after the May 4 primary, and before a June 30 deadline.

Leading House Republicans have been at pains to distance themselves from legislation sponsored by their top budget guy, Paul Ryan, that would partially privatize Social Security and turn Medicare in to a voucher program. But speaking at an event at the Brookings Institution this afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer insisted that if the GOP is interested in eliminating deficits, they're stuck with the Ryan plan.

"As much as his party's leadership tries to distance itself from his plan, Paul Ryan's program, or something very much like it, is the logical outcome of the other party's rhetoric of cutting taxes and deficits at the same time," Hoyer said.

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February 27, 2010: A massive earthquake hits Chile, causing widespread destruction across the country. More than 1.5 million people have been displaced and more than 700 deaths have been reported. The quake was so large that it tied for the fifth largest in the world since 1900, according to The New York Times. It also created tsunami waves that hit Japan.

Above: On Feb. 28, two men walk in the rubble of Talcahuano, Chile after the magnitude 8.8 earthquake on Saturday.


February 28, 2010: A Chilean man looks at the earthquake damage in Concepcion, Chile.


February 28, 2010: Residents go through a store in Talcahuano, Chile in the aftermath of the earthquake.


February 28, 2010: A building complex severely damaged by the earthquake in Concepcion, Chile.


February 28, 2010: Residents line up for water in Concepcion, Chile.


February 28, 2010: A rescuer searches for survivors in rubble of a building in Concepcion, Chile.


February 28, 2010: Survivors look for supplies in a supermarket in the aftermath of the earthquake in Concepcion, Chile.


February 28, 2010: The aftermath of huge waves in Dichato, Chile, a town 475 kilometers from Santiago.


February 28, 2010: Seawater, the result of tsunami waves from the Chilean earthquake, flows into the urban center of Kessenuma, Japan.


February 28, 2010: A man rides a motorcycle through a sea-covered road in Kessenuma, Japan, the result of tsunami waves that hit the country after the Chilean earthquake.


February 28, 2010: A survivor gathers belongings in the remnants of a destroyed building in Concepcion, Chile.


February 28, 2010: Chileans look for belongings amidst rubble in Concepcion, Chile.


February 28, 2010: Overturned cars on a destroyed highway in Chile.


February 28, 2010: A fire-fighter assess the earthquake damages in Chile.