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CBO Director Doug Elmendorf's testimony before the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday was full of bad news for the unemployed, and thus for President Obama. This is the stuff Republicans blasted out to reporters: Unemployment will likely be sky high through next year, GDP growth has been and will continue to be anemic.

But his prepared remarks confirm this is in part a product of the GOP's unwillingness to pass the big-ticket items in Obama's jobs bill. And they also imply that the GOP's economic counter-proposals would do almost nothing to actually improve things.

Here's a chart that lays out pretty clearly:

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Herman Cain would be so proud.

The final version of the House and Senate's agriculture spending bill bucks recommendations by the Department of Agriculture to try to make school lunches healthier. The bill counts pizza sauce as a vegetable -- as it is now -- and resists efforts by the Agriculture Department to limit servings of starchy vegetables and sodium restrictions.

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Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Linddsey Graham (R-SC) both discussed the 2012 GOP primary with Roll Call on Tuesday.

“New Hampshire voters are really going to make up their mind in the last two weeks. I saw it in my primary,” Ayotte said. “I do reflect on my own primary, because I was the frontrunner throughout, and the last two weeks things really narrowed in my race. By no means, even though I think Gov. Romney is the frontrunner right now, is this race over.”

Graham agreed with his colleague from New Hampshire, and added that his state’s primary remains “wide open” as well. Graham added that he was thinking about declining to endorse a candidate, as fellow South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint ® has.

The pair of senators said that Cain would continue to face scrutiny, not only for the old sexual harassment allegations but for his policy positions.

“He’s going to have to convince people that he’s conversant in foreign policy and knows the world well enough to be commander in chief,” Graham said.

A Wisconsin Public Radio/St. Norbert College Survey shows that 58 percent of respondents think Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker should be recalled. The poll was released the same day Democrats kicked off their recall efforts against Walker.

Via Associated Press.

New data released Wednesday by Gallup shows that a plurality of Americans, 47 percent, think the new health care law should be repealed, versus 42 who think it should be kept. The Supreme Court recently announced it would hear a challenge to the law’s constitutionality next year.

From Gallup:



Views on this issue are highly partisan, with Republicans strongly in favor of repeal and the large majority of Democrats wanting the law kept in place...At the same time, half of Americans say the federal government should be responsible for making sure all Americans have health insurance, underscoring the divided nature of public opinion on this issue. About one in four American adults at this point have government-provided health insurance, making it clear that the issue going forward is the degree to which government should be involved in healthcare in the years ahead, rather than whether the government should get out of the healthcare business altogether.

Former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney is running away with the GOP Primary in New Hampshire, but he’s also showing some real strength in a possible general election matchup against President Obama there: a new Bloomberg poll shows Romney with a ten point lead on the President in the Granite State. Obama won New Hampshire in 2008 by nine points against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

From Bloomberg:



Independent voters in the state, the site of the nation’s first presidential primary, have swung even more strongly against Obama. Romney would win independents there by 15 percentage points, the poll shows.

Self-proclaimed housing historian Newt Gingrich had two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac and was paid between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees, two sources familiar with the agreements have told Bloomberg.

Mitchell Delk, Freddie Mac's chief lobbyist, was Gingrich's key contact. But Delk told Bloomberg that Gingrich -- who was paid a monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000 between May 1999 until 2002 -- "did not do any lobbying" and was instead provided counsel on public policy issues.

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It's hard to see how the Super Committee can possibly reach a consensus by this time next week after Republican co-chair Jeb Hensarling's appearance on CNBC Tuesday night. The short version is that he left the ball in Democrats court, and hinted that if the committee fails, Congress will spend the next year or so trying to change the terms of an automatic penalty to make sure that hundreds of billions of cuts to defense programs never take effect.

Hensarling claimed that if the committee recommended even a dollar of new net tax revenue -- the kind of revenue Dems are demanding -- it would constitute a step in the wrong direction. He said a GOP plan put forward by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) -- one which Republicans claim would raise revenues by nearly $300 billion over 10 years, but would also make the Bush tax cuts permanent -- is as far as Republicans are willing to go on revenues. But that's an offer Democrats flatly rejected as unserious. And unless one of the parties breaks cleanly with its publicly stated position, the committee will either fall well short of reducing the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years as required by law, or will fail altogether.

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Apple on Tuesday moved to fill a critical vacancy left in the wake of the death of Steve Jobs.

The company announced it had appointed Arthur "Art" D. Levinson, chairman of biotech company Genentech and a longtime Apple board member, to the position of chairman, last occupied by Jobs.

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Protestors with Occupy D.C. just took over the D.C. headquarters of Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park (location of the Occupy Wall Street protests). TPM was there and took this video.

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