TPM News

In their quest to cast President Obama's handling of the Christmas bomber as weak and ineffectual, Republicans have had to overcome a stubborn fact: The Bush administration handled shoe bomber Richard Reid in similar fashion in 2001. So what do you do with stubborn facts? You change them.

On the Daily Show last night, Newt Gingrich claimed the "shoe bomber," Richard Reid, is an American citizen.

Reid is actually a British citizen.

Gingrich was attacking the Obama administration for reading the Miranda rights to the Christmas Day attempted bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Jon Stewart pointed out that the Bush administration did the same to Reid.

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A National Guardsman who became a cause celebre among gay-rights groups last year, after announcing on The Rachel Maddow Show that he is gay and being recommended for discharge, has returned to training with his unit.

The move doesn't appear to be evidence of an explicit policy change on Don't Ask Don't Tell, but it does count as more potential evidence of a shift in attitude in military circles.

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said today he expects Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) to take over the chairmanship of the Appropriations subcommittee on defense, which was held by the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA).

"I think he will be able to fill that role," Hoyer said, according to Roll Call.

Dicks is the next ranking member on the subcommittee. He is also the chair of the subcommittee on interior appropriations, on which he has served since he became a Congressman in 1977.

Dicks is "an extraordinarily able Member of Congress," Hoyer said.

After watching a key labor nominee fail to be confirmed by the Senate thanks to a filibuster, the head of the nation's largest union federation says he's ready for President Obama to take matters into his own hands.

"We support President Obama's expressed willingness to make recess appointments of critical posts in the federal government if that's what it takes to get around minority delay and obstruction," says an official statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "There are currently more than 60 political nominees being held up by the Republican minority in the Senate - at this point in the Bush Administration, only four nominees were still in limbo."

Ins so doing, Trumka joins Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in arguing that it's appropriate for the President to circumvent GOP obstruction.

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The new Rasmussen poll of Pennsylvania Democrats shows Sen. Arlen Specter continuing to lead his primary challenger, Rep. Joe Sestak.

The numbers: Specter 51%, Sestak 36%. Last month, Specter led by slightly more, at 53%-32%, but the month before that was closer at 48%-35%. Specter switched parties last year, after 28 years as a Republican Senator, because his support for the stimulus bill had served to guarantee his defeat in the GOP primary. Sestak has been attempting to parlay distrust of Specter among Democrats into a successful primary challenge, but the incumbent has been holding on.

From the pollster's analysis: "Specter's support has ranged from 46% and 53% in the earlier polls. Incumbents who fall below 50% on a consistent basis are viewed as vulnerable, but this is the second month in a row where he's crossed that critical line. In the five previous Rasmussen Reports polls on the race, Sestak's support has ranged from 32% to 42%. He was most competitive in October when the numbers showed Specter with 46% of the vote and Sestak at 42%."

February 9, 2010: A major snow storm struck the Northeast this past weekend, blanketing several states and rendering hundreds without electricity. The storm practically shut down Washington, D.C., with both chambers on Capitol Hill breaking from their work. Now a second storm is blanketing both the east coast and Midwest, prompting the House to close down shop in anticipation of the pending snow. Here are some images of the storm from the Beltway and beyond.

Above, a missive on a snowed-in car in Herndon, VA.


Capitol Hill is hit by flurries on February 6th.


Washington, D.C., confronts the snow.

United States Park Police

The reflecting pool in front of the Washington Monument on February 7th.


Bo, the Obama family dog, enjoys the snow.

White House photo by Pete Souza

Snow covers the White House lawn.

Photo by Christina Bellantoni

News racks are buried in snow on the Washington, D.C., streets.

Photo by Christina Bellantoni

A snowball fight organized by Facebook in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., drew dozens of revelers.


A snowboarder soars on a hill in front of the Lincoln Memorial on February 7th.


Residents in Philadelphia, PA attempt to shovel out a car.


The snow storm hit the Beltway and the Rust Belt. A man trudges throw the snow in Pittsburgh, PA.


A dog watches the snow fall in Harrisburg, PA.


Snow blankets a supermarket in Herndon, VA.


A truck drives down I-495 in Alexandria, VA.


Children play in the snow in Haddon Heights, NJ.


A couple strolls down a street in Alexandria, VA.


Republican leaders warned today that they might skip the White House's bipartisan health care meeting Feb. 25 because they think President Obama isn't trying hard enough to be bipartisan on the controversial issue. But a new ABC News poll out today shows that Americans think it's Republicans who need to try harder to reach across the aisle. Overwhelmingly, they support efforts to find a compromise in health care, rather than scrap reform efforts entirely.

Just 30% of respondents to the poll said that Republican efforts at bipartisanship are "about right." Fifty-eight percent said the GOP is doing "too little" to work with the their Democratic colleagues. Respondents were more approving of Obama's attempts to be bipartisan -- 45% said his efforts were "about right," and 44% said they were "too little."

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Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), who is challenging Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary, is getting some help from one of the most prominent Republicans in the state, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio, a long-time opponent of illegal immigration -- and of McCain himself, having endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2008 GOP primaries instead of his home state's candidate -- has written a letter promoting Hayworth's candidacy, The Hotline reports. The letter was sent out to Arpaio's fundraising list. In the letter, Arpaio accuses McCain of having "moderate or even liberal positions." Arpaio also attacks McCain's political credibility as a conservative, seemingly ridiculing him for doing a bad job of campaigning against Barack Obama in 2008.

"Senator McCain has served this country admirably but it's time to replace his moderate or even liberal positions on taxes, the border, social causes and big bank bailouts with a consistent conservative like J.D.," Arpaio writes. "I just wish Senator McCain had run as hard against Barack Obama as he is against a conservative like J.D. That could have prevented the harmful, liberal agenda we are all now suffering through."

It turns out that the criticism surrounding the decision to read Miranda rights to the attempted Christmas bombing suspect didn't originally come from any office-holding Republican.

Rather, it was pioneered by Tom Ridge and Dick Cheney in the days after Christmas, and only later picked up by members of Congress like Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO).

With the heated Obama-GOP back-and-forth this week over the Mirandizing of Umar Abdulmutallab, we decided to look back at the facts of what happened, and when critics pounced on the issue.

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After a weather related delay Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is just about ready to go with his jobs package. But with another storm threatening to shut down Congress yet again tomorrow, a week-long recess set to kick off this weekend, and no promise from the GOP not to filibuster the bill, Reid is threatening to keep the Senate in session through the weekend to get the bill finished.

"The issue before the Senate and the decision I have to make after speaking to the Republican leader is what we do when we come back here on Thursday," Reid said on the floor this afternoon.

We'll have an intervening day. I would rather not be in session tomorrow if, in fact, we have to file cloture on that package that I just talked about. I have told everyone that what I think would be the appropriate way to do is to get on that bill and to have some amendments on both sides, and I hope we can do that. We really need to finish the bill this week. I would hope that we can do that in a reasonable time. It appears from what I have been able to determine is that the storm will end sometime early tomorrow evening. The problem is the streets in the D.C. area are pretty difficult so we would have to make sure that everyone has time Thursday to get here. There are some people who live in the suburbs when they are in Washington, and so we have to make sure that they have time to get here. Anyway, we're working on these issues. And then we have the President's Day recess. I hope we don't have to work into the weekend to complete that. It's really difficult to put all this stuff over.

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