TPM News

A judge has just ruled against New York’s Occupy Wall Street protesters, denying a bid to allow demonstrators to return to Zuccotti Park uninhibited, the NY Times and others report.

Former Alabama state representative Terry Spicer (D) pleaded guilty on Tuesday to accepting cash, campaign services and a ski vacation from Alabama lobbyist caught up in a massive bribery case involving casino interests in the state.

Between 2006 and 2010, Spicer admitted he accepted campaign contributions and gifts like concert tickets from Alabama businessman Ronnie Gilley and Jarrod Massey in exchange for his assistance. Massey and Gilley have pleaded guilty to either offering or paying bribes to Spicer and other state legislators. Massey previously testified that it would be "fair" to say Spicer was on retainer for him.

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Washington bureau chief, Craig Gilbert, tells Politico what it was like to be in the room with Herman Cain when he stumbled over a question on President Obama’s actions on Libya. Here’s the key phrase:



I thought we had a moment that could be pretty incendiary. We came out of there, we discussed it, and all kind of looked at each other and shook our heads about the way he handled that one question. You never know how something like that is going to be perceived by people, [but] we were prepared for it to generate a lot of attention…

It's hard to reconcile Steny Hoyer's optimism about the Super Committee with his own assessment of the GOP's allergy to tax increases.

The top Democratic vote counter in the House says he thinks that far-reaching legislation to reduce deficits over 10 years can both pass the lower chamber and meet the terms of President Obama's veto threat -- that every dollar of cuts to Medicare benefits must be matched by a dollar in new revenue taken from wealthier Americans. But it's hard to square that with the facts on the ground.

At his weekly Capitol briefing with reporters I asked Hoyer if deficit Super Committee legislation that meets President Obama's standard could pass the House.

"Yes I do," Hoyer said. "I think that if we work together in a bipartisan way, as frankly we have on all the fiscal issues that before the Congress in the House of Representatives: The first CR, the second CR, the debt limit.... I think it can, with bipartisan votes."

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House Republicans are painting Democrats like Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as hypocrites for opposing a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment set for a Friday floor vote -- even though they voted to send an identical amendment off to the states for ratification in 1995.

In his weekly briefing with reporters Tuesday, Hoyer offered a comprehensive defense of his change of heart and argued that Republicans have proved too irresponsible to steward a country that is required by its Constitution to maintain balanced budgets every year.

"Since I voted in January of '95 a lot of things have happened," Hoyer said.

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A half-naked man surprised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she was attending a photo-op in Hawaii this weekend. Watch:



Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum explained to the Texas-based King Street Patriots on Monday night that his "Registering The Poor To Vote Is Un-American" article may have been "indelicately worded" but said his larger point stands.

"Why do I hate democracy and the poor?" Vadum joked, clarifying that he "wasn't saying that people shouldn't have the right to vote if they're poor."

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The Associated Press reports:



Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday defended President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in seven weeks, but left open the possibility for continued negotiations with Baghdad over a force presence there.



Most Republican presidential candidates have criticized the president’s withdrawal plan, saying the decision puts U.S. national security at risk.

Newt Gingrich is winning all of a sudden largely thanks to his performances in the never-ending stream of Republican presidential primary debates. He's got those figured out: when in doubt, attack the mainstream media moderators charged with asking the candidates questions.

It's hard to underestimate how much Republican activist-types enjoy seeing the media get attacked and how far a politician can go just by expressing distaste for reporters (see: Palin, Sarah H.).

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