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Leaders of the G20 nations gather for a photograph in London.

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President Obama is joined by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a joint news conference on April 1, 2009.

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

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President Obama meets with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during their bilateral meeting in London.

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President Barack Obama answers questions during a press conference following the G20 Summit.

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President Obama and French President Sarkozy emerge to address the media prior to Obama's town hall event in Strasbourg.

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President Obama and French President Sarkozy are greeted by an honor guard.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Hayrunnisa Gul, right, the wife of Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, listen to a French interpreter during a tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Strasbourg.

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First Lady Michelle Obama is joined by fellow spouses of NATO Summit leaders as they conclude their tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are greeted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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President Obama records his weekly video address aboard Air Force One.

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President Barack Obama confers with U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during the NATO summit in Strasbourg.

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President Obama addresses the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

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President Obama meets with, left to right, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, Turkish undersecretary of the foreign ministry Ertugul Apakan, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan at a reception in Istanbul.

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President Obama addresses the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

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A television displays President Obama's student town hall meeting in Istanbul.

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President Obama addresses students at a town hall meeting at the Tophane Cultural Center in Istanbul.

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President Obama visited Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory, Iraq April 7. This was Obama's first trip to Iraq as Commander in Chief.

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President Obama meets with Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, Iraq on April 7, 2009.

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Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who is facing a likely primary rematch with his 2004 opponent Pat Toomey, has picked up a high-profile endorsement: Howard Stern, The Hill reports, after Specter appeared on the Stern show. Howard offered to write Specter a check, which Specter accepted, and then the two of them encouraged all the listeners to contribute, too.

This makes sense in many ways, really. Stern's own politics match up pretty well with Specter, as Stern is an economic conservative and cultural liberal (okay, make that cultural libertine). That, and Howard has a proven record of endorsing politicians who have the nerve to come on his show, and those pols have usually been northeastern Republicans like Specter, Christie Whitman and George Pataki, among others.

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FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has been under attack recently in various quarters of the crisis blogosphere in a campaign that culminated this morning in a critical New York Times column today by Andrew Ross "Let Those AIG 'Brainiacs' Keep Their Bonuses" Sorkin, who takes issue with her agency's agreement to guarantee all the non-recourse loans Treasury's toxic asset buyout plan is promising private investors to leverage their bets.

So how much does the F.D.I.C. think it might lose?

"We project no losses," Sheila Bair, the chairwoman, told me in an interview. Zero? Really? "Our accountants have signed off on no net losses," she said. (Well, that's one way to stay under the borrowing cap.)

By this logic, though, the F.D.I.C. appears to have determined it can lend an unlimited amount of money to anyone so long as it believes, at least at the moment, that it won't lose any money.

Here's the F.D.I.C.'s explanation: It says it plans to carefully vet every loan that gets made and it will receive fees and collateral in exchange. And then there's the safety net: If it loses money from insuring those investments, it will assess the financial industry a fee to pay the agency back.
So what's the problem here? It's not as if Bair is afraid to project a loss for her agency. The biggest concern about the plan is that it will enrich Wall Street at the expense of real prices -- especially if banks use the funds to bid up each other's bad loans as envisioned by this blogger we read on Felix Salmon's blog:

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NRSC Chairman John Cornyn released this statement, regarding Norm Coleman's continued legal fight after Al Franken's lead grew by 87 net votes today:

"Events today do not address the main issue that remains unresolved: over 4,000 Minnesotans were disenfranchised by this three-judge panel. That's why it's so critical for this process to move forward before the Minnesota Supreme Court and why Senate Republicans fully support Senator Coleman's efforts.

"The message from our side has remained consistent throughout this process: we want this election to resolve itself as quickly, but not at the expense of Minnesota's laws or voters.

"In contrast, the criticisms from the Democrat side as recently as today have expressed the opposite viewpoint. It's blatant hypocrisy that many of the same Democrats who so loudly complained about voter disenfranchisement during the 2000 Florida recount are now willing to compromise this fundamental principle of our democracy when it no longer fits their political agenda. Senate Democrats should stand down, set partisan politics aside, and respect Minnesota's laws and voters."

The latest results from the NY-20 special election now have Republican candidate Jim Tedisco up by 17 votes, out of over 150,000 votes.

Yesterday, Democrat Scott Murphy had been ahead by 83 votes, but that has now shifted -- an official at Saratoga County told PolitickerNY that they caught a mistake in their spreadsheet, having accidentally dropped 100 votes for Tedisco.

One county, Greene, told TPM today that they still haven't re-checked their totals, which should be done tomorrow.

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Yesterday I reported that NARAL is mobilizing in support of three Obama nominees--David Hamilton, Kathleen Sebelius, and Dawn Johnsen--who've been targeted by the right, at least in part, for their pro-life views.

Today, I spoke with NARAL's policy director Donna Crane, who gave me a bit more detail about the nature of their campaign. "We have emails going out [to members of Congress] almost every day," Crane said, "[and] we're doing phone banking for targeted senators."

Those targets won't come as much surprise. Crane says, "in general the senators we look at for these kinds of issues are the two senators from Maine, [Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins] pulled one way by their party and another by their values." She adds that "Sen. Specter...is somebody we're looking at very closely."

NARAL's reportedly also targeting some pro-life Democrats, though there's considerably less concern that they'll oppose any of these nominees.

Below the fold, a copy of a direct mailer NARAL issued as part of their efforts.

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We're late to this, but it looks like Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who chairs the Congressional Oversight panel for the TARP funds, is upping the ante.

After several months of raising the alarm about the Treasury Department's failure to attach strings to the bailout funds, to little apparent effect, Warren will issue a hard-hitting report this week that broadly indicts the Obama administration's approach to the financial crisis, reported the British paper The Observer over the weekend.

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The Albert Lea Tribune, a local newspaper in Minnesota that endorsed Norm Coleman for re-election last year, has an editorial telling him in no uncertain terms to give it up:

This newspaper endorsed Republican Norm Coleman for senator, but now it is time for him to step out of the race and let Minnesota have two senators again.

...

Coleman is now only delaying the seating of Franken and in doing so is not servicing his staff, his financial contributors or the people of Minnesota.

For a time many Minnesotans followed the case closely, but now, after five months, they mainly see stalling. As for the rest of the country, at first, Americans thought Minnesota looked like a diligent place for vote recounts. Now, it's starting to seem like an election laughingstock.

And Coleman, who rails against career politicians, is looking like a career politician who is losing his career.


The editorial was published this morning, before Al Franken picked up another net 87 votes, now leading by 312 votes out of about 2.9 million.

Via Wired comes Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) accusing President Obama of gutting the military. Speaking from Afghanistan on a YouTube video posted by his press office, and contrasting the Gates proposal to the President's domestic budget, Inhofe said, "in all the time we're doing this, increasing all these welfares...the only thing in the budget that's being cut is military." Watch:

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On a conference call with reporters, Al Franken's lead attorney Marc Elias reiterated the campaign's position that the outcome of the Senate race is now certain -- that Al Franken is the winner.

"There are a handful of side issues that the court has yet to resolve, but none of them would involve enough votes at this point to affect the outcome," said Elias. "The total margin could change by a handful of votes, either up or down, but while the margin may not be set, the final result is no longer in doubt."

Elias said that Norm Coleman had the opportunity to bring his case -- and there were thousands and thousands of pages of evidence here -- but has only fallen behind: "So he will have to make the decision whether to appeal or not. But I think the question is not whether he has the right to appeal, but whether filing an appeal would be the right thing to do for the state of Minnesota."

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