TPM News

The CEO of BP is trying to get out in front of potential lawsuits by casting the blame for the Gulf oil spill squarely on the owner of the rig: Transocean. But in doing so in media interviews Monday, BP's Tony Hayward appears to have also gotten out in front of the known facts.

"It wasn't our accident," he told the Today Show on Monday. Pressed by anchor Meredith Vieira, Hayward claimed: "the drilling rig was a Transocean drilling rig. It was their rig and their equipment that failed, run by their people, their processes."

But oil industry experts tell TPMmuckraker that BP, as the lease operator on the Deepwater Horizon rig, most likely did have a role in decision-making aboard the drilling vessel. And six BP employees were on the rig when it exploded April 20.

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Stephen Colbert was angry last night about the attempted bombing of Times Square, because he said this shows "they don't just hate us for our freedom. Now they hate us for our souvenirs of freedom. From our plastic Lady Liberty, to our foam crown Lady Liberty, to our green M&M Lady Liberty."

But, said Colbert, "they may take our safety and security, but they will never take our rhinestone studded Big Apple thongs."

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Today: Key Senate Primaries Voters are headed to the polls today in Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio for key Senate primaries. In Indiana, Republican former Sen. Dan Coats, former Rep. John Hostettler and state Sen. Marlin Stutzman are competing for the GOP Senate nomination. In North Carolina, former state Sen. Cal Cunninghman, attorney Ken Lewis and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall are running in the Democratic primary. And in Ohio, the Democratic nomination is a contest between Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, with Fisher favored to win in the current TPM Poll Average.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Obama will meet at 10:30 a.m. ET with senior advisers. He will deliver remarks to the Business Council at 11:05 a.m. ET. Obama will have lunch at 12:05 p.m. ET with Elie Wiesel. Obama and Biden will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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The Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary is growing increasingly competitive as the May 18 election day draws near. Sen. Arlen Specter has seen his once double-digit lead over Rep. Joe Sestak in the Quinnipiac University poll dwindle to eight points in the Q poll of the race, which follows a trend of public polling showing Sestak closing in on Specter in the race's final days.

The new poll, released by Quinnipiac this morning, shows Specter leading the race by margin of 47-39. The last Q poll of the race, taken in April, showed Sestak trailing Specter badly by a margin of 32-53.

The latest Q poll was conducted 4/28-5/2 among 930 likely Democratic primary voters in PA. The margin of error is 3.2%.

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President Obama joked that RNC Chairman Michael Steele is his "brother" at a fancy dinner in Washington over the weekend, ribbing him as having the nickname "Notorious GOP."

The quip provoked laughter but also spotlights the delicate politics of race that have plagued Obama and Steele since both assumed power in 2009. The latest iteration came last week when Steele and DNC Chariman Tim Kaine sparred over the Democrats' announced plan to boost turnout among minority voters to help their chances in the 2010 midterm elections.

When he took over the GOP, Steele was mocked roundly for saying he wanted to reach out to blacks and young voters by giving the Republicans a "hip-hop" makeover. He told The Washington Times then the Republicans had to find "messengers to really capture that region - young, Hispanic, black, a cross section."

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We recently brought you a review of the new Jack Abramoff documentary, Casino Jack. Now we have an exclusive clip of the film in which Republican Congressman Bob Ney -- who later did jail time in the scandal -- describes how he helped Abramoff.

In the clip, Ney aide-turned-Abramoff associate Neil Volz describes breaking the ban against lobbying one's former boss, in this case Ney, who agreed to do favors for an Abramoff client. The client was the Tigua Indian tribe in Texas, which was trying to get its casino, which had been shut down, reopened.

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May 1, 2010: The White House hosts the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, an annual fundraiser for the White House Press Corps. Politicians, journalists and celebrities rubbed elbows at the event, which was keynoted by President Obama and comedian Jay Leno.

Leno, Michelle Obama, and the President sit at the main table at the event, held at the Washington Hilton in D.C.

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RNC Chairman Michael Steele and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chat it up.

Newscom/UPI




Former Secretary of State Colin Powell enters the building. Actress Julianna Margulies, star of the TV show The Good Wife, is right behind him.

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Nick and Kevin Jonas, of the teen pop sensations the Jonas Brothers.

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Actress Leslie Mann with husband director Judd Apatow.

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White House Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee and former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn.

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Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball.

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Actor Bradley Cooper, star of the movie The Hangover.

Newscom/SPN




Former Chair of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, and his wife, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell.

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CNN host Larry King pops his collar.

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Reverend Al Sharpton.

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Maine Senator Susan Collins (R).

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) meets Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay.

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Adrian Fenty, Mayor of Washington, D.C.

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Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) with his wife and daughters. From left, wife Gail, daugther Arianna, daughter Ayla.

Newscom/UPI




Kim Kardashian.

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Daily Show political correspondent Aasif Mandvi.

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Actor Ewan McGregor.

Newscom/Sipa




Jay Leno, Michelle Obama, Matt Winkler of Bloomberg News, and Barack Obama.

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President Obama eats a strawberry, presumably to prove wrong Jay Leno, who joked about the President's eating habits by showing a reel of him eating junk-food.

Newscom/Sipa




MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was a bartender at the MSNBC after-party.

Christina Bellantoni/TPM

Outgoing SEIU President Andy Stern, who sits on President Obama's fiscal reform commission, says entitlement programs, as well as taxes should be on the table as members weigh various ways to reduce long-term deficits and debt.

In a letter to President Obama and fellow commission members, obtained by TPMDC, Stern takes the somewhat surprising position that entitlement programs including Social Security should be on the table--but only if changes enhance retirement security for again Americans.

"I agree with many Commissioners who have said that all entitlement programs should be on the table, Stern writes. "We should include tax entitlements as part of that conversation."

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