TPM News

The U.S. Park Police used a helicopter to take close-up photos of minor damage that the Washington Monument sustained during Tuesday's earthquake.

A helicopter circled the landmark several times Tuesday afternoon several hours after the 5.8 magnitude quake struck in Virginia.

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WASHINGTON -- Sorry Twitter, the Washington Monument isn't leaning. And tourists: that discoloration isn't a crack, and it's always been there.

TPM caught up with Park Police spokesman David Schlosser a safe distance from the Washington Monument as camera crews set up their post-earthquake liveshots. He rolled his eyes when speaking about reports that the Monument wasn't fully upright.

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It's been a tough month for Washington's approval ratings, as Congress has hit new lows and general economic confidence sank. President Obama is also being dragged down, not only because of partisan bickering over the debt deal, but because of a stagnant and volatile economy, which was one of the President's strongest issues when he came into office. Now Obama has hit a new low in the Gallup tracking poll at 38 percent approval.

Even though there is no lack of bad news, Obama is still far away from President Bush's low, which was 25 percent. The current President has had strong staying power in his approval rating, despite bruising legislative battles with Congress and the continuation of global conflicts: as the graph below shows, it has remained around the 50 percent mark.

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Former Sen. Russ Feingold and his new group Progressives United are petitioning the six House and Senate Democrats serving on the joint deficit Super Committee to walk away if Republicans don't budge on tax increases, and insist on cutting entitlement benefits.

"If we don't get our policy priorities, Democrats need to be ready to walk away from the deal," Feingold emailed his supporters. "You can guarantee extremists on the other side will continue to push relentlessly to give even more to corporations and put even more of the burden on the middle class. We have to fight harder than they will."

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