TPM News

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network -- an organization that assists those affected by "don't ask, don't tell" -- released a rather lukewarm statement in response to President Obama's speech Saturday night at a Human Rights Campaign event.

We were heartened to hear the President say, "I will end 'don't ask, don't tell.'" But an opportunity was missed tonight. SLDN was disappointed the President did not lay out a timeline and specifics for repeal. The 65,000 gay and lesbian service members -- who put their lives on the line and who remain impatient with the pace of progress -- deserve to know when their commander in chief and Congress plan on getting rid of this law.

We received a similar statement from Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out -- a nonprofit that seeks to defend "the GLBT community against anti-gay misinformation campaigns through media advocacy and university outreach."

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This weekend, the DNC launched a new ad touting the support of "more and more leading Republicans" for health care reform. The ad claimed health insurance reform has the support of former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, former Republican Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and former Senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole.

"Bob Dole said, 'I want this to pass, we've got to do something,'" the ad says.

Well, Bob Dole's not too happy about that.

Dole's spokesman told The New York Times this morning that "he believes it is deceptive, it was not authorized, and he asked that it be pulled."

To Dole's credit, the DNC did carve out an important part of Dole's original quote, which appeared this summer in the Kansas City Star.

"I want this to pass," he said. "I don't agree with everything Obama is presenting, but we've got to do something."

The emphasis is mine. But the DNC seems to have significantly changed the meaning of the quote by omitting that qualifier.

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Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed optimism Sunday on Meet the Press that President Obama would be able to keep his promise on ending the military ban on gays.

"I think he will and he can," Levin said. "I think it has to be done in the right way, which is to get a buy-in from the military, which I think is now possible."

Levin said definitively that he believes the President has the resolve to overturn "don't ask, don't tell," but seemed slightly less certain when asked about the resolve of Congress.

"I think we will gain that resolve," Levin said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) coauthored an op-ed with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in today's New York Times calling for bipartisan action in the Senate on a climate change bill.

We are confident that a legitimate bipartisan effort can put America back in the lead again and can empower our negotiators to sit down at the table in Copenhagen in December and insist that the rest of the world join us in producing a new international agreement on global warming. That way, we will pass on to future generations a strong economy, a clean environment and an energy-independent nation.

If Graham really does join with the Democrats, it would seemingly increase the chances of climate change legislation passing the Senate -- where 60 votes might very well be needed to pass a bill.

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In an interview Friday with The National Law Journal, White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig insisted that he's not resigning over his role in White House plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay -- which may have trouble meeting a deadline of closure within President Obama's first year in office.

I have no plans to leave whatsoever. The rumors that I'm about to leave are false. The reports that I'm about to leave are wrong. I have no plans to leave.

Doesn't get much stronger or clearer than that.

As we've reported, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has repeatedly denied rumors in recent weeks that Craig is on his way out. Now Craig's denying those rumors too.

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On Face the Nation this morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he and his Republican colleagues in the Senate would support a request from President Obama for 40,000 additional U.S. troops for Afghanistan.

If that is the recommendation of Gen. Petraeus and Gen. McChrystal, who got it right in Iraq, I think Republicans, almost overwhelmingly, will support the President if that is his request.

"This is about protecting the United States of America," McConnell said a moment earlier. "We know that we can't have a haven over there for a reconstitution of al Qaeda."

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Liz Cheney: Obama Given Nobel Prize For Opposing American Dominance Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney attacked President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. "Well, I think what the committee believes is they'd like to live in a world in which America is not dominant. And I think if you look at the language of the citation, you can see that they talk about, you know, President Obama ruling in a way that makes sense to the majority of the people of the world," said Cheney. "You know, Americans don't elect a president to do that. We elect a president to defend our national interests. And so I think that, you know, they may believe that President Obama also doesn't agree with American dominance, and they may have been trying to affirm that belief with the prize. I think, unfortunately, they may be right, and I think it's a concern."

McCain: Palin 'Energized Our Party' Appearing on State of the Union, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended his former running mate Sarah Palin, against the criticism of his former campaign manager Steve Schmidt. "There are fundamental facts ... that cannot be denied," McCain adds. "When we selected or asked Sarah Palin to be my running mate, it energized our party. We were ahead in the polls, until the stock market crashed. And she still is a formidable force in the Republican Party, and I have great affection for her."

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White House Communications Director Anita Dunn slammed Fox News in an interview on CNN with Howie Kurtz this morning, saying that Fox News "is more a wing of the Republican Party" than an objective news organization.

"The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," Dunn said.

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In what amounts to something of a surprise move, the largest newspaper in New Jersey -- the Star-Ledger -- has endorsed independent Chris Daggett in the New Jersey gubernatorial race. The editorial endorsing Daggett explains:

The newspaper's decision is less a rejection of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie than a repudiation of the parties they represent, both of which have forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey. They share responsibility for the state's current plight.

Only by breaking the hold of the Democratic and Republican mandarins on the governor's office and putting a rein on their power will the state have any hope for the kind of change needed to halt its downward economic, political and ethical spiral.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said on ABC's This Week today that the Afghanistan "mission is in serious jeopardy."

Part of the problem, she said, is the corrupt government of President Hamid Karzai. "How do you strengthen Karzai's spine?" Feinstein asked, adding, "If you can."

Referencing a brazen Taliban attack on Pakistani army headquarters, the California Senator said that a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan "will have a dramatic impact on Pakistan one day."

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