TPM News

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) probably saw this one coming. His primary challenger, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), plans to launch a new website called highlighting Specter's 30-year career as a Republican, his support for the McCain-Palin ticket, and his early (though now reversed) opposition to a number of Democratic policies, including a public health insurance option.

The site will feature the below video, which compares statements Specter made earlier this year with those of the Democrats' likely Republican challenger Pat Toomey:

Sestak has taken shots at Specter for his Republican past before, but it's shaping up to be one of the key themes of his campaign going forward.

Peter Schiff, a financial commentator and one of the many Republican Senate candidates seeking to oppose Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) in 2010, has an interesting analogy for his new pursuit of politics -- comparing it to a soldier going off to fight the Nazis in World War II.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Schiff explained how he was leaving his true career in the private sector to go into politics.

"I'm interrupting my career. It's not like I want my new career in politics," said Schiff. "But I'm willing to interrupt it the same way that somebody interrupted their career and joined World War II and went off to fight the Nazis. I don't think that I'm that heroic, and I don't think I'm risking as much as a soldier. But it's the same principle."

"Hot Mike" Duvall's lascivious braggadocio wasn't just of interest to millions of blog readers. It also attracted the attention of the Feds.

The FBI is investigating the former California state lawmaker's now-legendary claim that he was having an affair with a woman later identified as a lobbyist for an energy company. "We did make contact with the two aides," a bureau spokesman confirmed to the Los Angeles Times.

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In a meeting with Michael Steele, top Congressional Republicans told the national GOP chair to back off from having the RNC roll out policy initiatives, due to the potential of stepping on the elected officials' prerogatives.

As the Politico reports:

And at one point, Steele, a Washington native, said that his upbringing in the "streets" made him a fighter and that he was determined to continue fighting and aggressively defending the party, according to two people familiar with the account.

Senate GOP Conference chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that the two sides came to an understanding. "We are elected to set the policy," said Alexander. "But in my view, the national committee's job is to create the environment in which Republicans can be elected to set policy. Michael Steele said that was exactly his point of view, so I think we see eye to eye on it."

Executives from some of the nation's most powerful corporations will visit Washington, D.C. this week to press Congress to act swiftly on far-reaching climate change legislation.

The groups, working under the umbrella of the campaign We Can Lead, will meet Wednesday and Thursday for training sessions, briefings, and advocacy on the Hill in support of the House's Waxman-Markey climate change bill and similar legislation.

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NYT: Petraeus' Voice Becomes Harder To Hear The New York Times reports that Gen. David Petraeus has become a less prominent voice in the policies of the Obama administration than he was under George W. Bush: "The change has fueled speculation in Washington about whether General Petraeus might seek the presidency in 2012. His advisers say that it is absurd -- but in immediate policy terms, it means there is one less visible advocate for the military in the administration's debate over whether to send up to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver remarks from the Rose Garden at 11:10 a.m. ET, with doctors from across the country on the need for health care reform this year. Obama will meet at 4 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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Is President Obama really not feeling any political pressure from progressives on his looming decision to potentially send tens of thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan?

National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones (Ret.) insisted this morning on CNN's State of the Union that political pressure from Obama's progressive base has nothing to do with the President's decision on whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

"The strategy does not belong to any political party," Jones said. "And I can assure you that the President of the United States is not playing to any political base."

Jones, seeming almost offended by the line of questioning, also said, "I don't play politics, and I certainly don't play it with national security."

Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, took a similar stance today. When asked on Meet the Press whether political pressure might be a factor in the troop decision, she said firmly: "Absolutely not."

Still, the question really doesn't seem to be whether Obama's feeling any political pressure from liberals on Afghanistan, but rather how big of a role it'll play in his deliberation over whether to grant Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's request for additional U.S. troops -- reportedly as many as 40,000 -- or to scale back forces and adopt a counterinsurgency strategy as Vice President Joe Biden is said to advocate.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took another shot at Glenn Beck on Fox News Sunday this morning.

"I'm not saying he's bad for America," Graham said -- adding a moment later that "he doesn't represent the Republican Party."

He has a right to say what he wants to say. In my view it's not the kind of political analysis that I buy into.

A few days ago, Graham said of Beck, "Only in America can you make that much money crying."

Asked on Face the Nation about a New York Times report that Iran has already acquired "sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable" atom bomb, National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones (Ret.) tried to downplay the specifics.

"Whether they know how to do it or not is a matter of some conjecture," he said. "What we're watching is, 'What is their intent?'"

Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, also tried to downplay the Times report on Meet the Press this morning, instead emphasizing the progress made in "intense negotiations" between the U.S. and Iran.

Jones also appeared earlier today on CNN's State of the Union and declared that despite a deadly attack that killed eight U.S. soldiers, the war in Afghanistan is far from lost.

Jones offered a few more details on Face the Nation.

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James Jones Hits Back At McCain: I Don't Play Politics With National Security Appearing on State of the Union, National Security Adviser James Jones fired back at Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who said on the Senate floor that Jones doesn't "want to alienate the left base of the Democrat [sic] Party." Jones responded: "I've known him for many, many years. And he knows that I don't play politics with national - I don't play politics. And I certainly don't play it with national security. And neither does anyone else I know. The lives of our young men and women are on the line. The strategy does not belong to any political party and I can assure you that the President of the United States is not playing to any political base. And I take exception to that remark."

Greenspan: Economic Growth To Be 3%, Unemployment To Go Over 10% Appearing on This Week, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan predicted that the third-quarter economic growth figure will hit 3% -- but that this won't be enough to prevent an increase in the unemployment rate. "But remember, the end of the job loss is not the same thing as if the unemployment rate is going to start down," said Greenspan. "My own suspicion is that we're going to penetrate the 10 percent barrier and stay there for a while before we start down."

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