TPM News

Rep. David Obey (D-WI) blasted President Obama's plan to send tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union today, saying such efforts were useless without credible partners in the Pakistani and Afghan governments.

"The problem is that you can have the best policy in the world, but if you don't have the tools to implement it, it isn't worth a bean bag," Obey said. "And I don't think we have the tools in the Pakistani government. I don't think we have the tools in the Afghan government, and until we do, I think much of what we do is a fool's errand."

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Levin: War Tax 'Probably Not' Going To Happen During Recession Appearing on Face The Nation, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) downplayed the idea of a war tax. "In the middle of a recession we're probably not going to be able to increase taxes to pay for it," said Levin. "There should have been, as far as I'm concerned, tax increases for upper bracket folks who did so well during the Bush years - that's where the tax increases should have taken place. But that should have happened some time ago."

Graham: Can We Cut Stimulus To Pay For Afghanistan? Appearing on This Week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for cuts in domestic spending, including the stimulus package and the health care bill, to pay for the Afghanistan war. "Well, I'd like to see an endeavor to see if we can cut current spending and find some dollars that we're spending today to pay for the war, and prioritize American spending. Where does our national security rate in terms of spending?" said Graham. "Are there things that we can do in the stimulus package? Can we trim up the health care bill and other big-ticket items to pay for a war that we can't afford to lose?"

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Former Arkansas GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee said on Fox News Sunday today that he's still not sure whether he'll run for president in 2012 -- and that much depends on whether the Republican base will unite behind him.

"I would have to see that the Republicans would be willing to unite behind me," Huckabee said. "The last time out my biggest challenge was with the establishment Republicans, who just never showed their support."

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Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) suggested on Fox News Sunday that Republicans want to go back to square one on health care reform.

"We would like to start over," Kyl said.

There's no way to fix this bill, and that's why every single Republican voted against going to this bill.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said on Fox News Sunday this morning that President Obama's plan to send more troops to Afghanistan reminds him of the Vietnam war.

"Let's don't have talk of a phased deployment," Kyl said. "We'll send a few troops immediately, and then we'll see what happens, see how it plays out, maybe send some more. That's kind of reminiscent of Vietnam. That escalation, that slow escalation didn't work there. You need to put in everybody you can as quickly as you can and deliver a knockout punch to the enemy."

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The public option may not be a deal breaker for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

In response to a question from George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week, Sanders, a strong supporter of a public health insurance option, wouldn't go so far as to say definitively that he would filibuster any Senate health care bill that doesn't include a public option.

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On ABC's This Week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said he will not vote to confirm Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to another five-year term.

No, I absolutely will not vote for Mr. Bernanke. He is part of the problem. If he is the smartest guy in the world, why didn't he do anything to prevent us from sinking into this disaster that Wall Street caused and that he was a part of? No, I will not for Bernanke to stay on as chairman.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) suggested on CNN's State of the Union this morning that the Senate's health care debate -- set to begin tomorrow -- ought to be delayed until next year so the Senate can focus on the war in Afghanistan and the U.S. economy.

"The war is terribly important," Lugar said. "Jobs and our economy are terribly important. This may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap-and-trade and climate change [aside], and talk now about the essentials -- the war and money."

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