TPM News

Politicians often pledge to not let their constituents down. But one Oregon lawmaker has taken that pledge to a whole new level, as he and a few colleagues surreptitiously recited the lyrics to Rick Astley's 80s hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up" on the House floor.

The prank known as "rickrolling," emerged as an Internet meme a few years back, and involves tricking someone into clicking on a benignly disguised link to open a web page that blares Astley's unmistakeable song. The phenomenon became so ubiquitous that Astley himself rickrolled the Macy's Day parade in 2008.

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Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) doesn't think Congress' last-minute budget deal is enough.

Congress probably deserves "medals" for approving one of the "largest year-to-year cut in the federal budget," Hensarling said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "Relative to the size of the problem, it is not even a rounding error. In that case, we probably all deserve to be tarred and feathered."

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Donald Trump has an explanation for why President Obama's birth would be announced in a Hawaii newspaper if he wasn't really born in the United States: His grandparents put it in as a ruse to make people think he was a U.S. citizen, "for hospitalization, for welfare, for this, for that, for all of the other assets you get from being a United States citizen."

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Brushing aside whispers of a growing rivalry, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told FOX News on Monday that he and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) were on good terms.

"There's a lot of people who want to write things about Eric and I and the jostling for power," Boehner said. "It's nonsense. Eric and I have a wonderful relationship. We understand each other. We walk through these battles together, and I'm grateful for his leadership."

At one point during talks to avert a shutdown, Cantor disavowed any knowledge of reported movement in negotiations, leading some commentators to speculate that he was trying to create distance from Boehner in case conservative lawmakers led a revolt over an agreement.

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A majority of Florida's registered voters disapprove of President Obama's job performance, and as a result, Obama trails Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in hypothetical 2012 matchups there, according to a new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll.

In the poll, 43% of respondents said they approved of Obama's job performance, compared to 56% who disapproved. Further, only 34% of independents -- who could play an important role in picking the state's winner -- approved of Obama's job performance,

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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is exploring a run for president, has announced a top-flight staff hire -- former Republican Governors Association executive director Nick Ayers is coming on board as campaign manager for Pawlenty's exploratory committee. Though as Ayers himself says, his signing up isn't so much answering a call from Pawlenty -- but from God.

Ayers, age 28, led the RGA from 2007-2010, overseeing a big budget organization, in a period when the GOP made very strong gains in governorships. Ayers will relocate to Minnesota from his native Georgia, and assume his new position effective April 25.

Pawlenty announced in his press release: "He is without question one of the best political talents in America. We are very excited Nick will lead our team. His leadership and record of winning tough races in every part of our country will provide even more momentum to our campaign to get America back on track."

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SNL's Fox & Friends had a lot of intelligent commentary on the government near-shutdown this weekend. To begin, they noted (in)correctly that it was the first time in our nation's history that a budget showdown had almost resulted in the shuttering of the federal government. To be fair, there were some government programs they weren't too broken up about getting rid of, Michelle Obama's anti-obesity initiative among them. Vanessa Bayer's Gretchen Carlson noted that if American kids get too skinny, all the film and television roles for chubby kids will go to the Mexicans. ¡Qué lástima!

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Congress And Obama Face New Budget Fights Reuters reports: " After a narrow escape from a potentially damaging government shutdown, even bigger budget fights lie ahead for President Barack Obama and leaders from both parties in Congress. Obama will offer a long-term plan for deficit reduction on Wednesday as the White House and Congress begin to pivot to looming fights on the 2012 fiscal year budget and on raising the $14.3 trillion limit on government borrowing authority. Those conflicts are likely to dominate the political agenda for the coming months and echo into Obama's 2012 re-election race, overshadowing Friday's 11th-hour deal to cut $38 billion in spending for the final six months of this fiscal year."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10:30 a.m. ET. He will hold a meeting on Libya at 11:30 a.m. ET.

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Now that Republicans and Democrats have supposedly figured out how to fund the government through September, Congress' attention will turn to other issues, including the GOP's 10 year vision for the country: Paul Ryan's budget proposal, which includes Medicare privatization, severe cuts to Medicaid, and further tax breaks for the wealthy.

While the government teetered on the brink of a shutdown last week over short term funding, economists across the ideological spectrum weighed in on the GOP's long-term plan with negative reviews. The biggest shock came from high-profile economists with GOP leanings, who also criticized it on the merits.

"It doesn't address in any serious or courageous way the issue of the near and medium-term deficit," David Stockman told me in a Thursday phone interview. "I think the biggest problem is revenues. It is simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn't part of the solution. It's a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes."

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Ryan: Budget Deal 'Really Still A Drop In The Bucket' Appearing on Meet The Press, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said of the budget deal: "Well, we're here because the Democrats didn't pass a budget last year. I mean, for the first time since 1974, the House didn't even bother to try passing a budget last year. So that's why we're here. Now, I feel like we had a pretty good outcome. We represented one-third of the negotiators, but we got two-thirds of the spending cuts we were asking for. This is really still a drop in the bucket. We want to move from talking about saving billions of dollars to going on to saving trillions of dollars."

Plouffe: Ryan Plan 'Not Going To Become Law' Appearing on Meet The Press, White House senior adviser David Plouffe was asked whether Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget plan was dead on arrival. "It may pass the House. It's not going to become law," said Plouffe. "I--and I don't think the American people are going to sign up for something that puts most of the burden on the middle class, people trying to go to college, on senior citizens, while not just asking nothing of the wealthy, giving them at least a $200,000 tax cut. So that's a choice you're making."

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