TPM News

Democrats and their allies in Wisconsin have identified weak links in the Republican state Senate conference and are tugging away, hoping to make them break. One of them, who seems prepared to deal, once called the idea of eliminating collective bargaining rights for public sector workers "radical."

"They're in the minority but holding some cards so you've got to negotiate, you can't give up the whole ship," said Sen. Luther Olsen (R). He and other state senate Republicans have been discussing their options among themselves all day, to figure out their next move.



This is the same Luther Olsen who, at the outset of this fight, wasn't fully on board with Governor Scott Walker's plan.

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The Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group for state and local Tea Party groups around the country, is rallying its supporters against NPR in response to hidden camera footage of an NPR executive, Ron Schiller, describing the movement's members as "seriously, seriously racist people."

The video was filmed by James O'Keefe's group, Project Veritas, and featured the group's members having lunch with Schiller while posing as a phony Muslim advocacy group interested in donating $5 million to NPR. In addition to his comments on the Tea Party, Schiller is shown in the video saying that NPR does not need federal funding, which the Patriots argue demonstrates that House Republican efforts to cut the news organization's funds are on the mark.

"Mr. Schiller himself candidly admits in the video that NPR doesn't need federal funding, and welcomes the opportunity to slant their reporting without the oversight of the taxpayer," Mark Meckler, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots wrote in an e-mail to supporters today. "At a time when the country is upside down by more than a trillion dollars, can we really afford to provide huge subsidies to entities that openly state that they don't need the money? Let's take his advice and pass legislation that would defund the clearly biased news organization that is out of touch with Americans across the country."

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The Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group for state and local Tea Party groups around the country, is rallying its supporters against NPR in response to hidden camera footage of an NPR executive, Ron Schiller, describing the movement's members as "seriously, seriously racist people."

The video was filmed by James O'Keefe's group, Project Veritas, and featured the group's members having lunch with Schiller while posing as a phony Muslim advocacy group interested in donating $5 million to NPR. In addition to his comments on the Tea Party, Schiller is shown in the video saying that NPR does not need federal funding, which the Patriots argue demonstrates that House Republican efforts to cut the news organization's funds are on the mark.

"Mr. Schiller himself candidly admits in the video that NPR doesn't need federal funding, and welcomes the opportunity to slant their reporting without the oversight of the taxpayer," Mark Meckler, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots wrote in an e-mail to supporters today. "At a time when the country is upside down by more than a trillion dollars, can we really afford to provide huge subsidies to entities that openly state that they don't need the money? Let's take his advice and pass legislation that would defund the clearly biased news organization that is out of touch with Americans across the country."

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In separate interviews with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Monday night, several presumed candidates for the Republican presidential nomination said Obama should have taken a tougher stance in responding to the crisis in Libya, with some going so far as to suggest directly arming or otherwise aiding anti-Gaddafi rebel groups.

A number of presidential aspirants, including Newt Gingrich, were in Iowa on Monday to take part in a conservative conference. Gingrich offered the sharpest criticism of the Obama administration -- and the broadest counter-proposal for how he would have handled Libya were he President.

"The idea we are confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 tells you how inept this administration is," Gingrich said.

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Democratic operatives are circulating a video of Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), who is challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) for his seat in next year's election, in which Rehberg is asked what the current minimum wage is in Montana. Rehberg has voted several times in the past against increasing the minimum wage, which is currently $7.35 in Montana.

"Congressman Rehberg is more out of touch than we ever could have imagined," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Communications Director Eric Schultz said in a statement. "This is not the first time Congressman Rehberg has shown a disdain for the working men and women of his state. Time and again he has voted against giving Montanans a livable wage. But today he has sunk to a new low."

A spokesman for Rehberg, Jed Link, noted that Rehberg voted for a minimum wage increase that passed in 2007 as well as for an earlier attempt to raise the minimum wage in 2006 as part of a package cutting the estate tax.

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Democrats now have multiple expert sources pointing out that the GOP plan to slash discretionary spending by tens of billions of dollars will cost the economy hundreds of thousands of jobs. Ben Bernanke says 200,000 jobs, Mark Zandi says 700,000 jobs. Others say secondary effects will knock that number closer to a million.

But it's not like Democrats are on the other side of that fight, arguing that we should maintain spending at its current level or increase it. They want to cut spending, too, by a smaller amount, in different areas -- and that means any plan they propose will also cost jobs.

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