TPM News

A small plurality, 44 percent of Americans, say that Republicans in Congress are more responsible for the failure of the Super Committee to come to a deal on future debt reduction. 38 percent say President Obama and the Democrats are to blame. Three weeks ago, Quinnipiac polling showed 46 percent said the GOP was at fault, versus 36 percent who said Democrats, so the difference between the two parties has lessened slightly. But no matter who Americans blame more, they never thought a deal would actually get made, according to the data.

From Quinnipiac:

"American voters are way ahead of the politicians. They knew the Super Committee had little chance of success. Watch for those job approval ratings to sink even lower, although the data indicate that at least for now voters hold the Republicans a bit more responsible," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

At a House Natural Resources Committee hearing last week, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) snapped at Dr. Douglas Brinkley, a professor at Rice University. Young, who fervently advocates oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, took offense at some of Brinkley’s remarks.

“[I]t’s always been called the Arctic Refuge until the oil lobby started calling it ANWR because it sounds like ANWR’s the dot or some country in the Middle East,” said Dr. Brinkley. “Do you want to drill ANWR? Yes. Do you want to molest Eisenhower’s great wildlife reserve? No. So it’s the way the issues frame.”

And then the following exchange:

Don Young: “I — I will tell you: If you ever want to see an exercise in futility, it’s this hearing. And I call it garbage, Dr. Rice, that comes from the mouth — ”

Brinkley: “Dr. Brinkley. Rice is a university.”

Young: “Well, OK…[I’ll] call you anything I want while you sat in that chair.”

Brinkley: “Pardon?”

Young: “You just be quiet, you just be quiet."

Brinkley: “You don’t own me. I pay your salary.”

Young has been Alaska’s sole congressperson since 1973.

Newt Gingrich is speaking in New Hampshire this morning, where the AP reports he's rolling out just the latest plan in the GOP field to fundamentally change Social Security forever.

Gingrich "wants younger workers to have another option and wants to end the expectation that Social Security is the only safety net for older workers," the AP's Phil Elliot reports. The Gingrich plan "would also let the markets determine how much money workers who choose private accounts would get each month."

Read More →

Two police officers involved in a pepper-spraying incident at the University of California-Davis have been placed on leave, and over the weekend, the university's faculty association called for the chancellor's resignation.

But Chancellor Linda Katehi told ABC's Good Morning America on Monday that she's staying put. "I really feel confident at this point the university needs me," she told GMA (video here). "There are so many critical issues to be addressed and we really need to start the healing process and move forward."

On Friday, a police officer was captured on video casually pepper spraying a group of sitting protesters. The incident occurred after "Occupy" protesters were asked to take down their tents from the university's lawn.

Read More →

Herman Cain will sit down for a videotaped interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader after all, CNN reports.

This comes days after the Cain campaign pulled out of an interview with the very influential paper, over their last-minute demand that it not be videotaped by C-SPAN (who will in turn tape the new interview).

Days Before that event, Cain infamously fumbled an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in which video was posted online of him struggling to explain his stance on President Obama’s intervention in Libya.

Updated: 11:43AM

Federal authorities take terrorism cases pretty seriously, even when those plots are pretty far fetched. So when the FBI declines to take a case handed to them on a platter by local authorities -- on multiple occasions -- it suggests something isn't quite right.

Sources familiar with the case against Jose Pimentel -- accused of planning an attack with pipe bombs -- told TPM Sunday night that federal law enforcement declined several times to take the case out of local authorities' hands. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal also report that the FBI passed because of issues with the case, setting up the rare occurrence of a local district attorney handling a terrorism prosecution case.

At a press conference at City Hall on Sunday night -- featuring a video of police blowing up a car to show television viewers what could have happened -- NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly suggested that the Justice Department was aware of the case. Despite the fact that his investigators had been on Pimentel for two years, he said they had to act without the feds because the case, involving a bomb constructed out of a clock, elbow piping and Christmas lights game provided by the NYPD's source, came together quickly at the end.

Read More →

University of California-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi told NPR affiliate KQED that “as a human being,” she was “outraged” by the pepper-spraying incident on campus last week. Katehi told the radio station that it’s time for the university to move on and heal. “We need to come together and make our campus a better place,” she said.

Katehi said she takes responsibility for the incident on campus. Many have called for her resignation, but so far she’s staying put. Asked why she wasn’t present at the demonstration, Katehi said she “doesn’t go to demonstrations.”

The New Hampshire Union Leader has a new editorial criticizing Herman Cain, for his campaign’s refusal to have him interviewed by the newspaper with a C-SPAN camera present:

Cain continues to do television and radio. He's not afraid of being recorded. He just doesn't want to be recorded while newspaper journalists are interviewing him. We are hardly offended by that decision, as some might think. On the contrary, we'll take it as a compliment.


The difference between television and newspaper interviews is not that cameras are present, but that newspaper interviews tend to be longer and more in depth. The Cain campaign knows this. It seems that Cain is fine with everyone seeing him give short, prepared answers, but not with everyone seeing him try to answer questions in which he has more than 30 or 60 seconds to respond. He would do well to rethink that decision, for it gives the impression that he's got something to hide.

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is the latest Republican candidate to sign the Family Leader’s controversial marriage pledge, The Des Moines Register is reporting. The pledge incorporates several issues, including the Defense of Marriage Act, personal fidelity to the signee’s spouse, appointment of “faithful constitutionalists” as judges, and reformation of anti-marriage elements in divorce, tax and welfare laws.

Bob Vander Plaats, the leader of the group, has said that signing the pledge is a prerequisite for the group’s endorsement. Perry, Bachmann and Santorum have already signed the vow, while Gingrich has indicated that he would sign it if he could make a few modifications.