TPM News

President Obama launched his reelection campaign in an unusually low-key fashion Monday -- with the simple posting of a video featuring level-headed endorsements from a cross-section of Americans, a far-cry from the adulation and soaring rhetoric that catapulted the junior senator from Illinois into the Oval Office three years ago.

Although understated, the video, titled "It Begins With Us," signals Obama's formal shift into campaign mode and marks the official beginning of a fundraising blitz Obama and his team hopes will dwarf his staggering record in 2008.

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In a coda to the walkout by state Senate Democrats in Wisconsin, who fled the state in an attempt to block Gov. Scott Walker's (R) anti-public employee union bill, it's now been revealed that state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI) had a hard time finding ways to force the Dems back -- and finding police officers who would enforce such an order for him.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports:

"The whole thing was a mess," Fitzgerald said. "You just can't compel a senator to come back to the chamber."

He said the reality was brought home when police agencies refused to carry out his March 3 order to forcibly detain the senators. Among them was Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden, who said his department would not honor any order to bring in Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville.

Said Fitzgerald: "There was no cop in the state that would enforce it."

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After a weekend of deadly riots in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus issued a statement on Sunday publicly condemning the Quran burning that sparked the unrest. And in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in the country admitted that the burning has created an "additional serious security challenge."

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Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) says the media spectacle caused by his now-infamous February town hall appearance in Polk County, Wisconsin won't stop him from meeting with constituents. But it might make him think twice before he talks about his $174,000/year salary again.

"In context, my words were admittedly poorly chosen," Duffy told the Wausau Daily Herald when asked about his statement that his family of seven is "struggling" on his taxpayer-funded salary, which is more than three times the median household pay in Wisconsin.

Duffy told the paper "he didn't complain about his salary."

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You're treading on some bizarre, uncharted territory if Glenn Beck says you're making him "a little uncomfortable" with rants about bombing China and questioning whether or not Barack Obama is a secret Muslim without a birth certificate. But that's what Donald Trump has done, after his lengthy interview with Bill O'Reilly earlier in the week. Watch for yourself courtesy of "Birther Report," ha.

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Analysis: Billion-Dollar Obama To Run Moneyed Campaign Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama is no longer the outsider candidate who fueled his bid for the White House in 2008 with a flood of small donations from new and young voters inspired by his message of hope and change. As a sitting president he has far greater authority and media access and his 2012 re-election campaign is expected to raise $1 billion, which is unprecedented in U.S. politics."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive his daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. He will meet at 3:15 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He will meet at 4 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Reid: 'Wait And See' On Arming Libyan Rebels Appearing on Face The Nation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that the United States should hold off on arming the Libyan rebels for now. "I spoke to the president yesterday about this, President Obama, and I think at this stage we really don't know who the leaders of this rebel group is," said Reid. He also added: "We have others, as [Defense] Secretary Gates has said, that can do it more easily than we can. So I think at this stage let's just wait and see."

Graham: 'I'm Ready To Look At Arming Them' Appearing on Face The Nation, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was more positive on arming the Libyan rebels. "I'm ready to look at arming them to help themselves," said Graham. "We need American air power back into the site. We need to take the fight to Tripoli. Go after his inner circle. That's the way to end this war decisively and quickly. The strategy we have is going to lead to a stalemate. It needs to change. Help the rebels, take the fight to Tripoli. Get this thing over with. Qaddafi must go."

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Obama Promotes Energy Policy In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama discussed his proposals for energy policy, to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil and encourage the use of clean energy.

"Part of this strategy involves increasing our oil exploration right here in America. In fact, our oil production last year reached its highest level since 2003, and we want to encourage more safe, responsible drilling where we can," said Obama.

"But the truth is, drilling alone is not a real strategy to replace our dependence on foreign oil. And that's because even though America uses 25 percent of the world's oil, we currently have only about 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. Even if we used every last drop of all the oil we have, it wouldn't be enough to meet our long-term energy needs. So, real energy security can only come if we find ways to use less oil - if we invest in cleaner fuels and greater efficiency."

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The Mackinac Center For Public Policy -- the conservative-leaning think tank in the news this week after it requested emails from Michigan labor studies professors regarding Wisconsin and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow -- says it has called in the FBI after receiving a series of threatening voicemails that promised to bomb their Midland, Michigan headquarters.

"You are on Main Street," one of the voicemails said, according to details posted on the Mackinac website. "You are the first place to be bombed."

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A day after he reported the office of Rep. Sean Duffy's (R-WI) false accusation that TPM posted "selectively edited" video of Duffy talking about "struggling" on his $174,000/year salary, Johns corrected the record and reported that, in fact, TPM had posted the full clip until the the Polk County GOP forced its removal.

Speaking on CNN Newsroom Friday afternoon, Johns told anchor Brooke Baldwin that Duffy's suggestion that TPM selectively clipped the tape was, in fact, not true.

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