TPM News

Recount? What recount?

Democrat Mark Dayton is making it clear that he's going to be ready if he is declared the next governor of Minnesota, launching his transition site, -- recount or no.

The site leads with a welcome message from Dayton and his running mate, Yvonne Prettner Solon, saying that while election officials sort out who the official winner is, "the challenges facing us and our State simply cannot wait."

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's willing to do "whatever it takes" to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, up to and including allowing a vote on extending all the cuts, not just those on incomes below $250,000.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill this afternoon after a Democratic caucus meeting that focused on the Bush tax cuts -- which will expire in January unless something is done in the lame duck session -- Reid said that he's willing to allow a vote on Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to extend all the cuts in exchange for many votes on dealing with the upper-income cuts while letting the middle class cuts continue.

Such a bargain would put Republicans in the politically tricky position of having to filibuster middle class tax cuts, or abandon their goal of permanent tax cuts for wealthy Americans.

"We want an opportunity and -- and we mean plural -- to vote once, twice, whatever it takes to show the American people that we support the middle class," Reid said. He said there could be "multiple variations" on how to proceed on the cuts for wealthier Americans.

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The House ethics committee is now deliberating in executive session on whether to recommend that the full House punish Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) for his 11 ethics violations, and how.

Before they left, Rangel made an emotional plea, choking up as he asked the members to protect his name from those who would call him a "crook."

"I don't know how much longer I have to live, but it will always be to try to help people and thank God for what he's given to me," Rangel said.

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Rep. Charlie Rangel didn't have much to say to reporters today following his appearance before the House Ethics panel, where the chief counsel of the ethics committee recommended his censure.

Rangel left the hearing as the panel went into executive session to decide his fate. Followed by reporters down the hall to the elevator, Rangel said he didn't think he should comment.

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