TPM News

Thursday morning, ABC's Good Morning America suggested some of the Tea Party's leaders have a case of "Hill Hypocrisy" for attacking government spending while taking millions in government money. ABC's senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl reported "the Tea Party movement is all about slashing federal spending, but at least five House members with Tea Party connections have themselves collected more than $100,000 each in federal farm subsidies, totalling more than $8 million since 1995."

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On Wednesday night, Jon Stewart checked in on the race for the Republican presidential nomination to see which candidate had an edge in courting the reddest of red voters among the party's base.

Dubbing it the race for the presidency of 'Base-istan,' Stewart ran through comments several prospective GOP candidates have made on the party's hot-button issues.

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Democrats have glommed on to something House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said about Social Security at a recent event at the conservative Hoover Institution, which they're characterizing as an unintentional revelation of the GOP's plans to dismantle entitlement programs.

"I mean, just from the very notion that it said that 50 percent of beneficiaries under the Social Security program use those moneys as their sole source of income. So we've got to protect today's seniors," Cantor said. "But for the rest of us? For -- you know, listen, we're going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be."

Pretty damning stuff, eliminating Social Security. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office blasted out a statement to reporters Wednesday, "A warning for American workers and their families - your retirement security is at risk! Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced this week some major news on Social Security." Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) cited the statement in a subcommittee hearing about the health care law.

Except in full context, and looking back at previous, very similar statements, it appears Cantor misspoke.

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Strategists: 2012 White House Hopefuls Will Bash Any Bipartisan Budget Accord The Hill reports: "If lawmakers strike a bipartisan deal on the budget, Republicans who are eyeing a White House bid will likely condemn it, according to GOP strategists. While staunch conservatives in the House want any agreement to include a defunding of the healthcare law, that's not a deal the White House will sign off on. Given that the crop of probable presidential hopefuls have universally derided the law, there is little chance that any of them will fully support such a budget accord."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, and Obama will meet with senior advisers at 10:30 a.m. ET. Obama and Biden will meet at 3 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Vice President Joe Biden announced a breakthrough in talks to avert a government shutdown as top aides continued to hash out a proposal with cuts of nearly $33 billion in the 2011 budget.

Although Biden said no deal had been reached as of Wednesday night, he was optimistic that the agreement on the top figure was the beginning of the end to the standoff between House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House on how to fund the government through September and keep it up and running past April 8.

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A top Senate Democratic aide says there's been a key thaw in discussions between Senate Dem leaders and House Republicans to avert a government shutdown.

The aide said Republican negotiators are once again willing to meet Democrats in the middle, to cut a bit over $30 billion from current spending -- just about half the $61 billion House Republicans have proposed.

Crucially, the idea of drawing from mandatory spending areas -- including the big entitlement programs -- is back on the table, according to the aide.

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Amid reports that President Obama had signed a secret order authorizing covert support for Libyan rebels, the White House issued a sweeping statement Wednesday evening saying the President has made no decision about supplying arms to the opposition.

White House spokesman Jay Carney first said he would not comment on intelligence matters, but went on to reiterate Obama's recent assertions that he had yet to decide whether to provide arms to the opposition or "to any group in Libya."

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The White House has threatened to veto the big FAA authorization bill if its final version contains an anti-union provision that would make it harder for aviation and rail workers to organize.

That measure, described at length here and here, "would undermine a fundamental principle of fairness in union representation elections - that outcomes should be determined by a majority of the valid ballots cast," according to a statement of administration policy the White House released Wednesday night. "By treating non-votes as 'no' votes, the provision would prohibit workers in the airline and railroad industries from voting whether to join a union on the same basis - majority rule - as most other industries."

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A lawyer for a former employee of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) who was secretly recorded by James O'Keefe is calling bull on O'Keefe's claims that the First Amendment protected his actions.

Four lawyers representing O'Keefe on a pro bono basis cited everything from the writings of James Madison to Ashton Kutcher's MTV show "Punk'd" to claim that O'Keefe's tactics were protected by the First Amendment.

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