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President Obama spoke this morning about his proposed $3.8 trillion spending plan for the coming fiscal year -- a budget that projects record deficits -- while simultaneously emphasizing the need to rein in spending.

"We simply cannot continue to spend as if deficits don't have consequences, as if waste doesn't matter, as if the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like monopoly money," Obama said.

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A 28-year-old Loyola law school student and conservative activist named Ben Wetmore has emerged as the Fifth Beatle of the Landrieu phone-tampering case.

Wetmore, who hired alleged phone tamperer James O'Keefe at the Leadership Institute a few years back to help launch conservative media outlets on college campuses, this month offered up his New Orleans house as a crash pad for O'Keefe and co-defendants Joseph Basel and Stan Dai, the New York Times reports.

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told a conservative conference in New Hampshire this weekend that he wants to see a new version of the Contract With America, the document credited with helping Republicans take Congress in 1994. This time, he said, it will be written with the help of tea partiers.

According to the Union Leader, Gingrich said Dick Armey -- the former House majority leader under Gingrich and the current head of FreedomWorks -- is soliciting online suggestions from tea partiers for a new contract.

"The idea is to go out to the whole country and say, 'What would you have in a contract with America to politicians?'" he said. "It's a very interesting idea."

Gingrich and Armey were both closely involved with the original contract.

In an aggressive damage control effort launched in the wake of a barrage of negative publicity, a leading Tea Party group created by a Republican consulting firm is pushing back against what it calls "false and malicious attacks."

The Tea Party Express (TPE) yesterday sent an email to supporters slamming "attack hit pieces" by TPMmuckraker and other outlets. The recent stories, writes TPE's Lloyd Marcus under the TPE banner, amount to "a range of rumors, accusations, allegations, smears and mischaracterizations of what we at the Tea Party Express are supposedly about." Marcus, the African-American country singer who has become a prominent TPE spokesman, promises another email soon that will "debunk" the "smears."

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House Minority Leader John Boehner said Sunday that defense spending should not be exempt from President Obama's proposed spending freeze.

"I think the president's proposal on freezing non-security domestic spending is a good first step, but it's only $15 billion for each of the next three years," Boehner said on Meet The Press.

I think we can do much better than that. I don't think any agency of the federal government should be exempt from rooting out wasteful spending or unnecessary spending. And I, frankly, I would agree with it at the Pentagon. There's got to be wasteful spending there, unnecessary spending there. It all ought to be eliminated, and we should be going through this budget line by line and, and asking the question, is this spending worth having to borrow money that our kids and grandkids are going to have to pay back? That's the real question. And if we went through the budget line by line like that, I think there's a lot more spending that we could cut.

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A long-awaited internal Justice Department report will essentially clear the lawyers who crafted the legal justification for the Bush Administration's torture policies, reversing the tougher findings of a draft version of the report, according to Newsweek.

The draft version of the Office of Professional Responsibility report recommended that John Yoo and Jay Bybee -- who served in the Office of Legal Counsel and are now a law professor at Berkeley and a federal appeals court judge in Nevada, respectively -- be referred to state bar associations for potential discipline for their role in writing memos that concluded torture was justified.

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The State of the Union was supposed to be the event the American people talked about this weekend at the dinner table, but when President Obama's question-and-answer session with House Republicans caught fire on the Internet, the White House went with it.

Aides weren't prepared for the mid-afternoon talk to generate so much buzz - and weren't even sure the full session would be televised - but even Obama critics of late praised him for answering every question. Democrats especially liked seeing Obama, in some cases, calling Republicans on the carpet for misleading voters about his policies.

Obama also surprised Republicans by revealing that he'd read their bills.

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Obama Unveils $3.83 Trillion Budget, With Massive Deficit President Obama is officially unveiling today a $3.83 trillion federal budget, which would combine spending to deal with unemployment with a freeze on various government programs, and higher taxes on the wealthy by letting the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire on families making more than $250,000 per year. The projected deficit would be a $1.56 trillion, due to both high government spending and a decline in revenues because of the bad economy.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. He will deliver remarks on the budget at 10;45 a.m. ET. He will meet with senior advisers at 11:45 a.m. ET. He will participate in a YouTube interview at 1:45 p.m. ET, answering questions that were submitted by YouTube users during and after the State of the Union address, and voted on by YouTube users. At 4:30 p.m. ET, Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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Boehner: 'There Aren't That Many Places Where We Can Come Together' Appearing on Meet The Press, House Minority Leader John Boehner downplayed the possibility of bipartisanship. "Listen, there aren't that many places where we can come together. The President-- is-- he was the most liberal member of the United States Senate. You don't get there by accident," said Boehner. "And if you look at the policies that we've seen over the course of this year from the Administration and -- his Democratic colleagues in Congress-- there are all these leftist proposals. And the people of Massachusetts, the people of Virginia, the people of New Jersey are sending a pretty loud signal, just like the other 47 states to -- to Washington, saying, 'Stop. This is -- this is way more than we ever want -- wanted Washington to do.'"

Gibbs: Health Care Reform 'Still Inside The Five-Yard Line' Appearing on State of the Union, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Democrats are "still inside the five-yard line" on health care reform. "We're one vote in the House of Representatives from making health care reform a reality," said Gibbs, though he was noncommittal on whether it was definite strategy to have the House of Representatives pass the Senate bill: "I don't think we know yet the answer on the process of this."

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