TPM News

Former White House Counsel Greg Craig, who left the Obama administration earlier this month, has joined the Washington, D.C., law firm Skadden Arps as a partner.

In an announcement on its web site today, Skadden announced that Craig will lead its new "Global Policy and Litigation Strategy Practice Group."

The White House announced Craig's departure in November. He was replaced with Bob Bauer.

The White House has denied speculation that Craig left over delays in closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Politicians, they're just like us! While you're half-watching the State Of The Union and half-watching that Hulu clip on the laptop in front of you tonight, House partisan groups will be multitasking, too -- Republicans and Democrats plan to launch a rapid response war tonight that will see a torrent of tweets, texts and emails attacking one another before, during and after President Obama's address to the nation.

Both parties bill the effort as "fact checking," countering the partisan rhetoric of the other with the "truth" about what Obama is saying. House Republican leader John Boehner will host the GOP's rapid response effort on his official Twitter feed, @GOPLeader. According to statement, the Boehner operation will "discuss Republicans' better solutions to the challenges working families and small business owners are facing" during and after the speech. The DCCC is offering the Democratic response, through a social media blitz they call "Fact Check Fox" that they say will counter conservative pundits on TV after the speech in real time.

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Will there be any Republican theatrics tonight during President Obama's State of the Union address? The question is buzzing around Capitol Hill.

TPMDC asked House Minority Whip Eric Cantor if he has given Republican members any direction about how they should behave tonight given Rep. Joe Wilson's shout of "You lie" during President Obama's last address to Congress in September. He said he hoped there would be no outbursts.

(Though Cantor (R-VA) told me last time around that Republicans would be "attentive." As we all know, that didn't happen.)

For his part, Wilson (R-SC) says he will be a "gentleman" tonight.

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Before he hooked up with James O'Keefe in an alleged bid to tamper with Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone-lines, Stan Dai had developed an impressive resume as a precocious national-security expert.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

According to information Dai posted in September 2007 on the university's online alumni directory, he lived in Naperville, Ill., helped run a "Defense Deparment regional defense counterterrorism/irregular warfare program" and then became assistant director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University, which prepares undergraduates for careers in intelligence.

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Former presidential candidate and Sen. John Edwards has legally separated from his wife, ABC News reports.

According to "a source close to Elizabeth Edwards," John Edwards has moved out of the couple's home in North Carolina.

Last week, Edwards admitted to fathering a child, now 2 years old, with Rielle Hunter, a videographer who worked on his presidential campaign. He is being investigated for payments he made to Hunter during that time.

We know that at least two of the young men charged in connection with attempts to tamper with Sen. Mary Landrieu's office phones led conservative college newspapers that received seed money from The Leadership Institute. But what's the Leadership Institute?

On its website, the nonprofit boasts that it "prepares conservatives for success in politics, government and the news media." It's trained more than 79,000 students over the years, and employs 58 people. The group is led by longtime Republican player Morton Blackwell, who was elected to the RNC's executive committee in 2004.

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For any legislator who wants to learn how to drive a bargain, check out this stunning interview Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) conducted with Life Site News.

Now that the Democrats have only 59 votes--insufficient to overcome a filibuster--Nelson is providing an inside look at his legislative strategy. And it's...remarkable. Nelson famously insisted that, to get his vote, Senate health care legislation would have to include restrictions on abortion financing. Now, however, he says his plan all along was to pull a bait and switch: Wait until the House and Senate met to merge their two bills and then push for yet tougher language.

"[O]nce it went to conference, as part of the conference, there was still another 60 vote threshold, and that is when I would have insisted... for my last 60th vote, it has to have [Stupak-like language]," Nelson said.

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House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said today he hopes there are no Joe Wilson-esque outbursts from his party at tonight's State of the Union address, but wouldn't say whether GOP leaders had expressly instructed members on how to behave.

TPMDC asked Cantor if he has given Republican members any direction about how they should behave tonight give Rep. Joe Wilson's shout of "You lie" during President Obama's last address to Congress in September.

"If the question is do I hope there are no outbursts tonight, the answer is yes. I made that statement known," Cantor said during a short press availability this afternoon.

Wilson, for his part, says he won't be heckling again.

Earlier we outlined the background of the alleged Landrieu phone tamperers in the rarefied world of college conservative journalism, where three of the four got their start. Now, it's worth taking a look at one of the articles produced a few years back by one of the four, Stan Dai. Its title: The Penis Monologues.

Thanks to Lindsay Beyerstein who first noticed Dai's first-person parody, you can read the Penis Monologues in full here.

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