TPM News

The bomb found along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Wash., may have been packed with a blood-thinning chemical that's found in rat poison in an effort to inflict worse injuries.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told the Spokesman-Review that the bomb -- which officials have already described as sophisticated, with the potential to be devastating -- had some sort of chemical in it, and authorities have speculated that it may be a chemical found in rat poison. The bomb, which was defused without incident last Monday, has been sent for testing to a lab at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va..

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Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) clashed over opening statements at the first hearing of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

Both sides say Issa told Cummings 30 minutes before today's hearing that there would be no opening statements issued at the hearing, which focused on government oversight over money distributed under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

Spokesman Kurt Bardella told TPM that Issa killed the idea of opening statements in order to skip the "political speechifying" which ate up time. "The American people wants Congress to listen more and talk less," Bardella said.

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In a brief interview Wednesday, just above the Senate chamber, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) rejected President Obama's State of the Union call for broad infrastructure upgrades, citing his opposition to new spending projects and claiming that existing mechanisms for funding current transportation infrastructure projects are basically adequate.

"I understand the goal, but right now this is going to be -- anytime you talk about 'investment' it means new spending," Thune told me. "When you talk about new spending at a time when we've got this financial picture, I don't know how he's going to accomplish all the things that he wants to get done, and then still talk about a five-year freeze on discretionary spending. You can't do it all."

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President Obama spent a little more than an hour last night trying to reach out to the new divided Congress in a State Of The Union that was long on centrism and, seemingly, short on division. But it's not clear Obama made the connection he was hoping to. Two high-profile members of the tea party freshman class on Capitol Hill told TPM after the speech that, while they appreciated the shift in rhetoric, they don't expect much to come from Obama's efforts to reach out to the right.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: 'Win The Future': President Obama's State Of The Union]

"Well, we'll see. We'll see," Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said when I asked him if Obama had heard the message delivered by the voters in November. "Happy to hear him enforcing an earmark ban. Happy to hear about the possibility of simplifying the tax code and reducing the corporate tax rate. I was a little bit troubled and perplexed by what he means when he says all that and yet talks about new investment, investment, investment."

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Chris Matthews was nearly apoplectic in his questioning of Tea Party Express co-founder Sal Russo on the topic of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and her controversial re-imagining of history where the founding fathers found a way to end slavery in their lifetime. Repeatedly calling Bachmann a "balloon head," Matthews demanded to know why Russo and the Tea Party wanted Bachmann to give a response to the State of the Union address or, more generally, why they ever wanted her to open her mouth in the first place?

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) isn't done yet -- she's headed back to the key first presidential caucus state of Iowa, for another visit after the one from this past month.

CNN reports:

The Republican congresswoman from neighboring Minnesota, who says she's considering a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, will attend the March 23 Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators home-school day at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines.

A Bachmann spokesman confirms to CNN that Bachmann will appear at the event.

"As a mother of 5 and foster mother to 23, as well as someone who homeschooled her children, Congresswoman Bachmann is a strong supporter of homeschooling and is looking forward to speaking to the group in Iowa," says Bachmann spokesman Doug Sachtleben.


Is she bringing the Iwo Jima photo?

Down to its smallest details, the Republican Study Committee's spending cut proposal exposes real rifts in the Republican party. While the GOP's basically fine with slashing arts funding, a lot of the items in that budget -- meant to imply liberal profligacy -- actually have significant Republican support.

For instance, the RSC plan would slash $150 million in spending on Essential Air Service -- a government program, which ensures small and rural communities continue to receive commercial airline service.

Flash back to 2007, and possible Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) spearheaded an effort to restore such service to his constituents. "I am encouraged by the Senate's action to move this important legislation. Essential Air Service is just that, essential. It is essential to the people it serves and it is essential that the House of Representatives pass this legislation without modification so that we can restore commercial air service for Brookings," said Thune. "Ensuring access to communities like Brookings strengthens the local economy, provides consumers with choices, and makes the entire commercial airline network more valuable."

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To the dismay of groups hoping the White House would take the lead on proposed legislation to ban high-capacity extended magazines in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), President Barack Obama did not mention gun control in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

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