TPM News

How big are the stakes on Capitol Hill right now? According to one of the most influential economists in federal policy making, the next four weeks will make the difference between a slow glide toward economic recovery, and a severe tumble into a new recession.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: More Than Just Forms: Tax Day Tea Party-Style]

Moody's chief economist, and former McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi is forecasting GDP growth of 4 percent by the end of the year and into next. But in response to a question from TPM, he told reporters at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that his forecast would be "blown out of the water," if Congress fails to "reasonably gracefully" raise the national borrowing limit.

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Proponents of the Proposition 8 gay marriage ban are appealing a federal judge's refusal to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling on the measure, because, as they have argued, the decision represents a conflict of interest because Walker is gay.

Reuters reports that Matthew McGill, who is representing two same-sex couples challenging the measure, called the appeal part of a "smear campaign" against Walker.

"The only thing surprising about this development is doing so in the face of such a well-reasoned opinion," McGill said.

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Mitt Romney took a dig at President Obama for visiting an Alcoa plant in Iowa, saying the White House's labor appointees will soon force them to lay off workers.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet The 2012 GOPers: Ex-Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)]

Alcoa's plant makes parts for the Dreamliner, a Boeing plane that is currently the subject of a legal battle between the company and the National Labor Review Board, an independent agency whose members are appointed by the White House. The NLRB recently sided with unions in Washington State who claim that a new manufacturing line for the plane in South Carolina is illegal retaliation against them for previous strikes.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) stopped by CNN this morning and addressed her embarrassing gaffe where she told a reporter the actor John Wayne was born in Waterloo, IA right after she kicked off her presidential campaign in the town.

Wayne was acutally born hours away in Winterset, IA. The John Wayne Waterloo is connected with is John Wayne Gacy, the notorious serial killer who committed a couple of sex crimes in the town in his 20s.

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Budget negotiations are going down to the wire in Minnesota -- where the state is heading for a government shutdown if a budget deal isn't passed by the end of the week. And lawmakers are keeping tight-lipped about the progress of their negotiations.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton met with Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch Monday evening to continue hammering out a deal. But details of the meetings have, for the most part, been kept under wraps. The meeting Monday follows negotiations over the weekend that broke off abruptly Sunday.

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They say the sun never sets on an English friendship. Certainly that's the case in the Republican primary this year, where Ronald Reagan's partnership with Margaret Thatcher comes up often in speeches, interviews, and even campaign slogans.

Britain's "Iron Lady," famed for her free market ideals and tough-minded style of governance, has always been a popular figure in Republican circles across the pond, but she seems to have taken on new relevance in recent years for the party's leading lights. While George W. Bush identified strongly with wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, as he struggled to prosecute the War on Terror, national security has fallen far down the list of priorities for the party and the field is significantly divided on foreign policy. Instead, the focus is on the weak economy, which is clearly Maggie's wheelhouse.

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