TPM News

Poll: Americans' Optimism On The Rise A new AP/GfK poll finds that a 48% plurality of Americans now believe the country is on the right track, compared to 44% who say it is on the wrong track. This is the first time since January 2004, shortly after the capture of Saddam Hussein, that the right-track number edged out the wrong-track figure.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will be speaking at 11 a.m. ET, at the Holocaust Days of Remembrance ceremony at the Capitol. At 1:05 p.m. ET, he will meet with representatives of the credit card industry in the Roosevelt Room. At 2:15 p.m. ET, he and Vice President Biden will meet in the Cabinet Room with the Congressional leadership of both parties. At 3:30 p.m. ET, he will receive the University of Florida football team in the East Room. At 4 p.m. ET, he will meet with Hillary Clinton. At 7:30 p.m. ET, he and the First Lady will host a reception for Congressional members and their spouses, in the Blue Room.

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As we noted, Philip Zelikow, a former top lawyer to Condi Rice at the State Department, yesterday wrote that the White House tried to destroy all copies of a memo he authored, which took issue with the legal opinions laid out in the infamous OLC torture memos.

Today, Zelikow appeared on MSNBC to flesh out that story. Among other things, he reveals that the Bushies said his memo was "inconvenient to have around." (Would it have been too much for Andrea Mitchell to have followed up by asking him who, exactly, said that?)

Watch:



Oh the (rare, but occasionally exceptional) joys of Twitter. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)--the ranking member on the House Energy & Commerce Committee--says (tweets?) "I seemed [sic] to have baffled the Energy Sec with basic question - Where does oil come from?"

He's referring to Nobel prize winning Energy Secretary Steve Chu, and this exchange.

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Former Alabama governor Don Siegelman is stepping up his campaign to persuade Attorney General Eric Holder to take another look at his case.

Seventy-five former state attorneys general, including ten Republicans, have sent a letter to Holder saying that Siegelman's defense lawyers have raised "gravely troublesome facts" about whether he got a fair trial, reports the New York Times. The letter cites Holder's recent decision to ask that the charges against Ted Stevens be dropped, thanks to prosecutors' failure to turn over evidence to the defense, as required. It argues that there is evidence of similar misconduct in Siegelman's case, and that the charges should similarly be dropped if that's borne out in an investigation.

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Now that Congress is back in session, House and Senate negotiators will have to get together in conference committee to resolve the differences between their budgets, which they passed in the days before the most recent recess. Moments ago the House chose Reps. John Spratt, Rosa DeLauro, and Allen Boyd to be their conferees.

More on them in a second. Recall first that there are some important discrepancies between the two resolutions, most notably that the House budget contains reconciliation instructions for health care and the Senate does not. Republicans (and some Democrats) aren't pleased, and are doing whatever they can to kill reconciliation altogether. So how is that fight shaping up so far?

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Democratic candidate Scott Murphy's lead in the NY-20 special election has expanded yet again, after some challenged ballots were counted in his stronghold of Warren County, and he now leads Republican candidate Jim Tedisco by 365 votes in the latest state numbers.

In the previous numbers on Friday, Murphy's lead was at 273 votes, so he has now gained 91 votes in Warren, plus an additional one vote added in Essex County. Things just keep looking better and better for Murphy.

The ballots that were counted here, Warren Democratic chairman and local election official Bill Montfort explained to me, were votes that had been set aside when a campaign had objected, even if both the Democratic and Republican election commissioners thought they should be counted.

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Michelle Obama celebrates Earth Day at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC on April 21.

Newscom/Sipa

The event was organized by the Student Conservation Association, an Americorps organization.

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President Barack Obama shows off the dirt on his dress shoes following a long day of tree planting.

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