TPM News

Sarah Palin has declined an offer to speak at CPAC, for the second year in a row. Why, exactly?

Dave Weigel wondered if it had to do with CPAC not paying guests any speaking fees or travel expenses, compared to Palin's lavish fees from the Tea Party convention. Politico cites an anonymous source close to Palin, who put the blame on CPAC, based on a report late last year that its parent organization, the American Conservative Union, had asked Federal Express for millions of dollars in exchange for its support and work on an issue campaign. "Palin is taking a stance against this just as she did in Alaska," the source said.

CPAC director Lisa de Pasquale told TPMDC that their interactions with the Palin camp were cordial, and Palin never walked away from any previous commitment to attend. "There was never an acceptance," de Pasquale said. "We were still working together as early as, I believe, early this week. They had told us that they were trying, they were rearranging her schedule, or looking at her schedule to make sure it could work."

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Investor Warren Buffett defended his home state senator, Democrat Ben Nelson, for voting for the health care reform bill in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star.

"Clearly, Senator Nelson knew that probably a majority of people in the state were not for it, but he went with what he thought was right," Buffett said. "I think he did the right thing. I think he did the courageous thing."

Although Buffett, an Obama supporter, admitted the legislation will probably need changes, he said he would have voted for it as well.

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Fed up with the mainstream media filter, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) is taking her quest to inform Americans about the threat of jihad to the Internet -- namely, YouTube -- in a new weekly terror news video series that will be featured on her congressional Web site.

The first two episodes -- "Beyond Terrorism -The Whole Story" and "Fort Hood - What You're Not Hearing" -- are presented in a news magazine format, with Myrick speaking in front of a grey screen, flanked by an American flag and a plant. In the Fort Hood episode, Myrick "interviews" authors like Walid Phares of the conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (while she asks them direct questions, Myrick does not seem to actually be in the room with her interlocutors).

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The Republican National Committee released a statement today in response to the December unemployment report. Here's the full text:

"For close to a full year the American people have been forced to watch and in many cases bear the burden of our ever increasing national unemployment rate which unfortunately remained in the double digits throughout the month of December. More than 85,000 Americans lost their jobs in the month of December, meaning more than 2.8 million Americans have lost their jobs since the stimulus passed, and the national unemployment rate remains at 10 percent. The American economy is a powerful and amazingly resilient system that will always naturally return to balance because of the determination and unique ingenuity of the American worker. But President Obama's singular focus on enacting his government-run liberal policies are single handily preventing this return. It's time for President Obama to heed the recent words of Democrat Senator Ben Nelson and finally do what he should have been doing over the past year - put his full and undivided attention on fixing our economy."

The late President Ronald Reagan is now the star of his own biographical comic book, which was released this week.

"I think the crux of the book will be the assessment of whether Reagan was simply at the right place and time when the Soviet Union fell," said author Don Smith. "Or was he one of the shrewdest occupants of the White House?"

It should be noted that this comic is neither a piece of Reagan sycophancy, nor is it political satire (like the recent Michele Bachmann comics, produced by a group of her detractors in Minnesota). The publisher, Bluewater Comics, specializes in making biographical comics about major public figures, both in and out of politics: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Ellen DeGeneres, Lady Gaga and others -- even Bo Obama.

Yesterday, The Nation reporter Jeremy Scahill said that a third Blackwater operative was injured in the blast that killed eight on a CIA base in Afghanistan. He also pointed out that to have three Blackwater operatives there when such a "golden goose" of an asset was there, "shows just how close Blackwater remains to the epicenter of some of the most sensitive intelligence operations."

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Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) said his state will be suing the federal government if the health care bill he says is "illegal" becomes law.

"His health care bill is not only ill-conceived, but I believe it is illegal," Gibbons said in a release written up by the Las Vegas Sun.

Gibbons took aim at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who is facing a tough reelection this year, saying "Reid's" health care plan is unhealthy and would "kill Nevada's economy."

At the heart of his complaint is the Medicaid formula and the deal that Senate leadership made with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) to win his vote for the overall health care plan.

The full release after the jump.

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U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, a Republican from Georgia, has reportedly sent a letter to President Obama requesting his birth certificate.

The conservative, pro-birther site The Post & E-mail confirmed with Deal's chief of staff that Deal -- who is also running for governor -- sent the letter Dec. 1.

Deal office did not return repeated calls from TPM, so we cannot independently verify that the letter was sent.

If it was, Deal was keeping a promise he made in November, when he said he would send "a letter to the President asking that he release a copy of his birth certificate so we can have an answer to this question."

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