TPM News

Obama To Name Sperling New Economic Adviser Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama, retooling his economic team to boost sluggish U.S. growth and tackle emboldened Republicans, will on Friday name Gene Sperling as the new head of his National Economic Council...Sperling's pick to replace Larry Summers at the economic council follows Obama's naming of a new chief of staff and the resignation of his press secretary, as the president shakes up his team after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives this week."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:45 a.m. ET, and meet at 10:15 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 11:20 a.m. ET, he will tour Thompson Creek Manufacturing in Landover, Maryland, and deliver remarks at 11:35 a.m. ET on the monthly employment report, and make economic personnel announcements -- expected to be the announcement of the appointment of Gene Sperling.

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If Nevada voters could do it over again, they'd really, really like to nominate someone not named Sharron Angle, according to a new PPP poll.

In the poll, 68% of Nevadans said they think Republicans should have nominated someone other than Sharron Angle to challenge Sen. Harry Reid last year. Only 21% said the GOP did the right thing in nominating Angle, and 11% had no opinion.

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Pamela Geller is planning to hold another protest next week against the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero, or as she calls it, "the Ground Zero Victory Mosque."

This January 12 protest will be held at a City Council meeting, called to decide whether to build Wal-Mart stores in New York City. Geller argues that the City Council wants to say "no to Wal-Mart but yes to the Islamic supremacist mosque. The limousine liberals deign to deny the working class and the poor jobs and prices they can afford."

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By hook or by crook, the Republican-controlled House will raise the federal debt ceiling before the government defaults on its debts. That's the word from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the House GOP's fiscal guru and chair of the House Budget Committee.

Ryan told Bloomberg's Peter Cook today while it may be a tough slog, in the end default will be avoided. The debt ceiling fight is expected to be some high drama, as tea party Republicans who have said they'll vote against any increase that doesn't come with deep budget cuts square off against a Democratic Senate and the White House which have warned that going to war over the debt could have disastrous consequences.

Ryan said there may be fireworks, but in the end, default is not going to happen.

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You might recall how Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has said that she first became a Republican as a result of her disgust at reading a "snotty" Gore Vidal novel. So what does Gore Vidal think?

As we reported last week, Bachmann told a Republican crowd in Michigan that she cast off her youthful Democratic roots after reading Gore Vidal's novel Burr, which depicted the Founding Fathers in an unfavorable light. (We later discovered that Bachmann had told this story before -- and that in an earlier version of the tale, she said it had been a different Vidal novel, 1876.)

Our old colleague Justin Elliott at Salon did quite a lot of work to get a response from Vidal. And finally, through an assistant, he received this written statement from the man himself:

"She is too stupid to deserve an answer."

In his first big interview as Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) told NBC's Brian Williams that he believes President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen, but won't tell the other members of his caucus "what to think."

"The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there," Boehner said. "That's good enough for me."

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Call it a stumble out of the gate. Or a failure to find the gate entirely. Veteran Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and freshman Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) failed to make the official swearing in ceremony yesterday, a violation of the Constitution that has sent Republicans scrambling and briefly brought an end to the new majority's push to repeal the health care reform law.

While the rest of the House was being made official in the chamber, Sessions and Fitzpatrick were outside the room at an event for Fitzpatrick supporters. The pair reportedly took their oath to a televised image from inside the chamber. Huffington Post's Ryan Grimm reports the event was part of fundraiser for Fitzpatrick.

Freshly-minted House Rules Committee chair David Dreier (R-CA) had to recess hearings on repealing the health care law after he learned that Sessions, a member of the committee, was not in fact a Constitutionally-valid member of the 112th Congress. Sessions had been casting votes all day like the duly-sworn members on the committee.

Dreier spokesperson Jo Maney told TPM that she "didn't know it happened" that Sessions wasn't sworn in, but after Dreier found out about it, he recessed the hearing to sort out the mess.

Sessions has now been officially sworn in as required by the Constitution, Maney said. The same goes for Fitzpatrick, she said, though that's of less concern to the health care repeal as he's not a member of the Rules Committee like Sessions is. But the failure to be sworn in could mean the rules package the House passed on Wednesday doesn't count, according to Roll Call. The action is now behind the scenes, as Speaker John Boehner tries to persuade House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to agree to a unanimous consent decree that would make all the work Sessions and Fitzpatrick did over the past day count retroactively.

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Ted Haggard, who lost his megachurch and his role as president of the National Association of Evangelicals in 2006 after admitting he had an affair with his male meth dealer, will star next week in a special on TLC about his new church.

According to Entertainment Weekly, "Ted Haggard: Scandalous" will show Haggard as he goes about setting up his new church inside his barn in Colorado Springs. The church has been operating for several months and, as of July, had attracted about 200 worshipers.

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The 2012 Republican presidential race is just starting to warm up, with a whole bunch of possible candidates now set to drop into the key primary state of South Carolina:

• Mike Pence will visit this weekend, to keynote a black-tie dinner by the conservative group the Awakening Conference.

• Newt Gingrich will visit next Thursday, and address the Grand Strand Business Association in Myrtle Beach.

• Rick Santorum will visit next Saturday, two days after Gingrich, appearing at an anti-abortion rally at the state Capitol.

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