TPM News

House Minority Leader John Boehner won't say if the Republican Party will again try to privatize Social Security, even as the GOP pushes fiscal responsibility as a major issue in their quest to win back control of Congress.

When the Washington Post's Dan Balz asked Boehner (R-OH) if the failed 2005 Social Security privatization plan would resurface this year, the Republican leader twice answered, "I have no idea."

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Rob Portman, the Republican Party's Senate nominee in Ohio, has chosen today -- when a blistering heat wave is baking the East Coast and oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico -- to launch a new TV ad attacking Democratic plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the nation's dependence on foreign oil. In a new TV ad running in Ohio, Portman warns against "a new energy tax coming our way from Washington that's a job killer for Ohio."

"It's called cap-and-trade," Portman says in the ad.


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Obama And Netanyahu To Hold Fence-Mending Talks President Obama is having a much-awaited meeting today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Associated Press reports: "Expectations for a major breakthrough are low, and Netanyahu made no comments to reporters on his flight from Tel Aviv. But the meeting, postponed a month ago after a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, could be a test of whether Obama can overcome recent tensions with Netanyahu and work together to restart long-suspended direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Obama is not likely to risk another diplomatic clash with Netanyahu with pivotal U.S. congressional elections looming in November and pro-Israel sentiment strong among American lawmakers and voters."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. He will meet at 11 a.m. ET with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the two will hold a joint press availability at 12 p.m. ET, and a working lunch at 12:35 p.m. ET. He will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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1||June 18, 2010: Obama greets baseball fans during a Washington Nationals vs. Chicago White Sox baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

2||July 4, 2010: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the roof of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

3||June, 28 2010: Bo Obama runs on the South Lawn of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

4||July 1, 2010: President Obama leads Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Vice President Joe Biden on a tour of the White House Kitchen Garden following a meeting in the Oval Office.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

5||June 24, 2010: Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have lunch at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, VA.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

6||June 25, 2010: The President departs on Marine One for the G20 summit in Canada. ||Jillian Rayfield/Talking Points Memo&&

7||June 14, 2010: The President tours the Theodore Staging Facility in Alabama, where oil containment boom and other equipment is cleaned, decontaminated, and repaired.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

8||June 17, 2010: The President and Vice President receive the Economic Daily Briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House. ||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

9||June 23, 2010: Obama waits in the West Wing.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

10||June 30, 2010: Obama and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel walk along the South Lawn Drive of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

11||June 9, 2010: Obama talks with kids from the Children's Miracle Network in the East Room.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

12||June 25, 2010: Emanuel and Obama before a meeting with African Outreach Leaders at the G8 Summit.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

13||June 27, 2010: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reviews notes before Obama's press conference at the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

14||June 25, 2010: Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy as they walk with other world leaders in Canada.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

Until last year, the Idle Hour Country Club in Lexington, Kentucky, had no African American members. Now lifetime member and 6th Congressional District Republican nominee Andy Barr is finding himself in the awkward position of explaining his connection to what was until very recently an all-white club -- in the middle of a hotly contested election campaign against incumbent Rep. Ben Chandler (D).

Politico's Alex Isenstadt reports the Republican's campaign has confirmed that Barr -- a top-tier NRCC "Young Gun" -- and his family are "active in the club." As the Lexington Herald-Leader reported last year when former Kentucky college star and NBA player Sam Bowie was accepted as the club's first black member, Idle Hour has "remained a symbol of exclusivity and old divisions based on race and class in Lexington" even as the state has become more accepting of diversity in the workplace and private life.

Barr's campaign told Politico that news of his lifetime membership at Idle Hour was nothing but the Chandler camp "resorting to cheap, personal attacks," in the words of Barr's campaign manager.

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Minnesota state Rep. Tom Emmer, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, has put forward a new policy for helping the state's businesses: Lowering the minimum wage for waiters and waitresses, and forcing them to rely more heavily on tips.

Minnesota is one of seven states that do not permit employers to pay less than the standard minimum wage to tipped workers. Federal law permits tipped workers' wages to be as low $2.13 per hour, with tips given to workers credited against the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour employers are required to pay. Emmer's proposal would get rid of Minnesota's law against using that credit, and thus bring the minimum wages for restaurant staff and other gratuity-based workers down to $2.13 per hour plus tips, a reduction of nearly two-thirds. Emmer said this proposal would result in a "level playing field so the employers can continue to exist, survive and thrive."

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Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee in the state's hotly-contested Senate race, could have yet another political liability to deal with from the collapse of his family's bank: As a result of the financial loss, he has collected a tax refund of about $30,000, though he immediately indicated he would donate the money to charity.

Giannoulias lost $2.7 million as a result of the bank's failure, and was thus able to get a tax refund on the amount that had been withheld from his salary as state treasurer. His Republican opponent, Rep. Mark Kirk, quickly pounced on Friday: "Giannoulias wants to raise our taxes but doesn't pay any taxes himself."

When asked for comment by TPMDC, the Giannoulias camp turned the story right back to Kirk's own personal dirt, relating to his previous inaccurate statements about his military record. Giannoulias spokesman Matt McGrath told us: "It comes as no surprise given his record of mistruths, half-truths and untruths about his military record, but when he says Alexi wants to raise taxes, Congressman Kirk is lying. Again."

The TPM Poll Average gives Kirk a lead of 43.1%-38.4%.

Embattled former Florida Republican Party chair Jim Greer is ramping up his defense against fraud charges in the Sunshine State -- and he plans to enlist some of his old friends to help. At a press conference Monday, Greer's attorney, J. Cheney Mason, told reporters that he'll call past and current heavy-hitters in the Florida GOP to the stand as he defends Greer, including Gov. Charlie Crist, state Attorney General Bill McCollum and current state GOP chair John Thrasher.

According to the AP Mason told reporters that the multiple fraud charges Greer faces in state court are due to "right-wing conservatives who turned against Crist, the man who picked Greer to head the state party, and decided to punish the governor by ruining Greer".

Greer is the "victim" in the case, Mason said.

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Sharron Angle has resorted to an unusual maneuver to counter Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's attacks on her past quotes and positions, the Reid campaign has announced: A cease-and-desist letter, demanding that Reid no longer republish Angle's previous campaign website.

The short version of the story is as follows: After the former state Rep won Nevada's Republican Senate primary, Angle's campaign took down most of its website, and later replaced it with a relaunched version that in some ways toned down her right-wing rhetoric. But Internet pages are rarely ever forgotten -- the Reid campaign saved the old version, and put up a website called "The Real Sharron Angle," reproducing the old content.

Then, they say, the Angle campaign sent them a cease-and-desist letter, claiming misuse of copyrighted materials in the reposting of the old website -- which was, of course, being posted for the purposes of ridiculing Angle. The Reid campaign has in fact taken down the site, rerouting visitors to another website that goes after Angle's positions, "Sharron's Underground Bunker."

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