TPM News

We told you earlier about the spat between Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, which was triggered by Fund's erroneous claim that Frank has been working on a "universal voter registration" bill.

As we reported, Fund is continuing to claim that Frank supports the concept of universal voter registration, which Fund says would overturn state laws and undermine safeguards designed to protect against vote fraud.

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The Republican nomination for governor of Illinois is still up in the air, with one of the GOP candidates announcing today that he isn't conceding the race.

"With over 750-thousand votes cast, this is a .0005 of a percent difference. So, in a race this close, it's important that every vote count," said state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who currently trails state Sen. Bill Brady by a very thin margin. Brady and Dillard each have 20% of the vote, in a field of seven candidates. Brady's current lead over over Dillard is just 420 votes.

Dillard said that there are almost 5,000 provisional ballots that haven't been counted, 1,000 uncounted absentee ballots, and up to 5,000 absentee ballots that could still be in the mail. "I wish we could resolve this today," Dillard said. "But the reality is that it takes time for election authorities to do their job and for these votes to be counted."

On Sunday, the President and the First Lady will host a Super Bowl party at the White House. Here is a list of expected attendees, which include Congress members, Cabinet members, and service members injured in Iraq or Afghanistan:

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The Democratic National Committee has pulled together a new Web ad going after Sen. Richard Shelby's blanket hold on President Obama's nominees, saying that Republicans are holding national security hostage.

Top DNC operatives tell TPMDC they are considering some television ad concepts and want to really press the point that Republicans should pay the price for holding up nominees in the Defense Department and Homeland Security.

"We are going to make sure they pay it," the operative said.

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February 5, 2010: The Super Bowl has captured the American cultural zeitgeist for decades. And our commanders-in-chief haven't been exempt. With the "big game" coming up on Sunday, TPM looks back at our finest Presidential moments in football.

1912: President Dwight D. Eisenhower kicks a football at West Point.

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10-year-old John F. Kennedy takes a photo for the Dexter school football team in Brookline, MA.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson, with Texas football coaching legend Darrell Royal.

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Dec. 6, 1969: President Nixon, with members of the championship University of Texas football team after they defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks in an epic game known as "The Big Shootout."

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1933: President Gerald Ford on the practice field at the University of Michigan, where he was a fierce lineman.

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January 31, 1999: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue gives President Jimmy Carter a tour before Super Bowl XXXIII.

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1929: Before his movie career, President Reagan plays for the Eureka College football team.

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A still from the film Knute Rockne-All American (1940) with future President Ronald Reagan leaping for a kick.

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December 31, 2009: President George H. W. Bush and his grandson, Pierce Bush, walk the field before the Texas Bowl in Houston.

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November 20, 2001: Shortly after leaving office, President Bill Clinton receives an autographed football and team jersey from the Harvard football captain.

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1964: At the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, President George W. Bush leads the squad as head cheerleader.

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March 25, 2009: President Obama keeps a football at the ready during a Domestic Policy Council meeting at the Oval Office.

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June 24, 2009: Obama escapes the Oval Office for a game of catch.

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A real split is developing between fiscal conservative groups and Congressional Republicans as Rep. Paul Ryan's budget "roadmap" gets more attention.

GOP leaders in the House have said again and again that even though Ryan is their chief budget writer and he'll be the one to offer their alternative spending plan this spring, what he produced showing massive Social Security and Medicare cuts is not their official plan.

But we keep talking to conservatives who are asking in earnest, Why not?

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Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) "roadmap" budget plan -- which calls for balancing the budget in 50 years by effectively privatizing Social Security and Medicare -- could become an excellent political tool for the Democrats, says former Clinton adviser Paul Begala.

Begala, in an interview today with TPM, said Democrats should force the GOP to bring their ideas into the public eye.

"Why don't we put Mr. Ryan's budget up to a vote?" he said. "Make them vote on it."

Democrats, he argued, should stop calling Republicans the "party of no."

"They have ideas, and lots of them. And their ideas ruin the country," Begala said.

What the Democrats have to do, he said, is make the 2010 elections a choice between Democratic and Republican ideas, instead of a referendum on just the Dems. (A point Chuck Todd made earlier this week.) The way to do it, he said, is to highlight those GOP ideas.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner.

• CBS, Face The Nation: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

• CNN, State Of The Union: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

• Fox News Sunday: Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan, former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

A new CNN poll measures American opinion on the Tea Party movement, finding that the answer for now is...well, mostly undecided.

The poll of American adults found that 33% had a favorable opinion of the Tea Parties, compared to 26% unfavorable. Republicans responded favorably by a ratio of three to one, while Democrats felt unfavorably by two to one. Independents were fairly close to the top-lines, at 35% favorable and 24% unfavorable. The real leader, however, was the undecided vote, broken down in two categories: 24% who never heard of it, and 16% who have no opinion.

"The Tea Party movement is a blank slate to many Americans, which is not surprising for a political movement that is only about a year old," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Not surprisingly, opinion breaks along partisan and ideological lines."

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