TPM News

In an ornate meeting room, tucked away one floor above what used to be Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday faced a skeptical pack of reporters, all of whom wanted to know exactly how the GOP plans to run the House. The questions were largely specific: Will they adhere to their pledge to run the House more transparently? Will they follow their own deficit reduction rules? If Republicans want to cut spending, what spending do they have in mind?

But underlying all of these queries was a broader question: Will Republicans govern as if they have a broad mandate? Or will they govern as the victors of a midterm election, who only control part of one branch of the federal government?

At that level, Cantor couldn't have been more clear: he and the rest of the GOP think the majority of the public is on their side, and they will do whatever they can to bring about a fundamental change in the way President Obama has lead. In fact, more important to fulfilling the procedural pledges they made to the Republican base is making sure those changes to Obama's agenda happen.

Read More →

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner is backing Dick Cheney's choice for the next chair of the Republican National Commitee, according to multiple reports this afternoon.

Boehner "has made at least one call to advocate" for ex-Republican National Convention chief Maria Cino, Roll Call reports. CNN's Peter Hamby first reported Boehner's lobbying effort, reporting that Bohener has made "calls" on Cino's behalf. In the past, Boehner had promised to stay out of the RNC fight.

Staff for Boehner didn't offer a response to Roll Call, but as the paper points out, Boehner giving Cino his support wouldn't be too surprising. Boehner's known Cino for years and his chief of staff served with Cino when she was part of the George W. Bush administration. Cino is among the more experienced political operatives in the race to be the next chair of the RNC, though she is generally seen as running near the back of the pack.

Read More →

Be careful what you wish for, progressive filibuster reform advocates. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) says the proposed changes to the filibuster pushed by Democrats like Sen. Tom Udall (NM) would make it possible for a legislative "freight train" to run unfettered through the Senate -- one that Democrats facing a tough election in 2012 may not like.

"They better be careful, because the freight train could be the Tea Party Express," Alexander told reporters today.

Alexander stopped by the conservative Heritage Foundation this afternoon to talk up the filibuster -- and scare the daylights out of anyone who'd dare try to change it.

Read More →

The Navy announced this afternoon that it has fired Capt. Owen Honors from his post as commander of the USS Enterprise over crude videos he made in 2006 and 2007.

Honors has been re-assigned to administrative duties.

"The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is absolute," Adm. John Harvey, commander of the Navy's Fleet Forces Command, said in a statement released this afternoon. "While Captain Honors' performance as commanding officer of U.S.S. Enterprise has been without incident, his profound lack of good judgment and professionalism while previously serving as executive officer on Enterprise calls into question his character and completely undermines his credibility to continue to serve effectively in command."

Read More →

If Republicans had to choose their presidential candidate today, they'd probably do best to pick former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, according to Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen. However, Jensen notes that Huckabee isn't necessarily a good choice, but merely the most viable contender the GOP has right now.

Jensen's argument is essentially twofold. First, Huckabee is far more electable than Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin. And second, the GOP's conservative base is way more enthusiastic about Huckabee than they are about Mitt Romney.

Jensen writes:

Huckabee's the only one of the top Republicans who has the combination of electability and base appeal it's going to take to beat Barack Obama. Romney has the electability but not the base appeal, Palin has the base appeal but not the electability, and Gingrich sort of falls in the middle on both counts.

Read More →

A federal appeals court has asked the California Supreme Court to help answer a question about who has standing to fight same sex marriage in the courts.

At issue is whether the anti-gay groups who put Proposition 8 on the ballot in California have the legal standing to appeal a decision that Prop 8 -- which outlaws same sex marriage in the state -- is unconstitutional. Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is hearing that appeal, asked the California high court to decide whether the proponents have standing under state law.

Read More →

You might have seen that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has been rated by CQ as the Democratic Senator most likely to cross party lines. And if you haven't heard about it, it turns out that his office is also stepping in to publicize it.

The ratings found that Nelson voted with the Democrats on just under 54% of "party unity" votes -- Senate motions where a majority of the Democratic caucus votes opposite to a majority of Republicans. The runner-up was Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), who has retired, and who sided with the Dems on 68% of party unity votes.

Today, Nelson's Senate office reproduced on their "Nelson In The News" section an article from the Omaha World-Herald, the state's largest newspaper, which picked up on the story.

I asked Nelson's communications director Jake Thompson, was the office trying to send a particular message by reposting that article on their site? "No, not really," said Thompson. "If you look, it's really just case by case, I thought it was an interesting article. CQ is something you have to subscribe to, so people might not have access to the numbers. I thought it was a way to let people know about it."

Read More →

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) sounds like an old commercial for pasta sauce these days. With less than 24 hours to go before the Republicans take over in the House and begin their quest to repeal and replace the Democrats' landmark health care reform law, Cuellar -- a new member of the House minority leadership -- told reporters today that whatever reforms the Republicans want to put in place as part of the "replace" portion of their agenda, the Democrats have already done it.

In essence, to paraphrase Prego, "it's in there."

At the House Democratic majority leadership's final press conference before Speaker Boehner and company are sworn in tomorrow, Cuellar read through the succinct health care "replace" bill House Republicans are planning to introduce this week. The bill is essentially a list of instructions for newly Republican-run committees to take up health care reform once (in theory) the Democratic law is repealed.

For each directive on the bill -- "preserve a patient's ability to keep his or her health plan if he or she likes it" is one example -- Cuellar had a simple response: we already did that.

Read More →

LiveWire