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Labor allies are defending the White House from attacks by South Carolina Gov. NIkki Haley (R) and other Republican lawmakers over a union dispute with Boeing, accusing them of interfering with an independent federal agency.

At the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Haley and other Republicans called on President Obama to condemn the independent National Labor Relations Board, which is tasked with enforcing labor laws, for suing Boeing over a production line in South Carolina that it says constitutes illegal retaliation against unionized Boeing workers in Washington State. Obama has no direct control over the agency, but does choose its members, and Republicans have sought to block appointments they consider too pro-labor.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, issued a statement accusing the GOP of an "overly dramatic response" to a "routine unfair labor practice charge." He added that it was unfair to target the White House when it has no say in the NLRB's lawsuit.

"That's what this all comes down to: powerful corporate interests are pressuring public officials to interfere with an independent agency, rather than let justice run its course," Harkin said. "And we should not tolerate this interference. Instead, we should turn our attention back to the issues that really matter to American families - how we can create jobs in Washington, South Carolina, Iowa, and across the country?"

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Andrew Shirvell, the former Michigan Assistant Attorney General who was booted for harassing the student body president of the University of Michigan, Chris Armstrong, for being gay, is arguing that Armstrong's "course of conduct" and lawsuit against him are "politically motivated and intended to make an example out of [Shirvell] in order to deter others from criticizing [Armstrong]'s homosexual activist agenda."

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1||April 9, 2011: President Barack Obama waves to tourists at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington after Congress passes a bill to avert a government shutdown.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

2||April 4, 2011: Obama addresses United States Secret Service Uniformed Division officers at the White House's south portico.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

3||April 8, 2011: Obama and Vice President Joe Biden after a budget meeting in the Oval Office.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

4||April 6, 2011: Obama boards Marine One after a town hall in Fairless Hills, Pa.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

5||April 8, 2011: Obama talks with Biden and Chief of Staff Bill Daley outside the Oval Office.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

6||April 2, 2011: Obama greets tourists in the West Wing hallway outside the Oval Office.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

7||April 4, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joke together while taping a Joining Forces public service announcement in the East Room of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

8||April 5, 2011: Obama and President Shimon Peres of Israel walk along the Colonnade of the White House after a meeting.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

9||April 4, 2011: After meeting with advisers, Obama sits in the patio outside the Oval Office.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

10||April 4, 2011: Obama talks with advisors in the Oval Office before a phone call with President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon to discuss the situation in Cote d'Ivoire.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

11||April 5, 2011: Obama and Biden meet with congressional leaders to discuss budget negotiations.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

12||April 6, 2011: The president and his staff hold a secure teleconference in the Situation Room regarding the situation in Libya. Adm. Samuel Locklear, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, is shown on the screen.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

13||April 6, 2011: The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden meet with members of Congress to discuss the Joining Forces military families initiative in the White House's Map Room.||Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson&&

14||April 5, 2011: Obama meets with staff in the Oval Office before giving a statement regarding budget negotiations. Clockwise from Obama are: Director of Speechwriting Jon Favreau; Press Secretary Jay Carney; Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew; Rob Nabors, assistant to the president for legislative affairs; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Phil Schiliro, assistant to the president and special advisor; Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer; and Senior Advisor David Plouffe.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

15||April 8, 2011: Obama speaks with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

16||April 9, 2011: Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner during a fiscal policy meeting in the White House's Roosevelt Room.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

17||April 9, 2011: Obama greets tourists at the Lincoln Memorial.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

18||April 8, 2011: Obama delivers the news that Congress reached a budget deal to avert a government shutdown.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

19||April 8, 2011: Press Secretary Jay Carney, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew and Biden listen as Obama speaks from the White House's Blue Room.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

20||April 6, 2011: The First Lady and Dr. Biden greet participants during a roundtable meeting with military spouses, veterans and volunteers.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

21||April 5, 2011: Obama and Biden after a teleconference on the situation in Libya.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

Fully six in ten Americans now approve of President Obama's job performance, according to an AP poll released Wednesday morning, the highest level recorded in their surveys in exactly two years.

In addition, the poll showed the president's reelection prospects getting a boost too, as it found that more Americans now think Obama deserves to be reelected than the percentage who said the same two months ago.

In the poll, 60% of respondents said they approved of Obama's job performance, compared to 39% who disapproved. That's the best rating Obama has received since May 2009 when, riding high after his inauguration, 64% of Americans approved of his job performance.

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The three-way race to fill the vacant western New York seat vacated by Rep. Chris Lee (R) will get some more national attention in its closing weeks. On the day the Republican super PAC linked to Karl Rove announced it's going up with at least $350,000 worth of TV ads on behalf of GOP candidate Jane Corwin, national Democrats pledged to kick in their own hefty sum to bolster their candidate, Kathy Hochul.

A Democratic source confirmed to TPM that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) "is placing a $250,000 media buy in NY-26."

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Underscoring the fact that there's significant opposition to means-testing Medicare in the Democratic Party, Rep. Henry Waxman's office blasted out a statement this afternoon pushing back on House Speaker John Boehner's strong hint that this should be part of the debt limit negotiations.

"Under existing law, well-off seniors are already going to be paying more for their Medicare premiums," says Waxman, a California Democrat.

Further changes to Medicare at the expense of the wealthier or middle class seniors may push them to leave the program and end up with Medicare costing more because it would still have the sickest and poorest people left. In other words, this idea may undermine Medicare and cost beneficiaries more at the same time.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) isn't relying on U.S. intelligence officials alone to find out whether the Pakistani government was helping harbor Osama bin Laden.

Feinstein, who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, told TPM she has "her own people looking into it" and will hold closed-door classified hearings on the increasingly frayed relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan soon.

Despite her deep concerns about what the Pakistani government knew about bin Laden's compound before a U.S. assault team raided it and killed the notorious al Qaeda leader, Feinstein tempered remarks Monday in which she questioned continuing to send billions of dollars in humanitarian and military aid to the country and said the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan "makes less and less sense."

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Senate Democrats are pushing hard on ending tax breaks for oil companies, linking the issue to the deficit and high gas prices, which have boosted profits in the industry to new heights.

In a floor speech on Tuesday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said the Senate would target $4 billion in benefits for oil companies with the intention of using the savings to help address the nation's growing debt.

"If we're serious about reducing the deficit, this is an easy place to start," Reid said. "It's a no-brainer. Let's use the savings from these taxpayer giveaways to drive down the deficit, not drive up oil company profits."

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