TPM News

John Bolton, the former Bush administration Ambassador to the United Nations who has seemingly been testing the waters for a possible presidential candidacy, is now saying that the Senate GOP leadership's unsuccessful fight against the START nuclear arms treaty with Russia was a good thing politically -- even though the treaty was ratified.

Bolton appeared last night on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, with Tucker Carlson sitting in the host seat.

"But let's be clear. I think that this fight was worth it, even though the treaty was ratified," said Bolton, "because I think, people are now well aware of the driven ideology of this administration, to reduce our nuclear capabilities, which I think they now understand will endanger us and our friends and allies going forward."

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In 2007, just weeks after Republicans lost control of the House and Senate and six years after the first passel of Bush tax cuts were signed into law, Democrats made a key change to the budget rules to prevent that episode from repeating itself.

Republicans had used the budget reconciliation process -- immune from a filibuster -- to pass the cuts and explode the deficit: two things the reconciliation process was never meant to allow. To get away with it, Republicans were forced to include a 10-year sunset in package -- planting the seeds for the tax cut fight we just saw on Capitol Hill. After Dems wrested control of Congress, they banned the reconciliation loopholes used by the GOP altogether.

But as they return to power in the House of Representatives, Republicans are taking steps to unravel those changes.

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Rep.-Elect Ben Quayle (R-AZ) has brought on Renee Hudson, the former chief of staff of adulterous former Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), to be his new chief of staff. Hudson reportedly brought news of Souder's dalliance to GOP leadership after confronting her boss.

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If you plug your brand-new "Decision Points" audiobook into your Windows computer, you'll get some pretty unexpected track titles. Why? Because in 2007, various artists made a protest album called "George W. Bush," and the online database that Windows Media uses to fill in the track titles thinks your audiobook is their album.

There have been complaints of late -- we're guessing from someone who got a copy for Christmas -- that chapter titles like "Innocent Children Die" and "Bush It" were popping up when they loaded the album on Windows Media Player.

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A government whistleblower charges that the 73-year-old man the U.S. Marshals Service put in charge of auctioning off the property forfeited by white-collar criminals, including Bernie Madoff, undervalued what could be millions of dollars in assets.

Leonard Briskman, the man in charge of the Marshals unit and the Asset Forfeiture Program, is accused of selling the assets without public notice or competitive bidding, finding buyers through business contacts and maintaining a secret bank account not accessible to government auditors, the New York Times reported.

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Obama's Economist Pick Seen As Sign Of New Agenda The Associated Press reports: "Among the first announcements President Barack Obama will make upon returning from his Hawaiian vacation is his choice for top economic adviser, a decision that could signal a new direction for the administration as it struggles to jumpstart the economy and wrestle down unemployment."

Obama Looks To Chicago For Campaign Headquarters Politico reports on how President Obama's campaign is considering basing its headquarters in Chicago, rather than the Washington area -- a move that no modern president has done: "Obama's top advisers have concluded that potential drawbacks to locating the headquarters in his home base of Chicago are outweighed by the benefits they anticipate from a break with precedent. And with Republican contenders already circling, there's a sense of urgency toward beginning to set up the reelection effort."

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From lecturing President Barack Obama on racial sensitivity to inflating threats of terror, Fox News offered more than a few journalistic lessons this year. Fox's ratings continued to top the other major cable networks, while its news coverage ... well, let's just let it speak for itself.

Here's a list -- though hardly an exhaustive one -- of some memorable moments from Fox News this year.

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A funny thing is going on in New Jersey. The state's response to the massive snowstorm is being overseen by Democratic state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, in the role of Acting Governor -- because both Republican Gov. Chris Christie and his Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno are vacationing out of state at the same time.

Until this past year, New Jersey did not actually have a lieutenant governor, with the state Senate President taking over in case of a vacancy or temporary absence of the governor. In 2005, New Jersey voters approved a ballot question to create the office of lieutenant governor, with it being filled by the victory of the Christie-Guadagno ticket in 2009.

But in the midst of the snowstorm, Christie is on vacation with his family at Disney World in Florida, and Guadagno and her family are in Mexico.

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The White House is denying that a new Medicare regulation revives language dropped from the health care reform bill that covered voluntary end-of-life planning sessions between doctors and patients.

The policy was removed from the health care bill after Republicans and right-wing opponents of the bill construed the provision as creating "death panels" for old people.

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