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With Thanksgiving recess now upon us, it seems an appropriate time to revisit the hysterical Republican whoppers and talking points about the Democratic party agenda that have dominated this Congress. Herewith a top-five list:

Number Five: Paul Ryan Draws Line On Graph

Back in the Spring, when Democrats were putting together the federal budget, House Budget Committee ranking member Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a much-mocked Republican alternative, which would have basically canceled the stimulus and instituted a spending freeze of sorts. The ideas in the Republican alternative budget were roundly rebuked by experts, but Ryan wasn't deterred. Instead of accepting defeat, he unveiled some graphs suggesting that, under Republican budgets, spending would be restrained, while under Democratic budgets, it would blow through the roof.



Except his numbers weren't based on any analysis at all. Instead, Ryan used CBO numbers through 2018 and then drew an upward-sloping line on the graph completely at random. It didn't take long for Republicans to catch on and begin claiming that Democratic policies would make government spending half of GDP before the end of the century.

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There's a lot to be grateful for this year: We have a president who, whatever his short-comings, at least speaks in full sentences. We avoided another Great Depression. And we've always got Michael Steele to entertain us.

But here at TPM, we wanted to give thanks for something we really couldn't do without: the flood of reader tips -- inside information, documents, or even just news stories that have flown under the radar -- that help lead to so many of our biggest news breaks.

So here, in chronological order, are our Top Ten Reader Tips for the last year...

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Hell hath no fury like a conservative scorned. Or over-taxed. Or "under-freedomed" or whatever.

From the August town hall meetings to Michele Bachmann's very own Tea Party a couple of weeks ago, here's a look back at the special moments that have defined this year's right-wing protest meme.

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Here at TPM, we definitely have an eye for the weird -- and speaking for myself, I particularly enjoy the crazy stuff that right-wingers often say.

The American right often uses the rhetoric of a persecuted minority, even when they're actually in power. So having a Democrat in the White House, let alone a progressive black Democrat from Chicago named Barack Hussein Obama, has driven them to whole new heights (or lows, depending on how you count it) of rhetoric.

So let's take a look at some real stars of our current political rhetorical wars. The list is mostly Republican -- and you betchya that it was an obvious choice for the top spot -- plus one Democratic "Congressman With Guts" who gives the opposition a taste of their own medicine. We've got politicians, talk show hosts, and people who seem to be both at the same time. So sit back, and enjoy the crazy.

I'm certainly thankful to them -- for making my job a lot more interesting. If they weren't around, what would there be for me to write about?

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Taking a step back, let's evaluate what the release of 1,615 visitors to the White House show us.

* First, it's a busy White House.

President Obama has often been accused of doing too much, and it's clear from the frequency the gates open that his team has dozens of balls up in the air at once.

From health care summits, education strategy talks with state and big-city officials in the Oval Office and meetings with industry leaders to press interviews, poetry readings and the luau for members of Congress, by all accounts there is never a dull moment at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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November 24: The President and First Lady await the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, before the first state dinner in the Obama White House. President Obama hosts his first state dinner at the White House for Indian Prime Minister Singh. Earlier in the day, Obama said, "This visit reflects the high esteem in which I and the American people hold your wise leadership. It reflects the abiding bonds of respect and friendship between our people, including our friends in the Indian American community who join us here today."

Newscom/Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT




Prime Minister Singh arrives at the White House.

Newscom/Gary Fabiano/Sipa Press




the Obamas greet the Prime Minister and Mrs. Kaur. Michelle Obama wears a dress designed by Indian-born designer Naeem Khan, who told Larry King that it took three weeks and 40 people to complete the dress. Khan said he wanted to dress the First Lady in something "Indian, chic, simple but very glamorous."

Newscom/UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg




The Obamas pose for pictures with their Indian guests.

Newscom/ Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press




Attorney General Eric Holder was among the attendees at the dinner. Also on the guest list were director Steven Spielberg, journalist Fareed Zakaria and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Newscom/CNPPhotos




Hours before the dinner, reporters are offered a sneak peek of a sample table setting Michelle Obama hired award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson to help the White House executive chef prepare the vegetarian meal.

Newscom/Zhang Yan




The dinner is held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House. In his toast, President Obama explained that the setting is meant to evoke images of India where events are "often celebrated under the cover of a beautiful tent."

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press




A Marine Corps band plays before the arrival of the President and Prime Minister.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press




Some of the event's 338 invited guests.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press




Guests watch award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, who headlined the post-dinner entertainment for the event.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press




Marvin Hamlisch conducts the National Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra kicked off with a performance of "Summon the Heroes" by composer John Williams.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press




Singh listens to the National Symphony Orchestra.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press




President Obama toasts the guest of honor.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

One day after President Obama announces his decision on a troop surge to Afghanistan, his top Cabinet members will testify on Capitol Hill about the plan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

They have been present in most of the nine meetings Obama has held with his War Council as he considered his options on whether to send more troops to the region at the recommendation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

As we reported earlier, Obama will address the nation Tuesday night from West Point Military Academy.

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