TPM News

Libya Questions Swirl As Obama Comes Home CNN reports: "President Barack Obama is returning home to a firestorm of criticism over his handling of the crisis in Libya and mounting calls for a clearer explanation of U.S. policy in the war-torn North African nation...Critics on Capitol Hill and elsewhere are angry over what they consider inadequate administration consultation with Congress before the start of the military mission over the weekend. They also continue to have questions over the conflict's cost and consequences as well as the U.S. endgame."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet for lunch at 12:45 p.m. ET. Obama will meet at 2:15 p.m. ET with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. In the afternoon, Obama will meet with his national security team to review efforts in Libya.

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A new PPP poll of registered voters in Connecticut shows Democrats with big leads in hypothetical match-ups for the seat being vacated by Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT-I).

In the poll, two potential Democratic candidates, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT), comfortably led a number of potential GOP challengers, posting double-digit leads in every potential match-up included in the survey.

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A coalition of reform groups are calling on the House Ethics Committee to resume its work on the investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). The ethics watchdogs said in a letter to House Ethics Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) that they want the committee to let the public know more about the status of the case.

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If House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) really wants to know what deals were struck between the White House and the health care industry to pass health care reform, he may end up giving health care reform some free advertising.

As part of his quest to publicize all of the dealmaking that characterized the health care reform process, Upton says he'll consider pressing industry leaders for details on their private negotiations with the Obama administration.

"It's something that's not off the table, in terms of what we may do," Upton said at a recent press conference with House leadership.

So far, Upton has directed all of his inquiries at the White House, to no avail. Changing course would give him easier access to the information he seeks (or claims to seek), but might put him behind the eight ball politically. That's because many of the stakeholders in question -- drug manufacturers, hospitals, and other interested parties -- either support the law, or entered a sort of non-aggression pact with the administration.

And if Upton drags those leaders -- many of whom lean Republican -- up to the Hill for a public hearing about their participation in the process, he may hear more about how they think it's a good law, than about how shady the whole process was.

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Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is demanding detailed answers from President Obama on the scope and objective of U.S. military action in Libya and his plans for removing Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi from power if he does not voluntarily step down in the next few days.

In a letter (read it here) to the White House sent Wednesday afternoon, Boehner asks Obama to outline the "scope, objective and purpose of the mission in Libya and how it will be achieved."

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There's definitely no Republican presidential contender for whom the one-year anniversary of the Democratic health care reform bill is more important than Mitt Romney. Under attack for the similar health care reform measure he signed into law while governor of Massachusetts, Romney's been trying to establish himself as the most anti-health care reform law kinda-sorta candidate in the race.

Late last night, Romney took a new tack: I'll kill Obamacare as much as I can on my very first day in office if I'm president.

"If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states," he wrote in the National Review. "The executive order would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and businessman Herman Cain addressed a rally of home-schooling activists today in Des Moines, Iowa, a key venue for potential Republican presidential candidates.

"I'm a seventh-generation Iowan," Bachmann boasted, CNN reports. Bachmann was born in Iowa, and her family moved to Minnesota when she was a child. She also added: "What I love about Iowans is that we're fighters."

"It's up to you to decide. It is not up to some bureaucrat to decide what is best for your children," she also said, the Des Moines Register reports. "I am so tired of the establishment telling us that they know best."

Paul and Cain also had a lot to say on the subject.

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Former Sen. John Warner (R-VA) appeared via telephone on MSNBC this afternoon, for a brief interview to discuss the passing of his former wife, the late actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Warner, who was first elected to the Senate in 1978 and retired in 2008, was married to Taylor from 1976-1982.

"We were friends to the end," said Warner, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell. "And likewise my children and her children were bonded, and my children are going to attend the services in California. So I look at this whole ending with a sense of humility and gratitude."

Warner recounted how Taylor had been his "partner" to support him in his unlikely 1978 victory -- when he initially lost the Republican nomination at the state convention, then was given the nomination nine weeks before election day, after his previous rival died in a plane crash.

He praised Taylor as a "great woman," and also discussed how they had kept in close contact regarding her activism for HIV/AIDS awareness, and his votes in the Senate. "And I would say, 'I'm with you.'"

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In December, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) looked shaky heading into her 2012 reelection bid. One poll found her barely leading a slate of potential Republican challengers. But now, Stabenow's poll numbers have rebounded: a new PPP poll shows her leading her potential rivals by double-digits.

That turnaround comes at the same time that Michigan's new Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, has seen his approval rating slide, after his push for a controversial proposal that would give him the authority to appoint emergency managers in struggling cities, a proposal one supporter likened to "financial martial law."

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