TPM News

The debt limit fight is over, but the fight over entitlement programs will continue for months. In the weeks ahead, the leaders of both parties in both the House and Senate will name three members each to a new committee tasked with reducing the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion.

The ultimate makeup of that committee is key. It will determine whether this Congress will pass further fiscal legislation, and, thus, what the major themes of the 2012 election will be.

At a pre-recess press conference Tuesday afternoon, TPM asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) whether the people she appoints to the committee will make the same stand she made during the debt limit fight -- that entitlement benefits -- as opposed to provider payments, waste and other Medicare spending -- should be off limits.

In short, yes.

Read More →

A federal judge on Monday ordered the temporary shutdown of a streaming video service that provided unauthorized access to movies on the same day that they became available on DVDs.

The case is being watched closely by people both in the entertainment and technology industries as one that could set the boundaries regarding emerging new media services online.

From the start, Zediva, a start-up in Sunnyvale, CA stirred controversy because its founders did not strike licensing deals with the movie studios and did not respect the studios' business model of staggering the release of films to the public online.

Theservice streamed newly-released DVDs from Zediva's servers by playing one disc for a viewer at a time over the Internet.

Read More →

The conservative beef with GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is that he's too centrist. On issues like climate change and health care and social conservatism, Romney has issues convincing the right wing he's one of them.

Could wrapping himself up in some of the most conservative names from the legal sphere help change that image? We're about to find out.

Read More →

President Obama has signed the debt deal, ending months of gridlock and harried weeks of debt negotiations in Washington that brought the country to the brink of default but averted the crisis at the last minute.

The debt deal hashed out by Congressional leaders and the White House over the weekend raises the debt ceiling and guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.

Even so, the agreement is only the first step, with the real work beginning this fall when a special committee hand-selected by Republicans and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill will get to work finding additional costs savings and possibly new revenue streams with overhauls to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and the U.S. tax system.

Read More →

Well, we didn't default.

That's the most a lot of Democrats can say about the legislation that just passed in the Senate, by a vote of 74-26. Those voting against were 19 Republicans, 6 Democrats and one independent - Vermont's Bernie Sanders.

Although some Democrats are relieved to have at least avoided the doomsday scenario of default, they're also deflated by the fact that the GOP has leveraged its control of one house of Congress into complete dominance of the policy debate.

Democrats lost this fight for many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that the consequences of default are as unfathomable as they are unnecessary. That's why, in the past, raising the debt limit has been a matter of routine, or at worst an occasion for harmless partisan preening. If borrowing authority ever lapses, the country would initially face a major problem, and, soon thereafter, a deadly one.

Read More →

Going into the home stretch of the Wisconsin state Senate recalls, state Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate outlined the party's get-out-the-vote efforts on a conference call with reporters Tuesday -- and claimed that the party's internal polling of the eight races up for grabs shows the Dems favored to win the majority.

The state Senate currently has a 19-14 Republican majority, with Democrats needing to gain at least a net three seats in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker. (And after that, they hope to recall Walker some time next year.) For next Tuesday, six Republicans will be on the ballot against Democratic challengers, followed the next Tuesday by two more recalls targeting Democratic incumbents.

On the call, in response to a question from Greg Sargent, Tate said of next week's races: "I don't know that I would say that we are going to sweep all six races, but our polling tells that we have leads in three of these races and we are dead tied in three."

Read More →

Newt Gingrich took to FOX News Monday night to compare President Obama to, of all people, Paul Krugman, one of the White House's fiercest critics.

"This is a Paul Krugman presidency," Gingrich told Bill O'Reilly. "[Obama] believes that stuff. He actually believes in left-wing economic ideas. The only problem with them is that they don't work."

It was an odd comparison, given that the New York Times columnist has staked out a position as Obama's ultimate nemesis on the left since the very earliest days of his administration.

"If only!" Krugman replied by e-mail, when asked about Newt's claim by TPM.

Krugman made the cover of Newsweek in Obama's very first year in office as part of a profile entitled "OBAMA IS WRONG: The Loyal Opposition of Paul Krugman." Politico's Mike Allen labeled him the "anti-Obama."

At the time of the Newsweek story, Krugman was arguing in his column that Obama's stimulus plan was too small to prevent massive, prolonged unemployment and that the White House had failed to get tough enough on big finance. Needless to say, the stalling recovery today and Obama's recent interest in negotiating multi-trillion dollar spending cuts hasn't led Krugman to change his tone. One recent post recast the president as "Barack Herbert Hoover Obama."

"This is truly a tragedy: the great progressive hope (well, I did warn people) is falling all over himself to endorse right-wing economic fallacies," he wrote.

Update: Krugman has a blog post up entitled "Bwahahahaha, Newt Edition."

"Yes, I'm secretly giving Barack marching orders, and only pretending to be deeply frustrated by his actions and rhetoric," he writes. "Incidentally, those 'left-wing economic ideas' are Economics 101; and try stacking up my economic predictions over the past few years against any of Gingrich's favorites."

This story has been updated.

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney has been the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in national polls, but we have yet to see much polling that shows him beating President Obama in a crucial swing state. But a new Quinnipiac poll shows that a plurality of GOP voters want Romney in PA, and he now leads Obama 44 - 42, inside the margin of error and therefore a statistical dead heat.

The President bests other GOP contenders, but remains under 50% in all matchups. Obama beats former PA Sen. Rick Santorum 45 - 43, Minn. Rep. Michele Bachmann 47 - 39, and Tex. Gov. Rick Perry 45 - 39. Voters in the state disapprove of Obama's performance by a 54 - 43 margin, and say the President doesn't deserve to be reelected by a 52 - 42 spread, according to the poll.

Read More →