TPM News

The old gang's getting back together.

Politico reports that former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney will have their first reunion since last year's inauguration at the kickoff event for the Bush-Cheney Alumni Association on Feb. 26. The event will be a reception and breakfast.

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Republicans are questioning President Obama's heroic-sounding battle with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over the GOP blocking his nominees.

As we reported last night, the White House released a statement detailing what Obama told McConnell about obstructionism. Obama said he told McConnell in a meeting Tuesday if the holds weren't released he would use his power for recess appointments, and noted that 27 of his nominees were confirmed last night.

A Politico report takes it a bit further, detailing Obama's body language and noting the president was "forceful" with McConnell.

A Republican aide scoffed at the reports as White House "spin," adding that the confirmations last night were nothing unusual.

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Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) appeared on MSNBC Thursday afternoon, and made a bold pronouncement on the political debates surrounding the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the attempted bombing of Flight 253: That critics of the White House should not be accused of aiding al-Qaeda.

The catch here is that during the Bush years, Lieberman himself made some similar comments about critics of the Iraq War -- saying that when they attacked the Bush administration they were harming America, or helping al-Qaeda, or attacking America's allies.

Yesterday on MSNBC, Lieberman said just the opposite of his earlier position. "I just think we're into a bad cycle here. I have a lot of respect for John Brennan. I think some of the things he's said have been provocative and in my opinion inappropriate," said Lieberman. "You can have a difference of opinion about how the Christmas-Day Bomber should have been treated without turning it into a political debate or suggesting that anybody who doesn't agree with the way the administration handled the Christmas-Day Bomber is somehow giving aid and comfort to al-Qaeda. Nobody here wants to do that or is doing that. I think we'd all say that what we're trying to do is in fact protect the homeland security of the American people against al-Qaeda."

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WaPo: Obama To Help Select Location Of KSM Terrorism Trial The Washington Post reports that President Obama will become involved in the selection of a site for trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: "Obama initially had asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to choose the site of the trial in an effort to maintain an independent Justice Department. But the White House has been taken aback by the intense criticism from political opponents and local officials of Holder's decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian courtroom in New York."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. He will meet with senior advisers at 10:30 a.m. ET. He does not have any public events scheduled for today.

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Former President Bill Clinton's counselor Douglas Band released the following statement today on Clinton's condition after undergoing a heart procedure in New York. Here's the full text:

President Bill Clinton was released from New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia this morning in excellent health. He warmly thanks the doctors, nurses, and staff of the Hospital for the care he received, particularly Dr. Mark Apfelbaum and Dr. Michael Collins, who performed his procedure yesterday, which was overseen by Dr. Craig Smith and President Clinton's cardiologist Dr. Allan Schwartz. President Clinton would also like to thank the many people who extended their best wishes to him for a quick recovery. He looks forward in the days ahead to getting back to the work of his Foundation, and to Haiti relief and recovery efforts.

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) announced his retirement from Congress tonight. Kennedy has served there since 1994. On Sunday, the Providence Journal reports, Kennedy will run a commercial during 60 Minutes announcing his decision to the people of Rhode Island. See the video after the jump.

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President Obama said tonight he went to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to say he would use recess appointments if Republican senators failed to release their holds on his nominees.

Obama said he spoke to McConnell (R-KY) Tuesday about the tactics used by his caucus, leading some GOPers to release their holds.

"This is a rare but not unprecedented step that many other presidents have taken. Since that meeting, I am gratified that Republican senators have responded by releasing many of these holds and allowing 29 nominees to receive a vote in the Senate," Obama said in a statement released tonight by the White House.

He decried that "a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate" since the holds in many cases were "motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a Senator's state or simply to frustrate progress."

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A new poll shows that a slight majority of Americans are as frustrated with the filibuster as many politicians in Washington. The latest CBS News/New York Times poll asked more than 1,000 adults if the Senate filibuster rules should remain in place. Fifty percent said no, and 44% said yes. The poll, taken from Feb. 5-11, has a margin of error of 3%.

Support for the filibuster breaks along party lines. With their party in the minority in the Senate, 61% of Republicans want to keep the filibuster while just 32% want to drop it. Among Democratic respondents, 68% want the filibuster gone while only 26% want it to remain part of Senate rules. Independents are split, with 46% saying they'd keep the filibuster as it is, and 49% saying it should be scrapped.

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In an appearance on Fox today, Dana Perino continued the attack on the Obama Administration's handling of the attempted Christmas bombing, dismissing comparisons to the Richard Reid shoe-bombing case as "apples and oranges."

Despite the similarities between the two cases, and despite the fact that President Bush had OKed the use of military tribunals in November 2001, a month before the shoe bombing attempt, Perino argued that the context in which the two cases unfolded were significantly different.

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