TPM News

Speaking on the House floor last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) seemed to suggest that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder urged self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to change his plea to not guilty so he could be tried in New York.

This is an extremely important point. Again, the mastermind of 9-1-1, who achieved his goal of killing 3,000 innocent Americans in the World Trade Center bombing, he got his way. Why would we give him his way by bringing him to New York City, at over $200 million a year taxpayer expense, to give him a show trial when he has already plead guilty and already asked to be executed? What happened? Did the president, did the attorney general say to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "Now wait a minute, you don't want to plead guilty. Wait a minute you don't want to be executed. You want to come to New York City. You want to have the trial just like you asked for in the first place. Why would we do that? Because the only message we'll be sending to future terrorists will be, "You too can have a show trial in the city of your choice if you come to America."

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President Obama this morning again addressed the relief efforts in Haiti, announcing an immediate investment of $100 million for "one of the largest relief efforts in our recent history."

"This morning I can report that the first waves of our rescue and relief workers are on the ground and at work," he said. He said search and rescue teams are working to dig out survivors; the military has secured the Port-au-Prince airport to receive workers and supplies "around the clock;" and water and medicine has been air-lifted to the hardest-hit areas.

He also said injured Americans have been air-lifted out of the country, and more evacuations for citizens will be scheduled soon.

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In a new interview with the BBC, a former Gitmo detainee and former member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula accused the United States of torturing him while at Bagram prison in Afghanistan.

The BBC interviewed Mohammed al-Awfi in the well-appointed apartment where he is being held by Saudi authorities. A Saudi national, al-Awfi's journey took him from Bagram to Guantanamo to the Saudi rehabilitation program to the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and finally back into the hands of Saudi authorities.

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Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D) is taking a lot of heat as he considers a primary challenge against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), especially after a New York Times interview in which he said, among other things, that he had only visited the outer boroughs of New York City by helicopter.

It wasn't long before Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), always good for a dig at political opponents, weighed in.

"If he thinks that its an appealing argument to position yourself as being somebody who will stand up to Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, well I don't think we need another Joe Lieberman," Weiner told Politico.

"Maybe when his helicopter lands in Queens next I can ask him," he said.

Two of the House's most influential chairmen say that health care negotiations between the House, Senate, and President Obama have come so far, that they'll be ready to send a package to Congressional scorekeepers this weekend.

Congress Daily caught up with Rep. George Miller (D-CA)--chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee--and Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY)--chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee--who both acknowledged that a compromise could be just around the corner.

"We hope to be able to send in the next couple days our changes to CBO," Miller said (sub. req.).

Rangel said they'd have a package ready for scoring by Saturday.

Congressional negotiators and the White House have made significant headway on resolving two of the biggest differences between the House and Senate health care bills in recent days, and it looks like they're just about ready to wrap things up.

The Haitian ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph, appeared on Rachel Maddow last night and responded to televangelist Pat Robertson's comments that Haiti had made a "pact to the devil."

Robertson had contended that the Haitians had made a deal with the devil in order to overthrow the French in 1804.

Joseph responded that that "pact" lead to the Louisiana Purchase.

"So what pact the Haitian made with the devil has helped the United States become what it is," he said.


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According to a new poll, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is in position to dash the hopes of Republicans hoping to pick up Sen. Chris Dodd's (D) seat this year. The popular Blumenthal defeats all major GOP contenders for the seat by huge margins in a new poll from Quinnipiac University, a result that highlights the political difficulties for Dodd that led to his decision not to seek reelection.

In the poll's hypothetical matchups, Blumenthal defeats the front-runner in the GOP primary for the seat, former Rep. Rob Simmons, 62-27. Blumenthal leads self-funder Linda McMahon, who's running behind Simmons in the GOP primary race according to the Q poll, 64-23.

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Obama To Announce 'Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee' President Obama will formally unveil today his proposed "Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee," a fee on 50 of the largest financial firms, in order to recoup taxpayers' money from the TARP bailout. The proposal is aimed at raising $90 billion over the next ten years, and will bring the total cost to the government of the bailout down to $117 billion, including both the fee and money that has been paid back..

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Obama will meet at 10:30 a.m. ET with senior advisers, and at 11:05 a.m. ET with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. At 11:50 a.m. ET, he will deliver remarks to announce the new financial crisis responsibility fee, to be levied on large financial institutions. He will have lunch at 12:05 p.m. ET with Vice President Biden. At 1:45 p.m. Et, he will deliver remarks at the opening session of the Forum on Modernizing Government. He will receive the economic daily briefing at 2:15 p.m. ET, and meet at 3 p.m. ET with Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner. At 5:05 p.m. ET, he will deliver remarks at the House Democratic Caucus retreat.

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Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) asked his campaign list to donate to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, joining his Senate colleagues with a plea to keep Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat in the Democratic column Tuesday.

"Martha is working to carry on Senator Kennedy's legacy on vital issues like health care reform," Specter told his supporters. "We need a Senator from Massachusetts who is ready to join the fight for health care reform."

Presumably Specter, who switched and became the party's 60th Democrat last year, has a lot of Republicans on his mailing list.