TPM News

Ramping up the push-back against GOP criticism of the handling of the attempted Christmas bombing suspect, a top Obama aide argues in a new op-ed that America's "system of justice" is fully capable of dealing with terrorists.

Writing in USA Today, Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan calls, essentially, for the United States to calm down.

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Cloture Vote On NLRB Nominee To Test Strength Of Dem, GOP Caucuses Senate Democrats are facing a key test today of their voting strength, with a cloture vote on the nomination of Craig Becker for a seat on the National Labor Relations Board. Senate Republicans now have 41 members, thanks to the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has announced he will vote against Becker, meaning that Democrats need at least two Republicans to cross over, and to hold on to all 58 other members of the Democratic caucus.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will sign a memorandum on childhood obesity at 9:15 a.m. ET. Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and meet at 10:15 a.m. ET with bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate, to discuss the economy and jobs. Obama and Biden will have lunch at 12 p.m. ET. Obama will receive the economic daily briefing at 2:30 p.m. ET, and meet with senior advisers at 3 p.m. ET.

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) will join with Republicans to block cloture on a nominee for the National Labor Relations Board that President Obama has sent to the Senate. In a statement yesterday, Nelson lashed out at the nominee, Craig Becker, saying he'll "pursue an aggressive personal agenda" on the board.

Becker's nomination has been controversial among conservatives and Republicans since it was announced. The right views Becker's past as an SEIU lawyer as a harbinger that he'll take pro-labor stances that Republicans and business leaders have long viewed with trepidation.

In his statement yesterday, Nelson lent his voice to those concerns, citing Becker's past statements that Republicans have used in their campaign against the nominee.

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TPMDC has been searching far and wide for public supporters of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap" budget blueprint, a measure that Republican leaders insist is Ryan's alone and which grips the political third rail of Social Security and Medicare cuts.

But it turns out Ryan, who says he is willing to lose his job over the plan if it means ending the deficit, isn't as lonely as it may seem.

He has nine Republican friends co-sponsoring the measure, which would effectively privatize Social Security if it becomes law. That's unlikely, and both GOP leaders and Ryan's office say this will not be the Republican budget alternative that gets a floor vote this spring.

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Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), chairman of the House Republican Conference, today endorsed Marco Rubio, the conservative candidate challenging Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) for the Republican nomination for Senate.

Pence, who is rumored to have his own intention for higher (that is, Oval) office, said today that Rubio "will be a courageous check and balance on the current Washington establishment."

"Marco Rubio's faith in free markets, limited government and traditional moral values make him the right choice for Republicans in this race," Pence said in a statement.

About a year ago, President Obama kick started the health care debate by hosting a bipartisan summit designed to build momentum for what he hoped would be his signature domestic policy initiative. The March 5, 2009 meeting was marked by pleasantries, and engagement between Republicans and Democrats--and that figured. Republicans were facing a popular President, pushing a popular initiative, in the aftermath of a big victory on the stimulus bill.

Fast forward to February 2010, and a lot of people in Washington--liberals, Democrats, even some pundits--are asking a question: Why is President Obama wasting his time with yet another summit. After all, he tried this a year ago and...well, just look how well that's paid off.

Times have changed, though. And now Democrats see an opportunity not so much for bipartisan co-operation, but for the President to magnify the differences between his own party, and the hell-bent-on-obstruction GOP. Whether they're right or wrong, though, the politics have simply changed. After a year of smears and bad faith, with Republicans locked into opposition, this month's summit simply won't be a redux of the same event.

Take Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)--ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee. Here's what he said to Obama at the time: "I think you served with us in the Senate long enough to know that Max Baucus and I have a pretty good record of working out bipartisan things."

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February 8, 2010: The New Orleans Saints won their first NFL title, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. With the victory, the Louisiana city, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, rejoiced with its famed flamboyancy. New Orleans elected a new mayor, Mitch Landrieu, on Saturday. But that was easily overshadowed by the joy that overflowed on the streets Sunday night.



Above, Saints fans at the game celebrate the final outcome.

Newscom/Zumawire




One zealous fan leads a march of Saints fans down University Drive in Miami Gardens, FL, the site of the Super Bowl.

Newscom/Zumasportswest




Saints fans wear the popular team cheer outside the stadium.



Newscom/UPI




Roaring Saints fans march from the El Palacio Hotel to the Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL.

Newscom/Zumasportswest




The celebrations on Bourbon Street.

Newscom/UPI




New Orleans erupts in celebration.

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Photo by Taylor Davidson






Photo by Taylor Davidson






Photo by Taylor Davidson






Photo by Taylor Davidson






Photo by Taylor Davidson






Photo by Taylor Davidson






Photo by Taylor Davidson






Photo by Taylor Davidson






Photo by Taylor Davidson

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), one of the co-sponsors of Rep. Paul Ryan's Social Security-slashing budget proposal, went on Fox today to advocate privatizing both Social Security and Medicare.

Blackburn never used the word "privatize." But her idea to change the entitlement programs so people have separate accounts with their money is privatization.

"We need to make sure that individuals get the money out that they have placed in," she said. "This is one of the reasons we have had the discussion over and over for our younger earners of having accounts that have their Social Security number and their information on it, so you have that personal account."

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