TPM News

Obama: Al-Qaida Would 'Have No Compunction' About Using A Nuke President Obama said Sunday that the "single biggest threat to U.S. security" would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon: "We know that organizations like al-Qaida are in the process of trying to secure nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and would have no compunction at using them."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will arrive at the Washington Convention Center, to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, at 10:15 a.m. ET. He will hold a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan at 10:45 a.m. ET; a meeting with Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Abdul Razak of Malaysia at 11:45 a.m. ET; a meeting with President Viktor Yanukovich of Ukraine at 12:55 p.m. ET; a meeting with with President Serzh Sargsian of Armenia at 1:30 p.m. ET; and a meeting President Hu Jintao of China at 2:30 p.m. ET. He will welcome Heads of Delegation to the National Security Summit at 5 p.m. ET, and hold a working dinner at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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When Ken Cuccinelli ran last year to be attorney general of Virginia, he made no effort to hide his strident conservatism.

Cuccinelli made the Gadsden Flag -- which, with its "Don't Tread On Me" message, has lately been adopted by Tea Partiers -- an official symbol of his campaign. He told a crowd he was thinking of not registering his son for a social security number because "it is being used to track you." He even seemed to flirt with Birtherism. "Ken was a tea partier before there was a Tea Party," one Virginia Republican told the New York Times recently.

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Tina Fey hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend and, of course, reprised her role as Sarah Palin -- complete with Palin's new leather jacket.

The bit was a spoof ad for the "Sarah Palin Network," featuring shows such as, "Hey Journalist, I Gotcha," and original movies that "aim for the heartland," such as, "My Daughter Only Sprained Her Ankle, You Can't Seriously Be Considering Euthanizing Her."


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Leahy: Current Supreme Court: 'Most Activist Court In My Lifetime' Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) took aim at Republican rhetoric about the Supreme Court, with Leahy charging that the current conservative court are the activist judges: "This is a very, very activist court, the most activist court in my lifetime. They rewrote the law to say that--so they said that women could be paid less than men. They rewrote the law to say that age discrimination laws won't apply if corporate interests don't want them to. They rewrote the law to give ExxonMobil a $2 billion windfall. And they rewrote the law to say that corporations could come in and meddle in elections in this, in this country."

Sessions: GOP Would Filibuster Somebody Like Goodwin Liu Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. Jeff Sessions was asked about the possibility of a filibuster of the upcoming Supreme Court nominee: "I promise a fair hearing, and I, I promise that the nominee will have a chance to explain any criticisms that are raised. But if a nominee is, is one that is so activist like Goodwin Liu that's just been nominated, who's written that, that the Constitution requires welfare and health care to individuals, if it's somebody like that, clearly outside the mainstream, then I think every power should be utilized to protect the Constitution. We'll not confirm somebody like that."

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the Southern Republican Leadership Conference 2012 presidential straw poll this evening. He beat Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) by one vote, 439-438.

The full field (with number of votes):

Newt Gingrich 18% (321) Mike Huckabee 4% Gary Johnson 1% Sarah Palin 18% (330) Ron Paul 24% (438) Tim Pawlenty 3% Mike Pence 3% Mitt Romney 24% (439) Rick Santorum 2%

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Michael Steele delivered something of a mea culpa at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this afternoon. In his first major address to his party since the string of scandals and resignations that has plagued the last two weeks at the RNC, Steele apologized for the problems at the party organization but said that focusing too much attention on them would serve only to help the Democrats in 2010.

"In life you learn very quickly that you can't please everyone, but you can certainly make them all mad at you at the same time," he said. "And that is a lesson well-learned. It is an opportunity as well because folks have been mad at us in the past and we have learned from that past."

"And now," Steele continued, "we're ready to move on into a bright future as leaders as Republicans and as conservatives."

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Near the end of the third day of this year's Southern Republican Leadership Conference, it was time for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to take the stage. Paul, fresh off his victory in the CPAC straw poll, gave a characteristically fired-up speech that took on the views of the Republican party establishment.

"The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist," Paul said. "I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical sense, in the economic definition of a what a socialist is, no, he's not a socialist."

"He's a corporatist," Paul continued. "And unfortunately we have corporatists inside the Republican party and that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country."

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Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) finished his remarks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference a few minutes ago. The chairman of the RGA and another in the parade of potential 2012 contenders to take the podium in New Orleans today, Barbour led his remarks by thanking the Bush administration for the way it handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which slammed Mississippi's coast as it did New Orleans.

To say the least, it was a surprising position for any politician -- much less one from the Gulf Coast -- to take.

"Candidly I want to say thank you to the federal government," he said. "The federal government gets a very bad rap about what happened after Katrina. The federal government was very generous to us after the storm and I want to say thank you for that."

Barbour had more surprises in store, relating his appreciation of the Bush administration's handling of Katrina to a discussion of fiscal responsibility.

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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum wants to tell you he's sorry. The arch-conservative is one of a number of former Republican party figures in the early stages of potential runs for president, and in a speech before the Southern Republican Leadership conference this afternoon, he tried to separate himself from the pack by making a play for the job of the GOP's Jiminy Cricket.

Where most Republican speeches these days are focused on the wrongs President Obama and the Democrats have inflicted on every facet of American life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as long as you don't have a preexisting condition, that is), Santorum spent most of his time on the podium talking about the mistakes Republicans made that led to their defeat in both 2006 and 2008. He's not the only Republican out there talking about that, of course, but his speech today was more self-reflexive than most.

"We failed America," Santorum told the crowd of Republicans in New Orleans. "People stopped believing in us."

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Obama Promotes Tax Cuts In Stimulus In this weekend's YouTube address, marking the weekend before Tax Day, President Obama promoted the stimulus program's inclusion of targeted middle-class tax cuts.

"So far, Americans who have filed their taxes have discovered that the average refund is up nearly ten percent this year - to an all-time high of about $3,000," said Obama. "This is due in large part to the Recovery Act. In fact, one-third of the Recovery Act was made up of tax cuts - tax cuts that have already provided more than $160 billion in relief for families and businesses, and nearly $100 billion of that directly into the pockets of working Americans. No one I've met is looking for a handout. And that's not what these tax cuts are. Instead, they're targeted relief to help middle class families weather the storm, to jumpstart our economy, and to bring the fundamentals of the American Dream - making an honest living, earning an education, owning a home, and raising a family - back within reach for millions of Americans."

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