TPM News

What did Stephen Colbert think of President Obama's budget speech? Meh.

That's because unlike Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Obama didn't use any charts or graphics in his presentation. Therefore, his speech was so boring that it put Vice President Biden to sleep.

"Paul Ryan's presentation was thrilling, with its exciting graphs and crowd-pleasing pie charts," Colbert said. "This country loves charts and graphs. That's why we elected President Perot."

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Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) appeared Thursday night on Fox News, in an interview with Wisconsin native Greta Van Susteren, and stood by his contention from Thursday's Congressional hearing that his anti-public employee union law is "truly progressive" -- though he admitted to having "fun" with the word.

Van Susteren asked: "In your testimony today, you referred to your budget as 'truly progressive.' Were you--" said Van Susteren.

Walker immediately replied: "In the best sense of the word."

"I was gonna ask, were you tweaking the progressives, and were you tweaking Wisconsin history?" asked Van Susteren.

"But it is progressive. I mean, you look at Tommy Thompson--" Walker begin, referring to the former long-time Republican governor of the state, and former Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush.

"But why use that word?" Van Susteren asked.

"Well, I had fun with that," said Walker.

"All right, so I figured," said Van Susteren.

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A new PPP poll released on Friday shows Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential primary race by much more than a hair.

In fact, the poll shows the brash real estate tycoon turned reality TV show host posting a large nine-point lead on the nearest competition. It's the latest in a flurry of recent surveys to show the Donald running strong in the GOP field, but it's the first to show him all alone at the front of the pack.

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At first glance, Paul Ryan's plan to send millions of seniors into the free market with dwindling vouchers in hand might seem a boon to the private insurance industry. But would companies even want to participate?

Unlike the Affordable Care Act, which mandated that millions of young and healthy Americans purchase insurance with government subsidies, the Paul Ryan plan would instead bring the oldest, sickest, and least profitable demographic to the table. And with the CBO projecting that the average senior would be on the hook for over two-thirds of their health care costs within just 10 years of the plan's adoption -- a proportion that is projected to worsen in the long run --- the government subsidies backing them up may not bring in enough profitable customers to make things worthwhile.

"If reimbursement rates are too low to provide basic benefits, they'll tell the government, 'You do it,'" one insurance lobbyist told TPM. "I don't think they can require they lose money, they'd just pull out."

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As House Republican leaders struggle to sell their spending agreement, President Obama is privately crowing to supporters that he stood up the GOP on health care and won big time.

Republicans have made defunding Democrats' health care law a top priority, but at a closed-to-the-press fundraiser Obama candidly described to donors how he defeated their attempts. Perhaps not realizing his mic was on, Obama's private remarks were caught by CBS correspondent Mark Knoller, who was able to listen to through a live audio feed.

"I said, 'You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We'll have that debate," Obama said, describing his negotiations with Speaker John Boehner. "You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'"

According to CBS, Obama quoted himself as telling Boehner to "Put it in a separate bill," adding that "if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don't try to sneak this through."

Watch the CBS report below.

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Jon Stewart explained Thursday night how the Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget plan would save the nation huge sums of money: by using a thick Ayn Rand novel to bludgeon seniors to death, and thus decrease Medicare spending.

Ryan's budget plan, which would effectively end the Medicare program as we know it, was widely panned as unrealistic by economists. But Stewart thinks Ryan might actually be on to something.

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If I told you that the chairman of the Republican senators' reelection committee wanted to phase out the existing Medicare system and slowly replace it with Obamacare, would you believe me? No major caveats, no clever tricks. Just a slow transition from Medicare as we know it to the same health care law Republicans have sued and attempted to repeal -- but for seniors only.

You probably wouldn't. But you'd be wrong.

The long-term Republican budget plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) phases out Medicare as a guaranteed, universal, single-payer system and replaces it with a government-subsidized private insurance program. If that sounds familiar, it should.

"It's exactly like Obamacare," said NRSC chairman Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Capitol Thursday. "It is. It's exactly like it. Which strikes me as bizarre that you're seeing so much pushback [from Democrats]."

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Obama Urges Democrats Help Him 'Finish The Job' Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama urged Democrats on Thursday to help him "finish the job" at the first events of his 2012 re-election bid, appealing for higher taxes on the wealthy and a rejection of Republican budget policies. Obama, seeking to reignite the energy of supporters that propelled his candidacy in 2008, said 'extraordinary progress' has been made during his two years in the White House but 'we've still got work to do.' 'If you're just as fired up now despite the fact that your candidate is a little older and a lot grayer, then I have every confidence that we're going to be able to finish the job,' he said."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart from Chicago, Illinois, at 12:55 p.m. ET. He will arrive at Andrews Air Force Base at 2:35 p.m. ET, and arrive back the White House at 2:50 p.m. ET. Obama and Vice President Biden will meet at 3:20 p.m. ET with the leadership of the National Conference of State Legislators.

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Another shutdown showdown averted -- this time the shutdown of the Senate over the paltry sum of $50,000.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have reached an accommodation to provide $50,000 for a study on deepening the Port of Charleston, and now Graham is standing down and is no longer threatening to "tie the Senate in knots" and block Obama's nominations from winning Senate approval.

"Now, it's not often that I'm a cheerleader for pieces of legislation that are suggested and moved forward by Republicans, but I was on this one," Reid told Graham in a remarks on the Senate floor Thursday evening.

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