TPM News

Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) faced off on Hannity last night, and unsurprisingly the debate was contentious and filled with salty quips.

In one characteristic exchange about Social Security, Bachmann said that "all the surplus in Social Security is a big vault stuffed with IOU notes, there's not one dime sitting in there."

Weiner shot back: "Are you surprised to learn, Congresswoman Bachmann, that we don't have a room filled with dimes?"

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The Republican-led House of Representatives today will hold a key test vote on its top priority: repealing the new health care law.

The up-or-down vote will set the terms of the debate on the repeal bill itself, which is scheduled to hit the floor (and pass) on Wednesday. During that debate, Democrats will be unable to introduce their own amendments and have been closed out of the process more generally. An earlier plan to force committee-level votes on popular elements of the bill was scuttled earlier this week.

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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) literally accused the Republican leadership of the House of being a bunch of big old liars on the floor of the House last night. But that isn't exactly what he meant.

During a rant on the floor of the House about health care, King used the word "mendacity" -- meaning untruthfulness -- where he likely meant the opposite.

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1||The 112th Congress was sworn in Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Milestones were reached, pomp abounded, and extended families posed for photos to mark the occasion.

Here, Vice President Joe Biden swears in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), whom many thought was doomed to defeat in the midterm elections last year. ||Jeff Malet/

2||New Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) ||Jeff Malet/

3||Biden and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)--who won reelection through a write-in bid after being defeated in the Republican primary--pose with shirts showing Murkowski's name spelled out with pictures. The Murkowski campaign took several wry steps aimed at teaching Alaskans how to correctly spell the Senator's last name. ||Jeff Malet/

4||Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) ||Jeff Malet/

5||Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the most senior Senator in the current Congress, and the second longest serving Senator in history. ||Jeff Malet/

6||Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) became the longest serving female Senator in history with her return to Congress this year. ||Jeff Malet/

7||Speaker Boehner with Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL) ||Jeff Malet/

8||Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) rode Tea Party support to a surprising primary win and ultimately a seat in Congress. ||Jeff Malet/

9||Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was another Tea Party favorite in 2010. ||Jeff Malet/

10||A member of Rep. Bobby Schilling's (R-IL) extended family was hesitant to pile in for a photo. ||Jeff Malet/

11||Speaker Boehner tried to compromise with her... ||Jeff Malet/

12||But she was having none of it. ||Jeff Malet/

13||Ultimately, another family member held the girl to get her in the shot. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL), who ran a pizza shop before being elected to Congress, stands at center in the red tie. ||Jeff Malet/

14||Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) ousted progressive champion Russ Feingold. ||Jeff Malet/

15||Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who is speculated to be mulling a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. ||Jeff Malet/

16||Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who handily defeated Blanche Lincoln to claim her Senate seat. ||Jeff Malet/

17||Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), second from left. ||Jeff Malet/ 18||Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) ||Jeff Malet/

19||Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) ||Jeff Malet/

20||Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) riled some member of his party by endorsing long shot candidates--like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware--over the GOP favorites. ||Jeff Malet/

21||Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) ||Jeff Malet/

22||Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) ||Jeff Malet/

23||Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) ||Jeff Malet/

24||Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) ||Jeff Malet/

25||Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) ||Jeff Malet/

26||Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ), son of former Vice President Dan Quayle. ||Jeff Malet/

27||Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) ||Jeff Malet/

28||Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) ||Jeff Malet/

29||Rep. Peter King (R-NY) ||Jeff Malet/

30||Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) ||Jeff Malet/

31||Former Real World star turned politician, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) ||Jeff Malet/

32||Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) ||Jeff Malet/

33||Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) ||Jeff Malet/

Obama To Name Sperling New Economic Adviser Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama, retooling his economic team to boost sluggish U.S. growth and tackle emboldened Republicans, will on Friday name Gene Sperling as the new head of his National Economic Council...Sperling's pick to replace Larry Summers at the economic council follows Obama's naming of a new chief of staff and the resignation of his press secretary, as the president shakes up his team after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives this week."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:45 a.m. ET, and meet at 10:15 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 11:20 a.m. ET, he will tour Thompson Creek Manufacturing in Landover, Maryland, and deliver remarks at 11:35 a.m. ET on the monthly employment report, and make economic personnel announcements -- expected to be the announcement of the appointment of Gene Sperling.

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If Nevada voters could do it over again, they'd really, really like to nominate someone not named Sharron Angle, according to a new PPP poll.

In the poll, 68% of Nevadans said they think Republicans should have nominated someone other than Sharron Angle to challenge Sen. Harry Reid last year. Only 21% said the GOP did the right thing in nominating Angle, and 11% had no opinion.

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Pamela Geller is planning to hold another protest next week against the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero, or as she calls it, "the Ground Zero Victory Mosque."

This January 12 protest will be held at a City Council meeting, called to decide whether to build Wal-Mart stores in New York City. Geller argues that the City Council wants to say "no to Wal-Mart but yes to the Islamic supremacist mosque. The limousine liberals deign to deny the working class and the poor jobs and prices they can afford."

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By hook or by crook, the Republican-controlled House will raise the federal debt ceiling before the government defaults on its debts. That's the word from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the House GOP's fiscal guru and chair of the House Budget Committee.

Ryan told Bloomberg's Peter Cook today while it may be a tough slog, in the end default will be avoided. The debt ceiling fight is expected to be some high drama, as tea party Republicans who have said they'll vote against any increase that doesn't come with deep budget cuts square off against a Democratic Senate and the White House which have warned that going to war over the debt could have disastrous consequences.

Ryan said there may be fireworks, but in the end, default is not going to happen.

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You might recall how Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has said that she first became a Republican as a result of her disgust at reading a "snotty" Gore Vidal novel. So what does Gore Vidal think?

As we reported last week, Bachmann told a Republican crowd in Michigan that she cast off her youthful Democratic roots after reading Gore Vidal's novel Burr, which depicted the Founding Fathers in an unfavorable light. (We later discovered that Bachmann had told this story before -- and that in an earlier version of the tale, she said it had been a different Vidal novel, 1876.)

Our old colleague Justin Elliott at Salon did quite a lot of work to get a response from Vidal. And finally, through an assistant, he received this written statement from the man himself:

"She is too stupid to deserve an answer."