TPM News

Tuesday is a day that Mitt Romney, former Republican governor of Massachusetts should relish. It's the fifth anniversary of the day that Romney signed a near-universal health care coverage bill into law after successfully navigating the partisan waters of a blue state and coming out with legislation supported by Democrats.

But it's a day that Mitt Romney, undeclared presidential candidate, seems less than eager to call attention to. Democrats, on the other hand, are more than happy to do it for him.

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In July 2004, as the Iraq War spiraled out of control, Donald Rumsfeld ordered a staffer to draw up a "What Did Not Happen?" memo -- a list of potential bad outcomes that had been avoided -- to make himself feel better. Things could be worse, right?

Then they started happening. The "What Did Not Happen?" memo -- which Gawker obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, along with thousands of pages of other documents from Rumsfeld's tenure -- is practically a parody of Rumsfeld's truculent blindness to his own failures. In a bid to justify the wisdom of his Iraqi misadventure, he commissioned a list of pitfalls he had avoided at the very moment that they were happening all around him.

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Washington is waiting with bated breath for President Obama's Wednesday address on attacking national deficits and debt. Republicans are preemptively objecting to any plan that will involve increasing income taxes on the wealthy. Liberals and Democrats don't know what to think. They worry both that President Obama's proposal won't be progressive enough on the merits and will undermine their ability to counter a GOP plan that reduces debt by eliminating Medicare and dramatically slashing and changing Medicaid.

Just over a year ago, though, Obama gave us a peek behind the curtain when he debated House Republicans at their annual retreat in Baltimore, MD. Toward the end of the 90 minute back and forth, Obama addressed Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future, and its very similar Medicare privatization scheme.

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Nearly six in ten Americans approve of the eleventh hour budget deal struck between Congress and the White House to avert a government shutdown, according to a CNN poll released on Monday. And what's more, a plurality give Democrats the most credit for making it happen.

In the poll of American adults, 58% said they approved of the budget deal, compared to 38% who disapproved.

Additionally, the poll found that a 48% plurality of respondents credited Obama and Congressional Democrats the most for preventing a government shutdown. Thirty-five percent of respondents gave more credit to Republicans, while 11% thought both sides were equally responsible.

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The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights took out a full page ad in The New York Times Monday, filling the space with a long letter written by League President Bill Donohue, in which he rebuts "those who are distorting the truth about priestly sexual abuse."

The Catholic League describes itself as "the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization."

"There is no other group in the U.S. which is subjected to such gross unfairness," Donohue writes, of priests.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the national Tea Party star who is considering a run for president, says that she is willing to only be a one-term president.

The Des Moines Register reports:

"I'm a principled reformer, and my goal is to see the country turn around," she said. "I'm also committed to being a one-term president if that's what it takes in order to turn things around, because this is not about a personal ambition.

"It's about getting our financial house in order and to become respected again in the world on an international scale," Bachmann said in a telephone interview with The Des Moines Register on Friday.


Bachmann as a one-term president? That's probably one term more than most people are expecting, at least at this point in the game.

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Sarah Palin says she isn't a birther. But she swallows hook, line and sinker the ludicrous claims birthers have made about how much money President Barack Obama spent "hiding" his birth certificate.

In an interview on Fox News, Palin backed Donald Trump's purported investigation into Obama's birth certificate, but claimed she wasn't herself a birther. Nonetheless, she cited the discredited claim that Obama spent $2 million to keep his birth certificate from the public.

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With Republican women dodging questions on abortion and a GOP freshman struggling to explain how defunding Planned Parenthood was about creating jobs, plenty of observers thought the Republicans lost the messaging war ahead of the government shutdown last week as the focus centered on social rather than fiscal issues. Not Rep. Allen West (R-FL).

West -- who isn't on board with the deal Republican and Democrats reached at the last hour to fund the federal government -- told reporters Friday that in his view, Republicans were on message.

"I think we did a good job at messaging, and the reason I think we did a good job at messaging is because the Democrats panicked and they started with the 'war on women,' 'killing women' and 'starving seniors' empty, emotional rhetoric," West said. "It's not working anymore."

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Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) is a prime Tea Party target this year as he faces a tough primary challenge from state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. But he'll be heading into battle with plenty resources, raising nearly $1 million this quarter.

According to Roll Call, Lugar's latest FEC filings of $974,000 will push his cash-on-hand total to over $3 million, making him a formidable opponent. Mourdock has told reporters he has raised about $125,000.

Money by no means guarantees the seat -- third party groups like the Tea Party Express have proven very effective at boosting insurgent candidates with even relatively small ad buys -- but Lugar's early fundraising numbers signal that he's trying to get ahead of the challenge early.

Politicians often pledge to not let their constituents down. But one Oregon lawmaker has taken that pledge to a whole new level, as he and a few colleagues surreptitiously recited the lyrics to Rick Astley's 80s hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up" on the House floor.

The prank known as "rickrolling," emerged as an Internet meme a few years back, and involves tricking someone into clicking on a benignly disguised link to open a web page that blares Astley's unmistakeable song. The phenomenon became so ubiquitous that Astley himself rickrolled the Macy's Day parade in 2008.

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