TPM News

Earlier today, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Good Morning America that there were no domestic terrorist attacks in the U.S. under former President George W. Bush. Now, an unidentified spokesman clarifies to ABC what Giuliani meant.

"What [President Obama] should be doing is following the right things Bush did. One of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama," Giuliani said.

For this to be true, Giuliani -- who based much of his run for president on his leadership during the 9/11 aftermath -- would have to be discounting the late 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and the attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid, not to mention 9/11 itself.

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House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) said today that the U.S. should follow Israeli airline El-Al's example since "there is not a passenger that boards those planes that they don't know everything possible about. And that's what we gotta do."

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James Carville has a plan to make airport security more efficient. But it's not one we're likely to see in the next White House directive.

The plan, as he explained it on the Tony Kornheiser Show in DC this morning:

"What I want is, let me pay for something, give me a safe flyer card, and then y'know, go measure my penis and let me get on the airplane."

It's not clear if Carville has discussed his plans with TSA officials or what, if any, value the length of his ragin' cajun' has to national security.

Audio below.

Hat Tip: The Hill

What the heck happened? In a case of what might be bad communication or could be trouble brewing for Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, we delve into today's Steele Mystery.

Here's what we know: Steele was scheduled to appear on ABC's "TopLine" show at lunchtime, but canceled and cited an emergency RNC meeting that raised red flags about the embattled chairman's tenure.


The RNC denied to us that any meeting was happening, flatly saying "No," when we asked.

This afternoon, an RNC spokesperson backtracked and told ABC that there was a noon meeting at the RNC, just not an "emergency RNC meeting."

An ABC spokeswoman told TPMDC that Steele's book publicist called the network at 11:30, 30 minutes before the scheduled interview time, to cancel.

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RNC chairman Michael Steele's new book, Right Now: A 12-Step Program For Defeating The Obama Agenda, has a lot of Republicans angry, the Washington Post reports -- because nobody knew it was coming out until it hit the shelves this week.

"The book came out and everybody went, 'Whoa, what happened?'" said an aide to a senior House Republican, who said his boss learned about the book on cable news. "No one in the House or Senate leadership knew he had a book contract."

As Greg Sargent reported yesterday, a serious question exists as to whether Steele might be using his position as RNC to financially benefit himself through book sales: "So if Steele is profiting while the party is losing donors, that will only give Steele's critics more to be irked about at a moment when they're already plenty upset with him."

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Last year's health care debate was dominated by a bruising--and ultimately losing--fight over the public option. But simmering on the back burner for weeks while the public option ran its course has been a battle among Democrats over how to pay for health care reform. And now, with the public option swept into the dustbin, the fight over taxes has come to the fore, and is testing relationships all the way up the Democratic ladder to party leadership and the White House.

At issue is whether expanding insurance coverage to over 30 million Americans should be paid for by wealthy Americans (as the House would like), or, as the Senate calls for, by people who have expensive health care plans--many of whom are middle class. The vast majority of House Democrats--and the public at large--oppose the Senate proposal. But the idea has one powerful ally: President Obama.

"The polling just hasn't moved an inch," Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) told me. Recent data indicates that the public opposes the Senate's so-called "Cadillac tax" plan by a two-to-one margin. "Frankly, it's the same polling that was there when Obama went after McCain on this."

According to Courtney many in the House believe that, after sacrificing the public option, Democrats should draw a line in the sand over the excise tax--including one Democratic leader.

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), the freshman Congressman best known for his bombastic attacks against the Republican Party, had a very good fundraising quarter in the last three months of 2009, taking in $850,000.

The last three months have really been the period when Grayson's fame took off among the liberal blogosphere, and much of his money came from online. His fundraising immediately picked up after he declared that the Republican health care plan was for people who get sick to "die quickly," which happened just as the third quarter was about to end. He also heavily promoted a one-day "money-bomb" fundraiser in November, which brought in over a half-million dollars.

Grayson now reportedly has roughly $1 million cash on hand. Grayson's re-election is not assured, as he represents a swing seat that narrowly voted in 2008 for Grayson and Barack Obama after years of favoring Republicans.

Newt Gingrich is revising his advice to Republicans for their fall campaign lines to be that they would vote to "repeal" the health care bill, saying now they should use the world "replace."

We've been reporting on that campaign line, which Gingrich has been championing for several weeks.

In a brief stop in Atlanta this week, Gingrich said Republicans have ideas on health care, and that at least "400" pages of the nearly 4,000 pages in the Democrats' health care bill "have to be good."

Still, the line should be scrap it, Gingrich said.

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