TPM News

[The White House released this statement today from Robert Gibbs.]

"I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Jody Powell. As Press Secretary to President Carter, Jody served his country during a difficult time, and he always did the job with grace and good humor. When I needed advice at the start of my own tenure as Press Secretary, he was always generous with his time and wise in his counsel. I'll miss his support and encouragement, and I'll be keeping him and his family in my thoughts and prayers."

,Sotheby's, looking for a buyer for Bernie Madoff's Upper East Side penthouse, has finally posted the listing for the swanky digs. From the listing: "Duplex penthouse affords spectacular views of the Manhattan impressive Gallery with an elliptical staircase, a grand Living Room with triple exposures and an elegantly proportioned Dining Room." All this and, of course, the lore attending the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time -- for just $9.9 million.

From The New York Observer, Sotheby's

Dining Room




More Terrace


Small Bedroom








Stair between two floors


Floor Plan


Penthouse Entrance


Rep. Joe ("You Lie!") Wilson's now-legendary exclamation during President Obama's speech to Congress last week was itself essentially untrue, as we've documented.

But in trying to deflect charges of xenophobia in the wake of the outburst, it looks like the South Carolina congressman again played fast and loose with the facts.

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Nice catch by the Legal Times: Looks like Scott Bloch is putting out an interesting spin on the five scandal-plagued years he spent as chief of the Office of Special Counsel.

Bloch's bio page at D.C.-based Tarone & McLaughlin LLP, the business law firm where he now works, says "he attained notoriety as the head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel."


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FreedomWorks, the main organizers of the Tea Party event in Washington this past weekend, has dramatically lowered its estimate for the size of the crowd at the event from 1.5 million, a number the group now concedes was a mistake, to between 600,000 and 800,000 people -- though this is still substantially more than the tens of thousands that most mainstream media outlets have estimated, and which FreedomWorks wholeheartedly rejects.

The politically charged issue of crowd size is complicated by the fact that there is no official estimate -- not from the Park Service, not from the D.C. Police, nor the Fire Department, etc. In fact, a Fire Department spokesman that I talked to told me that whoever had given a figure of 60,000-70,000 to ABC News had not been authorized to do so. So there's no independent source to verify FreedomWorks' latest number.

"I really wish that the Park Service would come out with a number," said FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon, in an interview with TPM. "I wish I was not doing this. If my mother calls me and asks how many, I'll say this was hundreds of thousands."

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On Hardball today, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich defended himself by pleading ignorance of the Constitution.

In his new book, The Governor, Blagojevich claims White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asked him to appoint someone to Emanuel's old House seat, in case he wanted to run again in 2010. But House members, unlike senators, are never appointed, only elected.

Chris Matthews asked Blago today how it was possible he and Emanuel -- who served in the House for six years and was chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- didn't know that.

"I think you're giving me and Rahm too much credit. It's not like we know the Constitution backwards and forwards without talking to lawyers," he said, calling it a "good" and "appropriate" conversation.

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A new CNN poll finds that Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) "You lie!" outburst remains a minority viewpoint among Americans -- though it is a significant minority.

The poll finds that 32% said that Obama lied while he was speaking to Congress, compared to 60% who don't think so. In addition, only 15% say that it was appropriate behavior for Wilson to shout out that Obama was lying, compared to 85% who say it was inappropriate.

Interestingly enough, an earlier question asks: "If Obama's plan became law, do you think that the federal government would or would not provide insurance to illegal immigrants?" This is the substance of the very matter that caused Wilson to shout out. Here it's much more divided, with 47% thinking it will happen and 49% saying it won't.

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During his seven years in prison, expelled congressman Jim Traficant (D-OH) took up painting to pass the time. When he was released this month, he promised to auction off some of those paintings to raise money for a group of retirees from his district.

Those paintings -- of a horse, Betty Boop and Elvis -- are now available on eBay. We've compiled them all into a Traficant slideshow for your viewing pleasure.

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The money keeps rolling in for both Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and his Democratic opponent, Iraq War veteran Rob Miller, in the wake of Wilson's "You lie!" incident.

The DCCC just announced that Miller's post-outburst fundraising has now reached over $1.5 million, and has come from over 40,000 individual donors.

On the other side, the NRCC has announced that Wilson has received more than $1.3 million -- which means that there's definitely a market for "You lie!"

This also means that both candidates will be very well-financed for the 2010 election, in what should now be a race that will attract a lot of national attention.

The latest cost estimate on the Senate Finance Committee's health care proposal is in, and it's slightly lower than the $900 billion that President Obama projected in his speech before Congress last week.

According to CBO, the proposal, circulated by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) would run about $880 billion over 10 years--lower than many experts believe would be necessary to make sure all consumers can afford private insurance. Baucus has said he plans to cover that price tag with efficiencies wrung from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as taxes and fees on health insurance companies and other industry stakeholders.

Baucus will reportedly unveil a draft of his bill tomorrow, and it committee hearings should begin next week.