TPM News

In a 12-minute interview with Fox's Sean Hannity last night, a subdued James O'Keefe said he is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney in Louisiana and that in the future he will "try to be a little more thoughtful about how I approach these things."

"This is a huge misunderstanding," said O'Keefe, who is criminally charged with three other men in the Landrieu phone tampering case.

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Are Republicans really in danger of being selectively picked off by tea party candidates?

Moderate GOP candidates across the country are closely watching today's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, where a centrist Rep. Mark Kirk is poised to beat out two conservatives who have the backing of the tea party movement.

And if Kirk pulls it out tonight as he's expected to, a sigh of relief will be heard from Lynchburg, Va. to Seattle.

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February 1, 2010: Violence erupted on Monday in the fragile Indian-controlled region of Kashmir. A 14-year-old Kashmiri Muslim, Wamiq Farooq, was killed the evening before. He was struck by a tear gas shell fired by Indian police. Thousands of Kashmiri citizens reportedly gathered at Farooq's funeral, which turned into a large clash with police forces. Protests broke out across Srinagar, the main Kashmir city.

Above, a Kashmiri Muslim shouts anti-Indian phrases during the funeral procession.

Newscom/Zumawire






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Newscom/Zumawire




Indian paramilitary troops and Kashmiri journalists search for cover during the protest.

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Newscom/Zumawire






Newscom/Zumawire

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen will appear before the Senate Armed Forces Committee to discuss a possible repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

According to news reports, Gates will announce that the Pentagon will begin a special investigation to see what effect the repeal will have on the "morale and readiness of troops." During the investigation, the military will reportedly stop moving to discharge servicemembers who are outed by a third party. (The Defense Department would not confirm either of those reports to TPM.)

The joint chiefs are reportedly meeting today behind closed doors to discuss the possible repeal.

President Obama has taken heat from gay rights activists for not doing more in his first year to repeal the policy, which prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military.

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In the name of deficit reduction, House Republicans are going back to the Social Security well, offering budget proposals similar to those President George W. Bush proposed after his 2004 re-election that would privatize Social Security accounts and reduce cost of living adjustments.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) appeared on Hardball tonight and advocated balancing the budget by privatizing Social Security and cutting benefits for those now under 55.

"You can get better health care and better retirement security if you go to a defined contribution plan. We had this debate in Social Security a few years ago," Hensarling said:

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I asked Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag this afternoon about criticism from the left of President Obama's proposed spending freeze.

Specifically, I asked his reaction to Brian's report about the Center for American Progress suggesting that discretionary spending freezes were used by "deficit peacocks."

CAP's tax and budget expert Michael Linden suggested that those who "claim that we could get the budget back to sustainability if we only cut out earmarks, or say that the solution is to simply freeze discretionary spending, are just peddling fiscal snake oil."

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A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, conducted among 2,000 self-identified Republican respondents nationwide, gives an interesting peek into the psyche of the minority party's base.

Kos has not yet released the full numbers, but here's some early info on the poll that he has posted on his Twitter account:

• 39% of Republicans want President Obama to be impeached.

• 63% think Obama is a socialist.

• Only 42% believe Obama was born in the United States.

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The Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll is registering its highest level of strong support for President Obama in months. At the same time, the number of poll respondents saying they "strongly disapprove" of the job Obama is doing has dropped to it's lowest level since Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's old seat in Massachusetts Jan. 19. According to the pollster, the shift came after Obama's State of the Union address last week.

The latest numbers from Rasmussen's rolling poll of 1500 likely voters shows 35% "strongly approve" of the job Obama is doing as president. The last time the number was that high was in June. The day before Obama's State of the Union, it was 27%. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 39% strongly disapprove of Obama's performance in the latest results. That's down from 42% before Obama's address to the nation.

Obama's overall approval is on the rise in Rasmussen's poll as well. For the last three days, Obama's approval rating has hovered around 50%. It had fallen to 44% after Brown was elected. Today's approval/disapproval split was 50/49.

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