TPM News

Newly released White House visitors logs show Al Gore has returned to his former offices on Pennsylvania Ave. four times since President Obama moved in back in January. The meetings were not all publicly disclosed in advance.

The former vice president didn't come to see fellow his fellow Nobel laureate in the Oval Office. Gore stopped off at the White House on April 6-8 and visited climate czar John Holdren twice in April and White House staffers Kate Brandt and Brian Jung.

Dick Cheney told FBI investigators that his response to hearing that Joe Wilson had been sent to Niger to assess whether Saddam had tried to buy yellow-cake was that it was "amateur hour" at the CIA.

That's according to a summary of the FBI's interview with Cheney, which was conducted as part of Pat Fitzgerald's investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame's name. The document was just released by the Justice Department, thanks to a lawsuit by CREW.

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On the final weekend of the Virginia gubernatorial contest, GOP nominee Bob McDonnell is turning to one of the Republican party's biggest names to help him rally the vote. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) will join McDonnell at a rally in vote-rich Northern Virginia.

A former RNC chair, Barbour led the party when the GOP swept the 1994 elections and ended decades of Democratic control in the Congress. He lands in Virginia just days before McDonnell is expected to end nearly a decade of Democratic control of the governor's mansion.

Barbour currently leads the Republican Governors Association, the group that will welcome McDonnell as it's brightest new star if current polls prove to be true on Election Day.

The GOP contingent on a Senate environmental committee will boycott a hearing aimed at moving a bill limiting carbon emissions toward final passage next week.

Environment and Public Works Committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has scheduled a markup hearing on the cap-and-trade bill for Tuesday. The markup process is a key step before a bill leaves committee on its way to an eventual floor vote. All seven Republicans on Boxer's committee, led by ranking member Sen. James Inhfe (R-OK) will not attend Boxers hearing, and will instead hold a separate shadow hearing of their own focused on slowing down the cap-and-trade bill.

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Who has bent President Obama's ear? Or huddled with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel?

The White House just posted nearly 500 records. Check it out here, and TPMDC will update readers as we go through the names.

Norm Eisen, special counsel to Obama on ethics, detailed the release in a blog post and said the 110 requests cover from January 20, 2009 to July 31, 2009.

Eisen writes:

There's an important lesson here as well. This unprecedented level of transparency can sometimes be confusing rather than providing clear information.

A lot of people visit the White House, up to 100,000 each month, with many of those folks coming to tour the buildings. Given this large amount of data, the records we are publishing today include a few "false positives" - names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else. In September, requests were submitted for the names of some famous or controversial figures (for example Michael Jordan, William Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Kelly ("R. Kelly"), and Malik Shabazz). The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House. Nevertheless, we were asked for those names and so we have included records for those individuals who were here and share the same names.

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Yesterday, the House ethics committee announced it is forming a special subcommittee to investigate Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in a case involving the bailout and a bank in which her husband had a stake.

This is separate from the leaked ethics document, and the committee is taking it more seriously than many of the already-dismissed cases outlined in that document. So what is Waters, a ten-term representative and the second ranking Dem on the House Financial Services Committee, accused of?

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In a curt, terse letter delivered today, public option champion, and progressive caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva says he wants to see some major changes to the House's health care bill--reflected in a so-called manager's amendment--before it comes to the floor.

  • Americans in every state in the nation must be able to take advantage of the benefits of the bill; thus the bill shall explicitly state that the public option must be available without any triggers or opt-out provisions.

  • If the Secretary is forced to negotiate provider reimbursement rates in the public plan, a ceiling shall be determined and set for such rates.

  • The bill shall fully repeal the McCarran Ferguson Act for health and medical malpractice insurance, as oppose to merely amending the Act.

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Vice President Biden will be headed to upstate New York this Monday, to campaign for Democratic candidate Bill Owens in the NY-23 special election.

Biden's visit is coming the day before the election, in a final push to get out the Democratic vote against Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and Republican Dede Scozzafava.

Hoffman will be bringing in his own big name: Country singer John Rich, who will be headlining a GOTV rally on Monday.


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