TPM News

Last night, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart attacked Fox News and Sarah Palin for ignoring the facts about President Obama's nuclear treaty with Russia.

Stewart reminded them that President Reagan had also called for a one-third reduction in nuclear arms, and spoke of a world without nukes.

He also wondered why Megyn Kelly's head exploded.


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These aren't the best of days for Don Blankenship, whose systematic downplaying of safety concerns as the CEO of Massey Energy helped lead to last week's deadly mining disaster, and got him named the "seventh scariest person in America." But by next January, things may be looking up for the hard-charging coal boss: He could have a very close friend in Congress.

Elliot "Spike" Maynard is running in the Republican primary to take on Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.), whose district encompasses the heart of West Virginia coal country. Maynard, a former State Supreme Court judge, has said that his campaign "is about protecting the coal industry, including all the jobs associated with it," and has charged that Washington Democrats have "declared war on the coal industry."

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Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will retire from the nation's highest court this summer, at the end of this session.

Stevens' retirement, announced in a statement by Chief Justice John Roberts, will give President Obama his second opportunity to appoint a justice.

The statement from Roberts:

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At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last night, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared that President Obama's administration is "the most radical administration in American history."

He also referred to the president's "secular socialist machine," and declared that "the end of Obama-ism will be a new Republican Congress in January that simply refuses to fund any of the radical efforts."

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South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster (R-SC), who is one of the Republican state officials across the country who are filing lawsuits to challenge the health care bill, sure seems to be making his work against the bill a centerpiece of his campaign for governor in the crowded Republican primary.

Upon visiting McMaster's campaign website, the first thing that comes up is a YouTube video that begins playing automatically, along with an e-mail sign-up sheet and a banner heading that declares McMaster is "leading the fight to stop ObamaCare."

The video's introductory text, set to ominous music, reads as follows: "March 23. National healthcare signed into law...Our Liberty...Our Freedom...Our Sovereignty...threatened. Held by a thread. Who stands with us?" The video then cuts to various news clips of McMaster declaring that the bill is unconstitutional, and he is fighting it in court.

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In an interview with Good Morning America, President Barack Obama brushed aside Sarah Palin's recent criticism of his nuclear policy, saying, "Last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues."

Palin had said on Sean Hannity's Fox News show on Wednesday night that Obama's new nuclear policy was "kinda like getting out there on the playground, a bunch of kids ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, 'Go ahead, punch me in the face and I'm not gonna retaliate.'"

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The Obama administration is aiming for spring passage of financial regulatory reform legislation, and despite the partisan nature of the last big domestic policy push of health care reform, officials believe they will be able to attract Republicans.

Treasury Department officials and Congressional Democrats putting the finishing touches on legislation the Senate will consider in the coming weeks stressed in briefings and interviews that Republican ideas are peppered throughout the legislation and should attract wide support.

Neal Wolin, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, told reporters in a briefing at the White House this week that outside groups are focusing too much on the differences between the Senate proposal and what passed the House last year, and on any split between the Republicans and Democrats. He said the administration is looking that the wide areas where there is strong agreement, and stressed that Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) included many Republican ideas in the bill by working with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). (Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has said financial reform is an issue "every American" wants to see passed.)

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A member of the Republican National Committee from North Carolina, Dr. Ada Fisher, is calling for Michael Steele to resign as chairman of the Republican National Committee, in the wake of the scandal involving the use of party funds at a sex-themed nightclub -- though it should be noted that this is not the first time this particular RNCer has called upon Steele to go.

Fisher told David Weigel that she agreed with the call by Tom Fetzer, her state party chairman, for Steele to go: " Whether others in the RNC will have the courage to push past the bravado to the heart of the issues, which compelled me to do what I did in light of financial accountability and transparency concerns -- as well as the perception of many at the grass roots that they aren't being heard -- is something other RNC members will have to decide for themselves."

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The good news for Democrats in Michigan's 1st Congressional District is that they already have another Democrat, Connie Saltonstall, who has announced she will run for the seat of Bart Stupak, who is retiring. The bad news could be that she's a progressive running who was running as a pro-choice alternative until Stupak decided to drop his reelection bid this morning. An unstoppable conservative Democrat in a conservative, GOP-leaning district, Stupak had a hold on the MI-01 that the Democrats will be hard-pressed to maintain now that he's gone.

Independent analysts agree: Stupak's district will be a tough one for the Democrats to hang on to in November. For their part, Republicans and conservatives are ecstatic this morning -- they see Stupak's retirement as not just a defeat of one of their prime targets, but also a chance to pick up a seat they haven't controlled for more than a decade.

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President Obama, in an interview for Good Morning America, said the omission of slavery from a Virginia proclamation dubbing April "Confederate History Month" was "unacceptable," but pointed out that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) had acknowledged and fixed the omission.

"I'm a big history buff. And I think that understanding the history of the Confederacy and understanding the history of the Civil War is something that every American and every young American should, should be a part of," Obama said. "Now, I don't think you can understand the Confederacy and the Civil War unless you understand slavery. And so, I think that was an unacceptable omission. I think the governor's now acknowledged that."

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