TPM News

Obama: 'No Silver Bullet' For Gas Prices, 'But There Are A Few Things We Can Do' In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama discussed his administration's response to high gasoline prices.

"Now, whenever gas prices shoot up, like clockwork, you see politicians racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for two dollar gas," said Obama. "You see people trying to grab headlines or score a few points. The truth is, there's no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away. "But there are a few things we can do. This includes safe and responsible production of oil at home, which we are pursuing. In fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. On Thursday, my Attorney General also launched a task force with just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators. We're going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain. And another step we need to take is to finally end the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies we give to the oil and gas companies each year. That's $4 billion of your money going to these companies when they're making record profits and you're paying near record prices at the pump. It has to stop."

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1||In honor of Earth Day, NASA has compiled some of their most beautiful and captivating images of the third planet from the sun. Here, looking down at northwestern Africa from an off-centered vantage point, the Earth's curvature is clearly shown, a rarity for ISS imaging which usually takes photos "nadir" meaning centered directly below the lens. This profile view also captures the hazy protective cocktail of nitrogen and oxygen, which make up Earth's atmosphere. ||NASA/JPL/UCSD/JSC&&

2||The International Space Station happened to pass by The Sarychev Volcano on Russia's Kuril Islands on June 12, 2009, allowing for this photo, which shows the early stages of an explosive eruption. The white cloud wrapping the plume is water condensation caused by the surrounding air rapidly rising and cooling. Note the lower denser cloud of ash spreading across the ground surrounding the volcano's summit. ||NASA&&

3||This night view of Egypt shows the country's population concentrated almost completely along the Nile river delta and valley. Cairo is the brilliantly bright cluster located right before the lights open up as as it approaches the Mediterranean Sea. ||NASA&&

4||The Susitna Glacier in Alaska reveals a long slow journey through what it's picked up along the way. Revealed thanks to infrared, red and green wavelength false-color imaging, the red is vegetation and the brown dirt, the patches of blue show clean ice. ||NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science&&

5||NASA's Terra Satellite captured a 2008 total solar eclipse while rounding Siberia towards Norway. ||NASA&&

6||The southern tip of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas.||NASA&&

7|| Botswana's massive salt ponds are what make it one of Africa's leading producers of soda ash (sodium carbonate) and salt, but the ponds also attract red, salt-loving algae. A deep red color shows medium and high salinity in the evaporating water. ||NASA&&

8||Larger in area than France and spreading across segments of Oman, Yemen and The United Arab Emirates, The Rub' al Khali is one of the most expansive sand deserts in the world. ||NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team&&

9||This now iconic composite image of Earth at night was made using over 400 different satellite images. Nasa uses these images to study weather in urban areas.||NASA&&

10||This temperate cyclone from 2001 has walls of dust thick enough to completely obscure the Chinese land surface below it, rising up to almost form its own topography as it spins counter clockwise. ||NASA&&

11||Dagze Co inland lake in Tibet.||NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team&&

12||The Tien Shan mountain range, which extends approximately 1,550 miles from east to west across Central Asia. ||NASA&&

13||The result of atmospheric instability, cumulonimbus clouds like this one, shown above the continent of Africa, are usually associated with severe storms and extreme weather.||NASA&&

14||An absence of clouds offers a clear view of bright green hydrogen sulfide mixed with dust plumes blowing off the coast of Namibia toward the ocean.||NASA&&

15||3.9 million miles away, the Galileo spacecraft snaps a shot of the Earth and Moon together in a single frame.||NASA&&

Mitt Romney has consistently cleaned house in early polls of the New Hampshire Republican primary. Now, a new poll by Dartmouth College shows him handily winning The Granite State in a general election matchup with President Obama.

In the poll of registered voters, Romney beat Obama 47% to 39%. However, Obama easily led all other comers by between eight and 27 points.

Obama led Mike Huckabee 45%-37%, and topped Ron Paul 47% to 27%. Obama also beat Haley Barbour (42%-23%), Tim Pawlenty (41%-25%), Donald Trump (51%-29%), and Sarah Palin (54%-27%.)

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Evangelist and Rev. Franklin Graham -- son of legendary evangelist and Rev. Billy Graham -- has listened to Donald Trump talk about his maybe-candidacy for president. And Graham likes what he hears.

"Donald Trump, when I first saw that he was getting in, I thought, well, this has got to be a joke," Graham told Christiane Amanpour in an interview set to air Sunday. "But the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know, maybe this guy's right."

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The House GOP's far-reaching budget, which includes $6 trillion in cuts and a plan to replace Medicare with a private voucher system, has drawn its first Republican opponent in the Senate: Susan Collins.

The Maine lawmaker, generally considered among of the most moderate Republicans in Congress, told local TV station, WCSH 6, on Friday that she would vote against the proposed budget.

"I don't happen to support Congressman Ryan's plan but at least he had the courage to put forward a plan to significantly reduce the debt," Collins said.

She did not specify which portions of the bill she opposed. On the House side, four Republicans voted against the budget resolution, with two citing its Medicare overhaul as their chief concern.

The U.S. State Department signed off on and supports Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) Friday trip to Libya where he met with rebel forces engaged in a fierce battle with Muammar Qaddafi over control of the country.

"We were aware that Sen. McCain would be making the trip and State supported the codel," White House spokesman Jay Carney told TPM in an e-mail Friday afternoon.

When asked whether McCain was there as an official emissary for the State Department or White House, Carney told reporters earlier only: "No. No that I'm aware of."

An early proponent of U.S. military strikes in Libya, McCain arrived in the country Friday just hours before Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military's joint chiefs of staff, publicly warned that the conflict was moving into a stalemate as Qaddafi's troops pressed on in an attempt to take back the rebel-controlled areas in Misrata.

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Scandal-scarred Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) may have hoped resigning would keep quiet unsavory details and new charges surrounding his affair with a top staffer's wife, but he's not off the hook yet.

The Senate Ethics Committee issued a rare statement Friday signaling it would continue its investigation of Ensign's affair and steps he took to keep it quiet despite having formally resigned his Senate seat. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), the top Democrat and Republican on the panel respectively, said his resignation is "appropriate" and indicated they would wrap up work on the probe as soon as possible.

"The Senate Ethics Committee has worked diligently for nearly 22 months on this matter and will complete its work in a timely fashion," they said in the statement.

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Minnesota state House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R), who is strongly pushing for passage of a voter ID law, has now backed away from comments he made in a radio appearance on Wednesday -- when he said of the act of voting: "I think it's a privilege, it's not a right."

"When you go to even a Burger King or a McDonald's and use your debit card, they'll ask you to see your ID," Zellers said during a late-night interview, the Star Tribune reports. "Should we have to do that when we vote, something that is one of the most sacred -- I think it's a privilege, it's not a right. Everybody doesn't get it, because if you go to jail or if you commit some heinous crime your rights are taken away. This is a privilege."

In fact, voting is referred to as being a right in numerous amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The next day, Zellers walked back the comment. "I fully understand it's a right we all have," Zellers said on Thursday. "I probably should have said it a little bit better at that late hour at night."

According to the Star Tribune, the comment occurred some time after 11 p.m.