TPM News

Obama: Economic Situation Improving, But More Work Needed In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama said that the latest GDP numbers show that the stimulus bill is working, and that the economy is on the way to recovery -- but there is still work to be done:

"This won't happen overnight. As I've said before, it will take many more months to fully dig ourselves out of a recession - a recession that we've now learned was even deeper than anyone thought," said Obama. "But I'll continue to work every day, and take every step necessary, to make sure that happens. I also want to make sure that we don't return to an economy where our growth is based on inflated profits and maxed-out credit cards - because that doesn't create a lot of jobs. Even as we rescue this economy, we must work to rebuild it stronger than before."

GOP Address: "Republicans Want Health Care Reform That Works" In this weekend's Republican address, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) warned against a government takeover of health care by the Democrats:

"Republicans want health care reform that works. Reform that brings down costs for families and small businesses, and reform that provides better care to more people," said Thune. "On all these points, the current proposals by the President and the Democrat leadership in Congress fall short. Their plan for government-run health care would disrupt our current system and force millions of Americans who currently enjoy their employer-based coverage into a new health care plan run by government bureaucrats."

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The vote, as expected, was a squeaker: 31-28. Once tallied, the committee room erupted in thunderous applause. All committees of jurisdiction in the House have now passed health care legislation. Over recess, the various titles will be stitched together and a bill will likely come to the floor in September.

Washington Post Communications Director Kris Coratti emails the following statement about today's controversial Mouthpiece Theater segment. "The video was a satirical piece that lampooned people of all stripes. There was a section of the video that went too far, so we have removed the piece from our website."

TPMDC first reported that, in today's post-"Beer Summit" edition of Mouthpiece Theater, Post reporter Dana Milbank suggested that "Wild Bitch" beer would best suit Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Late update: Here's the full clip, immortalized.

It's been a bad day for RNC chairman Michael Steele, with his authority having now been seriously weakened.

The Republican National Committee has now imposed new controls on Steele's spending, requiring him to set up competitive bidding on contracts costing over $100,000 and to get a second signature on those contracts.

The RNC also also voted to postpone until January any vote on the formation of a special ethics committee, which Steele had proposed as a way to ensure transparency. "My concern is with members appointed by the chairman, as he wanted to do, you potentially don't have the transparency he promised when running for chairman," said North Dakota chairman Gary Emineth.

An interesting thing appears to be happening thus far in this year's two gubernatorial races: Despite New Jersey's long-running status as a Democratic state, and Virginia's newfound blue leanings, the Republican candidates are well ahead in the current polls, possibly making for a serious GOP comeback this November.

In New Jersey, which has been rocked by a recent set of ethics scandals that have mostly caught up Dems, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine trails Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie by 50%-36% in the latest survey from Public Policy Polling (D). In Virginia, where Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine can't seek re-election, Republican former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell leads Democratic state Sen Creigh Deeds by 55%-40% in the newest poll from SurveyUSA.

If Republicans win both or even one of these races, expect a lot of talk about this being a rejection of President Obama and the Democrats -- for example, the economy has been the major issue in the Virginia campaign. So what are the state Democrats doing to turn it around?

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) sure doesn't like being called out by health care reformers. Here's an ad that's been running in Nebraska, criticizing him for slowing down the legislative process.

In response, Nelson's spokesman says he's "looking to support bipartisan legislation that reduces health care costs, boosts the quality of care and expands coverage to people who can't obtain it now." But: "If this is an indication of the politics going into August, then health care reform may be dead by the end of August."

Shorter version: Critics should shut up about me and my fellow centrists or we'll kill health care reform. You can read the entire statement below the fold.

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Earlier today, we told you about the forged letter sent by a lobbying firm to a lawmaker, urging him to oppose climate change legislation. The letter ran under the letterhead of a local Hispanic group, but really was sent by an employee at Bonner and Associates, a Washington D.C. lobbying firm with a slew of corporate clients.

In response, Jack Bonner said the letter had been sent by a "temporary employee" who has since been fired, and blamed the problem on that one "bad employee." But a former Bonner and Associates employee who spoke to TPMmuckraker significantly complicated that picture, portraying Bonner and Associates as a place where ethical missteps were far from rare. "They just got caught this time," he said.

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Rush Limbaugh is still pumping Birtherism, hyping on his show today an essay in National Review by Andrew McCarthy, who dissented in part from the magazine's official editorial against the movement:

In that article, McCarthy falsely stated that the matter of Obama's Kenyan father, which would present "dual-citizenship issues," was "an uncharted constitutional concept." In the audio clip above, Limbaugh also promoted the dual-citizenship claim.

In fact, this territory is quite well charted. President Chester A. Arthur, who was elected Vice President in 1880 and then served nearly a full term after President James Garfield's assassination, was born of an American mother and an Irish immigrant father who was not yet a citizen at the time Chester was born. Arthur was also born on U.S. soil (Vermont), but faced rumors from political opponents that he'd been born across the border in Canada. This is essentially the exact same set of circumstances as in Obama's case.

On the other hand, there is one rather obvious difference between Obama and Arthur. And for Limbaugh and the Birther movement, perhaps this does make for an important distinction.

What better way to demonstrate a change from the bad old days of the politicized Justice Department than to appoint as US attorney one of the people who was fired from that job as part of the Bushies' purge?

The White House has announced that Daniel Bogden, who in late 2006 was fired by the Bush administration as U.S. attorney for the district of Nevada, has been re-nominated for that position.

"I'm extremely honored that President Obama has nominated me," Bogden told TPMmuckraker in a brief phone interview. "I appreciate the opportunity and I'm looking forward to my return to public service. and I certainly appreciate Senate Majority Leader Reid's recommending me for the position."

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Sec. of the Treasury Tim Geithner; Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

• CBS, Face The Nation: National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers.

• CNN, State Of The Union: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); White Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer.

• Fox News Sunday: Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY); Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC); Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN).

• NBC, Meet The Press: National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers.