TPM News

Egyptians may not have believed President Hosni Mubarak's speech yesterday, in which Mubarak said he never wanted to become a dictator, but at least one person was willing to defend him: Stephen Colbert.

Reacting to Mubarak's speech last night, Colbert agreed that the Egyptian President never intended to rule the country for 30 years.

"No," Colbert began. "He wanted to dance."

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Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on the Daily Show last night -- both of him!

"Wait a minute," Jon Stewart said at the start of the interview. "You're not Michael Steele."

"What?" Steele responded.

"We've had Michael Steele on the show, like, five times," said Stewart. "I don't -- you look -- you're not him."

"Jon, Jon, I can assure you -- I'm Michael Steele."

"I have to tell you," Stewart began -- only to be interrupted by the blue Sesame Street puppet that the Daily Show used during Steele's tenure at the RNC, voiced by a rhyming, jive-talking Wyatt Cenac.

"Yeah sorry I'm late, Watergate," said Puppet Michael Steele. "Who's this extremely handsome gentleman?"

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Two days after a Republican Florida federal court judge voided the entire health care law, the multi-front Republican war against it continues in the Senate, where members will vote today on whether or not to just repeal it, full stop.

Simultaneously, Republican members are trying to sneak grenades into the heart of the law, crafting modifications which they admit are meant to destroy it.

But that presents them with a conundrum when they head back to their states and districts and face constituents who stand to benefit from the law right now -- seniors who are entitled to free checkups, and young adults, who can now stay on their parents' insurance until they turn 26, for example. Republicans can chose to help those constituents navigate the law -- answer their questions constructively, encourage them to seek those benefits -- or they can let their political agendas interfere.

Different strokes for different folks.

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Newt Gingrich was coy about his own presidential intentions at a debate with Howard Dean on the campus of George Washington University last night. But he was quick to weigh in on the intentions of a potential rival in the fields of Iowa and hills of New Hampshire. Ambassador Jon Huntsman is "probably" running for president, Gingrich told TPM after the debate. And he's going to be a "very formidable" opponent to anyone who's trying to take on Obama next year.

"He'd certainly be a great addition for the Republican Party," Gingrich said. "He's very intelligent."

But the former House Speaker declined to weigh in on whether or not Hunstman's moderate past as governor of Utah and position in the Obama administration would cost him with a Republican primary electorate.

"He's a very smart man, we'll have to wait and see," Gingrich said. "That's what campaigns are for."

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Violence erupted Wednesday afternoon in Cairo a day after President Hosni Mubarak vowed to step down in September, as thousands of Mubarak supporters stormed Tahrir Square, some on horseback and camels, and reportedly attacked anti-government protesters.

The Mubarak supporters are said -- according to Al-Jazeera English, the BBC, CNN and the New York Times -- to be carrying machetes, sticks and other weapons. The two groups are reportedly throwing rocks at each other in Tahrir Square and the surrounding streets.

Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor, reported that he and his crew were attacked by Mubarak supporters today.

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Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), the past 2008 and potential future 2012 presidential candidate, waded into pop culture last night with an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman -- reading a Top 10 list, "Things You Don't Know About Mitt Romney."

The list, as follows:

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a potential challenger to President Obama in 2012, took some decidedly outside-the-GOP-mainstream positions during a often scrappy debate with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean Tuesday night. The architect of the 1994 Contract With America voiced his support for a pathway to legal status for some illegal immigrants, praised the way things are done in a Western European democracy -- and said that, after 10 long years, the United States is losing the War on Terror.

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Lawmakers Press Supreme Court For Verdict On Healthcare Law The Hill reports: "Democratic and Republican lawmakers believe the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the fate of President Obama's healthcare law, and some of them are already exerting pressure on the justices. The high-stakes lobbying comes as the Senate is scheduled to vote on a healthcare repeal bill Wednesday. That effort is expected to fall short, and the spotlight of the intense debate is expected to pivot back to the judicial branch."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET Obama will meet at 11 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 11:35 a.m. ET, Obama will sign the New START Treaty. He will meet at 2:05 p.m. ET with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Obama and Biden will meet at 3:45 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Senate Appropriations chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI) says that the days of earmarking in spending bills are over, thanks to the Republican ban on the practice in the House and President Obama's unwillingness to support earmarks in the future.

In what could amount to be a big political victory for the White House, Inouye told his colleagues in the Senate Tuesday not to bother sending him their requests for earmarks. A notorious earmarker himself, Inouye said that there just wasn't any point in trying to continue earmarking after Obama so vehemently turned on the practice in his State of the Union address earlier this month.

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