TPM News

Pete Sessions, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is warning Pennsylvania Republicans against changing the way their electoral votes are allocated. He says the plan could cost the GOP House seats in The Keystone State.

Speakeing before reporters on the Hill late Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) criticized Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) economic speech in which he said that the deficit super committee should take any kind of tax increases off the table.

“I’m disappointed that Speaker Boehner would get involved with the Super Committee in a public fashion,” Reid said. “I don’t think he should do that, I"m not going to do that.”

President Obama is taking his message about the need to fix the country's aging infrastructure and create jobs about as close as you can get to Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) district next Thursday. And he'll have a pretty powerful visual behind him: Cincinnati's crumbling Brent Spence Bridge.

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“Any plan to grow the economy and create jobs should be measured by whether it puts money in the pockets of middle class families, puts teachers, police officers, firefighters and construction workers back to work, and invests in our small businesses so they can grow and hire. The President’s plan meets that test. The American Jobs Act includes the kinds of proposals that have been supported in a bipartisan way in the past, is fully paid for, and prominent, independent economists say it could create between 1.5 and 2 million jobs. And the President’s plan rebuilds the economy the American way, based on balance, fairness and ensuring there is the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street. The President is committed to working with members of both parties in Congress to pass the American Jobs Act right away.”

The University of Iowa News Services twitter account UIowaPolitics sent out a joke to its followers Thursday morning. Referencing the local news that a cougar or mountain lion had been spotted in the area in recent days, someone with access to the account tweeted: “I didn’t' know Bachmann was in town. Bah-dum-bum.”

The joke quickly backfired on whomever it was that sent it. The school has announced that they are proceeding with disciplinary proceedings against the individual, and later sent out an apology.

When asked about the bad joke, the Bachmann campaign released a statement that said, “When you are 55 years old, have had 5 children, and been foster mother to 23 children, Michele is grateful when people don’t refer to her as The Old Lady in the Shoe.”

While Republican candidates for president champion far right causes to try to capture the tea party vote in the primary, each will have to worry about moving back to the center should they win the nomination. On issues like entitlement reform, this may cause trouble. But when it comes to global warming, they might not have to scramble back to the middle: They may already be there.

According to a poll by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, while most Americans agree global warming is taking place, many are still badly misinformed about the scientific consensus surrounding its causes. From the study, only 29% of Republicans and 10% of Tea Partiers think most scientists believe global warming is taking place. While Democrats (55%) and independents (46%) do better on the question, they're still way off.

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Jon Stewart is famous for his legendary take-downs of Fox News, but in an interview with Rolling Stone, he says The Daily Show and Fox are not so different from one another.

"We're both expressions of dissatisfaction," Stewart said. "[Roger Ailes'], I think, happens to be a slightly more powerful version. ... Ailes was a strategist for Nixon. He comes from the seat of power, and he understands how important the narrative is. We come from comedy, so our natural instinct is not to understand that, and to be bratty. That goes a long way towards explaining the difference between the two organizations."

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says the joint deficit Super Committee can't rely on the tax code for a penny's worth of its $1.5 trillion deficit reduction target. But as is so often the case when legislators discuss taxes, he left plenty of wiggle room for the panel's 12 members.

"When it comes to producing savings to reach its $1.5 trillion deficit reduction target, the Joint Select Committee has only one option: spending cuts and entitlement reform," Boehner told a friendly audience at the Economic Club of Washington, DC.

This is oddly precise language. Boehner's also argued that the committee should go beyond $1.5 trillion, and reduce deficits by multiple trillion dollars. So what happens beyond $1.5 trillion is unclear.

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Following an objection by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), and growing worries about yet another shutdown, the Senate has finally reached an agreement to extend funding for the FAA for 4 months, and funding for a highway bill for 6 months.

The Senate has passed a FEMA disaster relief funding bill late Thursday, by a 62-37 margin. The vote was subsequently held after an amendment, offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), failed to muster enough votes. His amendment would have offset the funding with cuts to foreign aid, a policy several Republicans – including Eric Cantor – have previously favored.