TPM News

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) defended the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday amid a concentrated attack from prominent Republicans around the country, accusing conservative critics of meddling with an independent federal agency.

"We need agencies like the NLRB to be able to operate freely and without political pressures," he said in a floor speech. "We need to keep our independent agencies independent. This case is for them to decide, not us."

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House Republican freshmen admit that their so-called "MediScare" attacks on Democrats helped them win a big majority in 2010. Democrats had voted for the health care law, which included $500 billion in "cuts" to Medicare -- primarily slashing overpayments to private insurers -- and Republican challengers never let them forget it.

Now, they say, it's time to let bygones be bygones.

Nearly a dozen House Republican freshmen held a press conference outside the Capitol Tuesday morning to "wipe the slate clean," and "hit the reset button."

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He's back! Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is seeking a return to public office after over a decade off the ballot, though he's never totally left the public stage. He was once the GOP's great leader following his party's congressional election victory in 1994, but he resigned in disappointment four years later. And over the last few years, as he's flirted with a run for the White House, he's charted a stunning political course on his way back into the limelight.

Gingrich was first elected to the House way back in 1978, and rose through the Republican ranks to become Minority Whip in 1988. In 1994, with Minority Leader Bob Michel retiring, Gingrich spearheaded an ambitious effort to win the House after 40 years of Democratic dominance, with the "Contract With America" platform tapping into public dissatisfaction with President Bill Clinton, and he rode the wave straight to the Speaker's gavel. After a tumultuous two terms that included two government shutdowns and the impeachment of Bill Clinton over a sex scandal -- but also significant accomplishments such as welfare reform and spending compromises that helped lead to a balanced budget -- Gingrich resigned from both the Speakership and the House itself, as a result of GOP dissatisfaction with Dem gains in the 1998 cycle.

In the years between his 1998 departure and the 2008 cycle, Gingrich sought to market himself as a policy-minded technocrat. He considered a run for president in the last cycle, but ultimately decided not to do so and instead kept with his American Solutions organization.

And as the Wall Street Journal reported, Gingrich's American Solutions political organization has had a stunning fundraising record, dwarfing all the other 2012 GOPers combined.

Even with flush campaign coffers, Gingrich's political record provides much ammunition for his opponents to grab hold of, but it is often said that his personal past is among his greatest liabilities. In 2000, Gingrich married former staffer Callista Sibek, who he had been having a relationship with since 1993, while he was still married to his second wife. (Indeed, Gingrich had pursued the impeachment of Bill Clinton, at the same time as he was secretly having an extra-marital relationship himself.) Recently, Newt has credited Callista for his conversion to Catholicism.

As the nation moved into the age of Obama, Gingrich truly sharpened his rhetorical sword. In this milieu of progressive change, the former two-term Speaker and three-time husband emerged as...a champion of Christian values against the forces of what he often called "secular socialism."

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Stephen Colbert said Tuesday night that Donald Trump doesn't need to run for president in real life because he's already won the election in his own mind.

Colbert first explained why Trump was dragging his feet on announcing whether or not he would ultimately throw his hat in the ring. The reason, Colbert said, was because Trump "has gotta be careful when he throws his hat so that his hair doesn't go with it."

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So who killed Osama bin Laden? That's what Jon Stewart asked Tuesday night, as he discussed how former top staffers in George W. Bush's administration were saying that their old boss, and not President Obama, deserved the most credit for killing bin Laden.

Stewart said the push to credit Bush was "mind boggling," such as an argument made by Bush's former chief of staff, Andrew Card, that Obama has "pounded his chest" too much in celebration about bin Laden's death.

"You can bet your sweet bippy that the guy who was President Bush's chief of staff during his Top Gun-inspired, crotch-enhanced, aircraft carrier landing that took credit for ending a war we're still fighting eight fucking years later isn't gonna let Barack Obama get away with any chest thumping," Stewart said.

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Newt Gingrich became the latest prominent Republican to take on the National Labor Relations Board over its suit against Boeing, writing an open letter in Human Events on the issue one day after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called on President Obama and the Republican presidential field to get involved.

"It is clear that President Obama is packing the NLRB board with left wing ideologues as a payoff to his union boss allies, so that the fix is in with regard to this case and others like it," Gingrich wrote. "The move is consistent with an ongoing pattern in the Obama administration, in which they use the apparatus of big government to reward their allies and punish their opponents."

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Just when Sean Hannity may have feared he would have to spend the rest of the year discussing President Obama's effective counter-terrorism policies, finally Hannity has a new controversy for him to really sink his teeth into. As predicted earlier today, the controversy surrounding First Lady Michelle Obama's decision to invite the rapper Common to appear at the White House has now infuriated Hannity who was "baffled" that this is who the White House "chooses to set as an example for our kids."

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In Campaign Appearance, Obama Highlights Bin Laden Capture The Washington Post reports: "In his first 2012 campaign appearance in almost two weeks, President Obama added a new item to a long list of what he views as major accomplishments of his tenure: killing Osama bin Laden. 'Because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation's uniform and the outstanding work of our intelligence agencies, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America,' he said to loud applause at a fundraising event in the Moody Theatre in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday night. 'We couldn't be prouder of them.'"

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 11 a.m. ET, and meet at 12 p.m. ET with senior advisers. At 2 p.m. ET, he will participate in a CBS News Townhall Meeting on the Economy. At 4:20 p.m. ET, he will meet with the Senate Democratic Caucus. At 7:10 p.m. ET, the President and the First Lady will host a celebration of American poetry and prose.

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Labor allies are defending the White House from attacks by South Carolina Gov. NIkki Haley (R) and other Republican lawmakers over a union dispute with Boeing, accusing them of interfering with an independent federal agency.

At the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Haley and other Republicans called on President Obama to condemn the independent National Labor Relations Board, which is tasked with enforcing labor laws, for suing Boeing over a production line in South Carolina that it says constitutes illegal retaliation against unionized Boeing workers in Washington State. Obama has no direct control over the agency, but does choose its members, and Republicans have sought to block appointments they consider too pro-labor.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, issued a statement accusing the GOP of an "overly dramatic response" to a "routine unfair labor practice charge." He added that it was unfair to target the White House when it has no say in the NLRB's lawsuit.

"That's what this all comes down to: powerful corporate interests are pressuring public officials to interfere with an independent agency, rather than let justice run its course," Harkin said. "And we should not tolerate this interference. Instead, we should turn our attention back to the issues that really matter to American families - how we can create jobs in Washington, South Carolina, Iowa, and across the country?"

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