TPM News

Warren Buffett is continuing his rather full-throated defense of Goldman Sachs, saying in a Good Morning America interview broadcast this morning that CEO Lloyd Blankfein shouldn't step down -- and that Goldman has done nothing wrong.

The SEC has filed a civil lawsuit against Goldman Sachs over a shoddy mortgage product that Goldman allegedly knew was shoddy, and a Senate subcommittee hearing that put many of the firm's top executives on the spot last week has brought the firm under even more fire.

But Buffett -- whose company invested $5 billion in Goldman during the height of the financial crisis -- is standing by Blankfein's company.

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President Obama is nearing the final stages of review for selecting a Supreme Court nominee, summoning candidates for in-person meetings, pulling more documentation and focusing on a handful of prospects for the vacancy. Congressional and White House sources told me they think it's possible there will be a nominee by the end of this week, but certainly in the coming two weeks.

For weeks the White House stressed the process was "very early" in, but aides said today that "it's moved along quite a bit in the last week." Obama's short-ish list of nine candidates (detailed here) hasn't expanded, but "he's not at a place where he's crossed people off the list," an administration official told me today.

"We're well into this. We're getting there," the official said.

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President Clinton has recorded two radio ads for Sen. Blanche Lincoln's (D-AR) re-election campaign.

In the ads, Clinton defends Lincoln for voting for NAFTA and Clinton's 1993 economic plan, and for praises her for being the leading voice on derivatives reform as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

"Nobody's working harder to preserve our rural way of life, and to bring new economic opportunities to small towns and rural areas especially hard hit by the recession," he says in one.

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An outline for immigration reform legislation, unveiled last week by Senate Democrats, includes a provision allowing gay citizens to sponsor their partners for citizenship.

Not surprisingly, the move has been hailed by gay rights groups and condemned by Catholics.

"Today's inclusive framework is an historic step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender binational families," said the executive director of Immigration Equality, a group that advocates for binational gay and lesbian couples.

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At around 6:30 p.m. Saturday night, a green 1993 Nissan Pathfinder driving west on 45th street stopped west of Broadway in New York's Times Square.

T-shirt vendor Lance Orton noticed smoke coming out of the SUV and pointed it out to a police officer. He called backup, the area was evacuated, and the bomb squad came in. While several popping sounds emanated from the SUV, which filled with smoke, the makeshift bomb did not go off.

Here's what we know about the investigation and what happened:

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Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), who left the Republican Party last week to run for Senate as an independent, told National Review that he got advice to do it from a very notable individual: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who was re-elected to the Senate as an independent in 2006 after he lost his Democratic primary.

"[Lieberman] told me that [going independent] is the most liberating thing," said Crist. "He was right. I'm much happier now, to be perfectly candid."

In addition, Crist continued to refuse to commit to caucus with either the Democrats or the Republicans, saying he would "caucus with anyone who helps Florida. There will be different issues on different days and I will stand with anybody who will help my state."

In a major development in the Kentucky Republican Senate primary, James Dobson has retracted his endorsement of establishment favorite Trey Grayson and switched to Tea Party insurgent Rand Paul -- and Dobson claims that top Republicans had misled him about Paul's positions.

"Senior members of the GOP told me Dr. Paul is pro-choice and that he opposes many conservative perspectives, so I endorsed his opponent," Dobson said. "But now I've received further information from OB/GYNs in Kentucky whom I trust, and from interviewing the candidate himself."

Dobson had endorsed Grayson just last week, saying at the time that he was "the only candidate with the conviction to lead on the issues that matter to Kentucky families." The TPM Poll Average gives Paul a lead of 42.3%-25.3% in the Republican primary, which will be held on May 18.

California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina supports Arizona's immigration law -- but isn't sure members of her party are handling the debate well.

The former Hewlett Packard CEO dinged members of her party in an interview with Politico, saying that "there has been a very unfortunate racist tone that has emerged" on border issues in some corners of the GOP.

Fiorina said she supports Arizona's controversial new immigration law -- but also seemed to suggest that some members of her party had adopted a "racist tone" in related debates.

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