TPM News

Cal Cunningham, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Senate in North Carolina, is now seeking to make reform of the filibuster an issue in his campaign.

In an e-mail sent out to his campaign's supporter list, Cunningham lambastes incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr for holding up health care reform. But he says the real problem comes from the Senate's broken processes:

But the real travesty is that an outdated Senate procedural rule, the filibuster, empowers a few dozen obstructionists like Richard Burr to effectively guarantee the special interest groups get their way.

It's time to end the wheeling and dealing that smothers good ideas and stifles real progress in Washington.

It's time to end the filibuster in its current form. If you agree, sign my online petition to tell our elected and party leaders it's time to change the filibuster.

The full e-mail is available after the jump.

Read More →

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has signed a letter urging leadership to pass a public option via reconciliation, the 18th senator to do so.

Shaheen's office confirmed that she signed, following Sens. Chuck Schumer, Barbara Mikulski and Frank Lautenberg today.

The letter was written by Sen. Michael Bennet and will be sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Other signatories so far: Sens. Bernie Sanders (VT), Al Franken (MN), Patrick Leahy (VT), John Kerry (MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Roland Burris (IL), Barbara Boxer (CA), Jack Reed (RI) and Tom Udall (NM).

Mary Beth Buchanan, a former Bush-era U.S. Attorney who is now running for Congress in Pennsylvania against Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire, may need to work on how she handles criticism of her tenure in office. Buchanan called into the radio show of local talker Marty Griffin, and apparently threatened him with a defamation suit.

Griffin had just hosted Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist, former Allegheny County Coroner, and prominent Pittsburgh-area Democrat, who had been prosecuted for alleged corruption by Buchanan. Democrats had accused Buchanan of launching a political prosecution -- the announcement of the charges had come close to the 2006 election, and became a data point in the U.S. Attorney scandals of late 2006 and early 2007. The charges were ultimately dropped.

During his interview, Wecht alleged that the case had cost $20 million to prosecute. Buchanan called in to take serious exception to this, saying that it could have only been $500,000 at most -- and told Griffin that he better get his facts right. "And you know, we still have defamation laws in this country. And to the extent that you keep repeating things are flat-out wrong, you're running afoul. That case could not have cost the government more than $500,000, and that's on the outside."

Read More →

An unlikely pair has taken CPAC by storm -- everywhere you look, people are saying nice things about George Bush and Dick Cheney. The return of Bush and Cheney to Republican good graces is the strongest evidence yet that conservatives are ready to come out of the shadows in the wake of their monumental defeat in 2008.

It wasn't long ago that Republicans, and especially conservatives, were among the last people you'd hear mentioning Bush at all, let alone in a positive light. At CPAC today, it's like those days of shockingly low poll numbers and staggering midterm defeats at the polls never happened. Mitt Romney praised Bush when it was his chance to take the podium. A surprise appearance by Cheney brought the house down.

These are the men who were pushed to side the last time the GOP had a national convention. But today, Bush-Cheney is back.

Read More →

The cached version of Joe Stack's software engineering firm, Embedded Art, says Stack's mission was to "advance the art of programming, one project at a time; by achieving an optimum balance between cost, schedule, functionality, reliability, and maintainability."

Stack, who allegedly flew a small plane into an Austin building containing IRS offices today, "founded the business in 1983 in Southern California, under the name Prowess Engineering."

Read More →

Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said today in an interview it was time for the policy banning gays in the military to end.

"It's time for it to end," she told TPMDC. "The joint chiefs, certainly the chairman of the joint chiefs, has been clear about that and I think that the country really is at a place now where it's time for it to end."

Cheney also left the door open a crack to run for president down the line, though she said it's not her focus. She said the "Draft Cheney" movement here at the Conservative Political Action Conference proves that conservatives have injected fresh energy into the 2012 field.

TPMDC caught up with Cheney this afternoon following her speech to CPAC. We chatted briefly about President Obama's new offensive in Afghanistan terrorism - which she's been talking about through her new Keep America Safe group and the political landscape of 2010.

She said it might have been the wrong decision to mirandize the shoe bomber in 2001, but that she still vehemently opposed Obama's national security policies.

Read More →

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has signed a letter urging Democratic leadership to pass the public option via reconciliation.

In a fund-raising email to supporters, Schumer announced that he had signed the letter, becoming the 17th senator to do so. He lauded the "tenacity" of the four senators who originally signed the letter.

"This is far from a done deal, but it's an opportunity to break through the obstructionism Republicans have pushed for the past year," he wrote.

Read More →

Appearing on the Fox Business Network last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann agreed that Social Security is a "tremendous fraud" -- for a very interesting reason.

Fox Business host David Asman complained that Social Security should have been treated as a "lockbox," and not have its tax revenues raided for other federal programs -- exactly the sort of thing for which Al Gore was made fun of by Republicans in 2000, when they were pushing privatization. "Social Security, I think, it is one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the American public. It is supposed to be a lockbox -- a personal safety deposit box for our savings," said Asman. (Much of this is not true, see fact-check below.) "That's how it was designed, that's what it was promised to be. Instead, that box is empty, it's full of these empty IOUs that politicians have put into it, and they've taken the money out and used it for other things."

"You're right, it's a tremendous fraud. No company could get away with this, they'd be thrown in jail if they ever tried to do what the federal government did with people's Social Security money. What we need to do very quickly is take the money that is coming in for Social Security, and truly lock it up so that we aren't putting it out the door anymore," said Bachmann -- who then transitioned to promoting privatization.

Read More →