TPM News

Mitt Romney has been touring dilapidated factories and boarded up storefronts around the nation looking to bolster his argument that President Obama has wrecked the economy. But business and community leaders at the sites are not always happy with being characterized as depressed ruins.

The latest example is in California, where the presidential candidate held a press conference in North Hollywood at Valley Plaza, an empty shopping center where multiple attempts to reverse its fortunes have failed to get off the ground. Romney admitted its problems predated Obama, but nonetheless blamed him for making the recession "worse" and thus helping squash development plans at the site.

"Sadly, as we look around us at this development, we see a development that is no longer going to be a development," he said. "The Valley Plaza development program has been scrapped in part because of the challenges of the economy.'

In fact, the mall's current struggles have little to do with recent events and its current owners say that it absolutely will be developed in the coming months.

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Wall Street has deployed an army of lobbyists to try to whittle away as much of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill as possible, spending $242.2 million on 712 hired guns to press their message on Capitol Hill since the beginning of 2010, according to a new report by Public Citizen.

The 30 most politically active business and financial industry organizations also ponied up $15.6 million in federal political contributions during the same time period. The entities with the deepest pockets include: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, MetLife, Goldman Sachs, to name just a few.

Why lay out so much cash to influence Washington in the months leading up to the first anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law? Some of Wall Street's biggest firms are gunning for a rule specifically designed to address one the main causes of the financial meltdown: exorbitant incentive-based executive compensation packages.

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President Obama's quest to reach a historic budget agreement with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) fell into deep doubt Thursday, after a noisy rebellion by Senate Democrats over reports that Obama might hand Republicans the farm on discretionary and entitlement spending, with few or no guarantees that the GOP will accept any new tax revenues.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Debt Ceiling Negotiations At The White House]

If the initial leak was meant to serve as a trial balloon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) shot it out of the sky the same day, after a contentious meeting with White House budget director Jack Lew. A Senate leadership aide told me that Reid will set the wheels in motion to pass a backup plan no later than Sunday unless a deal that can pass both chambers is agreed to before then. And the administration, clearly in damage control mode, summoned Democratic leaders up Pennsylvania Ave late in the day to clear the air, nurse wounds, and lay out a possible framework for a grand bargain to the skeptical crowd.

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Should ISPs should be able to limit or cut off your internet access for "overuse"? We won't get to the heart of this matter until people start asking the right questions. And so with that in mind I wanted to summarize the key issues. I'm also going to include a few questions that will make any broadband provider squirm--because, frankly, there aren't good answers.
It's my hope that all of you (including the press and politicians) will use these questions as a bit of a crib sheet, and challenge broadband providers when they duck answering them. It's time to let consumers, press, and politicians continue this debate. And as much as my experience here has put a face on this issue, it isn't about me-so I will purposely be stepping back a bit to let the real issues take center stage.
So what is the key issue?
Data caps are arbitrary and harm consumers by stifling innovation and choice.

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Tim Pawlenty is getting a very special reaction to his new TV ad, in which he calls on Iowa voters to "prove the experts wrong" and give his struggling campaign an underdog's victory: A cease-and-desist letter from ABC Sports. They're going after him for unauthorized use of sports footage from the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. hockey team.

"It's a violation of our copyright and exclusive proprietary rights," said Louise Argianas, director of rights and clearances for ABC Sports, the Des Moines Register reports.

"And they used our announcer's voice which they are not allowed to do either," Argianas added "Which I'm going to have to call his agent about."

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A former reporter and the former legal manager for News Of The World are disputing part of James Murdoch's Tuesday testimony before Parliament, saying he knew there were other reporters involved in the phone hacking before News Corp settled a phone hacking lawsuit by the former head of Professional Footballers' Association.

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