TPM News

Workers and their allies in Wisconsin are gearing up for a drawn out fight with the state's new Republican governor Scott Walker.

On Friday, Walker announced a plan to roll back state government employee rights by decades, and has called on the Wisconsin legislature to enact it quickly.

Unions and progressives went into rapid response mode. Some even suggested quietly that Walker might face a recall over this proposal.

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Obama Budget To Cut Deficit By $1.1 Trillion Over 10 Years Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama proposed a budget on Monday that would cut the U.S. deficit by $1.1 trillion over 10 years, setting the stage for a bitter fight with Republicans who vow even tougher spending controls...Details of the budget proposal provided by the White House before its official release showed the deficit rising to $1.645 trillion in fiscal 2011, then falling sharply to $1.101 trillion in 2012. This trend would trim the deficit as a share of the U.S. economy to 3.2 percent by 2015 from 10.9 percent this year."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart from the White House at 9:20 a.m. ET, en route to Baltimore, Maryland. At 10:10 a.m. ET, he will visit a science classroom at Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology, and deliver remarks on education and key budget priorities at 10:20 a.m. ET. He will arrive back at the White House at 11:45 a.m. ET.

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Pamela Geller, the most vocal of the activists opposed to the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" to be built two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center, said Friday that the Conservative Political Action Conference she was speaking at had itself been "corrupted" and "compromised by Muslim Brotherhood activists."

Speaking at a non-official CPAC event on Friday afternoon, Geller said that many members of the board of the American Conservative Union had to go because they were allowing the event to be infiltrated by Muslim Brotherhood activists.

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Egyptian Ambassador: U.S. Can Still Count Country As Ally Appearing on This Week, Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry said that Egypt would maintain its close relationship with the United States. "Certainly," Shoukry said. "These issues are driven by mutual interest, by Egyptian interest and the interest remains a close association to the United States."

Boehner: Obama Administration Handled 'A Very Difficult Situation' With Egypt Appearing on Meet The Press, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) commented on the Obama administration's handling of the Egyptian revolution. "I think they've handled what is a very difficult situation about as well as it could be handled," said Boehner. He also added: "I believe that we should always listen to those who are crying out for freedom, crying out for democracy. What we should not tolerate are those who want to push some radical ideology to take control of those governments. And I think that's the real concern of the administration and, frankly, all of us on the Hill."

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White House budget director Jack Lew suggested that President Obama will propose hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts over the next 10 years, when he presents Congress with his 10 year budget proposal Monday.

"We are reducing programs that are important programs that we care about, and we're doing what every family does when it sits around its kitchen table: we're making the choices about what do we need for the future," Lew said on CNN's State of the Union.

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For the second year in a row, Ron Paul won the CPAC presidential straw poll, taking home 30% of the votes cast. Mitt Romney came in second with 23% of the vote. The rest of the 16 candidate field shared single-digit levels of support.

Results of the poll were first published by Human Events, with other media organizations following shortly after. The final results were announced to attendees at about 5:30.

Paul's win was widely expected, as his supporters have packed the halls here (and spent big money to do it.) It's true that he has a lot of die-hard support, but it's hard to see the CPAC win today as a sign that he has any kind of a broad base in the GOP electorate

For Romney, who made a big deal out of his 2008 CPAC straw poll win, second place here probably solidifies him as the frontrunner in the early stages of the 2012 presidential race.

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Former Ambassador (and possible 2012 presidential candidate) John Bolton took the stage at CPAC today, and continued his unflinching criticism of President Obama's foreign policy initiatives. Bolton said Obama has handled Egypt the same way he's handled every other foreign policy crisis: he's been "inconsistent, confused, and just plain wrong."

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TPM tracked down Congressman Steve King at CPAC today, and asked him whether he thinks jihadists are coming over the southern border of the U.S., like Rep. Sue Myrick and Rick Santorum have claimed.

"I know there is. I know from reports that we occasionally pick up 'people of interest from nations of interest,'" King said, explaining that "people of interest from nations of interest" is a government euphemism for jihadists.

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Wandering around the vast and labyrinthine CPAC yesterday, I stumbled into Michael Williams, a Texas Railroad Commissioner (an important elected gig in the Lone Star State) and a Republican candidate for the Senate seat Kay Bailey Hutchison is retiring from.

Last year, I interviewed Williams -- who at the time was among the lucky conservatives to have Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) endorsement in the Senate race that was supposed to happen when Hutchison quit after her run for governor (she didn't, so Williams had to wait.) During our chat, he told me how conservatives need to do a better job reaching out to the African American community, where he acknowledged right wingers have little entre or experience.

When I ran into him yesterday, it appeared conservatives have not made much progress on that front. Ahead of me was a CPAC attendee rushing past, as they are wont to do in this giant place.

"Hey, are you Herman Cain?" the young man asked Williams, referring to another African American conservative running for federal office and attending CPAC.

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Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MI) said at CPAC today that Republicans have to keep in mind that the "average American agrees with us on the issues," and "the main thing" Republicans have to accomplish it "electing a Republican President next year."

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