TPM News

Obama: McConnell Making 'Cynical And Deceptive Assertion' About Financial Reform In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama put forward his case for the proposed new financial regulations. And he went after Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for working with Wall Street firms to block the proposals.

"Now, unsurprisingly, these reforms have not exactly been welcomed by the people who profit from the status quo - as well their allies in Washington. This is probably why the special interests have spent a lot of time and money lobbying to kill or weaken the bill. Just the other day, in fact, the Leader of the Senate Republicans and the Chair of the Republican Senate campaign committee met with two dozen top Wall Street executives to talk about how to block progress on this issue," said Obama. "Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington, the Senate Republican Leader came out against the common-sense reforms we've proposed. In doing so, he made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts - when he knows that it would do just the opposite."

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There's always a little wiggle room.

The Obama administration is telling Senate Democrats to ditch a measure in their financial reform bill that would create a $50 billion liquidation fund by assessing a fee on big financial institutions. The fund is intended to be used to cover the cost of winding down large firms, when they fail. According to the Associated Press, the administration would like the financial industry to cover the cost of liquidation after an institution has been dismantled.

Perhaps not coincidentally, this is a measure Republicans oppose, on the grounds, they say, that the mere existence of the fund will incentivize risk taking, and lead to more bailouts.

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Here are some highlights from the first-quarter political fundraising:

• In the Republican primary to face Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA), the incumbent Perriello raised about three times more than the entire GOP field combined.

• Businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), announced that he raised $305,000, plus $50,000 of his own money, and has $308,000 on hand. Grayson, who is well known for his attacks against the Republicans, previously announced that he raised $803,000, and has $1.5 million on hand.

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Eric Massa used a campaign account to pay $40,000 to his then-chief-of-staff just days before resigning from Congress according to campaign finance records, Politico reports.

Joe Racalto, who received the payment, has been a key figure in the sexual assault allegations that drove Massa, a western New York Democrat, to step down last month. Racalto reportedly confronted Massa about allegations of sexual harrassment after hearing them from junior staffers, but Massa denied doing anything improper.

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Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, released a statement today about a letter signed by the Republican senators vowing to vote against his financial regulatory reform bill. The full statement, as released by the banking committee:

Today Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) issued the following statement in response to a letter by Senate Republicans rejecting Dodd's Wall Street reform bill as being "partisan."

"We can disagree over serious, substantive issues. We can have a real debate over the future of our country, but if this bill does not represent a bi-partisan effort, I don't know what does," Dodd said.

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The new Rasmussen poll of Arizona finds that both Sen. John McCain and his challenger in the Republican primary, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, would lead the currently lesser-known Democrat in the general election, Tucson city councilman Rodney Glassman -- though McCain starts out in the stronger position.

McCain leads Glassman by 54%-32%, while Hayworth leads Glassman by a narrower 48%-39%. The margin of error is ±4.5%

From the pollster's analysis: "Potential bad news for the Democrat is the finding that 57% of the state's voters believe the health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama will be bad for the country. Thirty-two percent (32%) say it will be good for the country. Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters in Arizona favor a repeal of the law, including 53% who strongly favor repeal. That's higher than support for repeal nationally. Thirty-three percent (33%) oppose repeal, including 28% who strongly oppose it."

TPMmuckraker's story yesterday about Koch Industries preemptively alerting the press that the mega-company does not fund tea parties -- despite the fact that it backs one of the major tea party groups -- got the Rachel Maddow treatment last night.

"So David Koch, founder of Americans for Prosperity, wants you to know that he's not at all funding the tea party movement -- except for that part where he totally funds the tea party movement," Maddow said in the segment. "But other than that, just wants to get the facts clear."


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April 15, 2010: President Obama visits the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and boldly predicts that American astronauts will reach Mars in his lifetime. Here's a look back at other Presidents who took an interest in outer space.

November 16, 1963: Dr. Werner Von Braun explains the Saturn system to President Kennedy during a tour of the Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex.


September 8, 1960: Dr. Braun points out details on a Saturn-bound rocket to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Two years earlier, Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, the statute that created NASA.

Newscom/NASA via CNP

February 23, 1962: Kennedy inspects the interior of "Friendship 7" at Cape Canaveral. He was there to present the NASA Distinguished Service Medal to Astronaut John Glenn, pictured on his right.

Newscom/White House via CNP

July 16, 1969: Former President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Spiro Agnew watch the liftoff of Apollo 11.


July 24, 1969: President Richard Nixon welcomes home Apollo 11 astronauts, seen aboard the U.S.S. Hornet, after their historic lunar landing mission.

Newscom/NASA via CNP

October 1, 1978: Captain Robert Peterson, left, and President Jimmy Carter, right, present the first Congressional Space Medal of Honor to astronaut Neil Armstrong, center, at Cape Canaveral.

Newscom/NASA via CNP

February 5, 1982: Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, third from left, checks in on the Spacelab engineering module at the Kennedy Space Center.


March 22, 1982: Vice President Bush and President Ronald Reagan watch the lift-off of STS-3, the third flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Newscom/White House via CNP

October 29, 1998: President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Astronaut Robert Cabana, and NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin watch a successful launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery.


August 2, 2005: President George W. Bush speaks with the Discovery crew by telephone.


January 20, 2009: President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden watch as the NASA lunar electric rover stops in front of the Presidential reviewing stand in front of the White House on Inauguration Day.


April 15, 2010: President Barack Obama waves farewell after speaking at the Space Center. While the president's new plan for the space program has sparked some controversy, he sounded confident. By reforming the program, he said, the U.S. can "leap into the future."


The popular narrative of an assault against a GOP operative in New Orleans, which was quickly becoming a cause célèbre in the conservative blogosphere, sustained another blow today as the police released a report suggesting the incident was not politically motivated.

The police report on the April 9 incident in which Allee Bautsch, the chief campaign fundraiser for Gov. Bobby Jindal, was attacked by a small group of men says that the group hurled insults at Bautsch and her boyfriend, calling them "b*tch" and "f*ggot," but did not make political insults.

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The former president of Blackwater has been indicted on weapons charges.

Federal prosecutors today charged Gary Jackson with conspiracy to violate firearms laws, false statements and possession of an unregistered firearm, reports the Associated Press.

Four others were also charged, including former general counsel Andrew Howell and former executive vice president Bill Mathews.

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