TPM News

Obama: 'Our Commitment In Iraq Is Changing' President Obama will speak today at the Disabled Veterans of America Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, where he will outline a change of America's mission in Iraq. "Make no mistake: Our commitment in Iraq is changing, from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats," Obama will say, according to pre-released excerpts.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart from the White House at 9 a.m. ET, and depart form Andrews Air Force Base at 9:15 a.m. ET, arriving at 10:45 a.m. ET in Atlanta, Georgia. He will deliver remarks at 11:30 a.m. ET, at the Disabled Veterans of America Conference. He will deliver remarks at 1:25 p.m. ET, at a Democratic National Committee fundraising event. He will depart from Atlanta at 2:30 p.m. ET, arriving back at Andrews Air Force Base at 3:55 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 4:10 p.m. ET. He will meet at 4:15 p.m. ET with senior advisers.

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Gates: WikiLeaks Docs Posting 'Puts Our Soldiers At Risk' Appearing on This Week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates denounced the WikiLeaks posting of documents about Afghanistan: "Well, I'm not sure anger is the right word. I just -- I think mortified, appalled. And -- and if -- if I'm angry, it is -- it is because I believe that this information puts those in Afghanistan who have helped us at risk. It puts our soldiers at risk because they can learn a lot -- our adversaries can learn a lot about our techniques, tactics and procedures from the body of these leaked documents. And so I think that's what puts our soldiers at risk. And -- and then, as I say, our sources. And, you know, growing up in the intelligence business, protecting your sources is sacrosanct. And -- and there was no sense of responsibility or accountability associated with it."

Mullen 'Appalled' By WikiLeaks Docs Appearing on Meet The Press, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen denounced the WikiLeaks posting of documents on the Afghanistan war: "There is an ability to put this kind of information together in the world that we're living in and the potential for costing us lives, I think, is significant. I said when it first occurred I was appalled. I remain appalled and that the potential for the loss of lives of American soldiers or coalition soldiers or Afghan citizens is clearly there."

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It was billed as the most diverse tea party rally ever. For three hours Saturday afternoon, we waited for the diversity to show up.

Was Saturday's Uni-Tea rally in Philadelphia a success? Well, it depends on your definition of "epic fail." If you're more on the defensive end of the tea party spectrum, you would have left the rally this afternoon even more convinced that the movement is not now about race and never has been. If you're the kind of tea partier who'd like to see that abounding not-racism result in some actual demographic diversity in the movement, the Uni-Tea rally appeared to be a borderline disaster.

For three hours, a small crowd drifted in and out of Independence Park as speakers and musicians regaled them with paranoia about Democratic politicians and policies and reassurances that no matter what anyone says, there's no racism in the tea party.

Even as just a regular old tea party rally, the event fell flat. Though organizers said the event's website had been visited more than 2 million times in the days leading up to today's rally outside Independence Hall, for most of the afternoon there were fewer than 500 in attendance. It was clear from the large numbers of volunteers and the 1,500 bottles the organizers put on ice that they expected a big crowd to turn out. They did not get it by a long shot. They blamed a traffic jam on I-95 for keeping people away (for the record one organizer said that she counted 1,500 on the high end of attendance, but that appeared a bit generous to us).

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The Tea Party's Uni-Tea rally in Philadelphia today marked Andrew Breitbart's first public speech since Shirley Sherrod's firing from the USDA, but Breitbart ducked TPM's questions about the incident, and didn't bring it up at all in his 20-minute long speech.

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Obama: Senate GOP Leaders 'Holding America's Small Businesses Hostage To Politics' In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama promoted his administration's program of aid to the auto industry. And he also blasted Republican leaders for filibustering the small business jobs bill.

"It's a bill that includes provision after provision authored by both Democrats and Republicans. But yesterday, the Republican leaders in the Senate once again used parliamentary procedures to block it," said Obama. "Understand, a majority of Senators support the plan. It's just that the Republican leaders in the Senate won't even allow it to come up for a vote. That isn't right. And I'm calling on the Republican leaders in the Senate to stop holding America's small businesses hostage to politics, and allow an up-or-down vote on this small business jobs bill."

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Andrew Breitbart, the man who helped get Shirley Sherrod fired from the Department of Agriculture, will be among the voices tea party leaders rely on to reach out to minorities at a special rally in Philadelphia today. "Uni-Tea" kicks off this afternoon with speeches from several prominent African American conservatives as well as the trouble-making founder of Breitbart.com and BigGovernment.

Event co-organizer Jeffrey Weingarten, a tea partier from Morristown, NJ, told TPM yesterday he expects the event to draw crowds of multi-ethnic faces not generally seen at normal tea party events. The goal of the rally is to show off the movement's diversity on stage while drawing demographics not usually associated with the tea party into the movement.

"I hope people will be surprised," Weingarten said. "From our point of view, if there was just one other than white face [in the crowd] it would be surprising. From the point of view of the outside, a decent percentage of other than white faces would be a surprise also."

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In perusing the 423-page FBI file that the FBI kept on Howard Zinn, who was a life-long activist and political science professor at Boston University from 1964-1988, we discovered something interesting: someone in the upper echelons of the university's management was an FBI informer who reportedly plotted to oust Zinn in 1970.

The files, which detail the FBI's somewhat absurd practice of collecting newspaper clippings, public speeches and publicized speaking dates for people it declared dangerous to the country, also contained some interesting details about the official's plans to end Zinn's academic career at Boston University -- where he published his seminal text A People's History of The United States in 1980.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has a new ad for his August 24 Republican primary -- looking right past his opponent, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, and taking on his major nemesis, President Obama, the man who defeated him in the 2008 presidential election and remains a great bogeyman for the GOP base.

"The border security of Senators McCain and Kyl calls for 3,000 additional troops to keep us safe. President Obama says he'll send -- 524," the announcer says. "This is no political game, Mr. President. It's about Arizona lives. It's a fight we must win. And with John McCain on our side, we will."

The TPM Poll Average gives McCain a lead of 53.6%-32.1% over Hayworth.

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