TPM News

Even though Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) couldn't find it in his heart to do his full part in ponying up to help his party in elections, he managed to donate to Rep. Charlie Rangel's legal defense fund, according to a TPM search of his campaign finance records.

Weiner cut a check for $2,000 to Rangel's defense fund in January to help defray the roughly $2 million in legal fees Rangel amassed after a nearly three-year investigation into a string of financial irregularities, which resulted in a House censure last year.

But the embarrassed and embattled Weiner has yet to donate any money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee so far this cycle. The stinginess has been duly noted, party insiders say, and has contributed to his reputation as a shameless self-promoter who was only using his Congressional post as a stepping stone to the New York mayor's office.

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Mitt Romney's got enough to worry about without this: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) is holding a rally Wednesday to accuse Romney of basically being exactly the same as Barack Obama.

Romney is in Michigan this week, stumping through his native land and raising money. Democrats are having a field day, dispatching former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) to yet again attack him over his opposition to the auto bailouts.

He's facing an even stronger attack from his fellow Republican.

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If he were president, Herman Cain wouldn't sign any bill so lengthy that an average American family couldn't digest it along with their pizza dinner.

As Think Progress first reported on Monday, Cain fired up attendees at an event in Iowa by decrying bulky bills that he said are so long that common people don't have time to read their full text. In particular, he knocked the health care overhaul, which he claimed members of the Obama administration hadn't even read.

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With President Obama's July deadline for withdrawing some troops in Afghanistan just weeks away, the future of the U.S. commitment to the nearly 10-year war has been a hot topic on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue in recent weeks.

Concern over the nation's budget woes have taken center stage in Washington, and with few tangible signs of progress in Afghanistan, members of Congress are increasingly expressing deep skepticism about maintaining U.S. nation-building efforts there.

The most notable aspect of Wednesday's Senate Foreign Relations hearing on the nomination of Ryan Crocker to be ambassador to Afghanistan, was the absence of voices supporting an ongoing robust U.S. presence there.

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Updated 6:36

The Democratic dominoes are starting to fall for embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), who serves among the leadership of the DCCC, told Politico Wednesday afternoon that it's time for Weiner to go. Schwartz' office confirmed the news to TPM.

As Wednesday evening went on, more Democrats joined the Weiner resignation bandwagon. Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) and Reps. Nikki Tsongas (MA) and Joe Donnelly (IN) called on Weiner to step down from Congress, as did Reps. Mike Michaud (ME), Mike Ross (AR) and Larry Kissell (NC).

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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is fighting Democratic efforts to direct more federal money to local development projects by pushing to eliminate a jobs program that he's praised and benefited from in the past.

Created under the Johnson administration, the Economic Development Administration, an agency in the Commerce Department, uses its small budget to help fund local initiatives around the country. Democrats to increase its operating budget to $500 million a year.

That's driven DeMint to the warpath. On Wednesday, he called EDA a "wasteful stimulus slush fund that must end," and yesterday introduced separate legislation that would eliminate it altogether. But his antipathy to the program is relatively newfound.

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Minnesota has a distinction in this presidential cycle, with two different candidates likely in the race for the Republican nomination. But as a new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) suggests, both former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann would probably lose their home state to President Obama were they the GOP nominee.

Obama leads Pawlenty by a solid 51%-43%, and leads Bachmann by a landslide margin of 56%-35%. Obama's approval rating in the state is 51%, with a disapproval of 44%. By comparison, Pawlenty's personal favorable rating is only 40%, with a 53% unfavorable rating, and Bachmann's personal rating is at 33%-59%.

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Yes it is! No it isn't! OK, it is!

Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) can't make up his mind about whether Social Security is or is not a pyramid scheme. His latest contention is that it is, indeed, a pyramid scheme that should be privatized, though last week he walked back the same claim.

Last week, the GOP freshman told a group of constituents, "when they first conceived Social Security, they didn't think they were going to be paying benefits for 13-15 years. That's one of the reasons why this pyramid scheme isn't working."

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President Obama has dispatched Vice President Biden, the number two man in the government and nominally the head of the U.S. Senate, to handle negotiations with the GOP over deficit reduction.

Today, Republicans said that shows Obama doesn't really care much about getting the economy back on track.

"As a business person, the people I know running businesses, if their business was in jeopardy of going out of business, they'd be rolling up their sleeves, they'd be working 16, 17, 18 hours a day to solve a problem," Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said. "And yet our president is totally disengaged. He sent his Vice President to negotiate what, maybe once a week? Twice a week?"

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