TPM News

Obama: 'I Don't See How We Can Afford' Permanent Extension of Top Bush Tax Cuts In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama addressed the recent election results, and called for the two parties to work together. He also insisted that he supports a permanent extnsion of the Bush tax cuts for family incomes under $250,000, but not for the wealthiest.

"We also agree on the need to start cutting spending and bringing down our deficit. That's going to require everyone to make some tough choices. In fact, if Congress were to implement my proposal to freeze non-security discretionary spending for three years, it would bring this spending down to its lowest level as share of the economy in 50 years," said Obama. "But at a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don't see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. We'd be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children."

Read More →

As the Alaska Division of Elections gets ready to count the write-in ballots next week for the Senate race, Republican nominee and tea party favorite Joe Miller has remained confident in his ability to win the race against Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Murkowski launched a write-in bid after Miller's surprise victory in the Republican primary, and in the end, 41% of the votes went to write-in candidates while 34.3% went to the Miller. Under Alaska election rules, all of the ballots will be counted to determine how many were for write-in candidate Murkowski.

The seat will remain in Republican hands regardless -- Democrat Scott McAdams has already conceded -- but many GOPers are still in an awkward spot, having to wait out a protracted vote count between an establishment senator and the tea party upstart they backed against her.

So where do Miller's staunchest Republican supporters stand now?

Read More →

Former President George W. Bush, in his new memoir out Tuesday, contends that he gave the original order to shoot down planes on Sept. 11, 2001, according to excerpts in the New York Times.

"I told [Vice President Cheney] that I would make decisions from the air and count on him to implement them on the ground," he wrote. "I told Dick that our pilots should contact suspicious planes and try to get them to land peacefully. If that failed, they had my authority to shoot them down. ... I had just made my first decision as a wartime commander in chief."

Read More →

Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), former Reagan administration Budget Director David Stockman.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sen.-elect Pat Toomey (R-PA).

• Fox News Sunday: House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ).

Add the Republican National Committee to the list of those welcoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to stay in Washington and run for House Minority Leader after Tuesday's Democratic shellacking at the hands of the GOP.

Many Republicans made hay raising the specter of the "Obama-Pelosi agenda" on the campaign trail this year, but perhaps none more so than RNC chair Michael Steele. He set off across the country on a Fire Pelosi bus tour and adorned RNC HQ with a giant "Fire Pelosi" banner over the front door.

For Steele and the RNC, Pelosi was enemy number one. Steele took great joy when voters obeyed his banner and his bus and stripped Pelosi of her House majority on Tuesday night. Now, with Pelosi planning to stay as the head of House Democrats, Steele is offering caucus voters some more advice in banner form.

Read More →

If there's a close election in Minnesota...then Fox News is all over it, and going after the Democrats. Check out this amazing interview that Heidi Collins, formerly of CNN and now an anchor on the local Fox station in her native Twin Cities area, did with Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie on Wednesday night. Among the suspicious points she raises against Ritchie regarding the gubernatorial recount is that...his office was prepared for a recount!

In the race to succeed Repubican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton currently leads Republican state Rep. Tom Emmer by slightly under 9,000 votes, a percentage gap of 0.42% out of about 2.1 million votes. Though this figure is within the 0.5% margin that would trigger a mandatory hand recount, past experience from the state's long-running 2008 Senate recount and legal contest -- in which the margins were only ever a few hundred votes out of 2.9 million ballots -- would suggest that the outcome is highly unlikely to switch to the Republicans.

Collins opened the interview by playing a video clip of state GOP chair Tony Sutton blaming Ritchie for the recount, and saying that it should be "a process that's dominated by an ACORN activist who happens to be the Secretary of State."

Read More →

Days after Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to prohibit its courts from considering Sharia or international law, CAIR's Oklahoma director filed a lawsuit asking for an injunction against the law.

Muneer Awad, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Oklahoma chapter, filed suit against the Oklahoma Board of Elections in federal court on Thursday. In the suit, he alleges the law both violates the First Amendment and harms his family's ability to carry out his will after he dies.

Read More →

Here's what we know about the brewing House Democratic leadership struggle, and how the situation emerged.

The short version is this: By losing the Speakership, Democrats lose a leadership position. If the hope is to transition the current leadership team over into the minority, somebody's gotta go. Nancy Pelosi's apparently angling for that person to be current Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

At a long meeting between Pelosi and Hoyer after the election, Hoyer and Pelosi discussed the issue of Democratic leadership extensively, according to a democratic aide and a member of the Democratic caucus.

As recently as last night, Pelosi was saying publicly that she hadn't even really had time to think about whether to fight for the top slot in the House Minority. But clearly that wasn't quite the case.

Read More →

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) already has a challenger for his 2012 re-election, the Lincoln Journal Star reports, with Republican state Attorney General Jon Bruning forming an exploratory committee:

Bruning has started raising money for a Senate campaign, formed a four-person campaign staff, and is ready to go.

"I can't imagine any conditions under which I would not run," Bruning acknowledged at a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda.

"I want to run. I'm ready to run."

Read More →