TPM News

Ian Murphy, the Buffalo, NY blogger who first made national headlines when he posed as conservative money man David Koch in a taped phone conversation with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), has struck again.

This time, the target was much closer to home: The special election being held in New York's 26th Congressional District, which has become a focal point for the national battle over the House Republican plan to phase out Medicare in favor of a voucher system.

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Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) tried to emphasize the positive one day after President Obama clarified his remarks about where to begin in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after his initial statements on the issue last week created a firestorm among ardent supporters of Israel.

"I'm glad he clarified his remarks," Lowey told TPM at the annual American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference. "I'm glad we're all on the same page now."

Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a strong supporter of Israel, was much more sympathetic to Obama and his comments over the last few days, arguing that Obama never meant to advocate for a return to the 1967 armistice. He also gave Obama high marks for his follow-up speech.

"He wanted to make a strong point that these would be adjustments to the armistice," Rothman said. "And he said the relationship between the two nations is outstanding ... that the U.S. commitment to Israel is ironclad."

Obama had alienated the Jewish community during a speech last Thursday in which he called for the peace negotiations to begin with the boundaries that existed before the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel forces captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Obama stressed the need for additional "mutually agreed upon" land swaps, but that didn't prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from angrily denouncing any return to the 1967 boundaries while sitting alongside Obama in the Oval Office on Friday.

The President on Sunday appeared to mend some fences with the Jewish and pro-Israel community by addressing 10,000 AIPAC attendees and insisting he is a "real friend" of Israel.

Regarding his speech last week at the State Department and his comment about 1967 lines the president was adamant that he had been "misrepresented several times."

Obama agreed that Israel could not go back to the 1967 borders as they were, and that "mutually agreed" land swaps would be necessary. Yet, to the consternation of some at the conference, he continued to suggest that Israel's actions were creating delays that were unacceptable to the international community.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md), who spoke to the conference earlier Sunday, provided a stark contrast to Obama's speech by urging Palestinian leaders to return to the negotiating table without preconditions and urging the United Nations not to recognize an independent Palestinian state as long as it continued an alliance with Hamas.

The regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya received a boost from a special guest over the weekend, in its television propaganda against the country's rebels and the NATO force opposing the government: Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

CNN reports:

The station is fiercely loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and her interview was spliced with what appeared to be rallies in support of the embattled Libyan leader.

...

"I want to say categorically and very clearly that these policies of war ... are not what the people of the United States stand for and it's not what African-Americans stand for," she told state TV.

The former Georgia representative also slammed the economic policies of U.S. President Barack Obama and said the government of the United States no longer represents the interests of the American people.

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Hewlett-Packard plans on hosting a "hackathon" this October to come up with new kinds of applications to help autistic children in their daily lives.

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The head of the Oklahoma Banker's Association -- a one-time Elizabeth Warren skeptic who believed she was "akin to the Antichrist" -- is now asking President Obama to provide her a recess appointment to direct the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"I write to encourage you to appoint Elizabeth Warren as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and to do so with a 'recess appointment' at the first opportunity," wrote Roger Beverage -- President and CEO of the OBA -- in a May 19 letter to Obama, provided to TPM. "In light of the action taken by the forty-four senators who have stated they will oppose any nominee to serve as Director of the new Bureau unless certain changes are made to the Bureau's structure, I encourage you to wait no longer and give Elizabeth a recess appointment before the July 21st transfer date."

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As further proof that becoming a GOP lightening rod all but guarantees consideration in the Republican presidential primary, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) threw his support behind a presidential bid from his friend and fellow political ally, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Cantor didn't hesitate when asked whether Ryan, the author of the House GOP's budget and controversial plan to privatize parts of Medicare, should run for the White House in 2012 during a Monday briefing with reporters.

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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made a potentially risky move during his campaign launch speech in Iowa: he called for a phaseout of ethanol subsidies.

"The hard truth is that there are no longer any sacred programs," said Pawlenty. "The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly. But we need to do it."

Many political observers have long said that Iowa's place at the kickoff for presidential nomination contests has ensured continuous support for ethanol by national politicians. As a counter-example, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has long opposed ethanol subsidies, and as a result he largely skipped the 2008 caucuses. McCain placed fourth in the caucuses, and in the 2008 general election he lost Iowa by just under ten points.

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