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President Obama opened up his press conference with jabs at Congress for failing to pass a series of bills aimed at creating jobs and at Republicans for refusing to end tax breaks on the wealthy.

Acknowledging widespread pessimism among Americans over the state of the economy, Obama urged patience.

"The struggles of middle class families were a big problem before the recession hit in 2007," he said. "They weren't created overnight, and the truth is our economic challenges are not going to be solved overnight."

Without directly singling out Republicans, Obama outlined a series of steps Congress could do to help bolster job creation.

"There are a number of steps that my administration is taking, but there are a number of steps that Congress could take," he said. "Many of these ideas have been tied up in Congress for some time."

They included passing a number of pending free trade agreements, a move popular with many GOP lawmakers, but also renewing temporary tax breaks negotiated with Republicans as part of the deal extending the Bush tax cuts last year. Democrats have recently used the GOP's refusal to extend the payroll tax cut to imply Republicans are deliberately tanking the economy, since tax breaks for businesses typically enjoy broad support from the party. Obama did not go that far, but his explicit call on Congress to take action lends weight to the Democrats' pressure and could be a preview of his 2012 campaign message.

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It appears to now be politically difficult to even find a proper venue for investigating the alleged physical altercation at the Wisconsin Supreme Court -- in which liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused conservative Justice David Prosser of grabbing her neck in a chokehold, during an argument over the court's recent decision regarding the upholding of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation.

Dane County (Madison) Sheriff Dave Mahoney, who was elected as a Democrat in a partisan election, has separated himself from the investigation, following complaints by some conservative activists -- and also following the investigation having been transferred to him on Monday by the Capitol Police, who had originally been investigating the matter.

Some conservatives had complained that in this past spring election for the state Supreme Court, Mahoney had endorsed Prosser's opponent JoAnn Kloppenburg. In addition, he has previously endorsed Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson -- whom Prosser has previously called a "total bitch," and when the incident was later reported said the comment was "entirely warranted"

In his statement, Mahoney described the process by which the case was transferred throughout his office in multiple steps, such that he would play no role in assigning detectives or overseeing the investigation.

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Sixteen Democratic Senators have written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Justice Department to carefully review the "highly restrictive photo identification requirements" that are sweeping state legislatures across the country.

Concerned that the measures could "block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any problem commensurate with this kind of restriction on voting rights," the Senators ask DOJ to use the "full power of the Department of Justice to review these voter identification laws and scrutinize their implementation."

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President Obama is standing behind his decision to authorize military action in Libya, dismissing months of furor over his failure to win Congressional approval before launching strikes as pure politics.

"...A lot of this fuss is politics, and if you look substantively at what we've done, we've done exactly what we'd said we'd do under a NATO mandate," Obama said at a press conference in the East Room of the White House Wednesday morning.

"But do I think our actions in any way violate the war powers resolution? The answer is no," he said. "We have engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people against one of the worst tyrants in the world...and we should be sending out a unified message to this guy that he should step down."

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After promising a close friend he would officiate his same-sex wedding, Rudy Giuliani is reportedly dodging efforts to hold him to his word in the wake of New York's landmark gay marriage law.

"I asked if he would marry us," Howard Koeppel, who put Giuliani up in his home during a tough divorce with then-wife Donna Hanover, told the New York Post. "He said, 'Howard, I don't ever do anything that's not legal. If it becomes legal in New York, you'll be one of the first ones I would marry.'"

Well, it's legal now. And Koeppel is eager to have the state recognize his marriage to his longtime partner. But he says Giuliani is no longer returning his calls and his spokesman isn't responding to the Post's requests for comment.

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In the latest news from the bizarre story from the Wisconsin Supreme Court -- in which liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused conservative Justice David Prosser of grabbing her neck in a chokehold, during an argument over the court's recent decision regarding the upholding of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation -- it is now being reported that Bradley told Prosser in the days following the incident to seek anger-management therapy.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: "The request came June 15, when all the justices met with Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs to discuss the June 13 altercation between Prosser and Bradley. At least some of Prosser's fellow conservatives on the court said it would be ridiculous for him to take such courses, the sources said."

Unnamed sources on Prosser's side have alleged that Bradley initiated the violence, by charging at Prosser with her fists raised. He then raised his own hands, it is said, to defend himself. Bradley has shot back publicly, saying: "You can try to spin those facts and try to make it sound like I ran up to him and threw my neck into his hands, but that's only spin."

Michele Bachmann's multi-state campaign announcement tour took her to South Carolina on Tuesday, home of some of the most right-wing Tea Partiers around. And interestingly, while she was there she made a comment that distanced herself sharply from the fringe "Birther" movement in a subtle way.

As CNN reports, Bachmann promised to run a fully national campaign. "We want to win Hawaii," she said. "And we think that there is a certain Hawaiian president who should go back to Hawaii!"

Of course, President Obama was born in Hawaii, though he made his adult life and his political career in Chicago, Illinois. Moreover, Hawaii is a heavily Democratic state, and has only voted Republican for president in the landslide re-elections of Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984. Obama won his birthplace state by a whopping 72%-26% margin in 2008 -- up from John Kerry's much narrower 54%-45% in 2004 -- aided by the prospect of electing the first Hawaiian president.

On the other hand, this hasn't stopped conspiracy theorists from spinning rumors that Obama was really born in Kenya, and isn't legally qualified to be president, and that the multiple Hawaiian documents attesting to his birth there are forgeries.

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The GOP has a new favorite line about President Obama and if the speed with which they've all adopted it is any indication, then it works well with focus groups, and, through sheer repitition, it makes its way seamlessly into news article after news article.

Obama inherited a tough economy, they say, but "he made it worse."

Mitt Romney's saying it, members of the GOP congressional leadership say it over and over again at their weekly press conferences. It's not going anywhere.

The problem is that, by most metrics, this is simply false. Yes, the economy shed millions of jobs in late 2008 and early 2009, so unemployment is higher now than it was when Obama took office. But, as others have pointed out, when he took office the economy was shrinking, it's now growing again. When he took office, the economy was shedding jobs, it's now creating them. You can fault him for doing too little, or not doing it well enough, but as bad as things are, they're not worse than they were two and a half years ago. And non-partisan fact checkers agree.

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Michele Bachmann has recently made a few interesting historical claims that are either clear evidence of her incompetence (or proneness to make public gaffes), or an example of a biased media out to get her (depending on one's political persuasion, of course.) Conan O'Brien mined this to an appropriately absurd level last night, in presenting his own vision of how this should play out: The Michele Bachmann History Channel!

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