TPM News

With some of the country's top Republicans at the fore of the effort to create a new conservative think tank in Washington, the American Action Network is almost sure to become a political force when it launches later this month.

The public roll-out is scheduled for Feb. 22, so it's a good time to look at a few of the people who are reportedly helping to fund the American Action Network.

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Scott Lee Cohen, the Democratic candidate for Illinois lieutenant governor, announced last night that he is leaving the race over allegations of domestic violence and drug use.

Speaking to reporters at a Chicago bar during the Super Bowl, Cohen frequently choked up as he made the announcement.

"For the good of the people of the state of Illinois and for the Democratic Party, I will resign," he said. The Who's halftime performance can be heard in the background.

"With all my heart, I'm sorry," Cohen said.

Members of his family, seated around a table, also broke into tears.

Video after the jump.

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February 8, 2010: Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) passed away this afternoon at the age of 77. First elected to office in 1974, he was the longest serving Member of Congress in Pennsylvania. Murtha, who served for 37 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, was also the first Vietnam Veteran elected to Congress.

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The 17th annual Scripps Howard Celebrity Super Bowl Poll awarded its Super Sage Award to the Pennsylvania Congressman. Murtha shows off his trophy.

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July 20, 2006: Murtha and Tim Roemer, the president of the Center for National Policy. The Pennsylvania Representative was presented with the Edmund Muskie Distinguished Public Service Award for his "lifetime of patriotic service to the nation."

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Murtha visits Marine troops in New River, NC on August 12, 2009.

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On a tour led by Democratic congressional candidate Linda Stender, Murtha eyes the ceiling of the New Jersey State Capitol building. The two had just finished a press conference in Trenton, NJ on October 13, 2006.

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Murtha jokes with House Appropriation Committee chair Rep. David Obey (D-WI) on April 23, 2007.

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Throughout his Congressional career, Murtha has received repeated scrutiny for potential ethics violations and corruption charges. A bulk of the accusations leveled at Murtha involve his proximity to military contractors.

Murtha served as a Marine during the Vietnam War. Above, Murtha chats by a U.S. Army missile with Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA).

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On November 12, 2004, Murtha places a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Palin: 'It Would Be Absurd To Not Consider' Running For President In 2012 Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sarah Palin did not rule out running for president in 2012. "I would. I would if I believe that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family. Certainly, I would do so," said Palin, also adding: "I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country."

Palin: Obama Could Win In 2012 If He Played 'War Card' Also during her Fox News Sunday appearance, Sarah Palin commented on how President Obama could potentially win reelection in 2012: "It depends on a few things. Say he played, and I got this from Buchanan, reading one of his columns the other day. Say he played the war card," said Palin. "Say he decided to declare war on Iran, or decided to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years. Because I think if the election were today, I do not think Obama would be re-elected."

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Obama Calls For Measures To Help Small Business In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama laid out proposals that he said would help small businesses, including the use of money left over from the TARP bailout:



"Because financing remains difficult for good, credit-worthy small businesses across the country, I've proposed that we take $30 billion from the TARP fund originally used for Wall Street and create a new Small Business Lending Fund that will provide capital for community banks on Main Street," said Obama. "These are the small, local banks that will be able to give our small business owners more of the credit they need to stay afloat. We should also continue to waive fees, increase guarantees, and expand the size of SBA-backed loans for small businesses. And yesterday, I proposed making it easier for small business owners to refinance their mortgages during these tough times."

Hensarling: I Agree With What Obama Says -- But Not What He Does This week's Republican YouTube address was delivered by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), one of the Congressmen who debated with President Obama at the "Question Time" event a week ago. In this video, Hensarling criticizes Obama and the Democrats on spending issues, and opposes the creation of a special commission that would recommend fiscal changes:



"Now, when it comes to budget matters, I usually find myself agreeing with about 80% of what the President says, but I disagree with 80% of what he does," said Hensarling. "While the President's budget rhetoric gives a nod to reducing the deficit, he punts the problem to a 'commission' that does not yet exist, and whose recommendations may never see the light of day. We have to do better." As Christina Bellantoni notes, Hensarling makes no mention of the plan offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), to privatize Social Security and Medicare.

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A few days ago Rep. Jeb Hensarling was defending a Republican budget plan that offered stark cuts to Social Security and Medicare to end the deficit, but this morning leadership offered him up as the GOP poster boy for a far less specific spending blueprint. "Serious fiscal responsibility requires more than just tinkering around the margins," Hensarling (R-TX) said in the Republican weekly address.

"Republicans have proposed adopting strict budget caps that limit federal spending on an annual basis and are enforceable by the President," he said. "These caps were a critical plank in the fiscally-responsible budget alternative Republicans proposed last year and yet they are noticeably absent from the President's budget."

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January 29: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood plays fullback backstage for Obama as the President makes his entrance to the GOP retreat in Baltimore, MD.

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January 4: President Obama leads his daughter Sasha by her hand as they descend from Marine One on their return from Hawaii.

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January 6: The President receives applause from teachers at the Presidential Awards for Mathematics and Science.

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January 11: Combatant commanders, including Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen (left), meet with Obama in the Cabinet Room.

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January 13: Rob Robinson, a staffer from the Correspondence Office, carries a Presidential portrait to the West Wing.

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January 13: President Obama speaks with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva about the earthquake in Haiti. NSC Chief of Staff Denis McDonough listens.

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January 18: On a cool day, Obama takes a break to play basketball with a personal aide, Reggie Love.

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January 19: Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama speak to a 6th grade class in Falls Church, VA.

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January 20: President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), after an executive signing of the Tax Delinquency Memorandum.

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January 21: President Obama in the Diplomatic Reception Room with Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).

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January 21: Obama takes questions at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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January 22: Students in Elyria, OH greet the President during his tour of a Wind Turbine factory.

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January 25: Chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, President Obama, and Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes.

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January 25: President Obama greets members of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Green Room.

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January 25: President Obama bids goodbye to retiring White House butler James Ramsey.

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January 28: President Obama greets a young admirer in Tampa, FL.

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January 28: After departing Marine One, the President walks across the South Lawn.

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January 30: President Obama greets fans at the Georgetown-Duke basketball game in Washington, D.C.

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January 30: President Obama with former President George H. W. Bush in the Oval Office.

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February 2: President Obama returns to the White House from his trip to Nashua, NH.

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Add Congress' most powerful Democrat to the list of very senior members who are whipping Republicans for having a long-term plan to privatize and slash entitlements.

"Anybody who wants to see the difference between Democrats and Republicans need only look at their budgets," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at the DNC today. "The Republican budget provides tax breaks for the wealthy, it ends Medicare as we know it, and privatizes Social Security. Here they go again. Rehashing the same failed Bush policies."

She's referring to the far-reaching roadmap, introduced recently by the House Republicans' top budget guy--Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)--for addressing the country's long-term fiscal challenges...

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More and more Democrats in Illinois have been calling upon Scott Lee Cohen, the Dem nominee for lieutenant governor, to drop out of the race in the wake of news coverage of past steroid use, allegations of domestic violence, and other scandals. Gov. Pat Quinn's own position has now become even firmer that Cohen should leave the race, his spokesperson tells TPM.

"The governor has made it very clear that he thinks it is best for the party, and more important for the state of Illinois, for Mr. Cohen to step aside," said Quinn spokesperson Elizabeth Austin.

Yesterday, Quinn strongly suggested that Cohen should withdraw from the race, but had also left some slight leeway for Cohen to explain his side of the story. Since then, further details had emerged from Cohen's divorce files, including alleged attempted sexual assault, repeated infidelity, and other damaging information. Cohen gave an interview last night on local television, which apparently did not help his case.

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We told you earlier about the spat between Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, which was triggered by Fund's erroneous claim that Frank has been working on a "universal voter registration" bill.

As we reported, Fund is continuing to claim that Frank supports the concept of universal voter registration, which Fund says would overturn state laws and undermine safeguards designed to protect against vote fraud.

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