TPM News

Obama Meeting With Health Industry On Lowering Costs President Obama is meeting today with drug companies, insurance companies, hospital executives and doctors to work on an industry initiative to decrease health care costs by $2 trillion over 10 years. The New York Times points out that the government wouldn't necessarily have a direct way to hold industry to these promises, but that the industry itself is undertaking this initiative in order to head off direct price constraints from being imposed by the government.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will be meeting with health care reform stakeholders at 11:30 a.m. ET in the Roosevelt Room. At 12:30 p.m. ET, he will deliver remarks from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, on reforming the health care system and reducing costs. At 2 p.m. ET, he will welcome the University of North Carolina men's basketball team an the South Portico.

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Obama Plays Comedian At Correspondents' Dinner President Obama told all manner of jokes last night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, roasting himself, his administration, his party, the opposition, and the press:

My personal favorite: "Now Sasha and Malia aren't here tonight, because they're grounded. You can't just take Air Force One on a joyride to Manhattan. I don't care whose kids you are."

Cheney: Opponents "Prepared To Sacrifice American Lives" Former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared today on Face The Nation, and he had a tough response to the Obama Administration's opposition to his approved methods of interrogation: "Well, then you'd have to say that, in effect, we're prepared to sacrifice American lives rather than run an intelligent interrogation program that would provide us the information we need to protect America."

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Obama Calls For Credit Card Reforms In this weekend's Presidential YouTube Address, President Obama spoke of the need for a bill to reform the credit-card industry, and called upon Congress to have it ready for him to sign by Memorial Day:

"There is no time for delay," said Obama. "We need a durable and successful flow of credit in our economy, but we can't tolerate profits that depend upon misleading working families. Those days are over."

GOP YouTube Address Blasts Obama On Gitmo In this weekend's Republican YouTube, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) criticized President Obama for planning to close the detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay:

"Closing our terrorist-detention facility with no backup plan is one campaign promise that can't hold up to national security realities," said Bond. "While the President has made closing Guantanamo Bay a priority, the highest priority must be keeping America safe."

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If Citigroup -- recipient of $45 billion in bailout funds and constant visits with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and longtime employer of former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin -- is supposed to be the government's friend, it's quite the underminer. Today the bank emailed borrowers who took out student loans with Citigroup encouraging them to write to Congress opposing the administration's student loan proposal.

Obama has been talking about overhauling student loans since at least 2007, echoing GAO estimates that banks had been taking in $15 million a day peddling and securitizing private student loans without taking on any risk, since student loans are guaranteed by the government and cannot even be discharged in a bankruptcy. The "most controversial" aspect of his proposed legislation, according to the New York Times, would cut out the proverbial middleman so all students could borrow directly from the government. Any "controversy," of course, is likely to be fomented by the banks that make money off the arrangement -- as Citigroup's letter would seem to indicate.

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As we reported earlier this week, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was spiked in 1986 from becoming a district court judge by the Republican controlled Senate Judiciary Committee. Sessions was known to be, at least, insensitive to minorities, and his nomination was considered too controversial to advance. Now that he's the ranking member on that very committee, it's news all over again. But it was a big deal then, too. Watch:

Yesterday we obtained over 500 pages of testimony from the 1986 hearings, and are still dutifully scouring them for interesting nuggets.

As we said before: Whatever the specifics of exactly what was and wasn't said during the September 2002 CIA briefing that Nancy Pelosi received about enhanced interrogation techniques, it seems clear that she was given enough information to conclude that we either had already conducted waterboarding and other harsh techniques, or that we very well might in the near future.

So the more important question, which seems to be getting less attention today, is what Pelosi did in response. And the short answer appears to be: very little.

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One-time presidential candidate, failed MSNBC talk show host, and U.S. Senate hopeful Alan Keyes was one of 22 people arrested this morning on charges of trespassing. The group--26 in total--had convened to protest President Barack Obama's upcoming commencement speech at Notre Dame University.

Anti-abortion groups have been livid ever since the Catholic school invited Obama (who is pro-choice) to address this years graduating class a couple months ago, and the fact that, as part of the arrangement, Obama will receive an honorary degree has, in their minds, added insult to injury.

Without questioning the sincerity of most of these protestors, it's worth pointing out that Keyes may have a wee bit of a score to settle. It was Obama, after all, who defeated Keyes in that 2004 Senate race, and in recent months he's been on a one man campaign to "prove" that Obama isn't a "natural born citizen."

Remember the rumors that AIG Financial Products had "thrown in the towel," handing over massive portfolios of derivatives to the trading desks of major investment banks to unwind in a process that gave the beleaguered banking sector a profitable first quarter?

We first heard them back in March from the blog Zero Hedge. Then, sure enough, the banks began reporting first quarter earnings that for the most part beat expectations -- all thanks to record and near-record revenues for their trading operations.

Then the fixed income chief at the hedge fund BlackRock essentially confirmed the story to Bloomberg Radio in a wry interview we partially transcribed.

And now we've heard from an anonymous executive at AIG who is "familiar" with AIG FP...

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