TPM News

It's that time again -- the Obama administration just posted the latest records detailing visitors to the White House grounds in January.

As he does each month Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, detailed the records in a blog post at White House.gov. The hundreds of thousands of records (covering everything that's been released since September) are here.

We'll be going through them but if you notice anything interesting leave a note in the comments or drop us an email.

Ten days ago, after an explosion occurred on BP's Deepwater Horizon rig off the Gulf Coast, the initial word from the Coast Guard was that there was no oil spill. That soon changed as the government announced that 1,000 barrels of thick oil per day were spilling into the ocean.

Then, in a dramatic shift on Wednesday evening, the government changed its 1,000 barrels estimate to 5,000 barrels per day. BP initially rejected the new estimate about the spill, which experts now believe could be worse than the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.

We're sure to learn more in the coming months and years about what the government and BP knew about the scope of the disaster, when they knew it, and whether they responded appropriately. For now, TPMmuckraker decided to take a look at the course of events, and the shifting public statements of company and government officials on the spill.

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The suddenly hot immigration debate has inspired its fair share of out-there rhetoric in just a short time. Last night, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), tried out a new line on the House floor.

Lamenting the state of border security, Poe asked why we can catch and contain invasive species like Brazilian grasshoppers before they get into the U.S., but not illegal immigrants. Nice, right?

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the PA-12 special election gives Republican businessman Tim Burns the edge in the race for the House seat formerly held by the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha.

The numbers: Burns 46%, with Democratic candidate and former Murtha aide Mark Critz at 40%. The sample of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. The Democrats have held this seat since 1974, when Murtha picked it up from the Republicans in a special election held in the midst of the Watergate scandals. The special election will be held on May 18. The TPM Poll Average gives Burns a lead of 43.0%-40.3%

Two key numbers: President Obama's favorable rating in this western Pennsylvania seat is only 38%, with an unfavorable rating of 55%. Respondents were also asked this question: "Would you be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports and will work to improve the new health care reform law, or a candidate who will work to repeal it completely?" The answer: candidate who supports the bill 34%, candidate who would repeal the bill 48%.

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) suddenly announced her retirement today, the last day for candidates to file for the seat, citing health reasons.

"As I have prepared for my campaign, I have been troubled by persistent health problems and have come to the disappointing and sad conclusion that I cannot run for reelection," said Brown-Waite. "There are simply too many unresolved issues around my health and my pancreas in particular."

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