TPM News

One of the Democratic candidates in the Wisconsin recalls has a new ad up, attacking incumbent GOP state Sen. Alberta Darling for not just supporting the policies of Gov. Scott Walker -- but also for supporting Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) proposal to privatize Medicare.

Darling has previously been seen supporting Ryan, and now it's in an ad from Dem state Rep. Sandy Pasch.

"Alberta Darling -- how could you?" the announcer asks. "Cutting education and health care, to give tax breaks to big corporations? Supporting the end of Medicare as we know it, while giving the richest a massive tax cut?"

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going after Sen. Orrin Hatch for saying that the poor need to "share some of the responsibility" for shrinking the debt.

"The top 10 percent are paying 70 percent of all income taxes. The top 50 percent pay something like 98 percent of all income taxes. Fifty-one percent don't pay anything," Hatch said.

"Democrats say they [the 51 percent] pay payroll taxes. Well, everybody does that because that's Social Security. They pay about one-third of what they're going to take out over the years in Social Security," Hatch said. "Obamacare -- a family of four earning over $80,000 a year -- gets subsidies. Think about that. That's what we call the poor?"

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Three years after pleading guilty to violating conflict of interest laws, the former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer involved in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal has been disbarred, Legal Times reports.

Robert E. Coughlin II was the former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Criminal Division at the DOJ, the division which oversaw the probe into the Abramoff lobbying bribery case.

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After a contentious White House meeting with President Obama and other Congressional leaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) returned to the Capitol and drew an important red line: Members of her caucus won't vote for a grand bargain to raise the debt limit and reduce future deficits if the final deal includes cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits -- and that means it probably won't pass.

"You [asked], 'could the changes compromise the vote?'" Pelosi said at a Thursday afternoon briefing near the House chamber. "I said yes."

It's widely believed that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will need Democratic votes to raise the debt limit. Democratic leaders, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have offered to help him out -- but not on Boehner's terms alone. Pelosi has her own terms.

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Reports that President Obama could discuss with Republicans the idea of cuts to Social Security and Medicare is picking up praise from a source that doesn't usually have anything good to say about the President: Rep. Allen West (R-FL).

In fact, this is coming from a man whose military career ended after a torture-related incident, who has called Obama a "low-level socialist agitator", and who has said that Medicare will destroy America: "I gotta tell you something: if you support Medicare the way it is now, you can kiss the United States of America goodbye."

Of course, West also opposes increasing taxes as part of a budget deal, though he did signal some willingness to close loopholes: "Our tax code needs to be used to provide economic growth and create jobs. It cannot be used to punish individuals and small businesses that create jobs. With Florida's unemployment rate more than 9 percent, we just cannot exacerbate the situation with counterproductive tax policies."

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Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) found a novel way to out-conservative even Tea Party members demanding the debt limit never be raised: he suggested the ceiling be lowered instead.

In an op-ed in the National Review Online, Broun urged members to sign onto legislation that would reduce the debt ceiling by $1 trillion next year, forcing Congress to go beyond balancing the budget and instead find a huge surplus, which experts suggest would be tough given that a sudden $2 trillion plus total cut to federal spending would plunge the economy into a deep recession.

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The White House is playing down a report that the President is willing to consider cuts to Social Security as part of a deal to raise the debt-ceiling and reduce the nation's long-term deficits.

White House spokesman Jay Carney several times during Wednesday's press briefing criticized a report in the Washington Post, saying the reporter "overwrote" it and questioning the motives of the story's sources.

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A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a portion of the Federal Communications Commission's 2008 rule governing U.S. media ownership, overturning a move by the FCC that made it easier for companies to own broadcast TV stations and daily newspapers in the same market.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District sent the rules back to the commission to be reworked, reports the Wall Street Journal.

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