TPM News

John McCain is taking a page from House Republicans and, in about an hour, will be introducing an alternative budget of his own. It's a move that might just rankle Judd Gregg--who, as chairman of the Budget Committee, and the guy who would normally make these decisions, opted not to go that route.

We should have more details once it comes to the floor, but in the mean time, recall that during his presidential campaign, McCain called for a one year non-military discretionary spending freeze. That's in contrast to the House GOP budget which calls for a five year freeze. Economic conditions in the country have gotten worse since the November election, though, and Republican cries for spending cuts have grown louder, so it's possible that he's has doubled down or more on this idea.

The DNC has now put out their memo/press release analyzing the NY-20 special election: "Murphy's lead following yesterday's balloting shows that the Republican Party has no new ideas, is tied to the failed policies of the past and that it is in disarray and faces an uphill battle in local and state elections in 2009 and 2010."

The DNC also declares it a win for Obama: "This race became a referendum on President Obama and his leadership of the country and handling of the economy. Murphy's showing in an overwhelmingly Republican district is affirmation of the direction the President is leading the country."

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Yesterday, we reported on the unveiling of new House climate change legislation co-authored by Henry Waxman, and Ed Markey. Since then, a bit more info's trickled in, particularly from the Senate.

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) told the Washington Post "we don't have 60 votes"--that's no surprise, but it's also an important statement by the Democratic whip, at a time when the party is grappling with the question of budget reconciliation.

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Appearing on Fox News radio with Brian Kilmeade, Norm Coleman himself confirmed that he'll be appealing his case -- which his legal spokesman had announced yesterday, after the election court handed down a ruling that seriously damaged his efforts to get his campaign's list of previously-rejected absentee ballots put into the count:

Some fun quotes, after the jump.

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Here's a quick roundup of some news from the NY-20 special election:

• As the standard process of proofreading the vote spreadsheets has been conducted, Democrat Scott Murphy's lead over Republican Jim Tedisco has actually shrunk from 65 votes to 25 in the latest AP numbers. These sorts of human errors are commonplace, and are usually very small and break about equally -- but in a race this close, they can be consequential.

• The Washington Post reports that Democrats have privately predicted a Murphy win by 210 votes, when all the absentee ballots are counted. This is based on making projections for the home counties of the absentees, from the percentages for each candidate in the Election Day tally. But here's a counter-example: when some previously-rejected absentee ballots in Minnesota were opened up and counted this past January 3, Al Franken ended up doing far better than geography alone would have predicted. It really does come down to which side had the better absentee ballot operation.

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Looks like we may soon be learning more about the preferential treatment major banks may have enjoyed in the wake of the AIG bailout.

Last week, we noted Rep. Spencer Bachus's efforts to bring to light the issue of smaller U.S. banks that are allegedly being stiffed on their loans to an AIG subsidiary even as major CDS counterparties (some of them foreign banks) were paid off in full. Bachus is the ranking member on the House Financial Services committee, and he aired his concerns at a hearing and in letters he sent to both Geithner and Barney Frank, the committee chairman.

After we reported this, the Wall Street Journal dug up a couple examples of just this issue, one of which occurred in Bachus' district.

Now, it seems, the committee is taking some steps toward investigating Bachus' complaint.

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Yesterday, we told you about how several AIG execs reassured investors at a December 2007 presentation that company risk officers had closely scrutinized the transactions of the financial products unit -- the part of AIG that made those credit default swaps. And about how several pieces of evidence have surfaced in recent months that appear to contradict those claims.

This is serious business: US and British prosecutors are already investigating former AIGFP chief Joe Cassano, and, it appears, former AIG chief Martin Sullivan, for potentially painting an unduly rosy picture of the firm's exposure to the sub-prime crash -- and are said to be focusing on that December 2007 presentation in particular. So it's worth taking a moment to lay out what exactly we know here, and what it might amount to.

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The NRCC has just released this statement from New York's GOP Congressional delegation, predicting a win by Jim Tedisco in NY-20:

Washington - Today, the members of New York's Republican Congressional Delegation - Reps. Peter King, John McHugh and Chris Lee - released the following statement regarding the status of the special election in New York's 20th Congressional District:

"With the election not yet certified, and the Republican advantage among absentee ballots not yet counted, we are confident that Jim Tedisco will be the next Congressman from New York's 20th Congressional District. We look forward to welcoming Jim as our colleague and working with him to address the critical issues facing upstate New Yorkers."

It's worth stopping here for a moment and considering the fact that New York, with 29 total House members, only has three Republicans in the bunch. After the 2000 elections, before the GOP brand completely crashed in the Northeast, that number was 12 Republicans out of 31. So obviously, these three guys want to have some company and rebuild their party.

Scott Murphy, the Democratic candidate in the super-close NY-20 special election, has put out this statement predicting victory:

"Eight weeks ago, we were down over twenty points and they said this couldn't be done. The election results proved something very different," said Murphy. "The voters of the 20th Congressional District made clear they want a leader with proven business experience who will work across the aisle to bring common sense solutions to Washington.

"Thanks to our unbelievable grassroots supporters who helped build this amazing campaign in just eight weeks, we've defied the odds and we won a majority of votes cast Tuesday.

"We are confident that once all the absentee ballots are counted, we will expand our lead and we will go to Congress and partner with Senator Gillibrand and President Obama to create jobs and turn our economy around."

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