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Emerging from her first meeting with the Democratic caucus since calling for Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) resignation, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters that she used the gathering to explain her decision to cut him off.

"Because we have been on break this past weekend, Members have been in their districts. ... I wanted to be sure that they knew why I came to the conclusion that with the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the need for help, that Congressman Weiner should resign from the Congress," Pelosi said. "I'm never prouder of my colleagues than in times of challenge like this, that our caucus understands our concern for the rights of the individual member but our higher responsibility to our country to uphold a high ethical standard in the Congress of the United States."

Pelosi declined to take follow up questions, including on whether Weiner would be stripped of his committee assignments if he failed to resign. Earlier in the day, Speaker Boehner called on Weiner to step down as well.

It was inevitable: after virtually all the Democratic leaders in Washington -- including President Obama -- called on Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to step down, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wasn't going to argue.

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Congress' top adviser on federal budget issues warned Tuesday that even a brief default on U.S. credit obligations, triggered by a failure to raise the national debt limit in a timely fashion, would be "a dangerous gamble," with potentially far-reaching consequences for the U.S. economy and citizens who rely on crucial social services.

"It is a dangerous gamble because any government that has borrowed as much as ours has borrowed and will need to borrow as much as ours will need to borrow cannot take the views of its creditors lightly," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told a roomful of reporters at a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "Even a small increase in the perceived risk of Treasuries would be very expensive for the countries."

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Democrats have found their response to last night's big Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire.


The DNC put out a web video this morning highlighting what was not said in last night's battle of the Republican stars. What was said, Democrats say, was less than impressive.

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Sarah Palin distrusts the "lame stream media" so much that she had to edit all of their coverage of her giant bus tour before adding their quotes to a video recap of that trip, according to Jon Stewart.

As Stewart pointed out on The Daily Show Monday night, Palin's recently released video documenting her family vacation/campaign rollout bus tour is spiced with a number of partial soundbites from reporters. But in paring down those quotes, Stewart said Palin changed the original intent of those quotes.

"How propaganda-y was the video?," Stewart said. "They found a way to use soundbites from lamestream media reporters whilst smoothly editing out any signs of their bewilderment or contempt."

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The Republican strategy of planting fake Democratic candidates in the state Senate recall elections won't just add some serious time to the process. It's also going to cost local governments and taxpayers throughout the state over $428,000, in just a partial estimate.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

Election clerks estimate the cost of a Democratic primary in the districts of the recalled GOP lawmakers as follows: Sen. Rob Cowles of Allouez, $86,000; Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills, $69,700; Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, $27,000; Sen. Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, $84,200; Sen. Dan Kapanke of LaCrosse, $101,000; and Sen. Luther Olsen of Ripon, $60,200.

Those are only partial figures. Two counties in Harsdorf's district, two counties in Olsen's district and one county in Kapanke's district did not provide estimates. The figures also do not include the costs for some of the municipalities within those counties.

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If you're a Democrat hoping to get Republicans off your back by returning a donation from Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), it's best not to get your hopes up. After demanding a number of Democratic members wash their hands of the "tainted" cash, the NRCC is slamming those who actually take their advice for being spineless flip floppers.

The NRCC has made a big deal of pressuring Democrats to cough up the Weiner cash. Or, more precisely, emailing the press to demand the contributions be returned. For example, last week the NRCC put out a release calling on Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) and a number of other lawmakers to give up the money, saying they must choose between "returning the scandal-tainted donations [they] received from Congressman Weiner or silently condoning his colleague's lewd and bizarre behavior that could lead to a potential ethics violation."

The very same day, Sutton announced she was doing just that. Not good enough, NRCC spokesman Tory Mazzola said.

"It's clear that Rep. Sutton is only ridding her campaign coffers of this tainted cash because she's worried about her reelection," Mazzola wrote in e-mail to reporters. "She may have caved to GOP pressure as it relates to Rep. Weiner's scandal, but voters shouldn't count on her to do the right thing and oppose Nancy Pelosi's partisan, tax-and-spend agenda that amounts to more government and debt, instead of real job creation."

On Monday, the NRCC went after Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), saying he hesitated too long before giving back the money.

"After waiting a week, it's clear that he's not doing this because it's the right thing to do but instead because he's feeling the political pressures of the reelection fight ahead of him, especially when combined with his out-of-touch record of tax hikes and reckless spending," Mazzola said in a statement.

It wasn't the first time Democrats had been trapped in a no-win situation by the NRCC. Last month, Republicans blasted out emails slamming House Democrats who voted for a bill that would raise the debt ceiling -- and another batch targeting the Democrats who sided with the GOP and voted against it.

Asked about its practice of criticizing Democrats for following through on the GOP's own requests, NRCC communications director Paul Lindsay told TPM: "Democrats make a lot of bad decisions, and we hold them accountable for all of them."

Henry Kissinger has rubbed shoulders with some of the world's most powerful leaders in his long career, from American Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford to Chairman Mao. And now, he can add Stephen Colbert to that list.

On Monday night, Kissinger appear on the Colbert Report, where he talked about China, chess and the Cold War. In an interview sometimes weighted with silent pauses, Kissinger defused some of the more absurd questions with a flat deadpan and straight answers.

"Would you go so far as to say, 'USA number one?" Colbert asked early on.

"I would say now we are still number one," Kissinger responded. "I believe we will remain number one for any foreseeable future."

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Republicans have pulled off a neat trick since taking over the House back in January -- they've repeatedly attacked President Obama on the languishing job market while shifting government focus away from job creation and toward the deficit and debt.

Now, the House Progressive Caucus is planning to turn the government's attention back toward eliminating unemployment. Starting Wednesday, caucus members will fan out across the country on a summer tour that will attempt to push the focus away from spending reduction and toward using government resources to create jobs.

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