TPM News

Republicans Meeting In New Orleans Republicans are gathering today in New Orleans for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, an early cattle call for several potential national candidates. The biggest speaker will be Sarah Palin, along with Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and Haley Barbour. Not present will be Tim Pawlenty, who will address the event by video, as well as Mitt Romney, both of whom had scheduling conflicts.

Obama's Day In Prague President Obama arrived in Prague, Czech Republic, at 9:25 a.m. CEST (3:25 a.m. ET). He arrived at Prague Castle and was greeted by Czech President Vaclav Klaus at 9:45 a.m. CEST. He took a family photo with President Klaus and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at 9:55 a.m. CEST. He held a bilateral meeting with Medvedev at 10:05 a.m. CEST, and an expanded meeting at 10:45 a.m. CEST. He attended a New START Treaty signing ceremony with Medvedev at 11:50 a.m. CEST. He attended a ceremonial lunch with Medvedev and Klaus at 1 p.m. CEST, and deliver toast remarks. Later, at 6:30 p.m. CEST, Obama will greet central and Eastern European leaders on arrival, and he will host a dinner for the leaders at 7:15 p.m. CEST.

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President Obama spoke this morning in Prague at the New START Treaty signing ceremony. Here are his complete prepared remarks:

Good morning. I'm honored to be here in the Czech Republic with President Medvedev and our Czech hosts to mark this historic completion of the new START treaty.

Let me begin by saying how happy I am to be back in the beautiful city of Prague. The Czech Republic, of course, is a close friend and ally of the United States. And I have great admiration and affection for the Czech people. Their bonds with the American people are deep and enduring, and Czechs have made great contributions to the United States over many decades - including to my hometown of Chicago.

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The elderly mother of Gregory Giusti, the man who is charged with making threats against Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is partially blaming Fox News for radicalizing her son.

"Greg has -- frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas and that are not consistent with myself or the rest of the family and -- which gets him into problems," said Eleanor Giusti, 83, in an interview with ABC 7. "And apparently I would say this must be another one that somehow he's gotten onto either by -- I'd say Fox News or all of those that are really radical, and he -- that's where he comes from."

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Some neo-Confederates aren't happy about Governor Bob McDonnell's apology this afternoon for failing to mention slavery in his proclamation of Confederate History Month.

In an interview with TPMmuckraker, Brandon Dorsey, of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, called McDonnell's move "an insult," and charged that the governor had undermined the purpose of the resolution," and damaged himself with his core supporters. But another member of the group disagreed, saying he supported the apology "one hundred percent."

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Visitors to ChicagoGOP.com may have gotten a bit of a surprise today -- for much of the afternoon, the lead item on the site featured a provocative picture of a bare-chested woman wrapped in a bed sheet.

The NSFW picture is here.

But it turns out that ChicagoGOP.com is an independent blog -- and not affiliated with the official local branch of the Republican Party, according to Chicago Republican Party Executive Director Jonathan Blessing.

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Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine released the following statement today in response to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's decision to designate April as Confederate History Month without openly condemning slavery:

Governor McDonnell's decision to designate April as Confederate History Month without condemning, or even acknowledging, the pernicious stain of slavery or its role in the war disregards history, is insensitive to the extraordinary efforts of Americans to eliminate slavery and bind the nation's wounds, and offends millions of Americans of all races and in all parts of our nation.

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has apologized for not including any mention of slavery in his proclamation declaring April "Confederate History Month" and added an extra clause to the proclamation.

"The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed," McDonnell wrote in a statement. "The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation."

He also added a clause to the proclamation that declares slavery "led to this war."

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Former aide to Dick Armey and former Bush Labor Department official Horace Cooper plead guilty today to falsifying a disclosure report after accepting gifts from lobbyist Jack Abramoff in 2003.

"Cooper admitted that in 2003 he solicited and accepted gifts from Jack A. Abramoff and Neil G. Volz, former Washington lobbyists who had a client with business before the DOL. Cooper admitted he concealed his receipt of these gifts from DOL ethics officials and his supervisors," according to a Justice Department press release.

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