TPM News

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell took a stab at reaching across the aisle this morning, saying he'd like to work with President Obama on what he called "the really serious, seemingly intractable problems" in the country today. His advice to a president who's signaled he's willing to come to the center and make deals with the new Republican-heavy Congress? Become one of us, and bipartisanship should be no problem.

"If the president is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway, we're not going to say no," McConnell told an audience of journalists and political insiders at a breakfast meeting hosted by Politico in Washington today.

Moderator Mike Allen asked McConnell if there are any concessions he'd be willing to grant the White House in the course of negotiating solutions to Social Security and other large-scale topics dividing Washington these days.

"It depends on the issue," McConnell said. "We can't negotiate sitting here this morning."

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Rick Santorum and Al Sharpton squared off on Hannity last night over Santorum's remark about President Obama and abortion: "I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, 'we're going to decide who are people and who are not people.'"

Though Santorum stood by his comments, Sharpton repeatedly argued that the comparison was "not an appropriate" one because there was "no reason at all to bring race into an argument that is a constitutional argument, and that is an argument about where life starts. Blacks were not considered three-fifths of a human being because there was a debate about their humanity. Because if they were 80 years old or a fetus they were considered less than human."

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Sharron Angle might have lost the 2010 Senate race in Nevada -- and thus a shot at everlasting fame if she had defeated a sitting Senate Majority Leader -- but that's not stopping her from going to Iowa, the top destination for political stars in the presidential season.

As the Des Moines Register reports, Angle is headed to an event tomorrow by the Iowa Christian Alliance Education Fund, for a movie screening.

Well, she's definitely staying involved.

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With President Obama set to deliver his second State of the Union address tonight, a new national poll finds that Americans are more optimistic about the state of the country than they have been in nearly four years.

In a CNN poll released today, 43% of Americans said things in the country were going either "very" or "fairly" well, the highest level of confidence CNN has measured since April 2007. That result also represents a 14-point increase from just one month ago, when only 29% of Americans said the country was in good shape.

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We already told you how True the Vote, the anti-voter fraud effort launched by a Texas Tea Party group, had lined up two of the biggest stars on the anti-voter fraud circuit for their upcoming national convention.

Now comes news they've added three of the biggest voter fraud alarmists in the country: Big Government founder Andrew Breitbart, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund and former Bush Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky.

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Obama Under Scrutiny For Clues On Deficit In Speech Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama aims to rise above party politics in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, but he must prove he is serious about tackling the budget deficit that could unleash a bitter partisan fight."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. Obama will deliver the State of the Union Address at 9 p.m. ET.

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The latest in a recent string of Constitution gaffes might make Republicans think twice about their earmark moratorium.

On Monday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) hosted a seminar for (mostly Republican) House members on the Constitution. Her special guest was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who presided over what was reportedly a fairly dry, straightforward discussion of his legal doctrine, and answered a handful of other Constitutional questions.

At least one of these, it turned out, was embarrassingly rudimentary.

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Critics of conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia were quick to raise red flags Monday after he emceed a member seminar on the Constitution at the behest of Tea Party caucus leader Michele Bachmann. MSNBC hosts Lawrence O'Donnell and Rachel Maddow, in particular, suggested his visit was a symptom of the increasing politicization of the Court -- particularly among its conservative members.

But Monday evening, two progressive members who attended the seminar vouched for Scalia and the event, and dispelled the notion that anything untoward happened.

According to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who addressed reporters just outside the forum, the event was "incredibly useful, partly just to get the sense of Justice Scalia as an individual."

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CUNY professor Frances Fox Piven is taking a break from academia to battle adversary Glenn Beck on his own turf: the media. The sociology scholar, whose work on armed revolution in the 1960s has made her Beck's latest arch-nemesis, joined Cenk Uygur this evening and while she said she initially found Beck "funny," recent death threats have left her scared.

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