TPM News

Obama Slams 'Fat Cat Bankers' During his 60 Minutes interview, President Obama denounced Wall Street irresponsibility, in stark terms. "Now, let me say more generally I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of you know, fat cat bankers on Wall Street," said Obama. "Nothing has been more frustrating to me this year than having to salvage a financial system at great expense to taxpayers that was precipitated, that was caused in part by completely irresponsible actions on Wall Street. And I've spoken out repeatedly about this."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. Obama will meet at 11:10 a.m. ET with members of the financial services industry, and he will deliver a statement on the economy at 12:10 p.m. ET. Obama and Biden will have lunch at 12:25 p.m. ET. Obama will meet at 1:30 p.m. ET with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman. Obama will meet at 3 p.m. ET with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

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In a move that senior leadership aides say has left them stunned, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that he will filibuster a tentative public option compromise unless it's stripped of its key component: a measure that would allow people aged 55-64 to buy insurance through Medicare.

The development casts substantial doubt on whether or not a health care reform bill can pass in the Senate, and even more doubt on whether a bill that does pass the Senate will be reconcilable with substantially more progressive House legislation in such a way that a final reform package can once again pass in both chambers of Congress.

Lieberman told Reid this afternoon, after a contentious appearance on Face the Nation, that he's a "no" vote on the new compromise unless the Medicare buy-in is stripped, and he's not even waiting for the CBO to weigh in--a move one leadership aide described as "extremely unfair."

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McConnell: 'There Are More Democratic Positions Than You'd Find In A Stack Of Newspapers' Appearing on Face The Nation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put forward Republican unity on health care -- contrasted to the Democratic divisions that have delayed passage of a bill, even with 60 Democratic Senators. "It's noteworthy that you had to have three Democrats on to explain the Democratic position," said McConnell. "There are more Democratic positions than you'd find in a stack of newspapers, [and] therein lies the problem."

Summers Predicts Positive Job Growth By Spring Appearing on This Week, White House Economic Council Director Larry Summers predicted positive job growth by the spring: "If you look at the employment statistics, they will show employment growth. They were showing losing 700,000 a month. Last month, they showed losing 11,000 jobs. They will bounce from month to month, but I believe that, as do most professional forecasters, that by spring, employment growth will start to be turning positive."

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Attorneys for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich are reportedly asking the FBI for interviews authorities conducted with President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and top adviser Valerie Jarrett.

The Chicago Sun-Times has details of the request, and sources told the paper that Michelle Obama was never interviewed by the FBI as authorities investigated Blagojevich.

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President Obama will be hosting a discussion about his new home retrofitting proposal at a Washington-area Home Depot.

The White House announced this afternoon that Obama will speak at an invitation-only event at Home Depot Tuesday about the "economic impacts of energy saving home retrofits."

He will "solicit ideas from members of the labor, manufacturing, and small business communities," the White House said.

Obama last week detailed a plan to use some of the remaining Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

He asked Congress to create incentives for homeowners who make their property more energy efficient.

Late Update: Obama on Monday is meeting with "members of the financial industry to discuss economic recovery, small business lending, improving lending practices for homeowners and the administration's plans for financial reform," the White House said. He'll also give a brief statement to the press.

On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden is holding a Middle Class Task Force meeting on the future of manufacturing, the White House said.

Obama: Republicans And Financial Lobbyists Seeking To Block 'Commonsense Reforms' In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama, President Obama proposed the pending financial reform legislation, which passed the House of Representatives yesterday. And he excoriated the Republicans and the financial lobbyists for seeking to block it:

"These are commonsense reforms that respond to the obvious problems exposed by the financial crisis. But, as we've learned so many times before, common sense doesn't always prevail in Washington," said Obama. "Just last week, Republican leaders in the House summoned more than 100 key lobbyists for the financial industry to a 'pep rally,' and urged them to redouble their efforts to block meaningful financial reform. Not that they needed the encouragement. These industry lobbyists have already spent more than $300 million on lobbying the debate this year."

Blackburn: GOP Is For Clean Energy -- But Not Taxing People Out Of House And Home In this weekend's Republican address, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) discussed how she and other Congressional Republicans will be visiting the Copenhagen summit on climate change. Blackburn spoke out against cap-and-trade proposals:

"Republicans are all for clean water, clean air, and clean energy. We just don't think we have to tax people out of their house and home to get there," said Blackburn. "That's why we have proposed an 'all of the above' energy strategy that says, let's put every clean, responsible energy option on the table so we can create jobs, ease the strain on family budgets, and clean up our environment."

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Thanks to the magic of the Internet, TPM stumbled onto a photo album of lovably wacky Republican National Committee Chairman Michael "Moo" Steele posing with his interns. With permission from the photographer, Mark Odell, we present them to you. Enjoy!

Odell Photos

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Gov. Pat Quinn said they are encouraged that a draft memo has surfaced indicating Thomson Correctional Center may be the choice to replace the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Andrew Breitbart has the memo here.

An administration official tells TPMDC it is a "draft, predecisional document that lawyers at various agencies were drafting in preparation for a potential future announcement about where to house GTMO detainees."

"Drafts of official documents are often prepared for any and all possibilities, regardless of whether a decision has been made about the policy or if the document will be used," the official said.

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In a statement just posted on his website, Tiger Woods announced that he's taking "an indefinite break from professional golf."

Woods has been dogged by rumors and allegations of infidelity in the days after his car accident in Florida late last month.

Woods acknowledged the infidelity in his statement: "I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children."

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The AARP released the following release in response to Sen. Kent Conrad's (D-ND) proposal to control deficit spending:

AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond today announced the Association's opposition to a measure that would require Congress to fast track votes on spending reductions that could jeopardize Medicare and Social Security benefits that millions of Americans have earned through a lifetime of hard work. In a letter to Senate leaders, AARP pledged to work constructively with Congress and the Administration in open, bipartisan efforts to advance solutions to address the nation's long-term fiscal challenges, but made clear that it does not support efforts that could harm the Social Security and Medicare programs that older Americans depend upon for their health and economic security.

Key excerpts of the letter follow below:

"AARP acknowledges that the nation's long-term debt requires attention... We oppose, however, providing fast-track authority to a task force that will function with limited accountability outside of the regular order of Congress and will be exclusively focused on debt reduction. We further oppose the establishment of such a taskforce in light of the targeted Medicare savings and proposed Medicare Advisory Board (that would have further authority to reduce Medicare spending) in the pending Senate health care reform legislation."

"AARP believes the issues that the fiscal task force is meant to address--including the revenue gap, health care costs and the long-term solvency of Social Security--are among the most fundamental challenges we face as a nation. As such, they are issues that Congress itself, through its regular order, should tackle. "

"A task force that is directed to identify proposals to restore the nation's long-term fiscal health cannot do so without regard to the impact its recommendations would have on individuals. Broad, deep cuts to the nation's health and economic security pillars -Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -could reduce long-term imbalances, but would do so by shifting significant burdens and risks to older Americans and millions of others who rely on these benefits."

"Furthermore, we urge that Social Security not be considered in the context of deficit reduction--the program does not contribute to the deficit, and its long-term solvency can be resolved by relatively modest adjustments if they are made sooner rather than later."

"...AARP is committed to working on a bipartisan basis with Congress to develop and advance responsible policies to address the nation's long term fiscal challenges. However, given the significance of these programs to the well-being of nearly all Americans, AARP believes a full and open debate is essential to ensuring the development of equitable solutions. As such, we oppose legislation that would bypass or short circuit the protections afforded by regular order."