TPM News

Three key New York Democrats in the state Senate reportedly said Monday that they will support marriage equality legislation, an important reversal for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who is pushing to bring the measure up for a vote by the end of the week.

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Progressives were hoping to turn the recall battle against Wisconsin state Sen. Alberta Darling (R) into a referendum on Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) unpopular plan to end Medicare as we know it.

They thought their chance would come at a Friday fundraiser for the embattled Darling, which her campaign told TPM they expected Ryan to attend. Ryan subsequently told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he wasn't going, potentially closing the door on a juicy opportunity for opponents to tie Darling to Ryan's plan.

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) acknowledged Monday that if Congress doesn't act quickly to raise the debt limit, markets will react poorly.

His admission is somewhat at odds with a growing line of argument from senior Republicans that a brief default by the U.S. on its payment obligations won't trigger significant economic consequences. Nonetheless, he continues to insist that Republicans will not raise the national debt limit without also cutting trillions of dollars in spending over the next decade -- and he credited Vice President Joe Biden for leading fruitful negotiations over just how to do that.

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Majority Leader Eric Cantor escalated the GOP's war of words over Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) online indiscretions on Monday, calling on Democrats to remove him of his committee assignments if they can't push him out of office.

"I called on him to resign early, because I think that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, the way that his leaders now have called on him to resign." Cantor said at a pen and pad briefing. "I'm hoping that they will begin to move, if he does not resign, toward perhaps stripping him of his committees."

Cantor was among the first Republicans to wade into the Weiner scandal, which other members of his party largely avoided until after the New York Democrat confessed to lying about a lewd photo he sent to a Seattle college student.

As Cantor referenced in his remarks, top Democrats have already made abundantly clear that it's time for Weiner to go. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined with a legion of Democratic officials over the weekend in publicly demanding his resignation, including DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, DCCC chair Steve Israel, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Weiner has announced he will take a leave of absence instead to seek professional treatment, a move that Pelosi has made clear falls short of her call for him to step down.

"I think he should resign, I think his leaders should do everything they can to bring him to that point if he's not already," Cantor said on Monday.

Update: A senior Democratic aide e-mails TPM: "The bottom line is that Rep. Weiner should resign and the GOP is engaged in a pathetic attempt to grab headlines in order to distract from their no jobs agenda. It's been 160 days since the GOP took control of the House, and Americans are still asking: Where are the jobs, House Republicans?"

In 2008, North Carolina was the surprising bonus in Barack Obama's landslide wave -- with him having picked up the 15 electoral votes of a place that people would have been very surprised to hear about as a swing state just a few years earlier. Now, a new Public Policy Polling (D) survey suggests that it could again be crucial to Obama's re-election strategy, with Obama still leading the Republican contenders.

The poll has Obama just edging out Mitt Romney by 45%-44%, leading Tim Pawlenty by 47%-40%, leading Herman Cain by 48%-37%, leading Newt Gingrich by 50%-40%, and leading Sarah Palin Palin by 52%-38%. Obama's approval rating in North Carolina is 49%, with a disapproval of 47%.

The survey of registered voters was conducted from June 8-11, and has a ±4.1% margin of error.

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One of the nation's leading economists, and President Obama's former top economic adviser, says that Washington's focus on immediate austerity is misplaced, and that efforts to rein in deficits should wait until after one more round of stimulus.

"Fiscal support should be continued and indeed expanded by providing the payroll tax cut to employers as well as employees," writes Larry Summers in a new op-ed. "Raising the share of the payroll tax cut from 2 percent to 3 percent would be desirable as well. At a near-term cost of a little over $200 billion, these measures offer the prospect of significant improvement in economic performance over the next few years translating into significant increases in the tax base and reductions in necessary government outlays."

In the tax cut deal the White House and Congress negotiated last year, President Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years, in exchange for a one-year extension of unemployment benefits and a substantial, year-long payroll tax cut for employees.

Summers says that the cut should be extended and deepened into 2012, and should also be offered to employers, who also pay taxes for workers they employ.

Fox News' Chris Wallace stepped up the skepticism of Tim Pawlenty's wildly optimistic economic plan on Sunday, asking the former governor how he would achieve his goals, and whether his proposed deep tax cuts would, "blow a hole in the national deficit."

In a nearly half hour interview, Wallace repeatedly pressed Pawlenty to explain how he would accomplish the unprecedented decade of 5% annual growth he claims his policies would spark. At each turn, Pawlenty remained vague on the details of how exactly he'd do that, instead deferring to broad criticisms of President Obama.

"Well, this is an aspiration," Pawlenty said when asked when in history the economy had ever grown so robustly. "It's a big goal, and it's a stretch goal."

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Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) ongoing scandal has finally drawn the White House into the fray, with President Obama's press secretary Jay Carney decrying the lawmaker's "dishonesty" on Monday.

The presidential spokesman told reporters on Air Force One that Weiner's antics had become a "distraction from important business."

"The President feels, we feel at the White House, this is a distraction," Carney said. "As Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, dishonesty was inappropriate. But the President is focused on his job which is getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs and ensuring the safety and security of the American people."

An array of top Democratic officials called for Weiner's resignation in recent days, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), and DCCC chair Steve Israel (D-NY). Carney declined to offer a response either way on the question of whether the embattled lawmaker should step down in light of the ongoing sexting scandal.

"I answered that question," he said in response to a query on what Weiner should do. "We think it's a distraction from the important business that this President needs to conduct and Congress needs to conduct. Beyond that I don't have any comment."

Weiner announced over the weekend that he will seek professional treatment while taking a leave of absence from the House. But the White House's biting comments on his "dishonesty" and "inappropriate" behavior is a clear sign that they're growing concerned about his impact on the party's image and messaging.

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