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Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin's (D) campaign for U.S. Senate came out swinging Wednesday at opponent Tommy Thompson for newly unearthed remarks that he'd "do away" with Medicare and Medicaid, provoking a fierce response from the Republican.

"Tommy Thompson now says he wants to 'do away with Medicare,'" Baldwin spokesman John Kraus told TPM. "He supports the Republican plan on Medicare that will provide billions in new profits for big insurance companies and a voucher for seniors instead of the guaranteed benefit they paid for. ... It's clear Tommy is not for Wisconsin anymore."

Kraus swiped Thompson, formerly the state's governor and President Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services, as a "quarterback for George W. Bush on a sweetheart deals for drug companies."

In a statement to TPM, the Thompson campaign responded by saying Baldwin "would rather lie and demagogue the issues than put forth a credible plan," declaring that Thompson "actually provides solutions to our nation's problems."

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Just two weeks after making an apples-to-oranges comparison that cast President Obama's economic record in a dark light, Fox News is at it again.

The hosts of Fox & Friends on Wednesday enlisted statistical data to advance their narrative that Obama has drastically increased government spending, but used different measures to make their point -- a friendly one for President Bush and an unfriendly one for Obama.

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Mitt Romney argued Tuesday that President Obama has not yet raised taxes during his presidency, contradicting a line of attack congressional Republicans have lobbed against the president for years.

"I admit this, he has one thing he did not do in his first four years, he's said he's going to do in his next four years, which is to raise taxes," Romney told a crowd at a campaign stop in Vandalia, Ohio.

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The more details Mitt Romney provides about his tax plan, the closer he gets to validating the conclusion of a nonpartisan study that found his proposal is "not mathematically possible."

"I want to keep the current progressivity in the code," Romney told CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday. "There should be no tax reduction for high income people. What I would like to do is to get a tax reduction for middle-income families by eliminating the tax for middle-income families on interest, dividends, and capital gains."

In other words, the Republican nominee promises that, after his across-the-board rate cuts and elimination of unspecified loopholes benefitting high income earners, the tax burden will be reduced for the middle class and remain constant for the wealthy. And yet he promises the plan won't add to the deficit.

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Sheila Bair, a longtime Republican who formerly chaired the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission under Presidents Bush and Obama, said Tuesday morning that she's "aghast" with Mitt Romney's 47 percent remarks and probably writing in Jon Huntsman for president.

She made her remarks on American Public Media's "Marketplace" radio program.

Jeremy Hobson: Final question -- you're a lifelong Republican. You write in the book that you voted for John McCain in 2008. Are you planning to vote for Mitt Romney this time around?

Bair: I am very disappointed in Mr. Romney. I am aghast at the recent statements that he made; they were on YouTube. I think he has a lot to explain. I am also, though, disappointed in Mr. Obama. I think his policies have been Wall Street-friendly through his economic team. I think he's got the worst of both worlds -- Wall Street doesn't like him because he's been publicly critical, yet his administration has performed policies that are pretty friendly to them. So at this point I have to say I'm probably going to write in Jon Huntsman. He was talking about financial reform during the debates; good for him, he was really the only one. I wish this issue would become more of an issue in this presidential race. I'd like to hear both candidates talk about it more; show independence from these financial interests.  

Comments made by Mitt Romney on Sunday night to CBS News reveal again, in stark relief, how fully he's abandoned the basic tenets of the health care reform law he enacted in Massachusetts.

"The guy has come completely full circle," says Jonathan Gruber, a professor at MIT who advised Romney on the Massachusetts law and has expressed his dismay about Romney's shift in several public fora.

In the 60 Minutes interview, Romney protested the idea that government doesn't already provide health care to the uninsured: "Well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance," he said. "If someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care."

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Enjoying leads in key swing states with the presidential debates less than two weeks away, the Obama campaign is actively working to lower expectations by talking up Mitt Romney's skills.

"I think it's always a big moment when two candidates get to sit side by side and answer the same question," said Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to the campaign, on "Fox News Sunday." "Mitt Romney I think has an advantage, because he's been through 20 of these debates in the primaries over the last year. He even bragged that he was declared the winner in 16 of those debates. So I think, in that sense, having been through this much more recently than President Obama, I think he starts with an advantage."

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Appearing on two Sunday shows, Bill Clinton addressed the controversy surrounding Mitt Romney's newly unearthed remarks that the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes are essentially freeloaders.

"You know, I know a lot of higher income people, a lot of whom help me do my work and they're supporting Governor Romney. And a lot of people say things like that," Clinton said on CBS' "Face The Nation," before taking on the premise.

"First, they do pay taxes -- they pay Social Security taxes, they pay Medicare taxes, they pay state and local taxes," he said. "Second, they are out of the income tax pool for two reasons: one is the economic crash, which lowered a lot of peoples' incomes. ... Now the second reason is interesting, it's a bipartisan reason in the past: it's because of the combined impacts of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit."

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Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said Sunday that Mitt Romney's longstanding strategy of making this election a referendum on President Obama's first term will fail.

"They need to focus on the next four years," he said. "If this election is just about the last four years, that's a muddy verdict. Bush was president during the financial meltdown. The Obama team has turned that around pretty well. The Clinton speech at the convention was very important in that way -- how horrible was it four years ago."

"He's got to make it a referendum on the choice of the next four years, and explain what Obama would do over the next four years that would be bad for the country, and what he would do that would be good for the country."

The Romney campaign has hinted that it will pivot to presenting the election as a choice between two visions and increasingly highlight the Republican nominee's blueprint for America.

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