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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

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) mourned the passing of longtime Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter in a brief statement Sunday afternoon.

"A legendary figure in his beloved Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter brought his fierce intellect and a prosecutor's drive to countless battles in the Senate. He was a fighter to the end, and Elaine and I send our deepest condolences to Joan and the entire Specter family."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi mourned the passing of former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter in a statement released Sunday afternoon.

"For three decades, Senator Arlen Specter served the people of Pennsylvania with independence, toughness, determination and an unflinching devotion to the best interests of his constituents and our country. 

"From the committee room to the Senate chamber, Senator Specter offered a voice of reason and passion in every debate – always willing to reach across the aisle and work across party lines to get the job done, regardless of political gamesmanship or gain.  As a fellow appropriator, I was honored to work with him to invest in the health of our veterans, scientific and medical research, and a host of other priorities.

"In his personal life, Senator Specter battled challenges to his health with the same spirit and vigor he brought to the floor of the United States Senate.  His memory and legacy will continue to inspire his colleagues and all who knew him.  We only hope it is a comfort to his wife, Joan, and his family that so many mourn their loss at this sad time."

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who replaced Arlen Specter last year, mourned the death of the 82-year-old former Pennsylvania senator in a Sunday statement.

Via The Patriot-News, Toomey said: "Senator Arlen Specter was a true Pennsylvania institution whose record of fighting for our Commonwealth is unmatched. Senator Specter's contributions to Pennsylvania and the United States will leave a lasting legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Specter's family during this difficult time."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he's "deeply saddened" by the death of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter in a statement Sunday afternoon, declaring that the country is "better today" because of his service.

His statement in full:

"I was deeply saddened today to learn of the passing of Senator Arlen Specter. I served with Senator Specter in Congress for twenty-eight years. Senator Specter was a man of moderation; he was always passionate, but always easy to work with.

"I followed him through his previous illnesses, during the course of which he displayed great physical strength and great strength of character. Throughout his life, Senator Specter fought and won many battles, but this was one he could not win.

"America is better today because of Arlen Specter. He will be dearly missed."

Appearing Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) inaccurately claimed that unemployment is higher now than when President Obama took office.

JAKE TAPPER: This has been weak economic recovery, without question, but it is a recovery, and unemployment is going down, as a factual matter. Why would Congressman Ryan, in defiance of facts, suggest otherwise?

PORTMAN: I think that what he was saying is the truth, which is, unemployment's higher today than when the president took office. And you know, unfortunately, in the meantime, we’ve created net zero jobs, Jake.

The unemployment rate last month ticked down to 7.8 percent -- the same as it was in Jan. 2009 when the economy was collapsing.

Watch the video, via Think Progress.

Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Mitt Romney has been "completely consistent throughout" the campaign when it comes to his opposition to abortion, amid accusations that he's softening his hard-line position from the primaries.

"Life is a very important issue in this election -- as is the economy and as it national security, all these issues always play a very important role," Gillespie said.

"He is a pro-life candidate. He will be a pro-life president."

Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie explained Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" how Mitt Romney views the choice in the Nov. 6 election.

"The country is a center-right country," he said. "They want free enterprise-driven economy that fosters job creation, not a government-centered economy that fosters economic stagnation."

Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs on Sunday accused Mitt Romney of engaging in "shoot from the hip diplomacy" when it comes to unraveling what happened in Libya.

"Let's figure out what happened, okay" he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "But you know what, we don't need wingtip cowboys. We don't need shoot from the hip diplomacy."

"He has done nothing but politicize this issue."

During the vice presidential debate Thursday, Paul Ryan issued perhaps his most scathing denunciation of President Obama's Medicare provider cuts in the Affordable Care Act -- the same savings that Ryan adopted in his budget blueprints.

"Look what Obamacare does," he said. "Obamacare takes $716 billion from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. Even their own chief actuary at Medicare backs this up."

"They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for Obamacare. Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this."

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In the vice presidential debate Thursday night, Paul Ryan confirmed that he still supports Social Security privatization but demurred that the idea of giving younger Americans the option to move their Social Security benefits into private retirement accounts is not part of the Romney-Ryan platform.

The Wisconsin congressman and House Budget Committee chairman talked up the concept when asked about his and Romney's backing of President George W. Bush's failed Social Security privatization plan.

"For younger people," Ryan said. "What we said then and what I've always agreed is, let younger Americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system. That's not what Mitt Romney's proposing. We say no changes for anybody 55 and above.

"And then the changes we talk about for younger people like myself is don't increase benefit for the wealthy people as fast as anybody else, slowly raise the retirement age over time," he said. "It wouldn't get to the age of 70 until the year 2103, according to the actuaries."

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