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

In the event that President Obama wins reelection on Tuesday, Republicans have already found their scapegoat: Hurricane Sandy.

Just days before Election Day, GOP pundits and prognosticators -- and some within the Romney campaign -- are roundly describing the devastating storm as the critical event that halted their candidate's upswing in the polls, which give Obama a clear advantage in the electoral college math.

"The hurricane is what broke Romney's momentum. I don't think there's any question about it," said Haley Barbour, a former Mississippi governor, RNC chairman and respected political strategist, on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "What happened was the news media absolutely blacked out any coverage of the issues."

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke to Reuters:

(Reuters) - Normally outspoken Nancy Pelosi is mum about her future.

She won't say if she will step aside as Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives if her party fails, as expected, to win back the chamber from Republicans in Tuesday's elections.

Pelosi, 72, told the news organization, "Right now, our focus is on one thing -- winning."

Appearing Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) did not defend a Mitt Romney ad that falsely implies Jeep is transfering U.S. production to China.

"I've not seen the ad. I've just heard it now," he said. "I've not seen the ad. They're apparently not running it in Virginia."

"The point is Mitt Romney has a demonstrated ability of building jobs."

GOP stalwart Haley Barbour argued Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Hurricane Sandy worked to President Obama's political benefit in the election.

"The hurricane is what broke Romney's momentum," he said. "I don't think there's any question about it."

"Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs and the economy, taxes and the economy, deficits and debt, Obamacare and energy, is a good day for Barack Obama. You had a blackout on all of those issues that started about last Saturday and lasted until about yesterday -- that is what really was good for Barack Obama. Now whether it was good enough remains to be seen."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) responded Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" to Senate Majority Leader's Harry Reid's (R-NV) statement that it's a "fantasy" for Mitt Romney to expect Senate Democrats to help pass his conservative agenda.

"[Romney] said he's going to reach across the aisle and find common ground, and to have that kind of response from Democrats in Congress is -- it's discouraging," he said. "But look, I think at the end of the day, even Harry Reid and even the Democrats who might take that point of view at this point are going to say, we've got to solve these problems."

"And so I'm hopeful that those were just political comments made in the heat of a campaign."

Appearing Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) defended a recent Mitt Romney ad implying that Jeep is outsourcing its production to China is "accurate" -- something Jeep itself has denied.

Host Candy Crowley pressed him on the ad, noting that Chrysler itself called it false and asked him, "Why not take this one down?" She said the Romney campaign is alone in thinking it's accurate. 

"First of all, the ad is accurate," Portman said, defending the technical claim in the ad that Jeep is producing more in China "for the Chinese market, and that's all the ad says."

The Romney surrogate defended the Republican nominee's stance on the auto bailout, arguing that he had a plan to save the ato makers.

Chicago Mayor and former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel on Sunday defended the president against Rudy Giuliani's charge of inconpetence on Benghazi.

"On Benghazi also, the president's done exactly what a president should do. 'I want to report an investigation of what happened, I want to know who's responsible' -- just like he did with [Anwar] Awlaki and just like he did with Osama bin Laden," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Let's not politicize this," he said, arguing that if the investigation founds that a mistake was made, "then you fix it."

The author of a Congressional Research Service study, who found no evidence that tax cuts for high income earners lead to economic growth, is standing by his work, after the legislative branch's nonpartisan research arm withdrew the report under pressure from Republican leaders. And Democratic principals are demanding to know why CRS caved to GOP pressure.

CRS quietly and quickly pulled the six-week old report, despite the wishes of the research arm's economic team, the New York Times reported Thursday.

"I wasn't involved in the decision, as a matter of fact I was on vacation when the decision was made, so I can't really add anything to what was reported in the NY Times," Thomas Hungerford, the author of the study, told TPM in an email Thursday afternoon. "However, I certainly stand behind my work."

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Florida remains a tossup, but a new survey points to one key reason Mitt Romney is polling well in a state where he was trailing not long ago: President Obama's advantage on Medicare is essentially gone.

The president holds a 46-41 percent lead over Romney on who Americans trust to handle Medicare, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Wednesday, barely outside the survey's 4 percent margin of error. That's an 11-point swing from last month, when Obama was leading by 52 to 36 percent.

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Obama Prepares For DHS Shutdown

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama convened a meeting with key administration officials on Friday…