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

Ahead of the final presidential debate, on foreign policy, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had harsh words for President Obama on Libya.

"This is going to be a case study, studied for years, of a breadown of national security at every level," he said. "Failed presidential leadership. Senior members of the Obama administration failed miserably."

"We should have clsoed that consulate long before September 11th or heavily reinforced it, and I put that on the president of the United States."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Fox News Sunday that the U.S. should not bother with one-on-one talks with Iran over its nuclear program.

"They continue to enrich, enrich. I think the time for talking is over. We should be demanding transparenty and access to their nuclear program," he said. "As we continue to talk, they continue to enrich."

The one specific idea Mitt Romney has floated to pay for his nearly $5 trillion in proposed tax cuts would cover only a fraction of the cost, according to a new nonpartisan study released Wednesday.

Capping itemized deductions available to taxpayers at $17,000 -- which Romney has mentioned as one possible way to make his plan revenue-neutral -- would raise just $1.7 trillion over 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center. TPC averred that his lack of specifics in other areas makes its analysis imperfect.

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On Tuesday, one of Mitt Romney's boldest claims -- that his new jobs plan will create 12 million jobs -- fell apart.

Quizzed about the claim by Washington Post's fact-checker Glenn Kessler, the Romney campaign cited three separate studies that, taken together, include numbers that add up to 12 million jobs created. But as Kessler found, the studies employ different time frames, and two of them have no bearing on Romney's policies.

And, it turns out, not all of the authors believe their research helps justify Romney's conclusion either.

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On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said Mitt Romney's tax reform plan -- at least its promise of revenue neutrality -- is one big fraud.

"Mitt Romney is perpetrating a fraud on the American people," he said. Referring to Romney's $5 trillion plan, Kerry said, "If you gave him all the deductions that there are ... you've got $2.5 trillion. He doesn't want all the deductions. And he's trying to fake it to the American people."

"You have a man running for the presidency of the United States of America on the central issue of our time and he's not being straight with the American people. I find it stunning -- it's to me disqualifying."

One of Mitt Romney's top surrogates acknowledged Tuesday that the GOP candidate's tax plan will only be revenue neutral if it sparks a degree of economic growth most economists regard as wildly implausible.

At the same time he warned Romney against targeting popular tax benefits as sources of new revenue to help pay for his plan to cut taxes by $5 trillion.

Taken together, the comments illustrate just how difficult it would be for any president to reform the tax code, and serve as a reminder that Romney's tax plan is particularly dubious -- and would likely require either increasing middle class taxes or tolerating significantly higher budget deficits.

"There will be a very helpful debate about whether things like the charitable deduction, the health insurance premium, the home interest deduction should be part of the deal," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at a Bloomberg View event.

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On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus likened Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, a former governor of Wisconsin, to two of the best-known brand names in the state.

He was discussing the down-ticket impacts of a surging presidential candidate:

As the top of the ticket does well, so does most everything else. I will take my own state of Wisconsin, for example. The polls were clearly far apart at every level in Wisconsin and now, Mitt Romney and president obama are neck in neck in Wisconsin and so is Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin and I think in that particular case, Tommy Thompson, he is like -- in Wisconsin, he is like Harley Davidson and Miller Lite and Tommy Thompson -- they all kind of go together, he's a brand.

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday, Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs downplayed the significance of a Gallup poll Monday that showed the president and Mitt Romney tied among women voters in battleground states.

He said:

Absolutely we expected a tightening race. Look, we had 53 percent of the vote four years ago. So obviously everyone expected this to be an extraordinarily tight race three and a half weeks out. I should point out about the Gallup poll you mentioned. We put out a memo on this yesterday. I do not think any poll in the last two weeks has shown what the Gallup poll did in terms of a tie among female voters. You know, CNN did an Ohio poll late last week where we were leading among women in Ohio by 22 points. I do not tnk that the Gallup survey that shows a tie among female voters is what's going on in the country because we've not seen it replicated in any other either battleground state or national poll.

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday morning, Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs promised a stellar debate for the president in the evening.

"Look, I think you're going to see an exceptionally strong debate performance tonight from the president," he said. "I think you'll see someone who'll be strong, who'll be passionate, who'll be energetic -- will talk about ... not just the last four years but what the agenda is for the future and how we continue to move our country and economy forward, strengthening it for the middle class. I think that's what you'll hear tonight from the president."