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

Fox News managing editor Brit Hume weighed in on the Washington Post's story about Mitt Romney's treatment of a student during his school days.

"I mean look, this was not a prank. This was hazing. And it was mean. There's no doubt about it," Hume said on Fox News Sunday. "And I don't have any doubt about the basic truth of the story."

He nevertheless criticized "the utter failure of the Post to connect it to anything else in Romney's life or career." He suggested the Post editors were expressing "editorial opinions" in the prominent treatment they gave to the story, questioning the paper's "news judgment."

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a GOP leadership member, criticized the timing of President Obama's support for same sex marriage and pivoted to the economy when asked.

"This is an issue, Shannon, on which there is great difference in definition like so many other issues on this campaign," Thune said on Fox News Sunday, declining to launch an attack on Obama over the substance of his announcement.

He pointed out that Mitt Romney's position has been consistent all along against gay marriage while Obama "obviously has changed his position more than once."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) defended President Obama against the notion that he flip-flopped by coming out for gay marriage.

"I don't think it's a flip flop," she said on Fox News Sunday. "There's no political calculus in this, because it's not smart. You know, if he's going to do it from a political point of view it doesn't make any sense."

Feinstein said she's seen the happiness and economic security that same sex marriage has led to, and described that as a reason people are coming around on marriage equality.

Expect more compromise and less paralysis in Congress next year, said Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), the Democrats' point man on House elections this fall.

"Whether or not we take the majority back, there will be more Democrats in the House of Representatives after 2012," Israel said Thursday at a Washington breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "And I think that the more extreme ideologues who have been about obstruction and paralysis and recklessness will be gone. Which makes me a little more optimistic that compromises can be made and balanced decisions can be effectuated in the next Congress -- simply because there will be more Democrats and fewer tea partiers or extremist Republicans."

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On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Steve Israel (NY), the Democrats' point man on the House races, downplayed the electoral impact of President Obama's historic endorsement of same-sex marriage Wednesday.

Pelosi called Obama's move "the right thing to do for the country. It filled my heart with joy." She said it helped "advance the cause of civil rights in such a personal as well as presidential way that it's more important than any political consequences."

"This is why we come to office -- to do some good things," she told reporters Thursday. "I don't think this is political at all."

At a Washington breakfast with reporters Thursday hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Israel said, "I don't think it's that relevant." He said the House races will come down to the quality of candidates and said of same-sex marriage, "I just don't think it's going to be a huge dynamic."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), asked about the issue at his weekly press conference Thursday, affirmed that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and then immediately pivoted to the economy.

"The president and the Democrats can talk about all this all they want," Boehner told reporters. "But the fact is that the American people are focused on our economy and are asking the question, 'Where are the jobs?'"

The House Democrats' electoral arm isn't letting Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) off the hook after he unveiled legislation Wednesday to protect federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

In a statement, the DCCC pointed out that Dold voted in February 2011 for a broad House appropriations measure that included a provision to strip all $317 million from family planning funding.

"Congressman Robert Dold just introduced a bill to protect Title X funding that he previously voted to eliminate," read an advisory from the group. "Congressman Robert Dold has consistently sacrificed women’s health to push an extreme ideological agenda in line with the Tea Party and out of touch with Illinois families. Despite his attempt to paper over his record, Congressman Dold can’t hide his votes to terminate Title X funding and egregiously attack women’s access to life-saving procedures and preventative care."

Dold has a mixed record on women's health issues. In 2011 he was one of 7 Republicans to vote against a measure specifically aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, but he has backed various efforts by his party to restrict access to abortion.

Longtime Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the first member of Congress to reveal himself to be gay, told TPM he was very happy to see President Obama endorse same-sex marriage, but characterized the move as a political no-brainer that would have little impact on the 2012 election.

"I do not think anybody is going to switch his or her opinion on him because of this," Frank said shortly after Obama's announcement Wednesday afternoon. "I believe that if you are someone who was going to be so influenced by your position on same-sex marriage, then you would already be against Obama before this, because of his position on [the Defense of Marriage Act]."

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A freshman House Republican sent a concise message to his party leaders Wednesday: Stop messing with Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Robert Dold, who represents the liberal suburbs of Chicago, on Wednesday unveiled the "Protecting Women's Access to Health Care Act" outside the Capitol, which would forbid agencies and governments from denying Title X funds to a qualified organization.

"As a pro-choice Republican, I believe that this legislation is critical because it ensures nondiscrimination within the federal Title X family planning program," Dold told reporters, standing alongside a Planned Parenthood official and the leader of a pro-choice Republican group.

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Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who is openly gay, issued a statement praising President Obama's announcement that he believes same sex couples should be able to marry.

"President Obama's announcement in support of marriage equality is welcome news for American families. I thank the president for his support for equality and look forward to working with him to strengthen the institution of marriage by securing the right of all Americans to marry the person they love."