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

Two top surrogates said Sunday that Mitt Romney cannot defeat President Obama in November simply by attacking him, and needs to run on a strong vision of his own.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) agreed when asked if his party's presidential nominee "needs to offer a bold, affirmative agenda" in order to win.

"The American people will rightly, I think, demand to know something more than he's not President Obama," Daniels said. "He's got to use this fall as an opportunity to build a consensus across, I hope, a broad spectrum of Americans to make the big changes we need. ... He better have an affirmative, constructive message, and one of hope."

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As job growth slows and the nation lurches closer to a major economic contraction, a top House progressive says he sees no evidence that Republicans are open to a fiscal compromise to avoid that outcome.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told TPM at the Netroots Nation conference that the alarming economic news of late isn't waking House Republicans up to the fact that a compromise on taxes and spending will be necessary to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

"No, I'm not seeing any relent from them," Ellison said Saturday afternoon. "I see them demanding that their agenda be adopted and not much movement in terms of compromise. I don't see them compromising."

Publicly, House Republicans aren't ceding an inch on taxes.

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Addressing President Obama's gaffe about the private sector Friday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said Sunday that Obama was trying to point out the public sector employement has fallen dramatically in comparison.

He also said the president is right to go after Mitt Romney's job creation record.

"I think that President Obama absolutely needs to take away the false assertions of Mitt Romney that he created jobs in the private sector or in Massachusetts," O'Malley said on CBS' "Face The Nation."

Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Sunday that his recall victory last Tuesday signals that the traditionally blue Wisconsin is "in play" for Mitt Romney this November.

"Well, I think it's up in the air. I think it's definitely in play," Walker said on CBS' Face The Nation. "You know, six months ago I think the White House had it firmly in their column. I think it is up in the air. But I think it's really very much left up to Republican or conservative voters, but to those swing voters who again elected me by a larger margin than they did two years ago."

Asked Sunday whether Mitt Romney will "need to offer a bold, affirmative agenda" for reform in order to win, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) replied, "Yes, absolutely."

"The American people will rightly demand to know something more than he's not President Obama," Daniels said on Fox News Sunday. "He better have an affirmative, constructive message."

Added the Romney surrogate: "It would be, I think, a huge mistake for Republicans to misread Wisconsin as some kind of great harbinger [for November]. I don't see it that way at all."

Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) said on Fox News Sunday that Gov. Scott Walker's (R) victory in Wisconsin is a "turning point" for public employee unions.

"I think, really, government works better without them. I really do," he said.

Daniels called unionization a "necessary freedom ... in the private sector" but it's a "bad idea in government." He said the message from Wisconsin is that voters recognize the "fundamental unfairness of government becoming its own special interest group."

The New York Times reports:

BRUSSELS — Spain agreed on Saturday to accept a European bailout to try to stabilize its cash-starved banks, following increasingly desperate calls from world leaders to accept the money before Greek elections next week that they fear could cause havoc in the markets.

Read the Times' full report.

Republicans have been facing a sobering reality in recent weeks: What if the Supreme Court grants their wish later this month and guts 'Obamacare'? They'd be blamed for throwing millions of people to the wolves and owning a wildly dysfunctional health care system -- in an election year, no less.

The result has been an eye-opening series of private deliberations about what they'd do next, which has left key players in the party furtively pivoting from total opposition to expressing sympathy for some pieces of the law.

Republicans haven't backed off their pledge to repeal it, but they're creating some wiggle room to reinstate some of its popular provisions in a potential replacement plan.

Here are a few notable examples.

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After weeks of deadlock, Congress appears to be narrowing its differences on how to avert a hike in student loan interest rates on July 1.

The public manner of negotiations suggests that a deal may not be imminent. But the back-and-forth reveals that both parties feel enough election-year pressure not to be seen on the wrong side of the cause.

The latest development came late Thursday afternoon when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wrote a letter responding to GOP leaders' proposal on how to fund the $6 billion cost of a one-year freeze.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) chimed in late Thursday on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) offer on how to avert a student loan interest rate hike on July 1. 

McConnell's spokesman Don Stewart said in an email to TPM:

While we still haven’t heard from the White House on our bipartisan proposal, we are encouraged to see the majority leader drop his insistence on taxing job creators. We will review these new proposals and hope that they will finally review the bipartisan proposals we sent a week ago. But bottom line, now that Democrats are willing to take this issue seriously, and not just use students as props, we may be making progress.

And we were particularly surprised to see the majority leader acknowledge that forcing businesses to ‘redirect money away from job creation’ is bad for jobs. As tax hikes on job creators would certainly redirect funds from job creation, we hope that sentiment will continue and we renew our call for Democrats to join our effort to prevent the largest tax hike in American history.