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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

President Obama said the killings of 16 civilians in Afghanistan at the hands of a U.S. soldier are "tragic" and "shocking." In a statement Sunday afternoon, he said he will hold accountable whoever was responsible.

Here's the full statement:

I am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering. This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan. I fully support Secretary Panetta’s and General Allen’s commitment to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday pushed back on Rick Santorum's suggestion the night before that the improving economy could damage the GOP's odds in the November elections.

"Well, no, I don't think he's right at all," Graham said, asked about Santorum's comment on ABC's This Week.

Graham didn't address the possibility that the economy could improve, instead calling the recovery "anemic" and said "the policies of the president are going to make it impossible for this country to recover."

On Saturday, Santorum said: "You know, the economy may be getting better and Republicans may lose their edge on that issue. Well, if that was the only issue in this race, that may or may not be the case, we don’t know."

In an unusually candid admission, Rick Santorum said Saturday that the improving economy could conceivably hurt the Republican Party's odds of victory in the 2012 elections.

Here's what Santorum said last night -- full quote via Memphis Newspaper, and part of it corroborated by ABC News.

“You hear now the media starting to say, oh well, looks like the economy is getting better,” Santorum told supporters Saturday night in Springfield, Mo., shortly after the Associated Press declared him the winner of the Kansas caucuses. “You know, the economy may be getting better and Republicans may lose their edge on that issue. Well, if that was the only issue in this race, that may or may not be the case, we don’t know.”

He added that “the point is that’s the point — we don’t know what the big issue of the day is going to be when it comes to national security. It may be the dominant issue, national security with Iran on the precipice of getting a nuclear weapon, Israel feeling increasingly isolated by this administration.”

The GOP has walked a fine line as the jobs picture has gradually improved in recent weeks and months, eager not to be seen as rooting for economic failure but equally desperate not to give President Obama any credit.

Notably, Santorum openly mulled the possibility Saturday that other issues could play a greater role come November.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Sunday that he "promised nothing" to Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) in the lead-up to his decision to run for his old seat.

"Anyone that knows Bob Kerrey knows that you don't need to make a deal with Bob Kerrey," Reid said on CNN's State of the Union. "He's running because he wants to run. He loved the Senate. He's coming back. Bob Kerrey and I had conversations not over a few days, but over many, many months. And the things we talked about were between the two of us. But Bob Kerrey was promised nothing."

The majority leader, pointedly questioned about it by Candy Crowley, said he offered Kerrey no enticements in the realm of committee seats or other posts, arguing that those decisions are made after elections.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) downplayed reports that President Obama's reelection campaign recently informed Democratic leaders that it will not be utilizing its funds to help congressional Dems in the November elections.

"I don't know why anyone's concerned about the conversations that we had," Reid said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "It's the same conversation I've had with presidents over the years. They have to guard their money. I didn't expect them to bring their checkbook with them."

Reid added that he maintains a very good relationship with the White House.

CNN reports:

Nine children and three women were among 16 Afghan civilians allegedly killed by a U.S. service member in Kandahar province Sunday, President Hamid Karzai said in a statement.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force confirmed that a soldier had gone off base and fired on civilians before turning himself in, but did not say how many victims there had been. 

The soldier who's believed to be responsible for the tragic incident was condemned by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

The morning after the airing of HBO's "Game Change," former McCain-Palin campaign senior adviser Nicolle Wallace weighed in on the veracity of the film that chronicled the ill-fated GOP presidential campaign.

The exchange between Wallace and George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week Sunday:

STEPHANOPOULOS:  Well, the Palin campaign didn't like it.  How true to life? 

WALLACE:  Well, true enough to make me squirm.  But, you know, look, this isn't a movie about campaign staff, and this isn't even really a movie about McCain and Palin.  This is a movie about the vast gray area in which 99 percent of our politics actually takes place.  And I think that what gets boiled down or sometimes the fights or the instant analysis or the black and white, who's up and who's down.

But the truth is -- and I think everyone around this table has had some experience in their political careers -- where you're just feeling your way through a very gray area and you're doing your best.  And this campaign was certainly one of those instances for me.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), the No.3 Democrat, backed up President Obama's declaration that if sanctions and diplomatic efforts fail to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, the U.S. ought to take military action.

"As the president said," Schumer told ABC's This Week on Sunday, "if sanctions don't work, we will have to use military force."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a strong support of the Afghan war, chimed in Sunday on the news that a U.S. service member in the region opened fire and killed up to 16 Afghan civilians.

"I believe, one, this is tragic and will be investigated, and that soldier will be held accountable for his actions under the military justice system," Graham said on ABC's This Week. "Unfortunately, these things happen in war.  You had an Israeli soldier kill worshippers by the Dome of the Rock mosque. You just have to push through these things."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), a top Democratic strategist, on Sunday pushed back against GOP claims that comedian Bill Maher should return the $1 million he gave to a pro-Obama Super PAC.

Schumer said the Republican notion that Maher is akin to Rush Limbaugh is a false equivalence, in part because Limbaugh has a firm grip on the GOP while Maher has "very little influence" on Dems.

"I mean, look, the bottom line is that Rush Limbaugh's comments were just nasty and directed at a particular young woman who had a particular point of view and was expressing herself. Bill Maher is a comedian," Schumer said on ABC's This Week. "It's much different. Rush Limbaugh has tremendous weight in the Republican Party. No one will rebut him. Bill Maher's a comedian who's on at 11 o'clock at night but has very little influence on what's happening here."

"So, you know, again, they're sort of -- they're sort of in a hole, and they're always trying to look for excuses."

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