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When presidents meet a 'hot mic'

03/26/12 02:56PM

Some of my favorite moments of George W. Bush's presidency were "hot mic" moments, in part because they offered rare peeks behind the curtain. When Bush was accidentally overheard on live microphones, we learned that he didn't know what the Mexico City Policy was, even after he signed an executive order on it; he didn't understand 2006 developments in Lebanon, though he thought he did; and he talked to world leaders in a strikingly unsophisticated way behind closed doors.But President Obama is not without hot-mic moments. read more

You're treated better if you are wealthy and guilty than if you are poor and innocent

03/26/12 01:44PM

You don't have to be Bill Gates or Al Gore to give a TED talk; you just have a big idea.  Actually, let's capitalize the phrase, let's call it a Big Idea.  Big Ideas can be baskets you use to gather and carry around information and stories that would have otherwise been scattered (see: "Schools kill creativity").  Big Ideas can reify previously inchoate thoughts and assumptions so that now, all of a sudden, you have a clear argument to make at cocktail parties (see: "Time to end the war in Afghanistan"). read more

Romney is not without a base

Romney is not without a base

03/26/12 01:31PM

Rick Santorum didn't just defeat Mitt Romney in Louisiana's Republican presidential primary, he trounced him, beating the former governor by 22 points and winning 63 of Louisiana's 64 parishes. Romney is still the likely nominee, but for the frontrunner to still be losing primaries by 22 points in late March doesn't look good.Aaron Blake, however, noticed the silver lining for the former governor.Early exit polls Saturday night showed Romney losing by near-double digits overall. read more

Monday's campaign round-up

03/26/12 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:* Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked yesterday about a possible role on his party's 2012 presidential ticket. "I would have to consider it," he said on Fox News. "But it's not something I'm even thinking about because I think our job in Congress is pretty important."* The latest evidence the right is grudgingly accepting Mitt Romney's inevitable nomination: Sen. read more

The federal highway bill: less than a week to go

03/26/12 11:32AM

In his weekly address, President Obama spoke about oil production and energy policy in general, but also spent some time shining a light on a pending piece of legislation that's going to matter quite a bit this week.For those who can't watch clips online, this was the important part of Obama's comments:"So much of America needs to be rebuilt right now. We've got crumbling roads and bridges. A power grid that wastes too much energy. An incomplete high-speed broadband network. read more

When in doubt, pick a fight with the New York Times

03/26/12 10:51AM

His primary win in Louisiana notwithstanding, Rick Santorum's campaign hasn't been going especially well lately, and his odds of winning the Republican presidential nomination continue to dwindle as the party coalesces around Mitt Romney.Under the circumstances, it's not too surprising that the pressure would start to get to Santorum.Take yesterday, for example. Santorum, campaigning in Wisconsin, pointed to a series of issues where he believes Romney would match up poorly against President Obama. He concluded, "Pick any other Republican in the country. read more

Plouffe targets the 'Romney-Ryan' plan

03/26/12 10:15AM

It's hard to describe how happy Democrats are to see Mitt Romney embrace Paul Ryan's House Republican budget plan. Much of the glee is seen behind the scenes, but the phrase "Christmas in March" keeps coming to mind.Last week, the Republican frontrunner proudly proclaimed, "I'm very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It's a bold and exciting effort.... I applaud it. read more

Conservative opponents of 'Obamacare' prayed outside the Supreme Court yesterday.

Legal experts: Court won't strike down 'Obamacare'

03/26/12 09:26AM

The Supreme Court this morning will kick off the first of three days of hearings on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, and interest in the case is as strong as anything we've seen in many years. For those who watch the high court closely, however, there's a striking lack of intrigue about the outcome.National Journal surveyed former Supreme Court clerks and lawyers who have argued cases before the high court about the health care law, and the consensus was that the Affordable Care is likely to prevail. read more

Ryan debt plan 'is not a plan at all'

03/26/12 08:41AM

For those who care about investments in domestic priorities like education and health care, Paul Ryan's House Republican budget plan is a bit of a disaster, slashing spending in the coming decades. For those concerned about the poor, the Ryan plan is equally problematic -- the budget redistributes wealth in the wrong direction, cutting Medicaid and food stamps to help finance tax cuts for the wealthy.But at least deficit hawks and those who fear a "debt crisis" will rally behind Paul Ryan's vision, right? Wrong. As E.J. Dionne Jr. read more

An 'appalling' take on Trayvon Martin

03/26/12 08:00AM

On Friday, President Obama briefly addressed the Trayvon Martin killing, in response to a reporter's question. Though cautious because the matter is still under investigation, Obama said, "Obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.... read more

Morning Maddow: March 26

03/26/12 07:31AM

President Obama caught in a hot mic moment with Russia over missiles.The Supreme Court hears the arguments for and against Obamacare today. (Upset I used that term? Read this from Steve Benen.)The perils of delegate math.Life under austerity, part 319.Vice President Cheney is recovering from a heart transplant.An Iraqi woman is beaten to death in Southern California.The Pope visits Cuba today.James Cameron (yup, that one) is back on the surface after making the deepest solo dive ever.Helicopter parents ruin an Easter Egg hunt. read more

Rachel on Meet the Press this morning to talk about 'Drift'

03/25/12 01:26PM

Unlike previous appearances Rachel has made on Meet the Press, this time wasn't as part of a panel discussion. This morning she sat down with David Gregory exclusively to talk about the military policy themes in "Drift." In case you're a late riser on Sundays, or a Sunday morning churchgoer, or you were already previously committed to an appointment with Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris Perry, here it is: read more

Santorum cruises in Louisiana

Santorum cruises in Louisiana

03/25/12 11:00AM

In the wake of Mitt Romney's primary win in Illinois, Republicans spent much of the last few days coalescing behind the GOP frontrunner, signifying an effective end to the party's presidential nominating contest. Republican voters in Louisiana, however, didn't care.With all of the precincts reporting, Rick Santorum easily outpaced his rivals, winning yesterday's primary with 49% support. Romney, who has struggled badly in the South, was a distant second with just 26.7%. read more

This Week in God

This Week in God

03/24/12 11:11AM

As "This Week in God" settles in on Saturday mornings, the God Machine has plenty to offer again this week.First up is a fascinating report from the non-partisan Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which found that the conventional wisdom about Americans' appreciation for religion/political rhetoric isn't quite right.A new survey finds signs of public uneasiness with the mixing of religion and politics. read more