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Programming note!  Of the good news, bad news variety

Programming note! Of the good news, bad news variety

03/13/12 06:33PM

The good news is that the uncharacteristically exciting and consequential nature of the Alabama and Mississippi primaries means ramped-up and expanded coverage of those races tonight. The bad news is that we therefore have to reschedule Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), who had been slated for The Interview tonight, on the subject of his new book on global warming (or the lack thereof). The Senator’s office has been very understanding about us having to reschedule, and we're looking forward to having him on soon. read more

Tuesday's Mini-Report

03/13/12 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:* Afghanistan: "Defense officials have told NBC News that the Army staff sergeant who allegedly shot and killed 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, admitted his actions to fellow soldiers just before he was taken into custody. 'I did it,' he is said to have told them."* President Obama has vowed a full investigation: "He said he was 'heartbroken by the loss of innocent life,' calling it outrageous and unacceptable. 'It's not who we are as a country, and it does not represent our military,' he added."* Obama also vowed today "to defend U.S. read more

The GOP line on Afghanistan

The GOP line on Afghanistan

03/13/12 04:57PM

Unlike the Republican line on the war in Iraq for the better part of the Bush/Cheney era, GOP leaders aren't at all on the same page when it comes to the war in Afghanistan.Here, for example, was the Republican Senate leader today.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he supports the Obama administration's plans to gradually withdraw troops from Afghanistan, which has come under heavy scrutiny on both the left and right in recent days after an Army staff sergeant killed 16 Afghan civilians Sunday."I support the policy the administration has laid out to move toward a transition ov read more

Dissent can be fun

03/13/12 03:51PM

The housing crisis has at least a couple of sides -- the homeowners being one, the banks another. The Occupy movement has gotten results from camping out in yards of the former, with foreclosure defense around the country. Now they're moving into the foyers of the latter, making the case that banks lured many thousands of people into loans they couldn't pay and then threw them out of their homes without a clear legal right to do so.Today we got more evidence that the good-natured, singing, laughing people setting up camp in the Bank of America are on to something. read more

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

03/13/12 03:21PM

Campaign Management 101 argues there's inherent value in getting a candidate out in public as often as possible, shaking hands and meeting people. A voter who meets a candidate in person is far more likely to cast a ballot for him or her.It's counter-intuitive, but I tend to think Mitt Romney would actually be better off enjoying more quiet time by himself."You might be shaking the president's hand," Mr. Romney told a man in Mobile, where a rainstorm forced his supporters to seek shelter on the porch of a cafe.Really, who talks like this? read more

Dick Cheney deems Canada excessively dangerous

Dick Cheney deems Canada excessively dangerous

03/13/12 02:25PM

This is what life is like now for Dick Cheney.The former vice president has reportedly canceled an April appearance in Toronto because of concern about security in Canada."He felt that in Canada the risk of violent protest was simply too high," said Ryan Ruppert, president of promotions company Spectre Live, according to Canada's National Post.Ruppert's company had booked Cheney for an April 24 appearance at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.If this sounds vaguely familiar, it's because Cheney has had some trouble north of the border before. In September, the former U.S. read more

Reid's clever move on judicial nominees

Reid's clever move on judicial nominees

03/13/12 01:32PM

Senate Republicans have blocked President Obama's judicial nominees in ways unseen in American history. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) thinks he's found a way to make some progress on the issue.As a rule, Reid has lacked leverage -- GOP lawmakers support very few policy measures, and have a non-existent legislative agenda, making tradeoffs difficult. But Republicans strongly support the poorly-named "JOBS Act," which we discussed last week. read more

Understanding 'the death of the political middle'

03/13/12 12:35PM

The observation has been common among D.C. pundits for a long while, but the talk seems to have picked up since Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced her retirement: moderation is going out of style on Capitol Hill. Juan Williams makes the case in his column this week:The Founding Fathers designed Congress to represent the will of the majority of Americans.Yet, even as more Americans identify themselves as independents -- not Democrats or Republicans -- there is a painfully sharp decline in moderate and independent voices in both houses of Congress. read more

Tuesday's campaign round-up

03/13/12 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:* The newly-released New York Times/CBS News poll shows President Obama's approval rating down sharply over the last month, but he still leads each of the Republican presidential hopefuls in head-to-head match-ups. Of particular interest: Obama leads Mitt Romney by eight points among self-identified independents.* It's a little late in the game, but Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) threw his support to Rick Santorum's presidential campaign today. read more

Santorum for VP? Romney doesn't think so

03/13/12 11:20AM

Tim Noah argued last week that Rick Santorum is the likely pick for the number-two slot on the Republican presidential ticket, a prediction that Dave Weigel endorsed soon after. With this in mind, it was noteworthy when Mitt Romney addressed the possibility during a Fox News interview yesterday.Note that host Neil Cavuto didn't bring up Santorum's name; Romney did. Asked about running mates, the former governor said:"I find it interesting that continues to describe himself as the real conservative"? read more

Limbaugh's pain, Huckabee's gain?

Limbaugh's pain, Huckabee's gain?

03/13/12 10:46AM

With Rush Limbaugh facing an advertiser exodus, the Republican radio host didn't need another round of bad news. Last night, Judd Legum presented some reports that Premiere Networks, which syndicates the Rush Limbaugh show, told its affiliate radio stations that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks. Rush Limbaugh is normally provided to affiliates in exchange for running several minutes of national advertisements provided by Premiere each hour. read more

Rubio gets ready for his closeup.

Rubio preps for national spotlight

03/13/12 10:09AM

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been a senator for about a year now, and as Rachel explained in a recent segment, he's "done essentially nothing in federal politics at all." The sum total of his legislative accomplishments? A resolution designating September 2011 as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.Rachel added that the Florida Republican "is not a particularly serious guy in terms of what he has done in his Senate life or even as a Senate candidate." That's clearly true. read more

Don't believe the 'away game' hype

Don't believe the 'away game' hype

03/13/12 09:20AM

In a classic example of expectations management, Mitt Romney talked to an Alabama radio station last week about his efforts to compete in the Deep South, downplaying his chances. "I realize it's a bit of an away game," the former Massachusetts governor said.It's a nice trick the Republican presidential hopeful is trying to pull off: if he comes up short today in Alabama and Mississippi, it's not supposed to matter too much since this isn't Romney's neck of the woods. read more

Florida congressman joins 'birther' brigade

03/13/12 08:35AM

Nearly a full year after the White House released President Obama's "long-form" birth certificate, I'd hoped even the most ridiculous members of Congress would realize the "birther" garbage is a dead end.Alas, Scott Keyes posted this video yesterday from Rep. Cliff Stearns' (R) recent town-hall meeting in his Florida district.For those who can't watch clips online, the Republican congressman heard from a misguided constituent who wants to see the president impeached because he falsely believes Obama wasn't born in the United States. read more

Maybe Romney should just steer clear of conversations about sports.

Romney fumbles with NFL answer

03/13/12 08:00AM

Mitt Romney called in to a popular sports talk show in Alabama yesterday, a day ahead of the state's Republican presidential primary. As interviews go, this seemed like a fairly easy one -- it was unlikely the host, Paul Finebaum, would press the former governor for an explanation about his support for health care mandates.Indeed, it's not like Romney would go on the show, repeat his mistake from two weeks ago, and talk about being friends with millionaire team owners again, right? Wrong.t one point, Mr. Finebaum asked Mr. read more