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The Plum Line: June 27, 2010 - July 3, 2010

Happy Hour Roundup

* Ideas that will soon gain more traction: Ezra Klein and Duncan Black make the case that the White House message on the economy (we have a long way to go, but we're generally moving in the right direction) is...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , House Dems , Political media , Senate Republicans  
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Obama supporters deeply disappointed?

Everybody is talking about Charlie Cook's new column saying that for Democrats, the House is "teetering on the edge." Cook makes the now-familiar argument that Dems are suffering from an "enthusiasm" gap that could help Republicans make huge gains. But...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  2010 elections , Political media  
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Michael Steele clarifies again: Yes, we must win

In a mark of just how serious a threat Michael Steele's Afghanistan comments pose to his tenure as RNC chair, he has just released a statement in his own words trying to clean up the mess -- the second of...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Dems say Steele is "rooting for failure." Really, Dems?

By all means, Dems should go on the attack against Michael Steele for his wild comments about Afghanistan. But do they really think it's a good idea to say he's for cutting and running, is "rooting for failure" and is...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Rand Paul campaign clarifies: He does not want underground electric immigration fence

Does Rand Paul really want to build an underground electronic fence on the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration? His campaign says No. Paul raised quite a few eyebrows in Republican circles last week when the news broke that his...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  2010 elections , Immigration , Senate Republicans  
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Michael Steele speaks truth to power

I'm not really sure what to make of this video that has just surfaced of Michael Steele at a fundraiser in Connecticut talking about the Afghanistan war. It's unequivocal: Steele says that the war was one of Obama's choosing, that...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* The choice: With this morning's jobs numbers certain to restart the argument over the economy, and with Republicans poised to jump on bad numbers to bolster their case that Dem policies are a catastrophic failure, here's the bottom line...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 8:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  2010 elections , Financial reform , Foreign policy and national security , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Research 2000's chief, Del Ali, sends me a long, rambling and very angry response via email to the Daily Kos lawsuit. It's a must-read. * Good read: Senator Debbie Stabenow on why extending unemployment benefits is far more important...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 1, 2010; 6:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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NY Times's excuse for not calling waterboarding "torture" doesn't hold water

By now you've heard about that surprising new Harvard study finding that news orgs that routinely called waterboarding "torture" for many years suddenly shifted away from the term after it became public that the Bush administration had sanctioned it. The...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 1, 2010; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security , Political media  
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Good: Senate GOP will lift block on subpoena power against BP

Okay, it turns out Senate Republicans are going to do the right thing and support giving officials the subpoena power to probe BP. The Senate GOP leadership has decided they have no objections to legislation giving subpoena power to the...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 1, 2010; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Climate change , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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To subpoena BP or not to subpoena BP? That is the question

As you know, GOP Rep Darrell Issa has been vowing to unleash an army of subpoena-wielding investigators on the Obama administration if Republicans take back the House. Issa has been lobbing serious allegations of wrongdoing at the White House on...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 1, 2010; 12:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Climate change , House Dems , House GOPers , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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First look at Daily Kos's lawsuit: Charges Research 2000 with "fraudulently manufacturing phony results"

I've obtained a copy of the lawsuit that Daily Kos just filed against Research 2000, and this going to get nastier than you thought. The suit contains striking new details about Research 2000's alleged reluctance to release its raw data...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 1, 2010; 10:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Political media  
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The Morning Plum

* Let's start with the headline of the day, from McClatchy, because it really says it all: Safety net for unemployed disappears as politicians argue * And, indeed, the extention of jobless aide has failed in the Senate yet again....

By Greg Sargent  |  July 1, 2010; 8:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Senator Tom Coburn, who won plaudits on the right for quizzing Elena Kagan on whether government should be able to force people to eat vegetables, now says the exchanges prove she's ignorant of Constitutional principles. * But: Kagan appears...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 30, 2010; 6:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Financial reform , Happy Hour Roundup , House Dems , House GOPers , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Sharron Angle versus Harry Reid: A clear contrast

As you know, Sharron Angle has now proposed to help solve the problem of unemployment by cutting benefits to the jobless, which she says will encourage people to reenter the work force at a lower point than they left it....

By Greg Sargent  |  June 30, 2010; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Big Sis Elena Kagan wants to tell you what to eat?

Republicans are convinced that they scored a direct hit on Elena Kagan when she apparently refused to directly answer Senator Tom Coburn's question: Whether it's acceptable to dictate what Americans eat. Right wing media figures like Drudge and Hannity are...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 30, 2010; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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How long can White House keep Boehner's "ant" crack alive?

Ya think the White House and Dems want to keep attention focused on John Boehner's now-notorious claim that financial reform is akin to "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon"? President Obama, in remarks about financial reform later today in...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 30, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (120)
Categories:  2010 elections , Financial reform  
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Sharron Angle: We should cut unemployment benefits to encourage jobless to go back to work

Senate candidate Sharron Angle's positions on unemployment have attracted a fair amount of attention lately. She's taken heat for appearing to suggest that citizens are being "spoiled" by jobless benefits, and has also attracted criticsm for suggesting that job creation...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 30, 2010; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Republicans  
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The Morning Plum

* So here's where we're headed: Dem Senators appear to be coalescing around an energy bill that caps carbon emissions only for utilities. But it remains unclear if even that can win 60 votes. * Also in the above link,...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 30, 2010; 8:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Climate change , Financial reform , Health reform , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Question o' the day: How much of our political conversation has been shaped by Research 2000 polling? As many readers have pointed out, at least one big story -- the idea that a huge percentage of Republicans are "birthers"...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 29, 2010; 6:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Political media  
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Document undercuts key GOP Senator's assertion about Kagan, Dems say

Senator Jeff Sessions got into a pretty spirited jousting match with Elena Kagan today over one of the key GOP attack lines on Kagan: The claim that she's "anti-military," based on her efforts to prevent the military from recruiting on...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 29, 2010; 5:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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It's war! Lawyer for DailyKos details lawsuit against Research 2000

Okay, I just got off the phone with a lawyer for DailyKos, and he gave me a bunch of interesting new detail about the lawsuit Kos is going to file against the polling outfit Research 2000. The gist: This is...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 29, 2010; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
Categories:  Political media  
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Senator: In private meeting, Obama seemed strongly committed to carbon pricing

In a private meeting at the White House with a bipartisan group of Senators today, President Obama strongly underscored his desire to include carbon pricing as part of the final package, Dem Senator Jeff Merkley just told me in an...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 29, 2010; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Climate change , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Boehner explains why FinReg is "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon"

Dems and bloggers are jumping on this interview that John Boehner gave to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in which he appeared to deride financial reform as "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon." That line is the only direct Boehner quote...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 29, 2010; 12:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Financial reform , House Dems , House GOPers  
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Don't write off Karl Rove's group just yet!

The other day, American Crossroads, the much-ballyhooed right-wing group that counts Karl Rove among its top advisers, revealed that it had raised a whopping $200 in its first fundraising sweep. Understandably, this prompted a bit of mockery among Dems, since...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 29, 2010; 11:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems  
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The Morning Plum

* What to watch today: During David Petraeus's confirmation hearing, GOP Senators will press him to signal that the Afghanistan drawdown deadline is "flexible." Will Dems push for specificity? * Hissy fit of the month? The White House is holding...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 29, 2010; 8:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Financial reform , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* With the Elena Kagan hearings set to gear up tomorrow, Adam Serwer has a very user-friendly guide to the Republican attack lines. * And: There's little doubt that Republicans will hammer Kagan with several rounds of tough questioning. *...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 28, 2010; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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White House talking points cast Kagan as judicial wallflower

Okay, that's an exaggeration, but only a slight one. Now that Elena Kagan has wrapped up her opening statement, the White House has already circulated a set of talking points to outside surrogates, instructing them to stress her modesty and...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 28, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Kyl: Kagan praised Thurgood Marshall -- and she would help the underdog

There have been two key GOP attack lines on Elena Kagan that have aroused particularly aggressive pushback from Dems: The claim that she will hew to an "empathy" standard, and the criticism of her for saying nice things about the...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 28, 2010; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Byrd's legacy: He showed courage on Iraq -- when other Dems punted

Putting aside the problematic aspects of Robert Byrd's legacy, many are properly focusing on the strong and compelling case he made against the Iraq War and against Bush's rough handling of the Constitution. But what's important about this aspect of...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 28, 2010; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security , Senate Dems  
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A little message to Jeffrey Goldberg's anonymous Post sources

Now that the smoke has cleared from the Dave Weigel mess, here's a response to the anonymous sources inside the Post who used Jeffrey Goldberg's blog to urinate on the type of opinionated journalism that Weigel, Ezra Klein and others...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 28, 2010; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (124)
Categories:  Political media  
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The Morning Plum: Byrd and the Senate

* R.I.P., Robert Byrd. Don't miss The Post's fascinating and comprehensive obituary. * Question o' the day: With the most prominent public officials set to offer paeans to Byrd today, some of the eulogizing will undoubtedly focus on Byrd's staunch...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 28, 2010; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Sunday Roundup

* Dianne Feinstein says today that if Saint David Petraeus wants to scrap the Afghanistan drawdown deadline, then we should "give it to him, absolutely." This is something worth watching: The change in command to Petraeus could perversely end up...

By Greg Sargent  |  June 27, 2010; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security , House Dems , House GOPers , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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