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The Plum Line: November 14, 2010 - November 20, 2010

Retired general: Senate GOP doesn't trust our military

President Obama devoted his weekly address this morning to urging passage of the New Start treaty. Obama mostly took the high road: Though he noted that Senator Jon Kyl had raised objections that the White House had answered, he didn't...

By Greg Sargent  | November 20, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (102)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Showdown: With the war over the Bush tax cuts likely to spill onto the Sunday shows, the House Dem leadership is out with a new talking points memo crystallizing the Dem message, debunking the opposition's arguments and otherwise girding...

By Greg Sargent  | November 19, 2010; 6:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House Dems, House GOPers, taxes  
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Sherrod Brown: Obama needs to fight harder and "sharpen message"

I chatted with Senator Sherrod Brown this afternoon, and he confirmed in unusually blunt terms that Senate Democrats are unhappy with President Obama over his failure to fight harder in order to draw a sharp distinction with Republicans on kitchen-table...

By Greg Sargent  | November 19, 2010; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
Categories:  2010 elections, Senate Dems  
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Joe Scarborough's suspension reveals how dumb NBC's policy is

Okay, so now MSNBC has temporarily suspended Joe Scarborough because he made a bunch of previously-undiscovered political contributions without getting permission from the network president to do so, in violation of NBC policy. This whole thing has become a farce....

By Greg Sargent  | November 19, 2010; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Political media  
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Senator John Ensign may support DADT repeal

Another step forward on Don't Ask Don't Tell, ladies and gents. In a letter to constituents who have inquired about his position on DADT, GOP Senator John Ensign strongly suggests he is leaning towards supporting repeal of the policy, another...

By Greg Sargent  | November 19, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights  
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How should Obama handle new, emboldened GOP?

I decree that from now on, anyone who criticizes Obama for saying he's going to try to seek compromise with Republicans should be required to say what it is Obama should do instead. Yes, it's grating when Obama does this....

By Greg Sargent  | November 19, 2010; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, House GOPers, Senate Republicans  
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Touch his junk

Count me among those unhappy with the choices the Transportation Security Agency has left airline travelers with. As ACLU Legislative Counsel Chris Calabrese put it earlier this week, you can "either submit to a virtual strip search or a very...

By Adam Serwer  | November 19, 2010; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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The Morning Plum

* Senate Dems set for big showdown on tax cuts, too: It's all going to come to a head just after Thanksgiving. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi tell the president that they will both hold votes just after the holiday...

By Greg Sargent  | November 19, 2010; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, deficit, taxes  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* This is getting good. Sources tell Glenn Thrush that Nancy Pelosi is telling Obama that Dems must hold the line and only extend the middle class tax cuts: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told President Barack Obama that House Democrats...

By Greg Sargent  | November 18, 2010; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House Dems, House GOPers, Political media, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, taxes  
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GOP response: Vote to continue just middle class tax cuts = tax hike

Michael Steel, a spokesman for John Boehner, emails a response to the news that House Dems are planning to hold a vote just on extending the middle class tax cuts: "The last thing our economy needs right now is...

By Greg Sargent  | November 18, 2010; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, taxes  
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Dems will vote on just middle class tax cuts, Hoyer says

Steny Hoyer, the number two in the House Dem leadership, told Democrats at a caucus meeting this morning that they would get to vote this year on just extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, a senior Dem...

By Greg Sargent  | November 18, 2010; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, taxes  
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Will Tea Party settle for anything less than full repeal?

So it appears that Mitch McConnell compared Obamacare to "tyranny" in a speech this morning to a conservative law group, and promised that the GOP would hold hearings designed to spotlight the evils of health care reform: "By preventing the...

By Greg Sargent  | November 18, 2010; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (118)
Categories:  2010 elections, Health reform, Senate Republicans, Tea Party  
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Psst. Dems? Public supports letting high end tax cuts expire

Since we're talking about whether Dems will stand firm and hold a vote on extending just the middle class tax cuts, it's worth taking a look at what the internals of the new NBC/WSJ poll show on this question: Congress...

By Greg Sargent  | November 18, 2010; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, taxes  
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A victory for the rule of law

The verdict yesterday in the case of former Gitmo detainee Ahmed Ghailani, who stood accused of helping facilitate the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, was a victory for the rule of law. Conservatives arguing that...

By Adam Serwer  | November 18, 2010; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* Dems to Obama: Let's NOT cave on Bush tax cuts! Carrie Budoff-Brown reports that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are privately urging the President to stake out a tough and coherent position on the tax cuts. Other Dems are...

By Greg Sargent  | November 18, 2010; 8:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
Categories:  2010 elections, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, gay rights, taxes  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Good read: With the news that Nancy Pelosi won election as minority leader today, Jonathan Allen and John Harris offer five reasons why this makes perfect sense for Dems. Key nugget: Pelosi will represent a strong check on any...

By Greg Sargent  | November 17, 2010; 6:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
Categories:  2010 elections, Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, gay rights, taxes  
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Yes, DADT repeal could still pass, Senate staffers say

Good news: Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal is not dead yet. It's widely assumed that the reason the White House and Dems will punt on holding a vote on Don't Ask Don't Tell during the lame duck session is that...

By Greg Sargent  | November 17, 2010; 3:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights  
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Senate GOP leadership flatly denies Baltimore "ambush" caused postponement of meeting

I don't know if this will make any difference, but a spokesman for the Senate GOP leadership is flatly denying that Obama's "ambush" of Republicans in Baltimore had anything to do with the decision to postpone the big bipartisan summit...

By Greg Sargent  | November 17, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  2010 elections, Senate Republicans  
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Obama: GOP successfully outplayed us on health reform

One last nugget from Richard Wolffe's new book on the Obama White House. In an interview with Wolffe, the President seemed to acknowledge that in pursuing bipartisan support for health reform, he and Democrats got snookered by a previously-thought-out GOP...

By Greg Sargent  | November 17, 2010; 12:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (206)
Categories:  2010 elections, Health reform, Senate Republicans  
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Republican irresponsibility on START

The Republican attempt to derail ratification of the new START arms control treaty with Russia is a reminder of how far the GOP is willing to go merely to deal the president a political defeat. Ratification of the new START...

By Adam Serwer  | November 17, 2010; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (129)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* Behind the postponement of the Obama-GOP summit: The "summit" meeting between Obama and GOP leaders, which the White House had initially said was set for this week, has now been postponed, and Politico has a story up that tries...

By Greg Sargent  | November 17, 2010; 8:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  2010 elections, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Political media, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* The Blue Dog snarls: Dem Rep. Heath Shuler boasts that he called Nancy Pelosi a loser to her face. * Charlie Rangel is found guilty of 11 ethics violations, and Jonathan Capehart explains why Rangel deserves censure, not expulsion....

By Greg Sargent  | November 16, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (105)
Categories:  2010 elections, Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House Dems, Senate Republicans, deficit, taxes  
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Bush totally vindicated by history -- in two years

With the Bush "nostalgia" tour in full swing, Rasmussen releases a new poll with a rather amusing headline that seems designed to suggest the former president's reputation is looking up: A Majority Now Sees Bush As Somewhere in Between Best...

By Greg Sargent  | November 16, 2010; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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In testy exchange, Chuck Grassley told Obama: No deal!

Here's another fascinating nugget from journalist Richard Wolffe's new book. If true, it really blows up the ridiculous claim that Obama never made any genuine effort to attract bipartisan support for health reform. Wolffe reports that Obama got into a...

By Greg Sargent  | November 16, 2010; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Health reform, Political media, Senate Republicans  
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Breaking: One Dem Senator endorses middle class tax cut vote

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, one of a recent crop of relatively young and reform-minded Senate Dems, in a statement sent my way: "Our nation can't afford failed trickle-down economic policies that favor the wealthiest among us and leave working families...

By Greg Sargent  | November 16, 2010; 2:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  Senate Dems, taxes  
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Rahm: I never believed in bipartisanship

Is the left's enduring caricature of Rahm Emanuel -- as the primary advocate for the White House's futile and self-damaging quest for bipartisanship -- all wrong? In a new book, Rahm claims he privately argued to Obama that he shouldn't...

By Greg Sargent  | November 16, 2010; 1:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (86)
Categories:  2010 elections, Health reform  
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Labor big: White House, Dem leaders seriously mulling middle class tax cut vote

This is encouraging: One of the most powerful labor leaders in the country just said that he's in direct talks with the White House and Dem leaders about throwing down the gauntlet and holding a vote just on extending the...

By Greg Sargent  | November 16, 2010; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  House Dems, Labor, Senate Dems, taxes  
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Americans are a lot like Andy Harris

Rep. Andy Harris is a freshman Republican House member who ran against the Affordable Care Act. He wants his government subsidized health care NOW. Politico reports: Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland's Eastern...

By Adam Serwer  | November 16, 2010; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
Categories:  2010 elections, Health reform, House GOPers  
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The Morning Plum

* Dems continue to telegraph weakness on Bush tax cuts: Ezra Klein, on the Dems' mystifying unwillingness to hold a vote on just extending the tax cuts for the middle class: Democrats still control the Senate and the White House....

By Greg Sargent  | November 16, 2010; 8:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, House Dems, Independents, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, taxes  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Contrast of the day: Here's Harry Reid, on the Senate floor today, articulating Dems' plans for the lame duck session: "Our number-one priority is still getting people back to work. And the most important change we can make is...

By Greg Sargent  | November 15, 2010; 5:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, Happy Hour Roundup, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, taxes  
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Round one to Jim DeMint as Mitch McConnell flip-flops on earmark ban

The Twittersphere is alive with the news that Mitch McConnell has now flip-flopped and will support a ban on earmarks, a clear victory for Jim DeMint and the Tea Party, both of whom had pushed aggressively for the move. But...

By Greg Sargent  | November 15, 2010; 2:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  2010 elections, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, deficit  
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No mandate for GOP rule?

The new CNN poll finds that a huge majority of Americans think the midterm shellacking of Dems was not a mandate for Republicans: As you know, as a result of the election which was held earlier this month, the Republicans...

By Greg Sargent  | November 15, 2010; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  2010 elections, House GOPers  
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The Dem message to Republicans, translated

Over the weekend, two Dem Senators each proposed their own version of a "compromise" on the Bush tax cuts. Chuck Schumer suggested raising the threshold to $1 million, rather than $250,000. And Mark Warner offered to let just the high-end...

By Greg Sargent  | November 15, 2010; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  2010 elections, Senate Dems, taxes  
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Liberals to Dem leaders: Hold a vote just on extending middle class tax cuts

On Friday I reported here that liberal groups and labor have hit on a legislative strategy to make the fight over the Bush tax cuts work in Dems' favor: Hold a vote just on making the middle class tax cuts...

By Greg Sargent  | November 15, 2010; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
Categories:  2010 elections, House Dems, taxes  
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McCain is still on the wrong side of history

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) keeps finding new excuses to justify his opposition to repealing the military's discriminatory don't ask don't tell policy. As Alex Seitz-Wald notes, McCain said he would "defer" to military leadership on the matter, until the military...

By Adam Serwer  | November 15, 2010; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Senate Republicans, gay rights  
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The Morning Plum

* Obama to GOP: No mandate for gridlock: With Obama returning to Washington, get ready for the first real head-to-head confrontation between the President and newly-victorious GOP leaders: Over the Bush tax cuts. On Air Force one yesterday, the President...

By Greg Sargent  | November 15, 2010; 8:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights, taxes  
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Obama advisers chart the route back

Top Obama advisers have reached some conclusions about the Dem shellacking and about what they need to do to restore the "early promise of the Obama presidency": The advisers are deeply concerned about winning back political independents, who supported Obama...

By Greg Sargent  | November 14, 2010; 8:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (98)
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, Health reform, Independents, economy  
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