Thomas Jefferson Street

January 2011


Obama Needs Outside Help Handling Egypt Protests

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Events in Egypt present the Obama administration with its most serious foreign policy crisis to date—serious because, unlike the other issues on the table, it is not likely to be resolved in the short term and could easily go in a way that runs counter to U.S. strategic and economic long-term ...

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TAGS:
foreign policy
Egypt
Kennedy, John
Iran
White House
foreign aid
Obama administration
Obama, Barack
Clinton, Hillary

What's Behind Jon Hunstman for President 2012?

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Jon Huntsman, the Republican former governor of Utah currently serving as U.S. ambassador to China, is reportedly expected to resign his post in the near future. Apparently he has an eye on replacing his boss, and I don’t mean Hillary Clinton at State. Huntsman has reportedly already assembled a ...

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TAGS:
Huntsman, Jon
Obama, Barack
2012 presidential election
Republican Party
politics
Gingrich, Newt
Palin, Sarah
Pawlenty, Tim
tea party
Romney, Mitt
Utah
China
McCain, John
Clinton, Hillary
health care reform
health care

Michele Bachmann Rises as Sarah Palin Falls

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January brought—or wrought—a new narrative for the radical right: let's call it the Rise of Michele Bachmann and the Fall of Sarah Palin. And I'm not sayin' that's a bad or good thing—but a thing I feel in my winter bones.

The two most visible Republican women may have changed power places at the ...

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TAGS:
Palin, Sarah
Bachmann, Michele
Democratic Party
tea party
Republican Party
Snowe, Olympia
Collins, Susan
Hutchison, Kay Bailey
McCain, Meghan
slavery
Lincoln, Abraham
Adams, John Quincy
Hamilton, Alexander

Obama Has Mentioned 'American Exceptionalism' More Than Bush

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Only one sitting president in the last 82 years has publicly uttered the magical phrase “American exceptionalism”--care to guess who it is? Ronald Reagan, he of the “shining city on a hill?” George W. Bush, who closed his speeches by asking that “God continue to bless” America? Nope. The only ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
Reagan, Ronald
Bush, George W.
State of the Union
Republican Party
2012 presidential election
Boehner, John
Sotomayor, Sonia
Specter, Arlen
Clinton, Bill
politics

Obama's Corporate Tax Cut Could Be a Tax Hike

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In an otherwise largely forgettable State of the Union address, President Barack Obama surprisingly called for a cut in the U.S. corporate income tax rate.

“Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
unemployment
Republican Party
deficit and national debt
income tax
Democratic Party
Norquist, Grover
White House

Michele Bachmann Is a Real Face of the GOP and Tea Party

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Rep. Michele Bachmann clearly has become a real face of the Republican Party as well as the Tea Party, and that is a big problem for House Speaker John Boehner and mainstream Republicans. Thanks to 24/7 cable and the fact that her outrageous statements make good copy, Bachmann can now get on ...

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TAGS:
State of the Union
Congress
tea party
Republican Party
Palin, Sarah
energy policy and climate change
Bachmann, Michele

Palin Disses Reagan With Anti-Obama 'Sputnik Moment' Jab

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It’s an article of faith among conservatives that Ronald Reagan “won” the Cold War, consigning the Soviet Union to what he eloquently termed the “ash heap of history.” The argument goes that Reagan’s acceleration of the arms race, including pursuing his Strategic Defense Initiative “Star Wars”

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TAGS:
Palin, Sarah
Obama, Barack
State of the Union
space
Bachmann, Michele
2012 presidential election
Fox News
Romney, Mitt
Reagan, Ronald
Cold War
history

Gun Control Opponents Have Nothing to Worry About

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The answer to the question of why Democrats aren’t upset about gun control is obvious. What’s perplexing is why those opposed to gun control are worried about it.

It’s disappointing to see the retreat Democrats have taken on sensible gun control in recent years. Then-Rep. Chuck Schumer went on his ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
State of the Union
gun control and gun rights
Schumer, Chuck
Congress
Democratic Party

Obama Tried to Please Too Many in State of the Union

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Did the president state the"state" of the union? In a word, yes. But did he please the union? Two words: yes and no. Depends on which side--er, who you were sitting next to.

I was always taught that the best negotiation is when two parties leave the room getting most of what they want and leaving ...

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TAGS:
deficit and national debt
immigration reform
unemployment
Republican Party
Democratic Party
2010 Congressional elections
Congress
health care
health care reform
State of the Union
politics
Obama, Barack
federal budget

State of the Union Bipartisan Seating Made a Difference

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It was a show. A charade, arguably. A public relations ploy that was all about trying to look bipartisan in the wake of the Tucson tragedy, without the true substance of cross-party cooperation behind it.

And I still loved it.

After so many years of watching the State of the Union address--an event ...

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TAGS:
Congress
State of the Union
Democratic Party
Republican Party
King, Pete
Weiner, Anthony
Kerry, John
McCain, John
deficit and national debt
politics
Obama, Barack

Obama's Not the First to Use 'Sputnik Moment'

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Sputnik is back, baby. In one of the State of the Union sound bites leaked ahead of time, and one of the lines for which the speech will be remembered, President Obama said that this generation is encountering its “Sputnik moment”--a shocking turning point which spurs the country to step up its ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
State of the Union
Romney, Mitt
Clinton, Hillary
Pawlenty, Tim
politics
space
Napolitano, Janet

To Succeed, Obama's State of the Union Needs Optimism

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To be magisterial, President Obama must speak from his head and his heart tonight in the Capitol as he addresses Congress and the nation in the annual State of the Union speech.

To give a great soaring speech, he must blend poetry into the prose.

[Take the poll: What should Obama's State of the Union ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
State of the Union
Republican Party
Democratic Party
tea party
Congress
Supreme Court
unemployment
national security terrorism and the military

GOP Budget Cut Battle Shows Party Health

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In the campaign that recently ended, the House Republicans made—as part of their “Pledge to America”—the promise that they would cut $100 billion out of the federal budget over the course of fiscal year 2011.

It's a promise that has created some trouble for them. The U.S. fiscal year begins in ...

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TAGS:
Republican Party
deficit and national debt
Boehner, John
Jordan, Jim
unemployment
Congress
tea party
federal budget
politics

A Brief History of the State of the Union Address

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President Obama this evening will perform one of the specific duties charged him by the Constitution. Article II, Section 3 mandates that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall ...

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TAGS:
Congress
Republican Party
Nixon, Richard M.
Ford, Gerald
Bush, George H.W.
Eisenhower, Dwight D.
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, Theodore
State of the Union
Obama, Barack
White House
Washington, George
Adams, John
Jefferson, Thomas
Wilson, Woodrow
Harding, Warren G.
Truman, Harry S
Carter, Jimmy
Johnson, Lyndon
Bush, George W.
Reagan, Ronald
Biden, Joe
Gore, Al

State of the Union Is High Risk, Low Reward for Obama

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With his approval numbers gently rebounding in the aftermath of his Tucson speech, President Barack Obama has been presented with the opportunity to use Tuesday night’s State of the Union address to redefine his presidency.

Independents, the voter bloc that right now holds the “keys to the kingdom”

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
State of the Union
politics
Obama administration
Boehner, John
unemployment
Republican Party
Democratic Party
health care reform
health care
energy
energy policy and climate change
polls
Congress
2010 Congressional elections

Joe Lieberman Is No Jack Kennedy

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On a wistful bleak wintry week when John F. Kennedy's inaugural 50 years ago was celebrated with ceremonies and concerts of remembrance and Sargent Shriver's death was greeted with a genuine outpouring of grief and love, a third man seemed to suggest he belonged in that august company.

No, Joe, I ...

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TAGS:
Lieberman, Joe
Kennedy, John
politics
Levin, Carl
Boxer, Barbara
Feinstein, Dianne
McCain, John
national security terrorism and the military
Iraq
Iraq war (2003-2011)
health care
health care reform
LGBT rights
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Connecticut

Bachmann State of the Union Response Shows GOP Message Problem

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When it was announced last week that Wisconsin budget wonk Paul Ryan would be delivering the GOP’s response to the State of the Union, I missed the additional tidbit that Michele Bachmann will be delivering an a response of her own, streamed over the Tea Party Express’s website.

[ See ...

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TAGS:
Bachmann, Michele
Boehner, John
Ryan, Paul
tea party
Republican Party
media
State of the Union

Is Mitt Romney Setting Up a Tea Party 'Sister Souljah' Moment?

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The Boston Globe has an interesting story pointing out that once-and-future GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not trying to suck up to the Tea Party movement, a fact which distinguishes Romney from virtually every other potential Republican presidential candidate. According to the

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TAGS:
unemployment
Angle, Sharron
Pence, Mike
Gingrich, Newt
Pawlenty, Tim
politics
Obama, Barack
2012 presidential election
Democratic Party
Republican Party
tea party
Palin, Sarah
Romney, Mitt

Michelle Obama Weight Gain Battle Should Get Conservative Support

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Mary Kate Cary wrote a very good column making the case for why conservatives should support Michelle Obama's anti-obesity crusade, but there's one point I think she could have fleshed out a bit more. That is: Suppose instead of nutrition we were discussing abortion--or any other issue that ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Michelle
Palin, Sarah
diet and nutrition
politics
Huckabee, Mike
Washington Post

Hu Should Consider China's Human Rights Record Before Lecturing U.S.

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Most countries don’t like being lectured by foreigners, although sometimes a well-worded criticism from outside sources is worth heeding. One wishes that the United States, for example, had paid a bit more attention to the skepticism and outright opposition to the Iraq War expressed by the ...

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TAGS:
national security terrorism and the military
unemployment
deficit and national debt
China

Does Obama Fear a Hillary Clinton Primary Challenge?

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 If there was ever a sign that the White House is nervous about 2012, it’s the news that a covey of senior White House aides and Democratic National Committee operatives are headed to Chicago to open President Barack Obama’s re-election headquarters—nearly two years in advance of the election.

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TAGS:
politics
2012 presidential election
Republican Party
2010 Congressional elections
White House
Clinton, Hillary
Obama, Barack
tea party
Democratic Party
Boehner, John
McConnell, Mitch
Clinton, Bill

Health Reform Repeal Vote a Republican 2012 Campaign Ploy

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We've just been through a nasty political campaign season, and we're reeling still from the tragic attacks in Tucson on public servants—and by extension, democracy. One would think Congress could take a breather before starting the 2012 campaign.

Instead, the new Republican House majority went ahead ...

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TAGS:
health care reform
Congress
Democratic Party
Republican Party
2012 presidential election
politics

Republican Health Reform Repeal Vote Is Just First Step

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By a vote of 245 to 189, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to repeal the new national healthcare law commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”

The White House dismissed the vote, both before and after, as a purely symbolic act since, in their calculation, it has no chance of being taken ...

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TAGS:
health care reform
health care
Republican Party
Democratic Party
politics
unemployment
Reid, Harry
Pelosi, Nancy
energy policy and climate change
energy
2012 presidential election
Conrad, Kent
Lieberman, Joe
Webb, Jim
Nelson, Ben
Nelson, Bill
Stabenow, Debbie
Tester, Jon
Casey, Bob
Brown, Sherrod
Kohl, Herb

Bipartisanship at Obama's State of the Union Only Symbolic

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After the massacre in Tucson, there has been a hint of reconciliation in the air. A different tone taken by the talking heads on radio and television and even a different tone in Congress today as debate opened on repealing healthcare reform.

My mother always said “it’s not what you say, but the way ...

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TAGS:
Congress
Schumer, Chuck
Coburn, Tom
Democratic Party
health care reform
Republican Party
Bush, George W.
State of the Union
gun control and gun rights
politics

Sarah Palin's Poll Numbers Hit New Low

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My bloleague Peter Fenn writes that Sarah Palin's post-Tucson performance has sunk her 2012 presidential hopes. Gallup released new poll numbers yesterday underscoring this point.

According to Gallup, Palin's approval numbers are at their worst level since she ascended to national prominence upon ...

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TAGS:
Palin, Sarah
Boehner, John
Pelosi, Nancy
Obama, Barack
polls
Gallup
Giffords, Gabrielle
politics
2012 presidential election

Arizona Shooting Bungle Sinks Sarah Palin's 2012 Presidential Bid

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Well, this really was what the inside-the-beltway Republicans were hoping for—Sarah Palin has effectively sunk her campaign for president, just as she was trying to launch it.

Last week she gave a fireside chat that was to connect her with “average Americans,” a straight-look-into-the-camera moment ...

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TAGS:
politics
Giffords, Gabrielle
Palin, Sarah
Republican Party
2012 presidential election

Tucson Violence Too Reminiscent of The '60s

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Writing for the op-ed page of The Washington Post yesterday, Robert J. Samuelson quoted Charles Dickens and sought to capture the temper of the "wrenching" times in which we live. I met Samuelson, a distinguished denizen of this town, just the other day at a Wilson Quarterly party. If he had asked ...

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TAGS:
King Jr., Martin Luther
Kennedy, Robert
Obama, Barack
Nixon, Richard M.
Vietnam War
national security terrorism and the military

Tucson Was Obama's Best While 'Blood Libel' Was Palin's Worst

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Last evening, Barack Obama gave the best speech of this presidency. President Obama’s rhetoric is reminiscent of John F. Kennedy’s. So it is fitting that President Obama's best effort came the week before we celebrate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's celebrated inaugural address. 

[See 5 ...

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TAGS:
unemployment
politics
Palin, Sarah
McCain, John
Republican Party
2012 presidential election
Kennedy, John
health care reform
2008 presidential election
Obama, Barack

To Sarah Palin, the Arizona Shooting Is All About ... Sarah Palin

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A nine-year-old girl who just wanted to meet her congresswoman is dead. Democracy itself is under assault with the shooting death of a federal judge and a congressional aide, and the attempted murder of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The accused shooter has a troubling history that raises questions about ...

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TAGS:
gun control and gun rights
Obama, Barack
2012 presidential election
Giffords, Gabrielle
Boehner, John
Palin, Sarah
Congress

Arizona Shooting Funeral Protest Strains the First Amendment

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The tragic shootings in Tucson raise, yet again, a critical question in a country which cherishes the First Amendment: how much must we tolerate intolerance in the defense of free speech?

It’s not even about conservative rabble-rouser Glenn Beck, who commonly uses heated rhetoric (and some outright ...

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TAGS:
Constitution
2010 Congressional elections
national security terrorism and the military
gun control and gun rights
Beck, Glenn
freedom of speech

Remember That the Arizona Shootings Are the Exception in America

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It comes as little surprise that, in the aftermath of the horrific shooting in Tucson, Arizona that killed a half dozen people and wounded more than twice that number--including a member of the U.S. House of Representatives--that the left and the right are both trying to establish a claim to the ...

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TAGS:
Congress
Giffords, Gabrielle
Republican Party
Democratic Party
tea party
politics
gun control and gun rights
Adams, John Quincy
Jackson, Andrew
Lincoln, Abraham

The Media Is Also Responsible for Heated Political Rhetoric

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President Obama pledged to raise the level of dialogue in Washington and ease the bitter partisanship that has crippled the work of Congress. He has been unable to do so, and it’s not entirely his fault, since the president cannot control the behavior of Congress any more than teachers can control ...

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TAGS:
media
gun control and gun rights
Boehner, John
Giffords, Gabrielle
health care reform
Congress
freedom of speech

Right Wing Media Vitriol Haunts Us In Arizona Shooting

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We all had a finger on the trigger—I.F. Stone wrote those words about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the cruel fall of 1963.

Now we come to the bleak winter of 2011, and how much has changed? Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lay near dying in her own blood after a shooting rampage in ...

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TAGS:
Giffords, Gabrielle
Boehner, John
Congress
gun control and gun rights
Limbaugh, Rush
Palin, Sarah
Democratic Party
Obama, Barack

Don't Say Gabrielle Giffords' Shooting Not Related to Violent Rhetoric

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It would be wrong, not to mention unfair and destructive, to blame the Tea Party movement or any other political force for what happened to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. But it would be equal folly to treat the shooting as though it had nothing to do with the sort of violence-themed and inciteful ...

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TAGS:
Giffords, Gabrielle
tea party
gun control and gun rights
Palin, Sarah
Republican Party
2010 Congressional elections
Congress
Angle, Sharron
health care
health care reform
Boehner, John

Irresponsible Pols Created Atmosphere for Arizona Shootings

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It is Sunday morning not nearly 8am. My husband and children are sleeping and I sit here writing this blog you, America.

This all started yesterday. On the weekends, I usually like to unplug my computer and shut off my cell phone to focus on my family and create some downtime from my busy work ...

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TAGS:
Democratic Party
Republican Party
tea party
immigration reform
health care reform
health care
Palin, Sarah
Bachmann, Michele
Arizona
Angle, Sharron
gun control and gun rights
Giffords, Gabrielle

Palin Aide's Inane Bullseye Map Defense

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Sarah Palin’s famous bullseye map was both offensive and stupid. And while Palin’s camp has taken it down in the wake of yesterday horrific shooting in Arizona, one of the former half-term Alaska governor’s aides has, incredibly, upped the ante for offensive stupidity.

In March Palin unveiled a ...

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TAGS:
Palin, Sarah
gun control and gun rights
2010 Congressional elections
Congress
Giffords, Gabrielle
Democratic Party

Don't Rush to Politicize Arizona Shooting

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A monstrous act was committed in Tucson this morning. This is what we know from news reports: Someone with a gun opened fire at a constituent event which Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was holding at a grocery store. Giffords was among those shot.

This remains uncertain or entirely unknown: How ...

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TAGS:
Congress
2010 Congressional elections
Democratic Party
tea party
gun control and gun rights
Giffords, Gabrielle
Palin, Sarah

Clinton Vets Like Daley Show Dems See Obama as Empty Suit

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The meaning behind the utterly surreal episode in the White House press room several weeks ago in which former President Bill Clinton dazzled the assembled reporters while Barack Obama left for a Christmas party is now clear. It was a deviously subtle way to announce the Obama administration was ...

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TAGS:
2010 Congressional elections
Republican Party
politics
Axelrod, David
Summers, Larry
2012 presidential election
Democratic Party
Emanuel, Rahm
deficit and national debt
Clinton, Bill
Obama, Barack
White House
Congress
unemployment
Geithner, Tim
Gibbs, Robert
Daley, William

Democrats Should Stop Talking and Start Listening

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As I was watching the festivities on Capitol Hill yesterday, I was thinking about Nancy Pelosi’s request to filmmaker Steven Spielberg for help in rebranding the Democratic party. If Mr. Spielberg reads this post, please ask E.T. to phone House Democrats.

God knows we need the help. The best message ...

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TAGS:
unemployment
health care reform
deficit and national debt
Pelosi, Nancy
Spielberg, Steven
2010 Congressional elections
2012 presidential election
Congress
Democratic Party

Change in Congress Looks Awfully Familiar

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Players may change, and the party which controls the chambers of Congress may change, but one thing stays distressingly consistent: the House is run by an iron-handed majority, and the Senate is run by the minority.

The House this week adopted its rules for the 112th Congress, and unsurprisingly,

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TAGS:
Congress
health care reform
Republican Party
Democratic Party
Frist, Bill
Senate
House of Representatives
politics

Time for Tea Party to Learn How Washington Works

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I was outraged today when Tea Party Patriots cofounders Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin stated they would be watching the newly elected Congress to make sure they’re doing the “right” thing. They said this during a taping of Follow the Money, one of the Fox Business Network programs I appear on.

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TAGS:
politics
tea party
gun control and gun rights
unemployment
immigration reform
deficit and national debt
Democratic Party
Republican Party
health care reform
Boehner, John
McConnell, Mitch
Lieberman, Joe
Sanders, Bernie
Congress
2010 Congressional elections
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