From THE INDEPENDENT:
David Cameron was given a personal guarantee by Rupert Murdoch that Andy Coulson was safe to take on as his Downing Street press chief, The Independent on Sunday learnt yesterday, as the fallout from the News of the World phone-hacking scandal threatened to escalate into all-out war between the UK’s two most powerful men.
The Prime Minister had already cooled relations with the 80-year-old press baron on Friday by saying that his son, James Murdoch, has “questions to answer” over News International’s handling of the scandal. The Battle of Wapping 2011 will be intensified by the revelation that Mr Cameron was told by Mr Murdoch twice that, despite fears over Mr Coulson’s connection to the phone-hacking scandal, there was no problem with the former editor.
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From The Slatest:
UPDATE: Michele Bachmann defended her presidential campaign on Tuesday after making a gaffe in which she incorrectly claimed she shared a hometown with the actor John Wayne, a verbal slip up that left many wondering whether she was confused with “clown killer” John Wayne Gacy.
“The main point that I was making are the sensibilities of John Wayne, which is patriotism, love of country standing up for our nation,” Bachmann explained to CNN. “That positive enthusiasm is what America’s all about, and that’s of course my main point.”
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From TALKING POINTS MEMO:
GOP Looks To Shock Failing Medicare Plan Back To Life With New Message
Beset by a constant barrage of attacks from the left and increasing unease on the right, House Republican leaders plan to relaunch their proposal to turn Medicare into a privatized voucher program. Leading the charge will be the GOP budget’s architect, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is scheduled to deliver an address on the topic at the Economic Club of Chicago on Monday.
Because shit always smells better when you stir it up again.
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From Andrew Schenkel at mother nature network:
Thursday morning in Washington began with what has become a yearly ritual. The executives from the big five oil companies got to answer questions about their government subsidies in the wake of huge quarterly profits.
Senate Finance Committee Chariman Max Baucus wanted to know exactly why the “Big Five” felt they should continue to get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies while enjoying profits of $31 billion during the first quarter of 2011 alone.
While many reports will make note of the hearing’s circus atmosphere that included Sen. Orrin Hatch’s unveiling of a picture of a dog sitting on a pony after saying he didn’t want the hearing to be about cheap political stunts, there was some actual tension in the room that didn’t require any stunts to feel.
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From Paul Harris at the Mail & Guardian online:
The bright lights of the Las Vegas strip were an apt setting for the Donald Trump carnival roadshow to end up in last week. Amid the garish neon of the gigantic Treasure Island Casino, the business mogul-turned-reality TV star-turned-potential Republican presidential candidate made his latest stop.
Speaking at an event called The Reagan Revolution: From Ronald to Donald, Trump made his pitch to an audience of Nevada Republican bigwigs and curious onlookers in one of the key early-voting states in the nomination process. In the casino’s ballroom, which featured an ice statue of himself, Trump gave a virtuoso performance that was full of braggadocio and littered with expletives. “Our leaders are stupid, they are stupid people,” he said, before referring to the Chinese government as “motherfuckers” against whom he’d raise trade tariffs.
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