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Congress And Lawmakers

The Takeaway

Bad Cop: Profiling Democrats at the DOJ

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An internal Justice Department report released yesterday found that a former senior official routinely used an ideological litmus test in filling what were supposed to be apolitical posts, and then lied to a Congressional panel investigating the practice. Slate Senior Legal Correspondent Dahlia Lithwick joins us to examine why the official won't be prosecuted, and looks at the larger trend of not holding Bush Administration officials accountable.

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The Takeaway

Didn't we have $350 billion around here somewhere? Oversight wants answers on the bailout funds

Monday, January 12, 2009

Congress could be asked to turn over control of the remaining $350 billion in bailout funds today. The Bush administration is expected to file the request for the rest of the money so the incoming Obama administration can start doling it out almost as soon as the President-elect takes office. The Congressional panel overseeing the Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout isn't quite ready to approve the release of funds, though. First they would like some answers on how the first $350 billion of the bailout money was spent. Joining The Takeaway is former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu, who is on that Congressional oversight panel.

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The Takeaway

A busy week on Capitol Hill

Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama may not be President yet, but Congress isn’t waiting around for him to get to work. This is a big week on Capitol Hill, with confirmation hearings for several cabinet members, plus the likely resolution of the Roland Burris question, and even some new legislation. Todd Zwillich, a reporter for Capitol News Connection, joins The Takeaway with an update.

"Just because everyone is feeling great about Barack Obama doesn't mean the Senate is in his pocket."
— Todd Zwillich on the U.S. Senate and their relationship with President-elect Obama

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The Takeaway

The Takeaway's economic roundtable, part two

Friday, January 09, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama has called for an economic stimulus package in stark terms, but can his cautionary words and economic plan be effective amidst widespread unemployment and incredibly bleak retail sales? Maya MacGuineas, Director of New America Foundation's Fiscal Policy Program, and Jamie Jones, a reporter for the Dalton, Georgia Daily Citizen, join John to continue our economic roundtable.

Listen to part one of our economic roundtable.

In case you missed the President-elect's speech, here it is courtesy of AP/Youtube.

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The Takeaway

The Fellowship of the Elephants: Republicans discuss new leadership

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Who will lead the Republican National Committee through the Obama Administration? Ana Marie Cox, founding editor of Wonkette and contributor to The Daily Beast, doesn't know. But she does know that if the Republicans want to revitalize their party it's going to take a lot more than choosing leadership based on the number of their Facebook friends. She joins John and Adaora with the update on the private meeting the GOP held Wednesday on Capitol Hill and her plans to run a gypsy cab during the Inauguration. Girl's got to make a living.

At the 1980 Republican Convention, Ronald Reagan emerged as a strong leader with a clear vision for America and the Republican party. Can the Republicans revive his vision?

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The Takeaway

The new Congress--business as usual

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The new Congress is in session, and do we have change we can believe in? Not so much. Todd Zwillich, reporter for Capitol News Connection, says its the usual bickering and partisan sniping, slightly enlivened by the question of whether or not Roland Burris, appointed to the Senate by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, will be seated.

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The Takeaway

Roland Burris finds little love on Capitol Hill

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

When Illinois Senate-Designate Roland Burris arrived on Capitol Hill yesterday, he was turned away at the door. The Secretary of the Senate claimed that his credentials lacked a required signature and his state's seal. While that may be true, the Senate leadership had made it clear that they did not want to seat Burris under the cloud of suspicion surrounding his appointment by Gov. Blagojevich. Todd Zwillich of Capitol News Connection, joins us now to mull it all over.

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The Takeaway

Obama's economic recovery plan: Open to debate

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

President-elect Obama kicked off the week on Capitol Hill, pitching his economic stimulus plan. It’s a plan that leading Democrats are eager to have signed first thing on January 20th. To jump-start the stimulus debate, House Democrats are holding a number of informal hearings, starting today. Mark Zandi, Chief Economist for Moody’s, will be among the many experts who are testifying today. He joins us now for a preview of what he will say on the Hill.

For more on Mark Zandi's take on the economic crisis, buy his book Financial Shock: A 360º Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis.
"There's some evidence that this economic downturn is not discriminating. It is hitting everyone."
— Mark Zandi, Chief Economist from Moody's Economy.com, on the current economic crisis in America

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The Takeaway

Rumble in the Capitol: Roland Burris fights to be seated

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The U.S. Senate’s rejection of Roland Burris is the latest chapter in a saga ripped straight from the complicated playbook of Chicago politics. Burris was turned away from the Capitol on the grounds that he did not have the right credentials following his appointment by embattled Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. For some context into the latest political spectacle out of Chicago, we’re joined by Abner Mikva, former Illinois Congressman, retired Federal Judge, former White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton, and current law professor at the University of Chicago.

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The Takeaway

Mr. Burris goes to Washington

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Roland Burris, the would-be or could-be junior Senator from Illinois, makes his Washington, D.C. debut today. It’ll be an uphill battle for Burris who is facing a lot of resistance from Democratic Senate leaders who are arguing that Burris’ appointment to the Senate is tainted because he was hand picked by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich has been accused by federal authorities of offering to sell the vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. For a preview of this power struggle on the Hill we turn to Clarence Page. Mr. Page is a syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He’s on the line from Washington, D.C.

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The Takeaway

Franken wins? Not so fast.

Monday, January 05, 2009

It ain't over till it's over. A day before the 111th Congress convenes, Republican senators are claiming that they will block any attempts to seat Democrat Al Franken, who currently holds a slim lead over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck returns to The Takeaway to explain what this week will bring for Minnesota politics.

"This could last a couple of months if they choose to and they could actually order another recount."
— Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck on the continuing political drama over the Minnesota senate seat

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The Takeaway

Congress is back and ready for a fight

Monday, January 05, 2009

Today marks the first session of the 111th Congress and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid knows he's got a full plate of serious issues to handle, and handle quickly. On top of all the pressing matters there are still vacancies in the U.S. Senate and a whole lot of hullabaloo over who is going to be filling them. To mull over these issues with us is Todd Zwillich from Capitol News Connection and our man on the ground in Washington D.C.

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The Takeaway

Caroline Kennedy's bid for the U.S. Senate continues

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Filling President-elect Barack Obama's vacant senate seat has turned into such an incredible drama that it is easy to forget that there are other empty seats in the U.S. Senate. Vice-president-elect Biden's seat was quickly filled, but more drama is roiling over the soon-to-be vacant senate seat from New York. Caroline Kennedy has made her claim on the seat once held by her father and no one is quite sure whether or not she is qualified. The coverage of that issue has raised quite a few eyebrows, too. Here to discuss all sides of the issue are Nick Confessore a reporter in the Albany bureau of the New York Times, and Lisa Belkin, a writer for the New York Times Magazine whose piece in this Sunday's magazine is called “The Senator Track.”

Read Nick Confessore's article on Ms. Kennedy in today's New York Times. (You'll have to wait for Sunday for Lisa Belkin's!)
"I don't know that she is qualified to be Senator. I know she can't be discounted as inexperienced."
— Lisa Belkin on Caroline Kennedy

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The Takeaway

Illinois, meet your new Senator (maybe)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yesterday embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich defied expectations and appointed a respected senior statesman in Illinois politics to fill the Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama. Roland Burris was the first African-American to be elected to statewide office in Illinois and he has served as both comptroller and attorney general in that state. Amanda Vinicky, Statehouse Reporter for Illinois Public Radio, joins The Takeaway with an assessment of this latest development in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal.
"At this point, nobody knows because this is uncharted territory."
— Amanda Vinicky on the Illinois Senate appointment

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The Takeaway

Pragmatism: The post-partisan Obama

Friday, December 26, 2008

Does a pragmatic Barack Obama mean that he won't challenge the status quo and make real change? For a look the next year, we turn to Christopher Hayes, the Washington editor for The Nation and fellow at The New America Foundation.
"The permanent governing class and the establishment are a huge reason that we're in the mess we're in now."
— Christopher Hayes on the perils of pragmatism

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The Takeaway

The Republican Party looks for a new vision, or perhaps an old one to restore

Friday, December 26, 2008

In just a few days, it's a new year. And a new beginning might be exactly what the Republican Party needs to get its groove back. David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and editor of a forthcoming blog the New Majority joins The Takeaway to talk about what 2009 may hold for the GOP.

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The Takeaway

Chris Shays leaves office

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

After 21 years in office, Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., lost the 2008 election to Democratic challenger Jim Himes. Shays joins The Takeaway to reflect on the future and the past.

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The Takeaway

The State of the States: Talking budget cuts with N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine and Wisc. Gov. James Doyle

Friday, December 19, 2008

States across the country are in financial distress. More than half of them are facing shortfalls in their budgets for this year and next. And with times so lean there's not much fat left for governors to cut. While some governors are choosing to implement deep cuts in long-standing government programs, others are opting to enter a strange new world of taxable items (iTunes downloads anyone?). For a look at the budgetary challenges that many states face in 2009, The Takeaway checks in with New Jersey's Governor Jon Corzine and Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin. Last week they testified before Congress, pleading for Federal help. This week they are here on The Takeaway.

What would you tax to balance the books? »

"This is the time when people are dependent on us making good decisions."
— N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine on the need to make deep cuts to the state budget and what it means for his constituents

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The Takeaway

Two votes separate candidates in Minnesota senate race

Friday, December 19, 2008

The disputed Minnesota Senate race is now closer that it's ever been. Incumbent Republican Norm Coleman leads Democratic challenger Al Franken by two votes. Late yesterday the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that improperly rejected absentee ballots should be included in the state's recount. That means the winner will not be declared until the first week of the new year at the earliest. Tom Scheck, a reporter with Minnesota Public Radio, joins The Takeaway with the latest.

“If there’s a lizard people, there’s a flying spaghetti monster.”
— Poll workers in Minnesota sorting out the legitimate ballots from the very illegitimate ones.

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The Takeaway

The U.S. car industry: Not just Detroit anymore

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Foreign carmakers have constructed massive plants in the South that now produce one-third of all cars manufactured on our shores.
"A lot of these Southern senators don't see the Big Three as their constituents, but they do see Toyota, Honda, BMW and Mercedes as their constituents."
— Newsweek's Daniel Gross on why Southern senators vote against the auto bailout

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