Steny Hoyer Slaps John Boehner Around As Things Get Uglier For GOP

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NEW YORK—Horrible news out of Baghdad this morning, wherea series of car bombs has now killed in excess of seventy and injured two hundred more. Today's attack is symbolically significant, being the first such display of sectarian strife since the departure of American troops. The attack has left many on edge, worrying that Nuri al-Maliki's fragile bargaining with Iraq's minority Sunnis and Kurds could erupt into more widespread violence. The only silver lining to this devastating attack is that the United States Senate is in recess, meaning we won't have to endure the Gentleman from Arizona take to the floor to turn this into a political football.


Meanwhile, basically nobody looks good in this payroll tax fight right now. Except... the President? Obama is enjoying a bit of an approval rebound here in addition to some rather unfamiliar bedfellows, such as Karl Rove and John McCain. Seems a few Republicans remember the lesson of 95-96: when Congress goes head-to-head with the President over a budgetary showdown, the President usually wins!

And nobody remembers this better than Newt Gingrich, the man who once shut down the government because he didn't get a front row seat on Air Force One. Which may explain why Newt's the only major candidate in the GOP pack right now sounding any sort of alarm.

Keep an eye out for today's lunchtime presser from the President, an event to be complete with working-folk props who have been rather insufferably crowdsourced by the White House over the past few days with the #40dollars Twitter hashtag. (We're inclined to agree with this guy who says he'd pay the White House $40 to just YO, SLOW IT DOWN WITH THE RETWEETS YOU GUYS.)

But boy oh boy did things get nasty yesterday. So nasty, in fact, that a very strange thing happened in the House chamber: Steny Hoyer was busy giving John Boehner the what-for—saying "As you walk off the floor, Mr. Speaker, you’re walking away, just as so many Republicans have walked away from taxpayers, the unemployed, and very frankly, as well, from those who will be seeking medical assistance from their doctors, 48 million senior citizens"—when the C-SPAN cameras went dark. C-SPAN quickly took to Twitter to explain that "C-SPAN has no control over the U.S. House TV cameras – the Speaker of the House does,” which: oof. You know things are getting bad when the Majority Leader is having his posterior handed to him so handily that he's gotta pull the plug on Brian Lamb.

Bank of America agreed to a $335 million settlement with the Justice Department yesterday over civil charges stemming from racially biased predatory lending practicing originating out of Bank of America's Countrywide mortgage division. Some celebrated the fact that this was "the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history," but you'll have to forgive us for remaining a bit skeptical of its true force and effect when something like this happens.

So Ron Paul is getting testy! The primary season's resident Galtian didn't take kindly to CNN's Gloria Borger pressing him about those nasty racist newsletters distributed in the early nineties that Ron Paul maintains he knew nothing about despite the fact that they were called the Ron Paul Political Report (it's cool, we get it: they didn't have Google Alerts back then). But watch him squirm! "I've never read that stuff." Ok! "I've never read—I came—I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written." Mmm hmmm. "Not all the time. Well, on occasion, yes." Ok! "It's been going on 20 years that people have pestered me about this and CNN does it every single time." [And scene.] Though do enjoy this 1995 video dug up by Taegan Goddard in which Paul says that "long term, political action isn't worth very much if you don't have education," and so "along with that I also put out a business-type political newsletter." Eep.

The Post runs a lengthy profile of Sam Brownback today, and how he's taking advantage of vast Republican majorities in the state legislature to turn the Topeka statehouse into something of a Tea Party petri dish. Something like the Chicago School's Chile? With Arthur Laffer assuming the role of Milton Friedman? Who knows. Anyway, it's long, so here are the big takeaways from a couple thousand words on the guy who tried to get a high school girl in trouble for saying something mean about him on Twitter: 1) so Kansas has a new office called the "Repealer in Chief" (what.), 2) Brownback has taken to cribbing the single worst line President Obama ever gave in a speech ("Win the future!"), 3) the aforementioned Arthur Laffer, the man who singlehandedly helped tank the US economy by scribbling his eponymous curve on a cocktail napkin, says Brownback is leading "a revolution in a cornfield," and 4) the state now has a "marriage guru." Yes, Thomas Frank: what's the matter with Kansas, indeed.

Lastly today, hold onto your Corn Flakes everybody because the "Game Change" trailer is out!!

[READ MORE AT THE GIFZETTE.]

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