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4:55 PM ET, March 20, 2009


 Top Items:
Special Olympics Champ to Barack: Bring it On!  —  A bowling phenom in the Special Olympics has just challenged Prez Barack Obama to a White House roll-off ... and he'll probably kick Barack's butt.  —  Kolan McConiughey, a Special Olympics competitor who has bowled three perfect 300 games …
Michelle Malkin:
Why can't Obama tell a good joke?  —  Why are the president's “jokes” (scripted or not) so lame?  —  The answer is a three-letter-word (or is that four letters, Joe?):  E-G-O.  —  Barack Obama is constitutionally incapable of self-deprecation, because self-deprecation requires sincere humility.
Obama Apologizes for Calling His Bad Bowling ‘Like the Special Olympics’  —  President Apologizes Before Wisecrack Even Airs  —  His controversial joke hadn't even aired yet when President Obama got on the phone from Air Force One Thursday night to apologize for comparing his notoriously bad bowling skills to the Special Olympics.
Toby Harnden / Toby Harnden's blog listings:
Top 10 gaffes by Barack Obama and Joe Biden
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Every word of the Obama-Leno summit, including the Special Olympics ‘joke’
Discussion: The Swamp
Adam Serwer / American Prospect:
THIS FEED IS CLOSED TO THE PRESS.  —  Huh, I wonder why Jake Tapper, press access warrior, has blocked me from following his Twitter feed.  —  Time for a blogger ethics panel?  —  UPDATE: Tapper has also blocked Talking Points Memo.  —  Bonus Tapper: His exchange with White House Press …
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
TAPPER, TWITTER, AND ONLINE ETIQUETTE.... It was bound to be of interest to the political world anyway, but ABC News' Jake Tapper helped get the ball rolling on the Special Olympics/Obama story last night.  He was first out of the gate with a news item and a report on the president's comment on his Twitter feed.
Discussion: Greg's Opinion
David Kurtz / Talking Points Memo:
NOT A MENTALITY BUT A DISEASE  —  Everything you need to know about the DC journo establishment, from ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper's Twitter feed: … Late Update: Tapper gets his revenge: He has “blocked” me from following him on Twitter.  —  Later Update: Seems to be a trend.
Discussion: D-Day and Taylor Marsh
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:
Is ABC's Jake Tapper blocking journalists who criticize his Twitter updates?
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Adam Serwer / American Prospect:   THE RELUCTANT REPORTING OF FLUFF.
Washington Post:
GOP Pressed on Health Care  —  House Democrats Set September Deadline for Compromise  —  House Democrats, in consultation with the White House, will give Republican lawmakers until September to reach a compromise on President Obama's signature health-care initiative — otherwise …
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
U.S. Federal Deficit Soars Past Previous Estimates  —  Deteriorating economic conditions will cause the federal deficit to soar past $1.8 trillion this year and leave the nation wallowing in a sea of red ink far deeper than the White House had previously estimated, congressional budget analysts said today.
Andrew Taylor / Associated Press:
WH: Agenda on track despite worsening deficits  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition  —  WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's budget would generate unsustainably large deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade, according to new estimates released Friday.
David Rogers / The Politico:
Budget: Red ink far as the eye can see
Discussion: TPMDC
Michael Lewis / Bloomberg:
Mass Hysteria Over AIG Obscures Simple Truths: Michael Lewis  —  Last September the U.S. government began to dole out the first of $173 billion to American International Group.  A big chunk of it passed right through to banks that had bought insurance from AIG against mortgage and corporate defaults …
David Reilly / Bloomberg:
JPMorgan Might Lose Dimon to a Geithner Flameout: David Reilly
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias and Portfolio
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Obama White House bars press from press award ceremony  —  We are not making this up:  —  Barack Obama was elected commander in chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history.  —  This achievement and the overall promise of his historic administration caused …
Ali Akbar Dareini / Associated Press:
Iran plays down new Obama video message  —  TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran played down President Barack Obama's new video message to the Iranian people on Friday, saying it welcomed the overtures but warned that decades of mistrust can't easily be erased.  —  Obama released the video to coincide …
Alan Cowell / New York Times:
Obama and Israeli Leader Make Taped Appeals to Iran
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Video: Good Morning, Iran!
Sean Cockerham / Anchorage Daily News:
Palin rejects over 30% of stimulus money  —  31 PERCENT: She says state can't commit to continuation.  —  JUNEAU — Gov. Sarah Palin is refusing to accept over 30 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska, including dollars for schools, energy assistance and social services.
Paul Krugman:
AIG  —  Preliminary thoughts on the tax bill:  —  1. It's not the way you should make policy — it's clumsy, and it will punish some innocent parties while letting the most guilty off scot-free  —  2. But — there wasn't much alternative at this point.  And for that I blame the Obama people.
Mary Ann Akers / The Sleuth:
Joe the Plumber Wants to Make Love to Washington  —  The Republican's Working Man hero Joe the Plumber could barely contain himself last night before a crowd of adoring, media-bashing conservatives.  —  “God, all this love and everything in the room - I'm horny,” declared Joe, whose real name is Samuel Wurzelbacher.
CNN's March Ratings So Far: More Lamb than Lion  —  More evidence that CNN is going to have to find a new strategy fast or risk becoming a cable news also-ran: In the month of March so far, the Time Warner-owned network has come in fourth place in prime time among adults 25 to 54 …
Discussion: Media Blog, Gawker and Don Surber
Alessandra Stanley / New York Times:
Seeking Everyman, Obama Does Leno  —  President Obama didn't look burdened by his office on “The Tonight Show” on Thursday; he seemed bemused.  —  As he described the problems of American International Group and the credit crisis to Jay Leno, Mr. Obama behaved less like a beleaguered president …
Discussion: Spin Cycle
Tom Grace / The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY:
Tedisco: I'm focused on local interests  —  ONEONTA _ Political commentators may see the 20th Congressional District race as a contest of national consequence, but Republican James Tedisco, 58, is focused closer to home.  —  “Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me,” Tedisco told the editorial board of The Daily Star on Thursday.
Iran responds to Barack Obama's video appeal with nuclear pledge  —  US President Barack Obama's appeal for a ‘new beginning’ with Iran has been met by a pledge to turn on the country's nuclear power plant this year.  —  Mr Obama sent Iran an unprecedented videotaped message offering …
Discussion: Reuters, Power Line and Political Punch
James Rainey / Los Angeles Times:
Newspaper cuts open door to more political trickery  —  Political consultants aren't exactly rubbing their hands together and snickering.  But as the hired guns look over a landscape of closing newspapers and laid-off investigative reporters, they sense an opening that leaves them both excited and queasy.
Discussion: Democracy in America
Henry Blodget / Clusterstock:
90% Tax?  Now We Really ARE Screwed  —  The frantic passage of the Populist Rage Tax was a new low in the US government's response to this crisis.  It shows just how likely we are to doom ourselves to a decade or more of misery—by choking our markets, closing our borders …
Sasha Issenberg / Boston Globe:
Democrat outside looking in  —  Hailed abroad, Dean not part of Obama's circle  —  ALEX BRANDON/ASSOCIATED PRESS/file 2008Former DNC chairman Howard Dean praises President Obama not as a transformative figure, but as one who merely fulfilled the transformations already underway around him.
Discussion: Newsweek Blogs and MSNBC
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Support for Nuclear Energy Inches Up to New High  —  Majority believes nuclear power plants are safe  —  PRINCETON, NJ — A majority of Americans have been supportive of the use of nuclear energy in the United States in recent years, but this year's Gallup Environment Poll finds new high levels of support …
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 More Items: 
Douglas Birch / Associated Press:
Former US officials seek improved Russia ties
Hotline On Call:
Is Norm Coleman's Attorney “Done” ... ?
Discussion: The BRAD BLOG
Dan Gilgoff / US News:
Newt Gingrich Steps Up Efforts to Mobilize Religious Conservatives
Discussion: Washington Monthly
William J. Kole / Associated Press:
After horrific trial, Austria struggles to move on
Monika Scislowska / Associated Press:
Polish documentary shows prewar Jewish life
John Hughes / Bloomberg:
GM, Chrysler May Need Additional Aid, Rattner Says
Discussion: Clusterstock, and Zero Hedge
Mike Corder / Associated Press:
Dutch hospital to send Ghanaian chief's head home
 Earlier Items: 
The Politico:
Greta defends access to Palin family Politico - 43 minutes ago
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Pollitt On Douthat  —  For a column that's critical of me …
Michelle Malkin:
Bastards: Vandals strike at Berkeley Marine recruiting center again
Reem Khalifa / Associated Press:
2 US Navy vessels collide in Strait of Hormuz
Discussion: D-Day
Washington Post:
Latest CIA Scandal Puts Focus on How Agency Polices Self
Discussion: Gawker