Republicans are poised to win Hawaii special election, Connecticut and Colorado's conventions, Obama speaks at West Point, Meet the Press has Rand Paul and Joe Sestak, Tea Party vs. Menendez in NJ, Cuomo may announce in New York, Idaho's primary Tuesday, an NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll on immigration, and behind-the-scenes video of where that White House vole came from.
From NBC's Domenico Montanaro Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has claimed that the financial reform bill would lead to further bailouts.
"If you look at it carefully," he said, "it will lead to endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street banks."
But his claim, which has been denounced as false by independent fact checkers, is based on the existence of a $50 billion fund in the legislation. That fund would be used if large banks get in trouble again.
Sounds like a bailout, right?
Not true. Why?
One, this fund would be used to liquidate a company -- to put them out of business -- not to save them.
Two, most importantly, none of the money would be from taxpayers. Those too-big-to-fail banks would pay fees to the federal government, specifically for the program.
President Obama criticized Republicans for this at his speech in New York.
"What's not legitimate," he said, "is to suggest that somehow the legislation being proposed is going to encourage future taxpayer bailouts."
OK, fair enough. But then he said this,
"[A] vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts," Obama said. "That's the truth. End of story."
Well, that's not exactly the end of the story. There's no guarantee that the government wouldn't again have to bailout one of these large banks in the future. If they say they are about to go under and, without government support, the economy will collapse, it would be very difficult for whoever is president not to take action.
Most experts agree that without breaking up those very large banks, and limiting the number of things they can have their hands in, it's almost impossible to end "too big to fail."
And no one's moving forward with THAT in Congress.
And here's the rest of your look ahead at the week ahead in politics.
We find out if Charlie Crist stays in the race, becomes an independent, or drops out, Obama to West Virginia miners memorial, Obama to Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, a vote on financial reform Monday, a bailout and "too big to fail" FACT CHECK. Plus, we bailout the airline industry by putting out that pesky volcano.
Financial reform may hit the Senate floor in the middle of the week, Lehman hearing, Pawlenty to Iowa, MTP has Geithner, Obama goes to Poland -- volcano-permitting -- then raises money for Sen. Boxer and talks Stevens replacement, IN SEN GOP and AR SEN D debates, and tea at the manor.
The president heads to Prague to sign a nuclear treaty; Congress is off; Obama throws out the Washington Nationals' first pitch; the Financial Inquiry Commission holds its first hearing; Romney to NH; Palin, Bachmann together; and the Southern Republican Leadership Conference GOP cattle call kicks off in New Orleans.
Previewing the Illinois races to fill the seats once held by Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama ... Going Tea Partying in Nashville ... Jobs bill in the Senate ... Don't Ask, Don't Tell debate ... Obama to New Hampshire ... And a skeptical Week Ahead audience member.
Five things to watch for in the president's first State of the Union address. Plus the Republican National Committee holds its Winter Meeting -- in Hawaii. And President Obama and Dick Armey address the House Republican Conference retreat in Baltimore, MD.