ThinkFast: April 15, 2011

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has “been taking a beating from the left and late-night comics” for his office’s claim that he was not intending to make “a factual statement” when he vastly overstated Planned Parenthood’s abortion services. But Kyl disavowed that statement yesterday, telling Politico, “That was not me – that was my press person.”

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, President Obama conceded that his vote against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 was “a political vote.” Obama said he sees “areas of overlap and agreement” on dealing with the deficit in the broader fiscal policy debate.

In the ABC interview, President Obama said the birther conspiracy will create a problem for Republicans “when they want to actually run in a general elections” because most people know he was born in Hawaii and “doesn’t have horns.” While those like Donald Trump “will get a quick pop in the news,” Americans “want this election to be about growing the economy,” he said.

The Arizona legislature passed a bill yesterday requiring presidential candidates to provide proof that they were born in the U.S. before being able to get on an Arizona ballot, making Arizona’s bill “the only one” out of 10 states with birther bill “to make it to a governor’s desk.” Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has not taken a stance, but if she does not sign or veto the bill in five days, the bill will become law.

Early results of Britain’s controversial austerity program are “less than promising,” as retail sales plunge and household income is projected to fall this year. With projected growth at just 1 percent, the results have challenged the idea that slashing deficits through social welfare cuts will jumpstart an economic recovery.

Reversing her previous position, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) is now “rejecting a $54.6 million federal grant to help create a health insurance exchange for uninsured Oklahoma residents that is required by the new federal health care law.” Instead, state Republicans are supporting the creation of an “advisory board” comprised of representatives from health insurers, among others, to help establish an exchange.

After yet another air traffic controller was found asleep on the job, Hank Krawkowski was forced out as head of the FAA’s air traffic control division. Krawkowski leaves behind an agency “in turmoil,” as recorded air traffic control errors rose 51 percent last year, with at least a dozen instances of planes nearly colliding in mid-air.

And finally: When not grilling Republican governors or suing the House cafeteria over olive placement, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) practices ventriloquism, as he demonstrated last night on on the Daily Show. Kucinich’s puppet “sang” “God Bless America,” prompting reporter John Oliver to ask, “How do you keep winning elections?”

For breaking news and updates throughout the day, follow ThinkProgress on Facebook and Twitter.