David Taintor

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by David

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday said President Obama has been briefed on the suspicious letters recently addressed to lawmakers. One letter was addressed to President Obama. Another letter was addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). Both letters were intercepted at offsite mail centers. 

Carney said Obama was briefed Tuesday evening as well as Wednesday morning. The FBI has taken the lead on the investigation, Carney said. 

The U.S. Secret Service on Wednesday said that a letter containing "a suspicious substance" was intercepted on Tuesday at the White House's offsite mail screening facility. 

"This facility routinely identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before delivery," the Secret Service said in a written statement. 

A day earlier, a letter addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) was intercepted at an offsite mail facility for the U.S. Capitol and tested positive for ricin. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on Tuesday said police have a suspect in mind in the case. That letter originated in Tennessee, according to the Associated Press, and it remains under examination as initial field tests can be unreliable.

Below is the Secret Service's full statement on the letter address to Obama:


-          On 4-16-13, a letter addressed to the President containing a suspicious substance was received at the remote White House mail screening facility. This facility routinely identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before delivery.


-          The Secret Service White House mail screening facility is a remote facility, not located near the White House complex,  that all White House mail goes through.


-          The Secret Service is working closely with the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI in this investigation.

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MSNBC on Wednesday showed images of a man dressed in black clothes, tattered from the bombing at the Boston Marathon, running from the blast site.

"The Daily Rundown" host Chuck Todd asked NBC News' Michael Isikoff whether this person is being considered a new suspect in the investigation or if he is potentially the Saudi man police questioned about the attack. 

"Not clear if that's the case, but there's no indication that this individual is a suspect," Isikoff said. "He, like a lot of other people, were fleeing the scene where there were two very horrific explosions." Isikoff added that the Saudi man who had been questioned about the bombing has been cleared as a suspect. "So I wouldn't read too much into that picture," he said.


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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday called the criticism he faced following an awkward speech at Howard University unfair.

Earlier this month, Paul asked the crowd at the historically black college if they knew that Republicans founded the NAACP. Audience members responded with a booming "Yes!"

But Paul said Wednesday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that he thought the exchange was misreported. From the Huffington Post:

"That was misreported," Paul said. "I asked them, 'Do you know?' and I didn't know the answer. This is my first time to go to a historically black college."


"People say, 'Well, you should know the answer.' Well, that was part of the reason for going there, was I didn't know the answer," he said. "I said, 'Did they all know that the NAACP was founded by Republicans?' And in retrospect it sounds like it is a dumb question, but it's like, Republicans haven't been going to Howard for 20 years, so maybe by me going there I did learn something. And I did learn that everybody there knows, and I left there knowing that: Everybody there knows."

"It's unfair what the media tries to do to me on this," Paul added, according to the report. "I'm a little sensitive to some of it."

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday ordered flags at public buildings to be flown at half-staff on Thursday in response to the Boston Marathon bombings.

President Obama on Tuesday ordered that flags on public buildings and grounds be flown at half-staff until April 20.

Federal prosecutors are preparing more search warrants in the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings, and those warrants could be issued as early as Wednesday, NBC News' Michael Isikoff reported Wednesday on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown."

Isikoff also reported that FBI agents and police are expected to visit stores in the Boston area to investigate the origin of pressure cookers and black bags that were allegedly used in the bombings.

Law enforcement officials on Monday searched an apartment in Revere, Mass., the home of a Saudi national who had been questioned about the bombings. The man, who has not been identified, has been cleared as a suspect. 

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Dr. Peter Burke, chief of trauma services at Boston Medical Center, told reporters on Wednesday that the two patients remain in critical condition at the hospital, including a five-year-old boy. 

Burke said the hospital received around 10 or 11 critical patients after the marathon blasts. In addition to the two critical patients, 10 are in serious condition and seven are in fair condition, Burke said. The patients' ages range from 5 to 78, Burke said.

"Most patients are making good progress through the process," Burke said. 

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The National Rifle Association has released a new web ad, asserting that America's police disagree with President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on gun control. 

"Seventy-one percent of police say Obama's gun ban will have zero effect on violent crime," the ad said, citing a poll from policeone.com. "Eighty percent of police say more background checks will have no effect. Ninety-one percent say the right answer is swift prosecution and mandatory sentencing. Tell your senator to listen to America's police instead of listening to Obama and Bloomberg."

CNN reported that the NRA is spending $500,000 to place the ad on websites like the Drudge Report, The Washington Post and Hulu. The ad was posted online Tuesday.

The Senate on Wednesday is set to vote on background checks legislation introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Toomey conceded to NBC that the bill doesn't yet have the votes. 

Watch the ad: 

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