TPM News

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who lost his Democratic primary in 2006 but has remained a (sometimes shaky) member of the Democratic caucus, will announce tomorrow whether he is running again in 2012.

A big development occurred in the race today, when former state Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz threw her hat into the ring.

Lieberman has publicly mulled the idea of running as a Democrat. However, he would probably face a tough fight in a primary.

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Ahead of Wednesday's House vote on repealing the new health care law, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer assessed how the Democrats ended up so deeply on the defensive over their signature accomplishment.

In short, he said it was a messaging fail.

"None of us did a good enough job, because public opinion is divided and unsure of whether this legislation is going to be positive for them and their families," Hoyer told reporters at his weekly press availability. "About half are, and about half are not sure."

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Before he rose to notoriety as the founder of Penthouse magazine, Bob Guccione allegedly wrote letters soliciting customers to buy his dirty photos at the bargain rate of 10 photos for $2 under the pseudonym of "Robert Gucci."

That's just part of what is revealed by the more than sixty pages of FBI records on Guccione obtained by TPM through a Freedom of Information Act request. Guccione died in October at the age of 79.

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In 2010, Utah Republicans ousted Sen. Bob Bennett at the party's nominating convention, and according to a new Utah Policy poll, they may be ready to give the state's other incumbent Senator the boot in 2012.

In the poll, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) trailed two challengers in a hypothetical primary contest. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they'd support former Governor Jon Huntsman if he made a bid for the party nod, while 23% said they'd back Rep. Jason Chaffetz, and 21% said they'd support Hatch.

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by Joseph Goldstein, Special to ProPublica

This story was co-published with Slate [1].

Judge Richard Owen of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan gathered a group of lawyers in his courtroom in 2007 to discuss the possible leak of sealed documents in a business case. As the hearing got under way, Owen, then 84, asked for someone to explain this newfangled mode of communication the lawyers kept mentioning -- e-mail. "It pops up in a machine in some administrative office, and is somebody there with a duty to take it around and give it to whoever it's named to?" he asked.

Some of the lawyers figured that Owen, whose chambers came with a mimeograph machine when he became a judge in 1973, was just behind the times. Others wondered if the judge's memory was failing him. After all, the most famous case in his long career -- the back-to-back trials of Silicon Valley investment banker Frank Quattrone -- had revolved around a single e-mail. Yet he now acted as though this was the first he was hearing about it. "He didn't understand what was happening in his own courtroom," said one lawyer present that day.

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is further explaining his recent comment, made in a Human Events article, that Democrats passed health care reform because of an "irrational Leftist lust for socialized medicine." As he explained it in an interview just now on ABC News's Top Line, that's not such an incendiary thing to say.

King was asked about the comment, in light of recent commentary over whether heated political rhetoric contributed to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).

"Well, I'd say first that the word 'lust' is more associated with love than it is with violence," King responded. "I didn't think it's an irrational comment at all -- I just see it as the situation we're in. I have an irrational lust to love the Constitution and fiscal responsibility and individualism."

King did say that the people in Washington have a responsibility to tone it down, but also said that he did not think "the anomalous tragedy in Tucson" was relevant to that.

Stephen Colbert last night celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, saying the Civil Rights hero has finally received the reverence he deserves.

Colbert sees signs of progress all around him, not least of all in department stores' "rock bottom prices" on the national holiday. A Ford dealership in New York celebrated with an MLK Day "Sell-A-Bration" and Sears had a mattress sale.

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is chiming in on the recent controversies involving a fellow potential presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, with some mild (but still quite clear) criticism -- that while he does respect her, she should watch what she says.

In an appearance on Good Morning America, Gingrich was asked by George Stephanopoulos about Palin's low approval ratings in recent opinion polls, and how she might turn it around. The recent "blood libel" flap involving Palin's response to accusations that her heated political rhetoric had contributed to the environment in which the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) occurred, was not directly mentioned, but it did seem to hang over the conversation.

"Well, I think that she's got to slow down and be a lot more careful, and think through what she's saying and how she's saying it," Gingrich responded. "There's no question that she's become more controversial. But she is still a phenomenon. I don't know anybody else in American politics who can put something on Twitter, or put something on Facebook, and automatically have it become a national story. So she remains, I think, a very formidable person in her own right."

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