TPM News

Republican leaders won't accept tax increases in exchange for deep entitlement cuts, and say they'll only raise the national debt limit in exchange for a spending cut package that's revenue neutral.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Battle Over The Budget At The White House]

That leaves them vulnerable to the charge that they're not negotiating in good faith -- that they're refusing to budge on anything of ideological importance to them under the threat of a catastrophic debt default. So they need an answer when pressed: If President Obama has agreed in principle to cut entitlements, over howls of protests from members of his party, what are Republicans prepared to offer that amounts to similar political risk in their own party.

Here's what they've settled on: We'll agree to raise the debt limit!

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Tim Pawlenty is continuing to exchange banter on the campaign trail -- this time with Conan O'Brien, after the late night comedy host made a joke about Pawlenty being lame and unexciting.

Monday afternoon, O'Brien tweeted:

Is it too early to predict that Tim Pawlenty will not be a popular Halloween costume?

To which Team Pawlenty has responded with their own tweet -- joking about dressing up in a bright orange "Team Coco" wig:

@ConanOBrien Wait until I unveil my Team Coco wig then everyone will want the costume. It might even deliver IA for me #ginger #iacaucus

Well, that certainly would make Pawlenty a bit more memorable.

Sure you knew Herman Cain could manage a pizza empire and run a presidential campaign, but did you know he is also a skilled gospel singer?

The Republican presidential candidate's gospel album "Sunday Morning" went online today and according to Cain spokesman Ellen Carmichael on Twitter, his staff "may or may not be 'testifying' in the office right now, listening to boss's music." Carmichael told TPM that an independent pro-Cain website, posted the years-old album and that the official campaign had nothing to do with its re-emergence.

You can listen to the complete album below and post your reviews in the comments section.

H/t: Daily Caller

by Kim Barker and Marian Wang, ProPublica

The nation is gearing up for yet another "most expensive election in history," the quadrennial exercise in which mind-numbing amounts of money pour into the political system. But this year promises more than just record spending--more money will be flowing from more players with more opportunities to hide the source.

Emboldened by recent court decisions, groups such as Crossroads GPS  (formed by Republican strategist Karl Rove), Priorities USA  (formed by former aides to President Obama) and Americans for Prosperity  (formed by libertarian billionaire David Koch) have been busy raising huge sums from wealthy donors freed from old contribution limits.

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A city employee in Louisiana reportedly claimed that a lewd picture sent to her by Councilman Joe Stagni, which he has defended as part of a consensual relationship, was actually part of a larger pattern of inappropriate and unwanted behavior by the councilman.

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A new attempt by House GOP members to partially privatize Social Security hit a snag as one of the bill's supporters ditched the group over concerns the legislation had become politically toxic.

Led by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), a handful of House Republicans have been pushing legislation that would create a voluntary, privatized version of the program. But a spokesman for seven-term Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) told the Omaha World-Herald this week that he no longer wanted to be a part of the effort.

"Congressman Terry recognizes something must be done to address entitlement reform," spokesman Charles Isom said in a statement. "While he feels this bill does not weaken Social Security, the suggestion by some that this bill is a step toward 'privatization' does not help move the conversation forward. As such he has taken his name off of the bill."

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The top Republican in the Senate invoked the high-profile acquittal of Casey Anthony on charges she murdered her daughter as a reason to oppose the use of civilian trials for terrorism suspects.

"These are not American citizens. We just found with the Caylee Anthony case how difficult is to get a conviction in a U.S. court," Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on "Fox News Sunday." McConnell has called on the Obama administration to place suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay and prosecute them in the military justice system.

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By George Parrott

There are now more than 4,000 Nissan Leaf electric cars on the road in the United States, and the 2012 Mitsubishi "i" is poised to arrive at dealers late this year.

Each car offers a DC quick-charge port using the Japanese CHAdeMO standard, for which most 2011 Nissan Leaf owners paid extra.

Yet as of today, there is exactly one fully functional CHAdeMO quick charge point in the entire United States: in Portland, Oregon.

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Scientists have known for years that lightbulbs can be made to be more efficient, and could last longer, but it wasn't until 2007 that Congress mandated a federal standard that would ensure manufacturers produce better lightbulbs.

That relatively obscure 2007 rule, part of a broader energy bill signed into law that year by President Bush, burst into the spotlight in 2008 when Rush Limbaugh put it on the public radar by complaining about it as a prime example of government intrusion into individuals' lives.

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Stephen Colbert's new "Super PAC" Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow will not report donations until 2012.

The treasurer of the political action committee created by the Comedy Central host wrote a letter to the Federal Election Commission informing the agency they would be changing the filing frequency to semi-annual for 2011. That means the group wouldn't have to report who donated to the group until January 2012.

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