TPM News

Every week the Pew Research Center tracks what news topics Americans are interested in. This past week, the stories ranged from the economy to the passing of Steve Jobs to the 2012 elections. But Pew also found that interest in the return of Amanda Knox, the American acquitted of murder in Italy, attracted more attention than the Occupy Wall Street protests, despite the same amount of news coverage.

Pew's "News Interest Index" showed that seven percent of respondents said they were interested in news on Occupy Wall Street, and ten said they wanted to know more about Knox. Both were dwarfed by interest in the economy and somewhat by Mr. Jobs, who was of interest to 14 percent. An equal seven percent of coverage was afforded to both Knox and Occupy Wall Street.

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You can almost always count on Republican presidential candidates to be united in their opposition to more taxes for the rich. But this time around, the 2012 field is standing lockstep behind a less traditional idea: the middle class pays too little in taxes.

Thanks to a strange convergence of conservative ideological trends since President Obama's election, Republicans now are expected to protest the entire bottom half of taxpayers' contributions as too stingy even while they proclaim Americans are "Taxed Enough Already." And they've yet to figure out a policy that will satisfy both complaints at once.

In recent months, nearly every major Republican candidate has name-checked a popular statistic that 47% of Americans who file taxes paid no income tax in 2009. Given the GOP's anti-tax zeal you'd think they'd be celebrating. Nope!

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The Japanese government urged the Obama administration in 2009 not to apologize for the American nuclear attack on Hiroshima during World War II, according to a secret diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks last month.

Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka told American diplomats ahead of a presidential trip to Japan that an American apology would be a "non-starter" and that a simple visit to Hiroshima -- "without fanfare" -- would be sufficiently symbolic.

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For the right price, a bronze buttock of the toppled Saddam Hussein statue from Baghdad's Firdos Square could be yours.

Sound too good to be true? A piece of the infamous statue is set to be auctioned in Britain at the end of October. A journalist working in Baghdad during the U.S. invasion got permission to remove the buttock from the toppled statute, using a hammer and crowbar, the AFP reports. Nigel Ely said U.S Marines had blocked off access to the statue, but when Ely asked for a piece of the statute, they said "No problem, buddy -- help yourself."

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GOP candidate Michelle Bachmann will be in New York City today to meet with business magnate Donald Trump, ABC News reports. The meeting will be the third between the pair since April.

Bachmann has said she is “re-booting” her campaign, after a well-publicized string of staff losses and falling poll numbers, and courting Trump’s favor appears to be a part of her strategy.

Viewers of Tuesday's Bloomberg News/Washington Post debate at Dartmouth College caught the sound of an unintelligible heckler of stage near the end of the forum. The candidates and moderator Charlie Rose seemed to hear the sounds of a man yelling, but the mics didn't pick up what he was saying.

Now, a report out of New Hampshire says the heckler was a veteran upset at the booing of an active-duty gay solider in Iraq at a September debate in Orlando.

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Herman Cain just jumped to the front of two national polls in one day. Not too bad for a guy who was in the single digits in the GOP presidential field all summer.

Cain has risen in the polls after Texas Gov. Rick Perry faltered in Florida. He took the lead in a recent survey of GOP caucus-goers in Iowa. Now on Wednesday night he leads the GOP field in a new national poll conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, one by Public Policy Polling (D) and took second in a new Reuters/Ipsos survey.

Cain is ahead of the pack in the NBC/WSJ poll with 27 percent, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney at 23 percent and Perry 16. But head-to-head matchups with President Obama tell a much different story about the 2012 Republican primary race: despite the party faithful desperately trying to find someone besides Mitt Romney, he's by far the strongest candidate against Obama if they chose to nominate him.

Cain might not want to get too comfy in the top spot; this is third consecutive NBC/WSJ poll with a different candidate in the lead. Romney led in July and Perry led in August.

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Here we go again. For the umpteenth time, AOL is reportedly trying to merge with Yahoo. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong (pictured above at center, hand raised) is said to have spent several weeks trying to persuade AOL's largest shareholders that they should sell the whole company to Yahoo, saying that combining the two struggling 1990s Internet giants could save a collective $1 to $1.5 billion, Reuters reports.

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