TPM News

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is claiming bragging rights by being the first contender to visit each of Iowa’s 99 counties in this years primary race. Santorum visited his 99th county, Jackson County, on Wednesday night. Most observers, however, doubt that his excessive traveling in the state will guarantee success at caucus time.

Historically, other candidates have completed the same feat and gone on to defeat. John Edwards visited all 99 counties in both 2004 and 2008, failing to win either time. Bill Richardson took home only 2% of the vote in the 2008 caucus after visiting each county as well.

Santorum is currently polling in the mid single digits in Iowa. History seems to be repeating itself.

Florida on Thursday filed a notice of appeal of a ruling against the state’s welfare drug testing law, according to a Florida ACLU release.

A judge late last month issued an injunction on the law, and a spokesperson in Gov. Rick Scott’s office indicated the state would consider an appeal.

A new poll of Florida voters shows that 41 percent think that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) exaggerated his family story in his campaign for US Senate and in his general public profile. The Washington Post ran a story on October 20th detailing how Rubio had consistently said that his parents' fled Cuba after Casto took power, yet the dates of the Rubios' emigration didn’t match up with that narrative. Castro took power in 1959, but Rubio’s family had moved in 1956.

The story created a firestorm for the Senator, who consequently changed his Senate bio, but still maintained the idea behind his family history. “If The Washington Post wants to criticize me for getting a few dates wrong, I accept that,” he told the paper.

The Star Ledger is reporting that the campaigns of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) paid nearly $40,000 to settle charges by a former election worker who said he lost his job for hiring minorities to assist in canvassing operations in predominantly white areas.

Christopher Nastuk, a canvass director tasked with finding field workers to get out the Democratic vote in the 2008 election first filed suit last year in federal court. Both campaigns denied the allegations, but quietly settled the case out of court over the summer. While the agreement was kept confidential, recently released campaign finance reports show that each campaign paid out $19,500 right before the lawsuit was dismissed.

“The settlement ends a baseless, frivolous, two-year-long litigation process,” said Angelo J. Genova, who serves as counsel to both campaigns. “The campaigns continue to vehemently deny these claims, and chose to accept this nuisance-value settlement to avoid any prospect of future litigation costs.”

The well-known anti-regulation Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is getting hit with a new TV ad from environmentalists at the League Of Conservation Voters.

Here’s the ad, which will run in the Lexington, KY market on broadcast and cable:

The ad targets Paul’s plan to stop the EPA from implementing a plan to regulate air pollution that crosses state lines. The White House has threatened to veto the plan.

A few weeks ago, President Obama announced that US forces would be leaving Iraq in accordance with the timeline that former President George W. Bush and the Iraqi Government signed. Somewhat surprisingly, Republicans running for President in 2012 were quick to criticise the move -- some candidates said that a pullout was hasty and cited a provision in the agreement that said US forces would leave only if conditions on the ground allowed them to, arguing that leaving now would empower Iran's influence on the country. But if Republicans were hoping to use the issue politically, it wasn't a very good move.

In fact, you might call it the worst political positioning in the young campaign season so far.

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