TPM News

Republican Presidential candidate Gary Johnson is telling poker players to "ante up" and support his bid for the nation's top office.

As Conor Friedersdorf writes at the Atlantic, Johnson has a portion of his website dedicated to championing the issues that matter to the country's poker fans.

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Tim Pawlenty is reaching out to the youth vote -- and showing how much he knows about Lady Gaga.

During an interview in Iowa, with the Washington-based pop culture blog Glittarazzi, Pawlenty was asked about his favorite musicians, which include the likes of Bruce Springsteen and various country singers. Pawlenty then actually brought up the subject of Lady Gaga. "But I've got a question for you guys?" said Pawlenty. "Are you ready: What's your favorite Lady Gaga song?"

After they listed their favorites, Pawlenty discussed his own, showing off his Gaga knowledge. "Well you know, in terms of the beat, I like 'Bad Romance,'" Pawlenty said. "I gotta say, even though she's a little unusual, 'Born this Way' has got some appeal. Now, she's actually very talented. If you go to the end of the HBO special, the Lady Gaga HBO special, and you watch her sing a cappella, 'Born This Way,' she can sing. She can definitely sing -- she's talented -- and she does it a cappella.

"So, you know, interesting, talented -- a little weird. But you know, if you had to limit your artistic choices to just conservatives, we wouldn't have a lot of choices. You've gotta be willing to tolerate different politics."

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Turns out a there's a political action committee that fights against the influence of political action committees and doesn't rake in the corporate donations.

PACMEN, or "People Against the Corporate Manipulation of Elections and News," was started earlier this year by Massachusetts residents Jeromie Whalen and Scott Bloomberg, the duo behind the website WhatTheFuckHaveUnionsDoneSoFar.com.

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By John Voelcker

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, said the philosopher Santayana.

And there seems to be a very real chance that Europe is heading toward a variety of multiple and incompatible electric-car charging standards.

That's a path the U.S. rejected a decade ago. And it's one that would inconvenience all European buyers of plug-in cars.

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President Obama set a Sunday deadline for negotiators in the debt talks to share their "bottom lines" so they can start the "hard bargaining" necessary to hash out a final deal before an Aug. 2 deadline.

Obama made the remarks after a White House meeting Thursday between the top eight Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. He said Congressional and White House staff would be working through the weekend to hammer out a deal before the "hard deadline" of Aug. 2 to raise the debt-ceiling or send the nation into default on its financial obligations.

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Multiple senior House Democratic aides tell TPM that caucus members were caught off guard by news stories about President Obama's push for deeper deficit and spending reductions -- and particularly about the White House's willingness to cut Social Security as part of a grand bargain to raise the debt limit.

At a private caucus meeting Thursday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told her members that if Obama's serious about putting Social Security on the chopping block, he'd left her in the dark about it. And after an at-times-contentious meeting about how open Dems should be to significant entitlement cuts, leaders departed to the White House to read Obama the riot act.

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As second quarter campaign fundraising numbers pour in from around the country Connecticut State Representative and Senate candidate William Tong is making a huge splash with his impressive second quarter haul. Competing with Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, Tong drew in $550,000 before the June 30th deadline as reported by Politico.

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The top advocacy group for seniors, AARP, is sounding the alarm over reports that cuts to Social Security and Medicare may be included in a deficit deal.

CEO Barry Rand issued a lengthy statement on Thursday demanding that the White House and Republican leaders take the issue off the table and address any changes to the programs in separate negotiations.

"AARP is strongly opposed to any deficit reduction proposal that makes harmful cuts to vital Social Security and Medicare benefits," Rand said.

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Republicans are pushing back against suggestions from Democrats that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional and can be ignored by the White House.

The notion has generated increased interest among Democrats in recent weeks as debt ceiling talks have lost momentum and rests on language in the 14th Amendment stating that "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law...shall not be questioned." President Obama didn't rule the idea out in his Twitter town hall yesterday, telling the audience that he wanted a deal before it became a relevant debate.

Nervous that Democrats might be saving the move as an emergency option, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are putting forward a Senate resolution affirming Congress' right to determine the debt limit.

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Despite all the talk about cutting the deficit, neither party has wanted to be the first one to put entitlements on the chopping block. A Pew poll released Thursday explains why, as it shows that a robust majority of Americans don't want the government to rollback benefits for entitlement programs, even if those cuts are made to reduce the deficit.

Six in ten Americans said it was more important to leave Social Security and Medicare benefits untouched than to make cuts as a way to reduce the deficit, roughly twice as many as the 32% who said the opposite.Further, 61% said Medicare recipients already pay enough of their health costs, while 31% said beneficiaries should pay more money into the program.

Those findings come as several reports indicate that the White House may offer cuts to both Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican concessions on other fronts.

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