TPM News

Republicans in Florida are trying to prevent people on food stamps from buying items like candy, soda and chips with their state-funded assistance.

"You can't feed a family on potato chips and Mountain Dew, which is the goal: feeding hungry people," Florida State Sen. Ronda Storms (R), who introduced a bill to limit what food stamp recipients can buy, told TPM.

Storms said a number of grocery store cashiers told her that customers on food stamps would buy junk food, prime rib, lobster or other extravagant foods. This bill would introduce a little "fiscal responsibility" to the program, she said.

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It's shaping up to be spring 2011 redux. Just under a year ago, Republicans -- euphoric after a midterm election landslide, and overzealous in their interpretation of their mandate -- passed a budget that called for phasing out Medicare over the coming years and replacing it with a subsidized private insurance system for newly eligible seniors.

The backlash was ugly. But Republicans seem to have forgotten how poisonous that vote really was, and remains...because they're poised to do it again. This time they're signaling they'll move ahead, with a modified plan -- one that, though less radical, would still fundamentally remake and roll back one of the country's most popular and enduring safety net programs.

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In a letter emailed out by the Romney campaign, conservative lawyer James Bopp endorsed Mitt Romney. James Bopp has crusaded against campaign finance laws for decades and filed the Citizens United case that is responsible for the huge amounts of special interest money flooding the election today. Bopp has not only fought against campaign finance restrictions but also disclosure laws. In his endorsement, Bopp cited Romney's conservative record as governor of Massachusetts as the reason for the endorsement.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends," Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was asked whether he would request more debtate during February. "I'm always happy to debate," he told the host. "It's a great way to talk to the American people without editing or being chopped up into soundbites. But I'm also happy to do what we're doing right now," he said, referring to the live interview. Gingrich has indicated that as part of running a "national campaign" he will do more media hits during the month in order to maintain his profile through to March's Super Tuesday.



Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod told MSNBC Tuesday morning that the president is not a "hypocrite" for agreeing to accept super PAC money. The president and his campaign have spoken out against the unlimited corporate financing now allowed in political campaigns, but Axelrod said Tuesday that the campaign cannot "play by two sets of rules."

"We have to live in a world as it is, not how we want it to be," Axelrod said.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends," Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said President Obama needed to study history in order to deal with the situation in which the Egyptian government has detained 19 Americans under house arrest. 

"I think people need to look carefully at the Iranian hostage crisis and then this Egyptian government," he told the host. "We're goving them a billion dollars a year, and now they think we're so weak that to appease their radicals they've locked up Americans." He continued that President Obama "should not handle it the way Carter did, which was a case study in weakness."


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday for talks with President Assad aimed at ending the bloody crackdown. The 11-month-old crisis continues in Syria, with activists saying that 95 people were killed in Homs on Monday.

Via Reuters.

For almost a week, the firestorm surrounding the decision by the nation’s largest breast cancer charity to Planned Parenthood has not become a campaign issue. But on Monday, Mitt Romney weighed in to support defunding Planned Parenthood.

Asked whether Susan G. Komen for the Cure should support Planned Parenthood, Romney told
conservative talk show host Stott Hennen, “I don’t think so.” Romney then added, “I also feel that the government should cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Look, the idea that we’re subsidizing an institution that provides abortion, in my view, is wrong.”

The comments are in line with Romney’s attempt to prove his social conservative side to voters heading into close contest with Rick Santorum in Minnesota. In addition to commenting on the Komen decision, Romney also made comments Monday about the Obama administration’s decision to require religious hospitals, schools, and charities to include coverage of contraception in their employees’ health care plans: “We must have a president who is willing to protect America's first right, our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience." "I am a pro-life individual," Romney assured Hennen Monday. 

Although there are two caucuses and one primary Tuesday night, no candidate will be able to put more delegates into their column right away. Missouri’s primary is a “beauty contest,” meaning no delegates are at stake, and will be awarded with caucuses in March; and like all caucuses, the delegates for Colorado and Minnesota will be awarded at state conventions later in the spring. Right now, according to Associated Press figures, Romney has 101 delegates, Gingrich has 32, Santorum has 17, and Paul has 9. 1144 are needed to secure the nomination.

Mitt Romney is adding on to what Gingrich has been calling Obama’s ‘war on religion.’ On the stump in Colorado Monday, Romney said the administration’s decision to require religious organizations to cover contraception in employees’ health care plans violated the First Amendment and the ‘conscience rights’ of religious Americans.