TPM News

In a rowdy special session of Parliament on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron was grilled by the House of Commons over his hiring of a former News Of The World editor who has been implicated in the phone hacking scandal, telling Labour leader Ed Miliband to "stop hunting feeble conspiracy theories and start rising to the levels of events."

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Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) had to be feeling pretty good a little over eight months ago when he knocked off incumbent Ted Strickland on his way to being the Buckeye State's chief executive. Now it's the people of Ohio who don't feel that great about him.

Kasich's approval rating registered at a paltry 35% in the latest Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters, with 50% disapproving of the Governor's performance, directly in line with the current TPM Poll Average. Ohio was one of the major flash points in the fight between newly elected Republican governors and public employee unions over collective bargaining rights, compensation and benefits. Much of the poll shows a public resistance to Kasich's policy in the area, but agreement that public employees should pay more of their health insurance and pension contributions.

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The British House Of Commons released a scathing report Wednesday accusing Rupert Murdoch's News International of "deliberately trying to thwart" the initial investigation into the News Of The World phone hacking allegations.

"We are astounded at the length of time it has taken for News International to cooperate with the police but we are appalled that this is advanced as a reason for failing to mount a robust investigation," the report said.

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A dark drama unfolded in Delaware County, Ohio last week. It involved a freshman Republican state Senator, his wife (who also happens to be the County Recorder), one of the family's guns and whispered, frantic calls to 911.

No charges were filed, but the scandal is putting allegations of domestic violence on State Sen. Kris Jordan -- one of the slew of Republicans elected in Ohio in November who pushed through Gov. John Kasich's (R) union-busting SB5 bill.

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Republican candidate David VanderLeest, who lost Tuesday's recall election for the Wisconsin state Senate against Democratic incumbent Dave Hansen, doesn't think his nearly two-to-one result was all that bad -- considering how he had almost no money against the well-financed Hansen. And he also wishes the state GOP, who effectively dropped him due to his financial and legal problems, could have helped him out a bit.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Hansen has won by 66%-34%, a raw-vote margin of 20,653-10,604. But Tuesday night, VanderLeest was looking on the bright side.

"We were outspent 1,500 to 1 and lost 2 to 1," VanderLeest told WisPolitics, also adding that he wished the state GOP would have helped his campaign: "I think the support could have been much greater, given that we were the first one out of the chute."

"I'm actually feeling pretty good considering how much I was outspent," VanderLeest also told the Associated Press. "It shows how well my message was received."

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National Democratic money is flowing into the Wisconsin state Senate recalls, with a new $100,000 ad buy from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America, in just a single targeted race.

Republicans currently control the chamber by a majority of 19-14. Democrats hope to gain a net three seats and win a majority in a backlash against GOP Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation. In other words, control of the chamber is up for grabs.

The ad features a local family in the central Wisconsin district of GOP Sen. Luther Olsen, who is facing Democratic state Rep. Fred Clark in an August 9 recall election, complaining of budget cuts that will result in the closure of the elementary school where their children have gone -- and where Olsen's children previously went to school.

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Gaining ground in Iowa and nationally in the polls, Michele Bachmann has clearly decided she'll be outflanked by no one in the debt ceiling fight. Staking out the farthest right position possible (well, maybe just short of Paul Broun), Bachmann is up with an ad in Iowa in which she promises never to vote for a debt ceiling increase. Period.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet The 2012 GOPers: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)]

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It was inevitable, given the strong feelings of support Elizabeth Warren inspires in the left: A matter of hours after President Obama appointed someone else to lead the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the left is already hauling in thousands of dollars in campaign cash and begging Warren to run for Senate in Massachusetts.

The process is about to take the next leap, as supporters of a Warren campaign against Sen. Scott Brown launch an online ad campaign. For her part, Warren has not yet said if she'll run, though she's left the door open.

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