TPM News

They say the sun never sets on an English friendship. Certainly that's the case in the Republican primary this year, where Ronald Reagan's partnership with Margaret Thatcher comes up often in speeches, interviews, and even campaign slogans.

Britain's "Iron Lady," famed for her free market ideals and tough-minded style of governance, has always been a popular figure in Republican circles across the pond, but she seems to have taken on new relevance in recent years for the party's leading lights. While George W. Bush identified strongly with wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, as he struggled to prosecute the War on Terror, national security has fallen far down the list of priorities for the party and the field is significantly divided on foreign policy. Instead, the focus is on the weak economy, which is clearly Maggie's wheelhouse.

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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who defeated longtime campaign finance crusader Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) last year, has been under the microscope in recent days for possibly violating laws against corporate underwriting of campaigns.

Last week the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel started asking uncomfortable questions about $10 million in deferred compensation Johnson received from his former company, Pacur, weeks after his $9 million self-financed successful 2010 campaign came to an end.

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The National Organization for Marriage has a flair for the dramatic. Their much-mocked advertisement against gay marriage featured literal clouds forming over the heads of actors portraying regular American citizens whimpering at the thought of an impending gay marriage-acalypse.

If they'd chosen a cinematic interpretation of the "D-Day" metaphor they used in emails to anti-gay marriage supporters before their big loss last week, it might feature flamboyant soldiers invading the shores of the Hamptons.

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By Nelson Ireson

We just managed to snap these spy shots of a Tesla Model S prototype testing not far from our home offices (and Tesla's) in Palo Alto, California.

What's the big deal, considering the Alpha build was revealed earlier this year?

This model shows some more changes, and may represent the most production-ready Model S seen to date.

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The man in charge of keeping John Wayne's legacy alive in his native Winterset, Iowa says he's not blaming Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) for her apparent gaffe regarding the actor's birthplace this morning.

But Brian Downes, executive director of the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, pointed out that other presidential candidates -- Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Barack Obama in 2007 -- have found their way to John Wayne's boyhood home.

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Wisconsin Republicans just hit a bump in the road in the state Senate recall campaigns, with one of their chosen candidates against a Democratic incumbent having just gotten knocked off the ballot -- leaving another candidate who is less than ideal.

The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, knocked GOP state Rep. John Nygren off the ballot Tuesday in his effort to unseat Dem state Sen. Dave Hansen. Nygren's campaign had initially only turned in 424 petition signatures for Nygren, just over the 400 minimum -- but following Democratic challenges, this was busted down to 398, just two short of the required total.

As WisPolitics reports, Nygren is vowing to appeal the decision in court, saying in a statement: "Since Dave Hansen has chosen legal maneuvers to silence the voters of northeastern Wisconsin, I feel obligated to my supporters to fight this decision and pursue further legal options."

However, another Republican will remain on the ballot: GOP activist David VanderLeest, whose signatures passed muster against Dem challenges. Thus, the good news for Republicans is that Hansen will not run unopposed.

But the bad news for the GOP is, VanderLeest is going to be Hansen's opponent.

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Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill said Monday that there is an international push for technical ways to prevent websites from tracking the movements of consumers online and that the amount of tracking of individual behavior has reached an "unprecedented" level.

"There is tremendous momentum internationally for do-not-track mechanisms," Brill said.

"We want to build a rich online environment where individuals can make meaningful choices about how they present themselves to the world, and that can only come about when individuals control information about what we say, where we go and what we do in cyberspace, mobile space and beyond," Brill said.

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Updated 6:45 p.m.

With just over one month left until the government begins to default obligations to creditors, vendors, and entitlement beneficiaries, leaders of both parties in Washington made clear Monday that the underlying gridlock isn't going anywhere. That means a half-trillion dollar impasse will have to be bridged, quickly, if the country's to avoid a domino effect of economic consequences. And with the White House and Congressional Republicans staking out incompatible positions, it's unclear how that will happen.

In the hours before an evening meeting with President Obama, and in a number of different venues, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell renewed his insistence that Republicans will not accept any tax increases as part of a trillion-dollar deficit reduction package the GOP is demanding before agreeing to let the country pay all its bills on time.

But according to a top Democratic aide, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed at a White House meeting Monday morning that any such package must take "a balanced approach, and that revenues need to be a part of that approach, especially ending taxpayer-funded giveaways to corporations that don't need them."

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