TPM News

House Republicans are painting Democrats like Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as hypocrites for opposing a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment set for a Friday floor vote -- even though they voted to send an identical amendment off to the states for ratification in 1995.

In his weekly briefing with reporters Tuesday, Hoyer offered a comprehensive defense of his change of heart and argued that Republicans have proved too irresponsible to steward a country that is required by its Constitution to maintain balanced budgets every year.

"Since I voted in January of '95 a lot of things have happened," Hoyer said.

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A half-naked man surprised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she was attending a photo-op in Hawaii this weekend. Watch:

Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum explained to the Texas-based King Street Patriots on Monday night that his "Registering The Poor To Vote Is Un-American" article may have been "indelicately worded" but said his larger point stands.

"Why do I hate democracy and the poor?" Vadum joked, clarifying that he "wasn't saying that people shouldn't have the right to vote if they're poor."

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The Associated Press reports:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday defended President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in seven weeks, but left open the possibility for continued negotiations with Baghdad over a force presence there.

Most Republican presidential candidates have criticized the president’s withdrawal plan, saying the decision puts U.S. national security at risk.

Newt Gingrich is winning all of a sudden largely thanks to his performances in the never-ending stream of Republican presidential primary debates. He's got those figured out: when in doubt, attack the mainstream media moderators charged with asking the candidates questions.

It's hard to underestimate how much Republican activist-types enjoy seeing the media get attacked and how far a politician can go just by expressing distaste for reporters (see: Palin, Sarah H.).

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Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson -- the Republican candidate for president best know for rarely but memorably appearing on a debate stage -- tells TPM that he's sticking with the GOP, despite reported calls from Libertarians that he switch teams.

"I intend to stay in this as a Republican," Johnson said via text message Tuesday.

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As the worldwide Occupy movement continues to run into resistance from police and governing authorities, one innovative organization dedicated to facilitating crowd-funded community solar energy projects has issued a global call for people to "Occupy Rooftops" on November 20, asking them to identify their local buildings with roof-space best suited for solar installations and to snap and upload photos of the empty, unused real-estate.

Eventually, the organization, Solar Mosaic, in conjunction with some 20 major national partners, will award a number of $1,000 planning grants those communities who are serious about pursuing solar on a grassroots scale. But first it needs to spread the word about Community Solar Day on November 20.

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In a major reboot of his flagging campaign, Rick Perry is releasing a far-reaching government reform plan that would radically transform Congress and the Supreme Court at a structural level.

"I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul," prepared remarks of Perry's speech in Iowa debuting his new proposals read. "We need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions. We should apply the wisdom of Solomon to Washington. Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, says, 'there is a time to plant and a time to uproot, there is a time to tear down and a time to build.'"

Perry is proposing halving Congressional salary and turning members into part-time 'Citizen Legislators' who hold jobs outside of government. His plan would essentially model Congress on Texas' state legislature, which meets every other year and relies on legislators who receive little compensation ($7,200 a year) and are expected to support themselves with with separate careers.

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At a campaign stop in Iowa on Monday, Michele Bachmann found herself in the middle of an issue she had previously stepped in, then tried to step out of -- and now is in it again: Her allegation against Rick Perry that the HPV vaccine causes damage to children.

Bachmann, of course, was raked over the coals for her claim, as part of an attack on Perry for issuing an executive order that young girls in Texas be vaccinated against the sexually-transmitted disease HPV, that a woman told her after a Republican debate in September that the HPV vaccine had caused her daughter to develop mental retardation.

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The big news out of Saturday's Republican presidential debate, Stephen Colbert said Monday, is that a woman was mistreated, and Herman Cain had nothing to do with it.

That's right, it was Michele Bachmann who was treated unfairly by CBS News. CBS News' political director John Dickerson accidentally copied Bachmann's campaign on an email instructing producers not to waste too much time interviewing her after the debate. Bachmann's campaign manager proceeded to storm through the spin room, saying Dickerson is a "piece of shit" who should be fired.

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