TPM News

The Republican National Committee is up with a new radio ad in eight battleground states that channels two classic political messages: Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" line and the ageless attack on politicians for going on vacation.

Running ahead of President Obama's jobs speech to a joint session of Congress this week, the ad casts the address as more of the same from a man who desperately needs the economy to get going again.

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Politico's Molly Ball takes a deep dive into Texas Gov. Rick Perry's past debate performances as his first appearance in a presidential debate approaches Wednesday night.

What did she find? A man who has kept off the debate stage as much as he could during his unprecedented three terms as governor of Texas (he's debated just four times since he got the job), but "rarely makes a mistake" when he takes the stage "and almost always manages to win by not losing."

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Not all Texans are enamored with Rick Perry, as Ron Paul's new TV ad demonstrates. The new TV spot goes after Perry hard over his late conversion to the Republican Party in 1989, selling Paul as the true heir to Ronald Reagan...who also used to be a Democrat.

Here's the spot, which Politico reports will go on the air with a six-figure buy.

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By Neal Ungerleider

The United States Naval Research Laboratory has unveiled its latest piece of high-tech equipment designed to help U.S. troops in the battlefield: A sophisticated satellite that will allow Marines in mountainous regions to use radios without having to stop to position special antennas. The satellite, called the Tactical Satellite 4 (TacSat-4), is scheduled for a September 27 launch in Kodiak, Alaska.

The satellite will "support forward deployed forces at sea and Marines on the ground," said Larry Schuette, director of innovation at the Department of Defense's Office of Naval Research.

While TacSat-4 is not specifically intended for Afghanistan, the satellite will make troop communications there much easier.

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Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee to discuss the quasi-government agency’s dire financial situation. The USPS lost $8 billion last year and is expected to lose at least that much this year as well. The post office is being squeezed on both revenue and costs; losing business due to the Internet revolution and bound by a law that prevents them from raising postage fees faster than inflation.

Officials warn that they may not be able to make this month’s $5.5 billion payment to cover future employee health costs without increasing their borrowing limit, which requires Congress to take action. In an interview with The New York Times, Donahoe called the situation “extremely serious.” The agency is considering a variety of cost-cutting measures, including ceasing Saturday deliveries, closing up to 3,700 postal offices and eliminating 120,000 workers.

Mitt Romney is set to deliver a detailed address on how he plans to turn around the economy this afternoon, but he offered up a preview in USA Today this morning.

Mitt Romney is set to deliver a detailed address on how he plans to turn around the economy this afternoon, but he offered up a preview in USA Today this morning.

Congress is back from recess this week, and as TPM has pointed out, the 2012 election starts Thursday. The President will be delivering his highly anticipated jobs speech then, after former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney lays out his plan on Tuesday. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, ahead in the polls for the GOP presidential nomination, has been talking about his record as a job creator at home, but hasn't been particularly specific about what he would do as president.

As voters tune back in again as fall approaches, there will be effectively one question on their minds: who can revive the economy? It remains the most important issue, and unless something drastically changes, it will be the issue that the 2012 election hinges on. So when it comes to the economy, who's on the best ground in prelude to this weeks' big events?

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Everyone knows the unemployment rate is painfully high and not falling. Friday's monthly jobs report from the Department of Labor put a cruel point on this fact: In August, job gains in the private sector were entirely offset by job losses in the public sector, netting precisely zero new payrolls for the month.

Zero is a striking number in this context, but it's also a bit misleading. For instance, private sector job creation appeared artificially lower than it should have because 45,000 Verizon workers were on strike when the survey was taken. What happened in August has been happening for months, as policy makers allow federal spending to fall and, thus, for government jobs to disappear, placing a significant drag on overall growth.

Experts disagree to some extent over the precise measures lawmakers should take to stanch this bleeding -- but overwhelmingly they agree it can be stanched. Their recommendations give the lie to the idea -- pushed by conservatives and adopted by some Democrats -- that government is growing out of control and deficits need to be addressed urgently. And yet nearly all major news outlets ignore, or bury this fact -- indeed, most reports of this month's jobs figures place no emphasis on the contraction of the public sector, and the implications thereof.

Here's a sample.

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Texans don't like the government interfering with their business, especially campaign donations, where state laws allow contributors to fork over unlimited cash. No one has benefited more from this arrangement than Rick Perry, who has raised $100 million over the last decade, nearly half of which came from just 204 ultra-wealthy donors.

You're going to be hearing a lot about those donors over the next few weeks, for a couple of reasons. One is that Perry has a reputation for being especially friendly with his most loyal backers: separate analyses by the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times concluded that large percentages of his top donors received some benefit from the state during his tenure as governor. Perry's camp told both papers, as they've told the Texas press for years, that they were doled out on the merits.

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