TPM News

As the economy gains momentum and GM reports record profits, Mitt Romney is assuring Michiganders that -- dangerous as they may be to his candidacy -- he's plenty happy about both developments.

"Thank heavens the entrepreneurial and independent spirit of the US is winning out," Romney said at an event in Farmington Hills, despite the "burdens" he said were placed on it by the Obama administration.

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Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI), who is running in a contested primary for Senate, has rolled out a new endorsement to help him among grassroots conservatives: Michael Reagan, a son of the late President Ronald Reagan.

The campaign's e-mailed statement from Michael Reagan says in part:

As an author, radio host, and son of the greatest President in American history, Ronald Reagan, I have met plenty of solid conservatives in my time. However, your record as Governor of Wisconsin stands out among the very best.


For me, and many others, your welfare reform initiatives stand out not only for becoming the model for the United States, but for creating a blueprint on how to successfully inject market-based principles into reforming entitlement programs. The relationship between you and President Reagan on this issue is especially historic as my father provided your very first waiver to start implementing the reforms that broke a cycle of government dependency, returned power to the states and ended welfare as we knew it.

This whole contraception debate is just so new-fangled, says billionaire investor and mega-funder to the super PAC supporting former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) for President, Foster Friess.

In a simpler time, there were other ways to deal with female sexual desire. "Back in my day, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly," he said Thursday on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, setting the host back for moment.

The general conversation was about Santorum's past statements about contraception, who once said that it was "harmful to women."

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Gary Carter, a Hall of Fame catcher that played with the Motreal Expos, the New York Mets, San Fransisco Giants and the LA Dodgers has died at age 57. Carter had been battling brain cancer since a diagnosis in May, according to the New York Times. From the NYT:

Carter played with intensity and flair, hitting 324 home runs and punctuating many of the ones he hit at Shea Stadium with arm-flailing curtain calls emblematic of the Mets’ swagger in the middle and late 1980s. In his 19 seasons in the major leagues, all but two of them with the Expos or the Mets, he was an 11-time All-Star and was twice named the most valuable player in the All-Star Game.

The New Jersey Assembly has passed the state's marriage equality bill by a vote of  41-33. The bill, which has already been passed by the state Senate, now heads to Gov. Chris Christie's (R) desk. Christie has said that he will veto it, and that same-sex marriage should get a ballot referendum instead. 

The House and Senate have cut a deal to extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits, and Medicare physician reimbursement rates. But it almost didn't happen. And the near miss is exposing a rift between House GOP leaders and their Senate counterparts.

Late on Wednesday evening, Senate negotiators -- four Democrats, three Republicans -- had a vote count problem. To move the payroll tax cut forward, four of them needed to sign on to the broad agreement. House Dem and GOP negotiators were all lined up. But none of the Senate Republican conferees would put pen to paper. When Democrat Ben Cardin (D-MD) wouldn't sign on either, based on his objection to cuts to federal worker pensions, the Senate found itself one vote shy.

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The president of NOW is calling on Rick Santorum backer Foster Friess to publicly apologize for his suggestion that women put aspirin between their knees as a birth control method. 

In an interview with TPM Thursday, NOW President Terry O'Neill called on Santorum to "renounce" Friess' comments. 

"[Santorum] should clearly apologize to the women of this country," she said. "Mr. Friess should apologize, Mr. Santorum should to."

She called on Santorum to make a public recognition of "how deeply offensive" Friess' comments were.

But even if Santorum apologizes as she proscribes, O'Neill said the socially conservative former senator will have a long way to go before he can get in NOW's good graces. O'Neill called on Santorum to use the Friess moment to renounce his support for a personhood amendment and his "anti-birth control stance."

"That would rehabilitate him in the eyes of people in this country," she said. 


Democrats are pushing Mitt Romney hard on the auto industry's comeback in Michigan, where his confusing position on President Obama's rescue package makes him vulnerable. This video by the DNC is a pretty good preview of what the general election is going to look like if Romney wins the nomination.


During House Oversight's contentious hearing on the administration's contraception rule, witness Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, CT dedicated his entire opening remarks to an analogy comparing the idea that women at religious organizations have a right to contraceptive coverage to the right of someone to order a ham sandwich from a Jewish deli. The detailed analogy can be found in full in his opening statement

"For my testimony today, I would like to tell a story.  Let’s call it, 'The Parable of the Kosher Deli,'" Lori began. "Once upon a time, a new law is proposed, so that any business that serves food must serve pork. There is a narrow exception…but kosher delicatessens are still subject to the mandate." When Jewish deli owners object, says Lori, people respond that pork is good for you and that lots of Jews eat pork anyway. The analogy went on to discuss a hypothetical 'accommodation' that is not sufficient. 

Finally, Lori said concluded his story:

This story has a happy ending.  The government recognized that it is absurd for someone to come into a kosher deli and demand a ham sandwich; that it is beyond absurd for that private demand to be backed with the coercive power of the state; that it is downright surreal to apply this coercive power when the customer can get the same sandwich cheaply, or even free, just a few doors down.


Rick Santorum campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told TPM the campaign has "no comment" on pro-Santorum super PAC backer Foster Friess' comment that women should just use "aspirin between their legs" as birth control.

The campaign won't "make a comment on somebody that doesn't have any affiliation," Gidley told TPM. "He can answer those comments."

Friess has contributed more than $300,000 to the Red, White and Blue Fund in support of Santorum.