TPM News

Freshman Minnesota Congressman Chip Cravaack, a Republican who defeated long-time Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar in a massive upset during the 2010 Republican wave, will now be traveling frequently to New Hampshire. But it's not because he's running for president -- in fact, his family is moving there.

As the Star Tribune reports, Cravaack's wife Traci works as an executive at a medical company, and her job has involved frequent travel to Boston. She has just gotten a promotion and will now be moving to New England.

For his part, Cravaack is leaving their old house, but also buying another home in the district and thus maintaining residency in Minnesota as required by the Constitution. He will maintain his in-district work schedule in Minnesota, but also plans to travel to New Hampshire in order to his family on his Sundays off.

Tim Pawlenty is dropping big money in Iowa, confirming that the caucus is still his top priority despite a weak start in the polls and recent quotes downplaying the state's importance.

The ex-Minnesota governor recently booked $200,000 in TV ad time, according to the AP, and is on pace to spend $430,000 by mid-August. The Ames Straw Poll, a traditional test of candidates' organizational strength, is August 13. Pawlenty has spent the most on ads so far as the race's money leader, Mitt Romney, has sat out the air wars.

In addition to the new TV buy, recent FEC filings show Pawlenty spent the most on Iowa vendors of any candidate: about $200,000.

The big challenge for Pawlenty in the short term is stealing some of Minnesota rival Michele Bachmann's thunder, who is currently leading multiple polls in the state.

What seemed like a quick end to Minnesota's government shutdown is proving to take a bit longer.

Lawmakers worked over the weekend on language that reflects the budget deal Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers agreed upon last week. The deal is a compromise on a GOP budget offer made on June 30, just before the state's shutdown. It involves delaying more money to K-12 and borrowing money from future tobacco payments. Critics describe it as a quick fix, not a long-term budget solution.

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When it comes to the polling around a debt ceiling deal Americans are clear: they want the government to...you know...fix it.

Even the concept of avoiding default is colored by how public polling questions are asked, and whether a solution is proposed. A recent Pew/Washington Post survey showed that 75% of Americans were concerned that not raising the ceiling would lead to default and hurt the nation's economy. But when Gallup asked whether a voter's congressperson should actually vote to raise the debt ceiling, only 22% said yes, with 42% giving a firm no.

What the government should do to address the situation is somewhat murky, but some trends have appeared. Gallup showed, in a very general question, that 62% favor addressing the debt with either mostly spending cuts or an equal balance of cuts and new revenue. And when it comes to taxes as part of the deal, it depends on how you ask the question.

When Rasmussen simply asked "As part of legislation to raise the debt ceiling, should congress and the president raise taxes?", 55% of Americans, predictably, said no. But when Quinnipiac asked "Do you think any agreement to raise the national debt ceiling should include only spending cuts or should it also include an increase in taxes for the wealthy and corporations?" then 67% said yes, showing a swing when there was a clear definition of whose taxes would actually be raised.

But past any solution to the immediate problem, multiple polls showed that future spending is a major concern. The same Pew/Washington Post poll showed that a plurality of Americans are actually more concerned with the consequences of raising the debt ceiling, i.e. allowing the government borrow more money, rather than the immediate concern about default. The Quinnipiac survey showed a similar result: 43% responded that "raising the debt limit would lead to higher government spending" was a bigger concern than "not raising the debt limit would force the government into default and hurt the nation's economy." Gallup produced the same, with only 32% saying averting disaster was the key component of a debt ceiling deal, and 51% saying raising the ceiling without a plan to cut spending is more worrisome.

So Americans want a deal. And most want a balanced deal with more cuts than new revenues. But the debate has clearly seared an aversion to future spending, and looks as though raising the debt ceiling will never truly be a formality again.

Little noticed amid dire warnings from Wall Street, and increasing cacophony on Capitol Hill, the investment giant Goldman Sachs issued a report late last week concluding that even if Congress passes a relatively small budget deal when they raise the debt limit, it will still be a promising indication to investors that the U.S. fiscal trajectory will improve over the coming decade.

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London's police commissioner resigned his post on Sunday, just a few hours after a former executive for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp was arrested in connection with the News Of The World phone hacking scandal.

Sir Paul Stephenson, chief of the Metropolitan Police Force, also known as Scotland Yard, announced his resignation in a press conference and explained that the media coverage of the scandal "not only provide[s] excessive distraction both for myself and colleagues, but [is] likely to continue for some time."

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On Fox News Sunday this morning, Herman Cain calmly and succinctly took one of the hardest lines against Muslims in modern mainstream politics.

Islam is not a religion like other religions, he said, and Americans have the right to keep it out of their communities if they wish.

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