TPM News

The controversy surrounding GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has, thanks to Rick Perry's debate meltdown, been at least temporarily overshadowed. But beyond making life difficult for Mr. Cain, it's also influenced another development: a resurgence in President Obama's poll numbers.

As Cain and Perry have stumbled, Mitt Romney has once again remained above the fray. And after watching candidate after candidate crater all around him, there is a growing sense among GOP voters that despite his flaws, the former Mass. Gov. will indeed be the nominee.

But if GOP voters are starting to grudgingly coalesce around the idea that Mitt will be their man, it doesn't yet look like that's improving his polling against the man he would eventually face.

On Wednesday of last week a Quinnipiac national poll showed the President's approval rating rising while he led Romney nationally by five points, outside the margin of error. Five days later an NBC/WSJ poll showed the same trend, as Obama expanded his lead on the former Mass Gov. from 2 points to 6 in that poll. In both cases none of the other GOP candidates came close to the President.

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Good government types are getting a kick out of Newt Gingrich's claim at Wednesday's debate that he wasn't a lobbyist for Freddie Mac but was rather hired for his skills as an historian.

"I have never done any lobbying," Gingrich said, adding that he only offered "advice as an historian."

For some context, a full-time professor of history made an average of $63,119 per year around 2006. Newt racked up $300,000, or about 4.75 times as much.

But to get at a larger point, lobbying watchdogs say Gingrich's justification shows just how weak lobbying disclosures are and how easy it is to avoid registering.

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A new Democratic memo rips apart a GOP Super Committee proposal -- offered by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) -- that would have reduced, and made permanent, Bush-era tax rates. Many of the key details of the plan remain undisclosed, even to Democrats, but they've included a table laying out all of the lower rates the GOP has proposed, and deduced from what's known that the changes would significantly reduce the progressiveness of the tax code.

Here's how. The GOP claims the plan would raise $300 billion in revenue, and also make the newer, lower Bush tax rates permanent. To accomplish this, simple arithmetic implies he'd have to raise a ton of tax revenue elsewhere. But since he objects to raising taxes on capital income, that would require him to slash deeply into credits and preferences that benefit lower and middle income taxpayers.

Democrats drew a comparison to a similar plan -- one with smaller tax cuts that has been scored by the Joint Committee on Taxation, and concluded:

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Seven international hackers have been charged by the Justice Department with infecting more than four million computers, including 500,000 in the United States, with malware that redirected users through rogue domain name service (DNS) servers controlled by the hackers, netting the suspects at least $14 million in illegal profits, according to an announcement from the FBI late Wednesday. NASA computers were among those infected with the malware, the FBI noted.

The malware preyed on users' implicit trust of such well known websites as Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, ESPN, The Wall Street Journal and the IRS, either taking them away from these websites when they tried to visit and redirecting them to other websites or replacing advertisements on those websites, both of which paid the hackers for click-throughs and views.

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Almost as entertaining as watching Rick Perry endure the longest minute of his life was watching the pundits that came afterwards. The schadenfreude level was simply off the charts.

Even the other candidates got into the act, with Herman Cain offering up the consolation that the American people can be "very forgiving," and Michele Bachmann noting "that is something none of us want to go through."

Whether being killed through sympathy or mockery, it was a rough post-debate session for Perry. And it was perhaps even tougher for Perry's communications director, Ray Sullivan, who was thrust before the cameras in order to come up with some - any! - defense of his candidate.

Watch the full grisly glory below:

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The Central Intelligence Agency's video squad made short documentary-style films to educate President Ronald Reagan about the Soviet Union. Now you can watch them for yourself.

Seven videos the CIA made for Reagan -- "The Soviet Space Program," "Afghanistan: the Gallant Struggle," "Andropov Succession," "Soviet Internal Propaganda," "The Soviet Media's Portrayal of America," "The Chernobyl Accident," and "The Moscow Summit" -- were posted on YouTube by the CIA last week in conjunction with a report on Reagan's use of intelligence during his presidency.

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Herman Cain has made clear his position on the accusers who say he sexually harassed them -- or worse -- while CEO of the National Restaurant Associations: they're liars.

Now the campaign has an entire website dedicated to driving that message home, CainTruth.Com. The hastily-put-together blog appears to be primarily dedicated to spreading damaging stories about the women who have come forward, especially Sharon Bialek, who has publicly accused Cain of demanding sex in exchange for help finding her work.

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In an afternoon email Herman Cain’s spokesman, J.D. Gordon, claimed his candidate’s campaign had raised $9 million since October 1.

From the email:

Presidential candidate Herman Cain is “in it to win it,” according to newly released financial numbers. The Herman Cain Campaign reports receiving over $9 million of financial support from Cain backers since October 1st. Twenty-five percent of these newly received contributions have come in the last ten days.
The generosity of Mr. Cain’s followers has more than doubled in the past five weeks, compared to the financial gifts received in the previous two quarters combined. According to the campaign’s third quarter FEC filing, Mr. Cain’s campaign received $4.7 million from May through September 30th. The campaign has received a total of $14.1 million in financial support since the start of the campaign.

As reported here, Republicans have rejected a Democratic Super Committee offer that would have reduced deficits by $2.3 trillion over 10 years. The reductions would be split evenly -- a trillion a piece -- between higher tax revenues and federal programs, plus $300 billion saved in interest on the national debt.

The plan also notably would not reduce Social Security benefits by using a less generous measure of inflation to calculate cost of living adjustments -- a proposal some Democrats have supported in the past.

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