TPM News

Voodoo economics has made a triumphant return to Capitol Hill in the debate over deficits and raising the national debt limit.

Take Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) -- a high profile freshman, popular with the tea party. After a GOP caucus meeting Friday morning, he explained to a group of reporters that even if tax increases could pass the House, they would hasten a debt crisis.

"Tax increases only makes the situation worse, and at the end of the day it has the exact opposite effect that we would think that it would have," Scott claimed. "Fewer revenue dollars."

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President Obama said his 2008 campaign message of hope still springs eternal when it comes to breaking the impasse in debt ceiling negotiations with Republicans in the next few days.

"I'm hopeful that over the next couple of days we will see this logjam broken," he said at a Friday press conference, his second in a week.

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David VanderLeest, the Republican candidate in next week's Wisconsin recall election targeting Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen, is continuing to rebut stories of his legal and financial problems. Allegations about his personal finances and reports of domestic violence in his former marriage have dogged his campaign.

"I read a social services report yesterday that says I smoke crack," said VanderLeest, during an interview on Joy Cardin of Wisconsin Public Radio. "None of it's true. I don't smoke rocks, and that's the truth."

To be clear, VanderLeest was not the GOP's preferred candidate. Instead, Republicans became stuck with VanderLeest after their originally recruited candidate, state Rep. John Nygren, failed to submit the required 400 valid petition signatures. Nygren submitted slightly over 400 signatures for himself -- despite the fact that Republicans had been able to gather 18,000 signatures to trigger a recall -- with not enough of a buffer for when a few them were disqualified. Nygren initially filed a lawsuit to get onto the ballot, but lost in court and announced he would not further appeal the decision.

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani doesn't believe his "honorable, honest" friend Rupert Murdoch knew anything about the phone hacking that may have taken place in the name of his U.K. newspapers.

"Give people the presumption of innocence," he told CNN's Candy Crowley Thursday, "I think that just how high up it goes is a big question and one we shouldn't be jumping to conclusions about."

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Rick Santorum's quixotic quest for the presidency isn't going over well with donors. The ex-Senator's campaign raised under $600,000 raised for the quarter, lagging virtually the entire field.

As of June 30, the campaign managed to collect $582,000 in donations. But they've already used up $352,900, leaving him few resources to staff up, get on the airwaves, and organize supporters ahead of key events like Ames Straw Poll.

The campaign noted that Santorum only officially declared a few weeks before the deadline, and described the numbers as "solid."

"It is worth noting that Senator Santorum didn't hold his first official fundraiser until June 22, and between that day and June 30, he raised nearly half of the money he raised as an official presidential candidate," said Amanda Kornegay, finance director for Rick Santorum for President," spokesman Matt Beynon said in a statement.

Santorum, best known for his anti-gay and pro-life politics, drew some attention early on as a possible contender in socially conservative Iowa. Instead it's been Michele Bachmann hoarding the energy, jumping to an early lead the polls, and raising a solid $2 million in only a couple of weeks, with another $2 million transferred over from her Congressional campaign.

Whatever the ultimate outcome of the debt limit fight, the theatrics will continue in the House of Representatives for another week or so.

Scores of House Republicans say they won't vote to raise the debt limit unless a Constitutional balanced budget amendment has been sent off to the states for ratification. And so whatever Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other Congressional leaders decide about the real path ahead, he'll hold votes next week on a major spending cut and spending cap plan that includes a hike in the debt ceiling, and, separately, on a balanced budget amendment. The latter would require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate and, in its current form, stands little chance of passing either chamber.

The votes themselves will put some political pressure on Democrats to support the nominally popular balanced budget amendment, and will allow Republicans to claim they voted to raise the debt limit in the event that the government runs out of borrowing authority. But the so-called "cut, cap, and balance" approach is dead on arrival in the Senate.

At a Friday press conference after a meeting with the GOP caucus, Boehner let slip, subtly, that the plan will go nowhere.

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Chinese web company Sina's micro-blogging service Weibo is known as "China's Twitter," but the service's usage patterns are fundamentally different from Twitter, report a trio of researchers from HP Labs.

"We find that there is a vast difference in the content shared in China, when compared to a global social networks such as Twitter," according to Louis Yu, Sitaram Asur and Bernardo A. Huberman of HP's Social Computing Lab.

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Stephen Colbert trained his sites last night on the growing News of the World phone hacking scandal and its growing inclusion of international media giant News Corp. and its chairman Rupert Murdoch. Colbert's reportage may have been a bit late to the story, but he made up for it by focusing on how the story had been covered by News Corp.'s competitors, or in his words, "these are the type of attacks that happen when there are media companies he doesn't own."

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