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The latest fundraising numbers from President Obama's reelection effort are jaw-dropping and represent the kind of haul Republicans have been warning their supporters about for months.

In a video sent to reporters and supporters Wednesday morning, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina announced $86 million in total fundraising between April and June of this year. Messina said $47 million went to the Obama campaign itself, while $38 million went to the DNC.

The combined goal was $60 million. In the end, Obama's fundraising forces burst through that goal by more than $20 million, which is more than Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney raised in total.

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The U.S. political world reacted with confusion on Tuesday to a ground-shifting proposal by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Debt Negotiations At The White House]

The plan itself was clear enough: Republicans don't really have the stomach to allow the country to default on its debt in pursuit of their decades-long goals of slashing deeply into popular entitlement programs. But instead of admitting that and extending President Obama's borrowing authority through the 2012 election, McConnell proposed a Rube Goldberg-esque scheme by which Obama, by accepting some public embarrassment for himself and his party, could raise the debt limit on his own, with no policy strings attached.

No spending cuts for Republicans. No tax increases for Democrats. In effect, a clean debt-limit hike with all attendant political consequences, such as there are any, falling on the latter.

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Wisconsin Democrats have easily fended off a Republican ploy in the state Senate recalls, with the official Dem candidates in each of six races easily defeating Republican activists who also filed in the Democratic primaries. But Republicans have not failed to reap some advantages from the situation.

With the vast majority of the precincts now in, all six official Democrats have been projected as the winners by the Associated Press. Only one primary, for the 10th District (GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf), has turned out to be tight or seriously contested, with official Dem candidate Shelly Moore winning by a margin of 54%-46%.

The other Dem primaries are nowhere near that close: Nancy Nusbaum is winning the primary for the 2nd District (Sen. Robert Cowles) by 65%-35%; Sandy Pasch is winning the 8th District (Sen. Alberta Darling) by 67%-33%; Fred Clark is winning the 14th District (Sen. Luther Olsen) by 67%-33%; Jessica King is winning the 18th District (Sen. Randy Hopper) by 68%-32%; and Jennifer Shilling is winning the 32nd District (Sen. Dan Kapanke) by 70%-30%.

Soon after the recall elections were triggered, Republicans declared a strategy to plant fake candidates in the Democratic primaries -- which they have called "protest candidates" -- in order to delay the general elections from July to August, while the GOP incumbents ran unopposed. The candidates included a GOP activist in his 20s, and an octogenarian former GOP state representative, among others. As it turned out, the scheme would cost local governments throughout the state over $400,000.

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A powerful U.S. senator with jurisdiction over privacy and telecommunications issues late Tuesday urged regulators to look into whether News. Corp. had violated any U.S. laws when its British journalists gained unauthorized access to several individuals' voice mails to pursue stories.

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) just announced he's foregoing a run for re-eleection to focus full-time on his long-shot bid for the GOP nomination so maybe he's feeling a little emboldened. Then again, Paul is rarely afraid to state it like is.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Debt Negotiations At The White House]

Paul was the only GOP House member TPM found Tuesday afternoon willing to take a firm stand against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) plan to hand the White House full authority to raise the debt ceiling with Congress only able to disapprove with a two-thirds vote. Conservative groups, Tea Party members outside Congress and activists are reportedly incensed over McConell's fall back plan.

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Heads were scratched across DC Tuesday when the National Review reported Grover Norquist -- the Republican Party's fiscal conservative in chief -- had signed on to proposed debt ceiling contingency plan suggested by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and excoriated by everyone on the Professional Right.

A couple hours after the National Review posted Norquist's initial take on the plan (and as conservative anger at McConnell bubbled up) Norquist pushed back, claiming that he's not endorsing anything, yet.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has given what seems like a stamp of approval to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) fallback strategy to avoid a catastrophic default on U.S. debt.

"His idea if we can't get there, none of us believe we ought to default on the full faith and credit of the United States government," Boehner said. "I think that idea and there are other ideas out there in terms of backup plans. In case we can't come to an agreement.... Everybody believes there needs to be a backup plan if we are unable to come to an agreement. I think Mitch has done good work."

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The fact that Grover Norquist of all people will begrudgingly support Mitch McConnell's Plan Z to avoid debt default makes plenty of sense when you stop thinking of Grover as an ideologue, and consider his incentives as a conservative power player.

His main goal, above all else, isn't to cut spending. Not even close. His real priority is to maintain influence in Republican politics. Way below that, somewhere alongside not losing the ability to speak out loud, he wants to keep taxes low. Those two things are related, but they're not the same, and they don't point to any real conviction on what should be first on the chopping block.

Right now, whether he knows it or not, President Obama has a chisel resting at the most vulnerable point of contact between Grover and the GOP, and, if he's willing to commit, a hammer hovering threateningly above it.

He knows Congress has to raise the debt limit, and he seems to truly believe Obama won't let them do it without offering up new tax revenue -- and that would mean forcing Grover into early obsolescence. Taking that as a given, would he rather see the GOP cave in a way that renders him meaningless, or cave in a way that preserves the power of the "pledge." I totally understand his thinking here.

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