TPM News

A Bloomberg News Global Poll of investors worldwide showed three quarters find fault with President Obama’s economic policies. But despite the pessimism on Obama overall, investors still supported some of his actual proposals. “Fifty-two percent say public works spending on road, bridges and school construction — a component of Obama’s jobs plan — will significantly lower unemployment,” Bloomberg wrote.

New data from CNN shows that Americans still blame former President George W. Bush and Republicans for the current poor economic conditions, versus 32 percent who blame President Obama and the Democrats. That number is largely unchanged from September 2010, despite the summer debt fight in Congress.

Mitt Romney is out with a tough new web ad, continuing to hammer his rival Rick Perry over his defense of granting in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants. The centerpiece of the ad are remarks from former Mexican President Vicente Fox, praising Perry.

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New Jersey's Star-Ledger newspaper reported late Thursday that the state's governor, Chris Christie, is "seriously rethinking his months of denials" and considering a White House run.

There's a certain skepticism that comes with these reports. After all, in the last year or so the governor has strenuously denied on numerous occasions that he is "ready" to make that bid. Indeed, even in the few days that have passed since Rick Perry's implosion in the Florida straw poll it seems Christie has smacked down rumors that he's running about 565 times.

However, the Star-Ledger's anonymous source, described as "close to the governor," says the aggressive "Draft Christie" effort finally seems to be paying off.

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The "Occupy Wall Street" protests, now entering their third week, are poised to get a whole lot bigger than its core of 200 to 300 people, potentially even exceeding the protesters original goals of 20,000 demonstrators, thanks to recent pledges of support from some of New York City's largest labor unions and community groups.

On Tuesday, over 700 uniformed pilots, members of the Air Line Pilots Association, took to the streets outside of Wall Street demanding better pay.

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Just a month ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry touched the Third Rail of American politics by calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." There was some real data that showed it hurting him with independent voters and even some Republicans. But on Thursday some data from CNN came out showing Americans going a few different directions on the program: namely, a majority that favored a partial privatization and a fifth that believe the program is actually unconstitutional.

The most traditional number was familiar. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said the program has been good for the country, which held across all parties and ideologies. People still showed concern however: 71 percent of those polled said that the system was either in a state of crisis (22 percent) or had major problems (49 percent), something which all party subgroups agreed on again.

Then results started to get crossed, or at least counter-intuitive.

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NASA scientists have gotten a close-up of the planet Mercury, which has turned to out be far stranger and more intriguing than astronomers ever predicted.

The agency on Thursday unveiled a trove of new images and data of the surface of the Sun's closest neighbor, snapped by the orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft. NASA also provided the accompanying analyses of a host of scientists online and in an afternoon press conference at NASA headquarters in Washington.

"We have imaged many areas of the surface at unprecedented resolution," said Sean Solomon, MESSENGER's principal investigator, in a press release.

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The FBI is investigating the failed solar panel maker Solyndra for potential accounting fraud, according to a new report by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg had few other details, and based its report on an anonymous agency source.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection August 31st after telling lawmakers on Capitol Hill in July that it was growing, and providing them with positive numbers about their revenues. Its bankruptcy filings, however, show that it spent much of 2011 trying to raise money and get itself refinanced. Lawyers for the Department of Energy, which had approved a $535 million loan guarantee, sat in on many of its refinancing meetings during the year.

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House Republicans are attaching controversial cuts and policy measures to legislation required to run the biggest domestic department in the federal government, and if they don't back off there will likely be, you guessed it, another government shutdown fight.

Already, Democrats in both chambers are saying a draft of the House's Labor/Health and Human Services appropriations bill is dead on arrival, because it contains deep cuts to heating assistance for the poor, requires the repeal of a major provision of the health care law that will help provide assistance for disabled people, halts implementation of the entire law until the Supreme Court determines the constitutionality of its individual insurance mandate, and slashes Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting. Just for starters.

A Senate Dem aide familiar with appropriations issues weighs in with the following statement.

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If you want to see President Obama reelected, stories like this one from TPM's Kyle Leighton this morning should really worry you. Polls all over show Democratic base voters are looking at the next election cycle and letting out a big "meh," while Republicans are raring to get to an election booth and vote the president out of office.

These are the things one-term presidencies can be made of. But fear not, one of the largest segments of the Democratic base says, Obama's doing what he needs to get his base to shake off the doldrums.

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