TPM News

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer is speaking out about the possibility of a legal contest keeping GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office past the end of his term. While Emmer is not ruling out a possible contesting of the election, should any issues come up during the recount, he also says in strong terms that he would not be a part of delaying a result for the sake of a GOP power grab.

In a one-on-one interview Thursday with WCCO-AM radio sportscaster Michele Tafoya (who disclosed on the air that she had made a donation to Emmer's campaign), Emmer was asked about the scenario that has been much speculated about in the media -- that the GOP might use a legal proceeding to stall Democratic nominee Mark Dayton from taking office, and allowing Pawlenty to pass legislation with the newly-elected Republican legislature.

"Well anybody who thinks that, that's not gonna be what I'd ever be involved in, Michele," said Emmer. "This is not about what I might want, or somebody else."

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After yesterday's mini-freakout over what exactly White House adviser David Axelrod told the Huffington Post about President Obama's intention to cave to Republicans urging an extension of all the Bush tax cuts -- not just those for middle class incomes -- Obama took time out of his swing through Asia to reiterate his opposition to the GOP plan.

"Here's the right interpretation -- I want to make sure that taxes don't go up for middle class families starting on January 1st. That is my number one priority for those families and for our economy." Obama told reporters gathered in Seoul, South Korea when asked about the Huffington Post article, in which Axelrod appeared to suggest the White House was backing off its strong opposition to extending the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy.

"I also believe that it would be fiscally irresponsible for us to permanently extend the high income tax cuts," Obama said. "I think that would be a mistake, particularly when we've got our Republican friends saying that their number one priority is making sure that we are dealing with our debt and our deficit."

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Since Sarah Palin took the national stage in 2008, neocon Randy Scheunemann has been at her side as an apparent confidant and foreign policy adviser, getting $30,000 in fees from her as recently as June 30, 2010.

But at the same time, Justin Elliott reports at Salon, Scheunemann's firm Orion Strategies was taking money to lobby the U.S. government from conservative boogeyman George Soros' Open Society Policy Center.

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Jon Stewart sat down with Rachel Maddow last night, to defend some of the criticism he's been getting over his speech at the Rally To Restore Sanity, which has been derided as painting a false equivalence between Fox News and the rest of cable news. Stewart told Maddow that his point was that cable news networks have allowed the left and the right to become the fight, and it "amplifies a division that I don't actually think is the right fight."

"Anybody who has watched our show in any measure would understand the special place in our hearts for Fox," Stewart said, but "we have a tendency to grant amnesty to people we agree with, and to over-demonize people we don't."

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The insurgency against RNC Chair Michael Steele has officially begun. Former Michigan Republican Party chair Saul Anuzis announced to the 168 voting RNC members this morning that he's running for Steele's job.

"[T]he simple fact is that the overriding challenge we face is winning back the Presidency in 2012," Anuzis wrote in a letter posted to his website this morning. "We will not accomplish that objective unless there is dramatic change in the way the RNC does business."

Anuzis squared off against Steele in the chair's race last year, losing to the former Maryland Lt. Governor. Now he's the first of what is expected to be a slew of candidates who will challenge Steele after a gaffe-filled period at the RNC with Steele at the helm.

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Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio kept a hidden database that shows that he used money designated for funding jails for other purposes, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors alleges.

The County Administration office learned that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office created a hidden database in 2002 which tracks the differences between where employees work and how employees are paid. "In many instances, it crosses different funding sources, thereby creating an inappropriate spending of restricted funds," the administration office said in a press release.

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G-20 Refuses To Back US Push On China's Currency The Associated Press reports: "Leaders of 20 major economies on Friday refused to back a U.S. push to make China boost its currency's value, keeping alive a dispute that raises fears of a global trade war amid criticism that cheap Chinese exports are costing American jobs. A joint statement issued by the leaders including President Barack Obama and China's Hu Jintao tried to recreate the unity that was evident when the Group of 20 rich and developing nations held its first summit two years ago during the global financial meltdown. But deep divisions, especially over the U.S.-China currency dispute, left G-20 officials negotiating all night to draft a watered-down statement for the leaders to endorse."

Obama Arrives In Japan For Second Economic Summit The Associated Press reports: "President Barack Obama has arrived in Japan to attend a regional economic summit. It is the fourth and final stop on the president's 10-day, four-country economic and goodwill tour of Asia. The president will spend Saturday and Sunday participating in meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The group of 21 economies is taking steps to create a sprawling Pacific-wide free trade zone."

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Total opposition to earmarking is a key tea party tenet, and the battle to get Republicans to voluntarily ban it in their ranks is already raging. Establishment leaders like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- who favor earmarking for its time-honored electoral implications -- are clashing with pro-ban Senators led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), the body's tea party hero.

Lining up behind DeMint in the push to end earmarks are Sens. Jim Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Ensign (R-NV) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) -- along with Senators-elect Pat Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI).

McConnell has reportedly been fighting behind the scenes to squash the proposed ban, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) -- one of the Senate's most conservative members -- is publicly blasting his anti-earmark colleagues for hypocrisy.

Who wins the scrum could have broad implications in 2012.

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