TPM News

In an interview Tuesday with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Mitt Romney announced that he will not be participating in the NewsMax debate on December 27 -- which will be hosted by Donald Trump, the businessman, media personality and, most controversially, prominent birther activist.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have so far accepted the invitation. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have turned down the invitation, and gone out of their way to reject Trump himself as a debate moderator who would demean the process. In Romney's case, however, he is simply chalking it up to scheduling.

"No, I'm not participating in that," Romney said, when asked by Cavuto. "We have two debates in December that I've agreed to participate in. The rest of the month is gonna be spent campaigning, doing the political work that you've got to do, to get the support of people in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida.

"So we'll be hitting the trail, I spoke with Donald Trump earlier today, indicated that we just can't make this debate, we're gonna focus on the other two we've got, and on some campaigning."

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A campaign finance lawyer flags this part of the Washington Post's story on Newt Gingrich's massive $1.2 million campaign debt:

One of the campaign's biggest creditors is Gingrich himself, who billed the campaign more than $125,000 for a mailing list and travel expenses, about half of which remained unpaid at the end of last quarter.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's administration held its first informational session Tuesday on the new rules for state Capitol protests -- under which demonstrators would have to pay potentially large amounts of money up front, in order to get a permit.

Stacy Harbaugh, communications director for the ACLU of Wisconsin, attended the session, which was hosted by officials from the Department of Administration -- and in an interview Tuesday afternoon, told TPM that the group is still reviewing its legal options.

"Unfortunately, a lot of our questions continued to be unanswered," Harbaugh told TPM. "The big thing that I think was a problem today was that the state Department of Administration didn't provide an attorney to represent their position.

"People have a lot of legitimate questions, legal questions, about how these rules could even be enforced. So by not providing an attorney and answering their questions, the Department frankly wasted their time today. There are too many questions that are unanswered."

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Awkward!

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell brought a bunch of rank and file members to the microphones with him after a conference lunch Tuesday to discuss consumer finance regulation. But one of those Republicans -- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) -- is introducing legislation to fund economic growth measures with higher taxes on millionaires and oil companies. And reporters took the opportunity to ask McConnell to address her plan publicly, in her presence.

After trying futilely to pass the mic to Collins, McConnell said pretty unequivocally that his caucus will overwhelmingly reject her plan.

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Well, we all thought we'd heard the last of Donald Trump when he was laughed out of the room after President Obama knee-capped his main presidential platform by producing his much talked about birth certificate.

However, it seems that in the roller-coaster of the 2012 GOP primary, Trump has emerged as some sort of king-maker. Candidates have flocked to his side, eager to get his endorsement (or whatever else they talk about over pizza) and The Donald is even hosting his own Presidential debate.

Evan McMorris-Santoro combs his way through the story.

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A chief of staff to former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (R) was found guilty on Tuesday on four counts, including election fraud, for his role in setting up robocalls intended to surpress minority voting turnout in the final hours of Election Day last year.

Paul Schurick's trial took place in Baltimore Circuit Court, where he was brought up on charges of conspiracy, election fraud and a charge relating to his failure to include a disclosure on the robocall that it was authorized by the campaign. He had been indicted by state prosecutors alongside Julius Henson in June.

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Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has a new TV ad, his third thus far in the effort to persuade voters not to sign petitions to recall him from office.

This ad features an elementary school teacher, coming to the defense of Walker’s state budget — which has inflamed public employee unions (especially teachers) with its rollback of collective bargaining — by crediting it with preventing layoffs: “I don’t agree with Governor Walker on everything. But thanks to his budget reforms, hundreds of teachers like me still have a job.”



President Obama offered one of his most detailed critiques yet of the GOP's bedrock philosophy, likening them to a long line of discredited political movements who opposed taxes on the wealthy and regulations on business.

"I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules," Obama told a crowd at a high school in Osawatomie, Kansas. "Those aren't Democratic or Republican values; 1% values or 99% values. They're American values, and we have to reclaim them."

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