TPM News

Recent news in the Montana Senate race shows that large, national interest groups' views don't always coincide with all of their members in the local community organizations -- with some Chamber of Commerce members objecting to ads being run against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

The municipal Chambers -- which often function as community groups as much as political ones -- have had to explain to members that their local dues have not gone to pay for the ads. The ads are funded by the U.S. Chamber's PAC, to which people specifically donate for the purpose of political advocacy.

Tester was narrowly elected in the Democratic wave year of 2006, defeating Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns. National Republicans have recruited Montana's lone member of the House of Representatives, Denny Rehberg, and recent polling has shown a tight race with Rehberg more often ahead by a very slim margin.

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Romney may have just become the first Republican candidate to win both Iowa and New Hampshire -- and is looking increasingly like the eventual nominee -- but the primary is about to spread to the rest of the country where the Latino vote is significant. Once in the general election, that vote becomes crucial. But Romney is not on track to win over the requisite number of Latino voters, who will be key to winning swing states like Florida, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Moreover, the Democrats may have stumbled into a neat situation that could give them an unusual boost.

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Despite making several key, contentious recess appointments since Congress left town, the Obama administration is still operating with scores of vacancies, including an unexpected hole at the top of the Office of Management and Budget.

But their options for filing those vacancies are likely limited, unless President Obama is willing to dial his use of the recess appointment power up even further.

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COLUMBIA, SC -- South Carolina Republicans pride themselves on running the primary that "picks presidents." And while everyone is watching for New Hampshire tea leaves, the state Republican chair told me they shouldn't bother -- anything can happen here and nothing should be taken for granted.

The Palmetto State will be the 2012 reset button, SC GOP Chair Chad Connelly insists.

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On first blush, it seems like a no-brainer that Antonin Scalia will vote to overturn the health care reform law's requirement that Americans buy insurance: the Reagan-appointed justice is a staunch conservative who's beloved by Republicans; for what possible reason could he deliver such a devastating blow to his own side and boost President Obama?

The answer: judicial precedent. His own. And the Obama administration has noticed.

In its brief filed with the Supreme Court Friday, the Justice Department cited no fewer than 10 times the 2005 Gonzalez v. Raich case, in which Scalia (and Justice Anthony Kennedy) broke with the court's conservative wing to hand down what scholars viewed as one of the broadest declarations of federal power under the Commerce Clause: a 6-3 ruling decreeing that Congress may ban a medical-marijuana patient from growing cannabis for personal use in California where it's legal.

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Mitt Romney has a new Spanish-language ad in Florida, called “Nostros” (meaning “We” or “Us”). The move is another hint at Romney’s efforts to close the nomination out early by wrapping up Florida.

The English-translation script, from the campaign’s press release:

CRAIG ROMNEY: “The United States represents liberty, opportunity, where anything is possible. I am Craig Romney. My father, Mitt Romney believes in those American values because he has lived them and will fight to restore the greatness of our nation.”

LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART: “Romney has a plan to create new jobs.”

CONGRESSWOMAN ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: “Mitt Romney has the vision to restore the country’s national security.”

CONGRESSMAN MARIO DIAZ-BALART: “Romney believes in us.”

MITT ROMNEY: “I am Mitt Romney and I approve this message. Thank you very much.”

On ABC Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney said his win in New Hampshire is proof that the attacks on his time at Bain Capital fell flat:

I think their argument fell flat here in New Hampshire. They tried it very hard, ran ads here, were up and down the state campaigning, and people in the state here said, ‘look, we want a guy who spent some time in the private sector, not someone who spent their entire life in Washington.’ So I think it’s working for my benefit.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues to do well against President Obama in Florida, always one of the key swing states in the presidential election. New Quinnipiac numbers out on Wednesday morning show Romney up on Obama by three points, 46 – 43. The problem seems to be Obama losing a bit of his base — the President gets only 84 percent of Democrats versus the 92 percent of Republicans Romney attracts. While Obama wins independent voters, Romney’s domination of the state’s conservative bloc is enough to get him over the top.

“Florida is among the most important swing states in the country and if the election was today President Barack Obama would have difficulty winning its electoral votes,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in a release. “President Obama needs to mend fences in the Sunshine State, especially among men, whites and those voters without college degrees. The difference among voters by age is especially striking.”

The current TPM Poll Average of the Obama—Romney matchup in Florida shows Romney with a small .8 percent lead in the state.