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Something often overlooked in the Ron Paul newsletter story: the basic political cynicism that led to their publication in the first place.

There isn't a whole lot of new information in the Washington Post's latest story on the Paul newsletter scandal, but there is one fresh name attached to an on-the-record quote that could prove damning to Paul, who has said for years that he was totally unaware of the racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay language that filled his for-profit leaflets.

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Not to be outdone by Newt Gingrich’s promises of a moon base within eight years, the Mitt Romney campaign has distributed an email containing a letter from numerous space experts praising Romney’s own space policy. Here’s the text of that:


The U.S. space program is a strategic national asset, which makes critical contributions to our scientific knowledge, technological innovation, economic competitiveness, national security, and international leadership. We have watched with dismay as President Obama dismantled the structure that was guiding both the government and commercial space sectors, while providing no purpose or vision or mission. This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities. In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation.

  Restoring the U.S. space program to greatness will require the leadership, management skill, and commitment to American exceptionalism possessed by only one candidate in this race: Mitt Romney. We support Mitt’s candidacy and believe that his approach to space policy will produce results instead of empty promises. As his long record of success in both the private and public sectors attests, Mitt will do more than provide our space program with an inspiring vision and mission of exploration. He will also set aggressive yet achievable goals, adhere to realistic budgets, and execute on a carefully drawn plan.

  As president, Mitt Romney will facilitate close collaboration not only within the government’s civil and national security space sectors, but also with the private sector and with research institutions. He will create conditions for a strong and competitive commercial space industry that can contribute greatly to our national capabilities and goals. And he will ensure that NASA returns its focus to the project of manned space exploration that uniquely affirms American strength and values around the globe. Under his leadership, America will once again lead the world in space.

  Scott Pace, Chair of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group Director, Space Policy Institute, The Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University Former Assistant Director for Space and Aeronautics, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

  Mark Albrecht Chairman of the Board, USSpace Former Executive Secretary, National Space Council

  Eric Anderson Chairman and CEO, Space Adventures Chairman, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

  Gene Cernan Commander, Apollo XVII

  Bob Crippen Pilot, First Space Shuttle Mission Former Director, NASA Space Shuttle Program

  Michael Griffin Former NASA Administrator Former Head of the Space Department, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

  Peter Marquez Former Director of Space Policy, National Security Council Former Director of Special Programs, Department of Defense

  William Martel Associate Professor of International Security Studies, The Fletcher School at Tufts University Former Alan B. Shepard Chair of Space Technology and Policy Studies, Naval War College

  *Organization names are provided for identification purposes only.

Four liberal House Democrats wrote a letter calling on President Barack Obama to roughly double the defense cuts his administration recently announced.

Democratic Reps. Barney Frank (MA), Lynn Woolsey (CA), Rush Holt (NJ) and Barbara Lee (CA) were the signatories.

“[W]e believe that the current overextension of United States forces overseas, and tremendous military advantage the United States holds over other countries…allows us to make much more substantial spending reductions than the $480 billion in cuts over ten years that you are proposing,” they wrote.

“We believe that savings in the vicinity of around $900 billion over ten years can be realized, and we will be working to build support in Congress this year for cuts along those lines, during the appropriations process and during the coming debate on sequestration.”

Speaking at a retreat for House Democrats in Cambridge, MD, President Barack Obama urged members to be willing to work with Republicans, even in an election year. But if the opposition maintains its stubbornness, Democrats must not back down, he said.

“When they obstruct, when they are unwilling to act, when they are more interested in party than country, we’ve got to call them out on it,” Obama said.

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the last three months of 2011, the Commerce Department announced in an advance estimate Friday. The new figures help quell lingering fears of a double-dip recession, but economists say there remains cause for concern.

"At first glance, it looks good, because it's the 10th straight quarter of economic growth," Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told TPM. "But there's an awful lot to be concerned about when you dig into the numbers."

Stone noted that a large part of the gains came from businesses accumulating inventory -- but much of it wasn't sold. "So the excess capacity gap is not shrinking," he said. This, he argued, reflects that the trajectory of aggregate demand -- the more important indicator of economic strength -- remains problematic.

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Facebook could file for an initial public offering as early as Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports. Facebook is close to picking Morgan Stanley as the lead underwriter for its IPO, according to the Journal.

The Journal reports:

Facebook could file papers for the IPO as early as this coming Wednesday, but that timing is still being discussed, said a person familiar with the matter. The company is currently looking at a valuation of $75 billion to $100 billion, this person said. The company’s IPO, which people familiar with the matter earlier said could raise as much as $10 billion.

Newt Gingrich's infidelity has been well documented. It's no secret he left his first wife when she was diagnosed with cancer, and his second wife when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. But "Fox News therapist" Dr. Keith Ablow wrote last week that Newt's three marriages could actually make him a strong president. Stephen Colbert happens to agree.

"Gingrich is so seductive that three women, two of whom knew he was an adulterer, were willing to pick Newt," Colbert said Thursday. So Ablow is saying we should look past his weaknesses to his strengths, which are his weaknesses."

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Updated 5:24 pm ET Friday, January 27, 2012

Republicans in Congress didn't wait long after government-funded New York electric-car battery manufacturer Ener1 declared bankruptcy on Thursday to begin branding the company another "Solyndra."

The two situations are distinct though, and not in the least because prominent Indiana Republicans including Governor Mitch Daniels and Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IL) are among the strongest supporters of an Ener1 subsidiary in their state that received government funds.

To backtrack - Obama referred to a "partnership with the private sector" in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, which the Hill reported was actually a grant program that funded an Ener1 plant called EnerDel in Indianapolis.

That plant, which is not expected to close while the parent company reorganizes after filing for bankruptcy on Thursday, received a $118.5 million grant from the Department of Energy.

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If Newt Gingrich wants to play down accusations that he is "grandiose," calling for a permanent, American moon base might not be the best approach, Jon Stewart said on Thursday.

Stewart is referring to a speech Gingrich made earlier this week, promising a lunar base by the end of his second term. "What, did you start with Death Star and you got kind of reined in?" Stewart said.

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