TPM News

Budget commissions are all the rage right now, and Dick Armey's Freedomworks have put together a Tea Party-flavored panel of their own to try and mark down a specific legislative goals for the movement.

According to the group, the Tea Party Debt Commission is modeled the White House's own commission, led by Erksine Bowles and Alan Simpson, which recommended about $4 trillion in savings through cuts and revenue increases and drew support from Democratic and Republican Senators who are now trying to negotiate a similar deal amongst themselves. Rather than relying on a blue-ribbon gathering of economists, former budget officials, and retired lawmakers, however, the Tea Party version will consist of 18 local activists from 2012 swing states and focus on finding a consensus among the grassroots.

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The conservative majority of the Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona campaign finance law that offered political candidates facing well-funded opponents a subsidy to "level the playing field" and protect from public corruption.

Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative majority agreed with the five conservative politicians and two political action committees who argued that the law stifled free speech, claiming it meant they were punished if they raised too much money because the government would subsidize their opponents.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann may look like the first Republican woman ever elected to Congress from the great state of Minnesota. But she's really just a proud and native Iowan at heart.

Formally announcing her candidacy for President in Waterloo, Iowa -- where she was born and lived for her early childhood -- Bachmann embraced The Hawkeye State as though she had never left. In a speech aimed squarely at the potential caucus voters who already seem to be into her, Bachmann talked up her Iowa roots, then talked a little policy, then talked about Iowa again.

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Wisconsin state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) has responded -- with some surprise and a bit of sarcastic humor -- to the reports that emerged over the weekend of conservative state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser being accused of grabbing liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley by the neck in a chokehold.

"Wow! The Supreme Court is crazier than the Legislature apparently," said Fitzgerald, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

On a more serious note, Fitzgerald said "it appears something happened" but that the details were hazy.

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A federal judge has granted Planned Parenthood a temporary injunction against an Indiana law that stripped it of all federal funding in the state.

"If dogma trumps pragmatism and neither side budges, Indiana's most vulnerable citizens could end up paying the price as the collateral damage of a partisan battle," U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wrote in her decision.

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During her appearance Sunday on Face The Nation, Michele Bachmann staked out what might be the toughest line in the Republican field against Mitt Romney on health care: That the individual mandate is not only unconstitutional at the federal level -- but the mandate is unconstitutional at the state level, too, as Romney passed it in Massachusetts.

Romney has tried to massage the issue, by arguing that health care reform is largely a state matter, and a conservative would respect states' rights on the mandate while allowing other states to come up with their own solutions. But not Bachmann -- she rejects the states' rights notion on this one.

During the interview, Bob Schieffer asked Bachmann whether Romney's Massachusetts health care reform should be held against him.

"I firmly am against the individual mandate. I think it is unconstitutional, whether it's put into place at the state level by a state legislature or whether it's put into place at the federal level. I think it's unconstitutional," said Bachmann.

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The Chinese Communist Party is celebrating its 90th birthday by unveiling a swanky, high-speed train service between Shanghai and Beijing. The service conducted a test-run on Monday.

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