TPM News

As the Iowa caucuses draw ever closer, the GOP candidates are laying it on thick with the attacks against their opponents. Ron Paul is attacking Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman is going against Mitt Romney and Rick Perry is..... sorry, that one I can't recall.

Benjy Sarlin dons his gloves and jumps in the ring...

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A former U.S. Attorney who resigned in the wake of ATF's botched operation Fast and Furious called Sen. Chuck Grassley's staff "willing stooges for the Gun Lobby" when the Senator started investigating the issue in early 2011, according to emails DOJ sent up to congressional investigators and released to news organizations, including TPM, on Friday afternoon.

"I am so personally outraged by Senator Grassley's falsehoods," former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke wrote in an email regarding the allegation that a weapon connected to the ATF operation was found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. "It is one of the lowest acts I have ever seen in politics."

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Apparently Sen. Sherrod Brown's (D-OH) usual tousled hair just wasn't scruffy-looking enough for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who recently launched an attack ad against him.

Ohio Democrats are crying foul over the ad, which includes a grainy photo of a disheveled Brown, with a growth of stubbly beard.

There's just one problem: While Brown's messy hair is certainly recognizable, he is not known to go out in public unshaven. The state Dems have tracked down what they believe to be the original source photo from the Associated Press -- to which the Chamber ad's producers would have photoshopped in the beard.

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Real Clear Politics reports:

With the Republican presidential primary appearing to have narrowed into a two-man contest, Human Events and Red State moved quickly to lock down a date for a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

The two organizations went so far this past Monday as to firm up the Annenberg Theater at the Newseum in Washington as the venue on Dec. 19 after another debate originally scheduled that day was canceled. For its part, the Newseum was excited to host the pre-primary forum.

There was just one problem. While Gingrich was ready to take his place on the stage, the Romney campaign politely declined in a series of mostly e-mail exchanges.

Tomorrow could be the last day of Herman Cain's wild ride through the presidential contest.

NBC News reports Cain is making a "major announcement" about his campaign on Saturday in Georgia, just a day after he headed home to Atlanta to meet with his wife in person following allegations that he had a 13-year affair with a woman. Cain confirmed the news at a South Carolina campaign stop Friday.

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Revenge is a dish best served on Google Places.

Although Carrier IQ has attempted to temper the firestorm of controversy caused by the revelation of its secret mobile tracking software, it's too late to stop a torrent of negative reviews from being posted on its Google Places page.

As the controversy over Carrier IQ's apparent all-seeing tracking software went mainstream the week of November 28 -- after it was found not only Anrdoid, but iOS devices, too -- users have posted increasingly incensed, topical reviews on Carrier IQ's Google Places page.

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Herman Cain's new website, "Women For Cain," is an opportunity for female supporters to "lift their voices," according to Dr. Alveda King, a senior advisor to Cain and a niece of slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. But with the campaign undergoing a "reassessment" it's still not entirely clear what role it will play.

The site, which is notable for its supporters frequently abusive language towards Cain's various accusers, is chaired by Cain's wife, Gloria, who has rarely been involved with the campaign up to this point.

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Just when you were starting to get bored with the Republican primary debates, Donald Trump steps up.

The (barely) flaxen-haired businessman is teaming up with the conservative news website Newsmax to moderate a debate in Iowa on December 27, the New York Times reports.

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The L.A. Times reports:

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it will continue to investigate whether Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. or an emissary directed or knew of efforts to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in return for Jackson’s appointment to the Senate in 2008.