TPM News

Herman Cain appeared on the Fox News ‘Hannity’ show last night, where he revealed he would be back on Fox to do commentary on the GOP debates in which he once took part. He also said he was still mulling his endorsement.

That was quick: Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) abruptly fired three staffers Thursday, an hour after his office learned the aides were goofing off on the clock and insulting the boss behind his back.

The staffers referred to the last month of 2011 as a "December to Remember" on Twitter and, according to screen shots from the accounts, tweeted insults about Rep. Larsen. The NW Daily Marker posted the screen shots, which include tweets about watching Nirvana videos and drinking on the job.

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As the U.S. government and governments in Europe respond to the global economic slump with conservative austerity measures, it's easy to forget that the overwhelming professional economic consensus is that depressed countries that can afford to should be doing the opposite -- ramping up government purchases of goods and services and putting off the budget cuts and tax increases for a few years.

This isn't even close to what's happening. And as the space between what these experts think should happen and what global elites are actually doing grows, the experts' forecast is becoming more and more pessimistic.

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Republicans want to win in 2012. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said as much not long after President Obama was elected. The congressional gridlock which came to town after the GOP took the House has pretty much proven that the essential work stoppage in DC has been about positioning for next November. All Republicans need is a candidate that can deliver on the trail, and with the winds of a bad economy at their backs, it's very plausible they could retake the White House.

And there's the problem, right there.

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A video narrated by Michele Bachmann’s campaign manager lays out the candidate’s path to the White House. The video stresses Iowa as the first step, followed by a win in South Carolina. The campaign pushes the idea that she is the only candidate in the race who can merge evangelicals and Tea Partiers or the “Teavangelical” vote.

Though the video went up on Bachmann’s site Monday, the campaign waited till Thursday to promote it. On YouTube, it has less than 1,000 views as of Friday morning.

Jon Huntsman has denied many times that he’s planning to run as a third party candidate should he lose the GOP nomination, as seems likely.

The Daily is out with a piece today in which he repeats that denial, but – once again – his words are parsed to open up the ground for speculation that he doesn’t really mean what he says.

Here’s the key part:

The lagging GOP contender told The Daily he is “not even considering” an Americans Elect run, though he quickly added the qualifier “when I’m running as a Republican.”

Only two weeks ago, Huntsman told Fox News Sunday that he absolutely would not run as an independent and would support his party’s nominee.

The article then goes on to suggest that the non-profit, bipartisanship-promoting group Americans Elect is courting him, even though a spokesperson from the group denies this.

NBC News and others are reporting that Rick Santorum’s “major announcement” Friday is an endorsement from Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

Here’s an excerpt from Schultz’s written statement, via NBC:

“Sen. Santorum is a strong advocate for faith, family, and freedom. He has a solid track record as a social and fiscal conservative from his time serving in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives,” Schultz said in a written statement. “As a Republican from a blue state, he has the experience to win in tough elections.”

Reuters reports:

Europe divided on Friday in a historic rift over building a closer fiscal union to preserve the euro, with a large majority of countries led by Germany and France agreeing to forge ahead with a separate treaty, leaving Britain isolated.

Police have not yet identified the gunman responsible for a shooting at Virginia Tech on Thursday, and the gunman’s motive is still unknown, the AP reports.