TPM News

Human Events reports that tea party favorite Rep. Joe Walsh has confirmed he will in effect say, “Redistricting be damned” and will seek reelection to the House by vying for Illinois' 8th District.

Rick Perry's assault on the Iowa airwaves continues apace.

The campaign's latest spot, in a flurry of recent ads, takes shots at dual-frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for their support of the individual mandate -- making it clear to voters that both have supported the key provision of President Obama's health care reform law.

"We don't want government-mandated health care," the announcer says. "Yet, Newt Gingrich supports it. And Mitt Romney, he put it into law in Massachusetts. Worse, Barack Obama forced it on the entire nation. Rick Perry? He'll repeal it, starting day one."

The ad then cuts to Perry: "I won't let the big-government liberals ruin this country. I'm Rick Perry, I'm an outsider who'll repeal Obamacare, and I approve this message."

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Rick Perry's gay-baiting Iowa ad may have ruffled some feathers within his campaign, but it's nothing compared to the outpouring of hatred it's received on YouTube, which now rivals even viral video lightning rod Justin Bieber.

A spokesman for YouTube tells TPM the video is the most viewed video in America today, as well as the top video in Des Moines, IA and Manchester, NH. But the reaction isn't exactly positive. The Perry camp's settings for the video enable users to "like" or "dislike" the spot and as of this afternoon viewers have given it 4,485 "likes" and 211,664 "dislikes." That gives it a staggering approval rating of about 2.1% among those who care enough to cast a vote.

To put this in perspective, let's take a look at some of the other videos with similar levels of detractors.

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Wisconsin has definitely become a polarized environment, with the Democratic effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker being just the latest symptom. But one man who supports Walker found out the hard way that it's not only bad form to vandalize a recall petition -- it's against the law.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

A West Bend man told police he intentionally scribbled over petitions seeking the recall of Gov. Scott Walker with the hopes it would "screw up the petition."

But when Jeffery Karnitz handed the defaced petition back to a recall volunteer, she told him, "I hope you know that's a felony," and from then, he told police, "I kind of kicked myself in the ass."

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Another pair of dueling bills failed in the Senate Thursday as Democrats keep up the pressure on Republicans to break ranks and support a payroll tax cut for workers paid for largely by imposing a modest surtax on income over $1 million.

Though most GOP senators oppose extending and deepening the current payroll tax cut, set to expire January 1, 2012, enough of them back the idea that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell paired the Democrats' bill with competing legislation that proposes paying for the tax holiday by shrinking the federal workforce by 10 percent, freezing federal pay, and means-test federal support programs, including Medicare, for wealthy Americans. Before the votes the Obama administration issued official policy statements announcing support for the Dem bill, and opposition to the GOP's.

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Newt Gingrich is telling reporters not to expect a counterattack to the Romney campaign's epic onslaught of attack. After all, staying positive has gotten him this far.

"My only observation," he told the National Journal on Thursday, "is every time these guys have attacked each other, they've gone down. So I don't know that being the attack dog in the Republican Party is necessarily an asset, you know a big asset. It's not a game I'm going to play."

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A new national poll from Fox News shows a similar result in the GOP race: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich leads the way with 36 percent, followed by former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney with 23 percent and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) third with 12. The rest of the field is in single digits.

There was one nugget in the poll relating to the prospect of Gingrich in the general election. FOX asked all registered voters about how they would view a candidate who admitted to having an extramarital affair: 26 percent said it would “completely disqualify a candidate,” versus 64 who said they could still vote for one.

Launching an aggressive attack on rival Newt Gingrich, the Romney campaign is engaging a character-assassination strategy, painting the former speaker as unfit for a position of leadership.

Under pressure as polls show Gingrich leading the GOP candidate field, Mitt Romney began a full-frontal assault on the former speaker, kicked off with a conference call Thursday morning with former-Sen. Jim Talent and former-Gov. John Sununu acting as his attack-dogs. The image of Gingrich that emerged from the call was that of a man whose erratic behavior is dangerous to conservatives.

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The second person found dead during a shooting spree on the Virginia Tech campus on Thursday appears to be the gunman, the Associated Press reported late Thursday, citing a law enforcement official.

The official said that the gunman was dead but did not explain how he died, nor did the official confirm that the gunman was the second victim. But Virginia State Police Sgt. Robert Carpentieri said “you can kind of read between the lines.”

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