TPM News

The conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity has put $6 million into an ad buy attacking President Obama on Solyndra, accusing the president of using workers as “pawns” in a political game. The ad marks the first major ad buy against Obama in 2012.

Tonight's debate was a fierce contest to win over the out-for-blood voters of the South Carolina GOP. Whether it's decrying racial insensitivity, or calling for the obliteration of your enemies, applause lines were very much the order of the night (See: Gingrich, N.).

For the front runner, however, it was another say-what-you-want walk in the park as his opponents were taken to task by the Fox News hosts over previous "attacks on capitalism."

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The Republicans gathered for the South Carolina presidential debate in Myrtle Beach Monday night cheered and leapt to their feet when Newt Gingrich flatly dismissed any suggestion that his rhetoric is racially insensitive.

Debate co-moderator Juan Williams tried to engage Gingrich on some of his more incendiary lines, which have raised eyebrows and drawn swift condemnation from minority groups. Gingrich would have none of it -- and neither would the crowd.

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Mitt Romney levels plenty of attacks at President Obama, but his claim in Monday night's South Carolina debate that the White House "doesn't have a jobs plan" is so blatantly misleading it really deserves a moment here.

President Obama has been pushing a bill called the American Jobs Act for months, a $447 billion package that includes billions in tax cuts, funding to prevent teacher layoffs, and investments in education and transportation infrastructure. You may remember it from the time he called a rare joint session of Congress in September to announce the legislation or from the many times the Senate debated its individual components throughout the rest of the year. By all indicators, it will play a central role in his re-election campaign. Disagree with it if you will, but it's factually inaccurate to say he doesn't have a plan.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt fired back at Romney over the line.

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The Florida GOP primary is set for January 31st, ten days after Saturday's South Carolina vote, and as of right now former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the polls in both states. A new Public Policy Polling (D) survey shows Romney with 42 percent of the field, which was conducted Saturday through Monday. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is second in the poll with 26 percent, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 11 and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) with ten.

"Our current polling suggests Mitt Romney is the man to beat in both South Carolina and Florida," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling in a release. "The top concern of voters this year is the economy and Romney is the candidate they trust most on that issue. He's also managed to neutralize social conservatives. The GOP nomination contest may be functionally over by the end of the month."

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Martin Luther King Day is a time for reflection on how to achieve the great man's dream for America. Jon Huntsman's reflections today led him to drop out of the presidential race. After he endorsed GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney this ensured a pile-on from the field's right about "moderates backing moderates." Thank goodness that within all this Fox News still found the time to ask the day's really important question.

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Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity after the debate, Newt Gingrich addressed why the crowd gave him a standing ovation during this session. He said it was because he was speaking about the dignity of work, and “I think the audience felt spontaneously that that was a value that most Americans really cherish.”

Mitt Romney invoked liberal documentarian Michael Moore in dismissing Newt Gingrich’s attacks on his record at Bain Capital.

“Michael Moore apparently said today, I think Newt Gingrich is one of the escaped members of my staff,” Romney told FOX News' Sean Hannity after Monday’s debate, suggesting that Gingrich was “carrying Michael Moore’s water” in making his attacks.

The original quote Romney was paraphrasing, from the New York Times:



“I wondered who they stole from my crew,” Mr. Moore said in a phone interview. “It was fun to hear what I have been saying for 20 years, not just by any Republican candidate, but Newt Gingrich.

Talking to Fox News' Sean Hannity after the GOP debate, frontrunner Mitt Romney addressed the issue of Super PACs. He said the situation, in which candidates aren’t allowed to liaise with their supporters, is “outrageous” and that “it makes us all uncomfortable.”

Mitt Romney may have failed when he tried to explain how separate he his from the Super PAC run by former staffers that’s dumping ads all over the country.

“I haven’t spoken to any of the people involved in my super PAC in months,” Romney said.

He repeated his suggestion that super PACs are bad for democracy and called for their replacement with unlimited donations to candidates (with full disclosure.) The moment came during yet another exchange with Newt Gingrich over Super PAC ads, which have become a central part of the bitter campaign between the two men.

Gingrich called on Romney to condemn what he said were inaccuracies in Romney’s super PAC ad blitz aimed at him, while Romney called the anti-Bain Capital movie put out by Gingrich’s super PAC “the biggest hoax since Bigfoot.”

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