TPM News

The Romney campaign has recently been resurfacing a story from December when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi briefly made it sound like she was privy to confidential information prejudicial to Newt Gingrich which came out of her time on the House Ethics Committee. That led to Romney’s call for Gingrich to release all of the material he provided to the committee and not to hold that their publicly available report on him is the end of the matter.

Pelosi stirred the pot again in an interview with CNN that aired last night. Romney’s camp sent out an email this morning titled, “Nancy On Newt: There Is Something I Know.”

It highlighted the following exchange from the CNN interview:

CNN’s JOHN KING: “Because of your history with Speaker Gingrich, what goes through your mind when you think of the possibility, which is more real today than it was a week or a month ago, that he would be the Republican nominee and that you could come back here next January or next February with a President Gingrich?” PELOSI: “Let me just say this. That will never happen.” … KING: “Why are you so sure?” PELOSI: “There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that's their prerogative.”

Romney addressed the issue in an interview with Fox News this morning, in which he said “I wish I knew” what that “something” that Pelosi knows is. “I’d release it right now,” he laughed.

A judge in Madison, Wisconsin, has granted state election officials a widely-expected extension on the time to review and certify the recall petitions against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state Senators.

The Associated Press reports: “Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess says the board faces an unprecedented task and deserves more time to do its work.”

The signatures total up to over 1.9 million signatures. By state law, the board ordinarily has 31 days to review the petitions, which were turned in last Tuesday. The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, has long planned to seek an extension, after having previously obtained one for last year’s round of state Senate recalls.

However, the GAB has also said it will need even more time beyond the original expectations, after a judge in conservative Waukesha County ruled that the GAB must make a greater effort to screen out fake or duplicate petition signatures — rather than abide by the pre-existing rules, which had placed the burden mainly on the elected officials targeted for recall.

John McCain, Romney’s top surrogate, held a conference call with reporters Wednesday to discuss Newt Gingrich’s record on earmarks while Speaker of the House. McCain stressed that Gingrich saw earmarks as an election tool, encouraged them as a way to help members in reelection battles, and encouraged those in charge of appropriations to take elections into account when divvying up money. He referred to a 1996 memo as proof that this was an explicit Gingrich strategy.

Under Newt, “I saw earmarks explode,” McCain said, who served in the House with Gingrich before moving on to the Senate. Earmarks “dramatically expanded under Newt’s watch.”

Further, McCain hit on the common phrase that earmarks are the “gateway drug” to corruption, noting that Gingrich’s approach to earmarks is what got us the infamous ‘bridge to nowhere’ and “led directly” to the Abramoff scandal.

It cost taxpayers billions of dollars, McCain said. “I don’t think that with a $15 trillion debt, we can afford that.”

President Obama, speaking in Cedar Rapids, Iowa says “America is not about handouts,” it’s about working hard for what you have.

Obama is pitching his economic message in several swing states after delivering his third State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren, who is challenging Republican Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, had put up a new YouTube video for the “It Gets Better” project, aimed at gay youth:

I'm Elizabeth Warren. And you may be wondering what I have to you? After all, I haven't lived your life. But when I graduated from college, I was a schoolteacher. And I watched what happens in hallways, on sidewalks, out in the schoolyard. I watched kids who pushed, who bullied. I saw how much pain some kids could inflict on other kids. But you know what happens? It does get better. It gets better, because you're not alone. There are people who care about you, people who love you. Reach out, find friends. And if it feels too hard, call the Trevor Project — 866-4U-TREVOR. Because here's what you'll find: There are a lot of different people out there in this world, and a lot of people who celebrate those differences. That's what makes us strong, that's what makes us exciting. So hang in there — it gets better.

In a spanish-language ad in which the Gingrich campaign called Romney “the most anti-immigrant candidate.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) defended Romney, telling the Miami Herald “This kind of language is more than just unfortunate. It’s inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign.”

Rubio has said he would stay neutral in the Florida primary race.

The House of Wednesday passed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' last piece of legislation, a bill designed to impose stiffer sentences on smugglers who use ultralight planes to bring drugs into the U.S. from Mexico.

The House also bid a tearful farewell to Giffords as she handed in her letter of resignation.

Expect State of the Union reactions, a Univision Forum, and Newt Gingrich's second Freddie Mac contract. Here are ten things you need to know.

  • Poll shows Romney with slight lead in Florida: A new Quinnipiac Florida poll released Wednesday morning shows Mitt Romney with a small lead of 36% to Gingrich's 34%. However, among those interviewed right after the South Carolina primary, Gingrich leads 40% to 34%. The TPM Poll Average has Romney down 5 points to Gingrich.
  • Obama uses State of the Union to refute Romney: On several points, Obama's speech was aimed at the rebutting Mitt Romney -- and none more specifically than when he suggested that the rich paying higher taxes was not about "envy," as Romney has suggested, but fairness.
  • Read More →

The House of Representatives erupted in applause as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords delivered her letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner.

Giffords is resigning from Congress to focus on her recovery, just over a year after she was shot at an event in Tucson.