TPM News

Newly minted Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is now urging his supporters in Iowa to caucus for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) on Tuesday.

Johnson’s full statement:

“Wednesday, December 28, I announced that I am seeking the Libertarian nomination for president. Accordingly, I urge my supporters in Iowa to vote for Dr. Ron Paul in the upcoming Iowa Presidential Caucuses.

“While Ron Paul and I are both libertarians, we don’t necessarily agree on every single issue. However, on the over-riding issues of restoring our economy by cutting out-of-control spending and the need to get back to Constitutional principles in our government, Ron Paul and I are in lock-step. Indeed, I proudly endorsed Ron Paul for President in 2008.

“The cause of individual liberty and freedom is bigger and more important than any candidate or campaign. I am hopeful that in urging my supporters in Iowa to vote for Ron Paul in the upcoming Caucuses, a victory for the principles we share can be won.”

IOWA -- R.T. Rybak, the mayor of Minneapolis and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, says Mitt Romney needs to personally and publicly rebuke the birther joke his son Matt made Friday in New Hampshire.

"Mitt Romney has never had the guts to stand up when one of his surrogates has said something wrong, even his own son," Rybak told TPM on Friday evening. "He doesn't have the guts to stand up when someone says something that outrageously wrong."

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SIOUX CENTER, IOWA -- Ron Paul stood before a crowded public library conference room here and warned the packed house that the United Nations is coming to take their land and that America is this close to riots in the streets against a government that is becoming more and more like a dictatorship.

Though he was well-received, these two classic Paulisms fell somewhat flat.

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Friday saw the release of polling data that seems to show that likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers may (finally) be coming to the realization that has been clear for a long time: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is probably the best GOP option to take on President Obama, and therefore the best option on Tuesday. But it didn't come easy.

As the candidates blanket the state and the media is in full Iowa mode, some are still moving up in the polling data being released daily. The latest is former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who moved to second in a new survey from Illinois pollster We Ask America, a huge jump from the single digits that Santorum had been relegated to in Iowa for the entire campaign season. To be sure, the former Pennsylvania Senator has been making a move lately, scoring in the mid teens in public polls over the last week.

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After coming out in support of voter ID laws and donating to Republicans, former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis is continuing his march to the other side of the aisle, telling the Washington Post he could run for office as an independent or even a GOP candidate.

"I've heard some people at the national level encouraging me to run as an independent for my old office," Davis told WaPo's Aaron Blake. "While there have been Democrats who have switched down there, the Republican Party has refused to accept them. Do I agree with the agenda items in the Alabama Republican Party? Some I agree with, and some I don't."

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In an interview with the Huffington Post, Mitt Romney sought to correct a misconception -- that his long tenure as co-founder of financial firm Bain Capital makes him a "Wall Street guy." As Romney explains it, this is not true.

"I don't believe any of the funding came from Wall Street, meaning from investment banks or the like," said Romney.

(He did say later in the interview, though, that Bain would likely not make such records public: "I don't know that the Bain people would disclose their investors.")

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Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has, to his credit, been largely consistent on the deluge of negative ads in Iowa against former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Those ads, many from super PACs supporting his candidacy, are all fair game says Romney.

But in an interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Friday, Romney tried to have his cake and eat it too, claiming the multi-million dollar ad assault hadn't been responsible for Newt's fall. The polls suggest that's not the case.

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IOWA -- Sarah Palin has not made an official endorsement in the 2012 presidential race, but the surging Rick Santorum is telling Iowans he's her kind of candidate.

Iowa talk radio is a cacophony of political radio ads in the days before the Jan. 3 caucuses, and in the course of a two hour drive down the highway Friday, I caught spots from Ron Paul talking up his nickname "Dr. No", a spot where Newt Gingrich repeats a promise over and over that "the jobs will grow" if he's elected, and the infamous Mitt Romney spot touting his endorsement from Ann Coulter.

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As the National Rifle Association sets its sights on keeping President Barack Obama from a second term in the White House, a new report finds that the group's fundraising grew twice as fast as its income from membership dues from 2004 to 2010. Bloomberg News reported that the group received $71.1 million in donations last year, up 54 percent from the $46.3 million figure they raised in 2004.

If previous numbers are any indication, election years are pretty crucial for the NRA. Their revenue minus expenses went from $29,923,548 in 2008 -- when the man they called "Gun Ban Obama" was running for president -- to $1,183,523 in 2009, when he actually took office (their total revenue decreased by just over $10 million).

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Remember how the Obama administration planned to alert Congress of its intent to raise the debt limit by today? Well, that's getting kicked back a few days.

An aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says the White House has assured Republicans they will not issue the debt limit request this week, heading off a confrontation between the administration and the GOP over Congress' power under the debt limit law to block the increased borrowing authority.

Under the terms of the August debt limit agreement, the administration was given the right to raise the debt limit by $2.1 trillion in three tranches, nearly unilaterally. The catch was that Republicans reserved the right for the House and Senate, within a narrow time frame, to block the increase. This caveat was largely symbolic. Democrats control the Senate and wouldn't undermine President Obama by triggering another debt limit crisis -- and even if they did, Obama would reserve the right to veto the so-called "resolution of disapproval." But it's a ready-made talking point for the GOP.

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