TPM News

Jon Stewart on Wednesday night slammed the media's horse-race approach to political coverage.

Sunday, fresh off her Iowa straw poll win, belonged to Michele Bachman. Her strong showing in Ames "vaulted" her to the front of the GOP pack, Stewart said. But that was Sunday.

Then, "after careful reflection," the media decided to dedicate Monday and Tuesday to Texas governor and newly minted presidential candidate Rick Perry, whose "stunning entrance" vaulted him to the front of the race.

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Chinese press minders twice broke into altercations Thursday with American reporters covering Vice-President Joe Biden's visit to China.

The trouble began when the press were allowed to watch the start of a meeting between Biden and the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. According to the LA Times, an agreement had been reached that the two Vice Presidents would deliver brief opening remarks, and then the press would leave so the meeting could go on in private.

Biden's remarks, however, seemed to go on a little long for the taste of the Chinese organizers. According to the Financial Times, as he launched into some anodyne remarks on the economy, Chinese officials began to whisper, "Why is he talking for so long?"

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In an appearance Wednesday night on Fox News, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said that the Democratic Party has kept African-Americans on a "21st-century plantation," with liberal black politicians being like the "overseers" who would rule over the slaves -- and likened himself to Harriet Tubman, the most famous member of the Underground Railroad movement, who helped over 70 slaves escape to freedom and inspired many others by her example.

West discussed President Obama's current bus tour, with guest host Laura Ingraham.

"Well I think, Laura, when you look at what is happening, the laughable hypocrisy is that the big black bus is not going into the black community," said West. "When you had unemployment in the black community, 16.3 percent in July, and it dropped down to 15.9 percent for the month of August, that's not in the right direction. [Note: 15.9% unemployment for a demographic group certainly is bad -- but isn't even a slight drop a move in the right direction?]

"So, you have this 21st-century plantation that has been out there, where the Democrat Party has forever taken the black vote for granted. And you have established certain black leaders, who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation. And now the people on that plantation are upset, because they have been disregarded, disrespected, and their concerns are not cared about.

"So I'm here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility."

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All six Republicans on the new deficit Super Committee have all kissed anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist's ring. So now he's training his sights on the six committee Democrats -- not always politely. Here's the New York Times.

All six Republicans on the committee have signed the pledge not to raise taxes dictated by Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform. Now, Mr. Norquist said, he will focus on keeping the Democrats in line. "The Republicans are serious budget reformers; the lady from Washington," Mr. Norquist said of Mrs. Murray, "doesn't do budgets."

"The lady from Washington," is the only female member of Senate leadership in either party, and the second highest-ranking member, male or female, of the Senate Budget Committee.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) is on a media blitz this week as part of his mission to sink Governor Rick Perry's candidacy, lending a Texan face to national Democrats' efforts.

"He's arrogant, he's full of himself, he just fits the stereotype that is sometimes misapplied to our state," Doggett told TPM in an interview. "We all are really proud to be Texans, but we're not proud of what he's done to our state."

Doggett urged voters to look at Perry's recent cuts to K-12 education as a model for how he would govern. After insisting that the legislature not dip into the state's rainy day fund or raise taxes to help make up a shortfall this year, the governor forced deep cuts to social services instead , including $4 billion in education funding.

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President Obama came into office with high levels of support and approval on a key component of the 2008 election: his ability to handle the economy. Two and half years later, jobs and the economy are still identified as the top concerns for Americans, and that's a problem for Obama.

Given the sluggish growth in this area since he was sworn in, the key to Obama's 2008 victory is starting to become a liability. In a new Gallup poll, Obama registered just 26 percent approval on his handling of the economy, his lowest ever rating and down from a high of 59 percent in February of 2009.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has taken his executive authority a step too far, according to a state supreme court ruling this week.

When Scott took office in January, one of his first initiatives was issuing an executive order temporarily barring state agencies from creating new rules or regulations. It further created the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform within the governor's office to review any rules that stifle job creation or "impose burdensome costs on businesses."

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Missouri Lt. Gov Peter Kinder (R) has spoken out about the allegations that he long frequented a strip club and sort-of stalked a stripper who worked there, admitting that he used to go to the strip club in question but maintaining that it was years ago. "I came to realize that this is not consistent with my upbringing. I'm a Christian," he said.

Kinder also denied many of the allegations against him. "A single man is vulnerable to any fantastic charge,'' he told the St. Louis Beacon.

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