TPM News

National Democrats are playing hardball in the Wisconsin recall elections in the run up to the first election since Republicans eliminated some state worker collective bargaining rights at the urging of Gov. Scott Walker (R).

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the arm of the national party charged with boosting Democratic numbers in state houses, is going up with a TV ad defending one of their own in a Wisconsin recall contest. The spot takes no prisoners when it comes to the Republican candidate's long court record, a tone that's likely music to the ears of Walker's opponents in the Badger State.

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Minnesota lawmakers took the holiday weekend to cool off from the heated budget negotiations that led to the state's government shutdown last week.

But the time apart hasn't eased the deadlock. Lawmakers are grappling over how to close a $5 billion projected budget deficit. Republicans -- who control the state's legislature -- want to balance the budget with spending cuts, while Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is looking to combine spending cuts with a tax increase on Minnesota's millionaires.

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The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board rejected the National Organization for Marriage's bid to keep corporate donors anonymous in the state's gay marriage fight, which it argued was to protect the donors from "harassment, property damage, a chilling effect."

And regardless of that decision, lobbying records examined by the Minnesota Independent show some of the biggest individual donors behind the effort for a ballot initiative that would ban gay marriage. Among them, the owner of a DVD company who is a big contributor to Republicans, the meat mogul Rodney Huisken, and staffers for the Minnesota Family Council.

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President Obama will hold his first ever Twitter town hall Wednesday at 2 p.m., but there is little if any chance the tweeting of this presidency will result in the same sort of online mishaps that make the new social medium such a tempting but dangerous place for many pols.

The White House and Twitter, which is co-hosting the Tweet-up, is taking measures to ensure there's no chance Obama will fall prey to some of the Twitter mishaps that have ensnared the likes of Sarah Palin (who memorably and quite unintentionally coined the new word "refudiate" in one tweet) and former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) who showed just how easily Twitter can get you into trouble by a simple slip of the mouse or misdirected twitpic.

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Michele Bachmann's extended family of 23 former foster children have become the unexpected stars of the Republican primary even though few details are known about them individually. The Minnesota Congresswoman brings them up frequently in debates, speeches and interviews as a showcase for her commitment to family values.

But Bachmann's personal devotion to disadvantaged youth may be at odds with her public record on foster care. Critics warn that her zeal for budget cuts threatens vulnerable youngsters, while a leading Congressman on the issue says she's been AWOL on foster care policy.

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Herman Cain will be a guest on The Colbert Report on Thursday, July 28, Cain's campaign tells TPM.

That puts Cain in one of the most scorching hotseats on television just days after he said Colbert's lead-in, Jon Stewart, "does not like me...because I'm black and conservative."

They may be two different shows, but by appearing on Colbert, Cain is headed to Stewart's home turf in the midst of a rhetorical fight between Stewart and Fox News that's partially about Cain.

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President Barack Obama is refusing to accept a piecemeal approach to raising the nation's borrowing limit while kicking the can down the road on reducing the spiraling deficit.

"I've heard reports that maybe some in Congress want to do just enough to make sure America doesn't default in the short term," he said, rejecting the proposition.

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