TPM News

What happened to Newt Gingrich? Back in early December -- with Gingrich surging in the polls -- he made a bold statement: "It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee."

"It's getting easier," Jon Stewart said Thursday. And then Gingrich came in fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire. "Say hello to the president of "Fourthlandia!" Stewart said.

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Rick Santorum published an op-ed this morning in The State newspaper in Columbia, SC.  His main argument pivots off the sense of decline and class warfare that he and fellow GOP contenders have been trying to push in recent days.

We need a renewed focus on creating opportunity, not dividing Americans by class; on creating wealth, not distributing it; and on promoting savings rather than dependency.

Santorum then returns to the basic themes of his campaign: cutting spending, reducing taxes, supporting states and local communities, and reforming medicare and social security.

Someone had to say it.

There's been a torrent of criticism from tech writers, and even one major company, over the past week following Google's introduction on Tuesday of "Search Plus Your World," a radical new attempt by the search giant to promote Google Plus, its nascent social network, by displaying Google Plus content at the top of the every search results page for Google Plus account holders, among other stark changes.

Problematically for Google Plus users who don't want to see the new results, they are default now "opt-out," rather than "opt-in." To turn them off, you have to press a small globe button in the upper right hand corner of the Google Search page to restore the search results to "global" rather than "personalized" results.

Obviously, not everyone uses Google Plus (in fact fewer people do so than still use MySpace) and yet Google seemed to think that this feature would be acceptable to its 1 billion plus users. But it wasn't. Not by a long shot.

Twitter, for one, surprised many by coming out vociferously against the new features. Alex Macgillivray, Twitter's general counsel (lawyer) and formerly deputy general counsel for Google, on Monday tweeted: "Bad day for the Internet...Having been there, I can imagine the dissension @Google to search being warped this way."

Twitter later fired off another official press release to tech reporters, saying:

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As noted by Steve Benen, Mitt Romney’s rhetoric on his job creation record at Bain Capital has diluted from the now debunked “100,000” claim, to “tens of thousands” of jobs, to today’s web ad which cites merely “thousands” of created jobs.

We decided to do a video mash-up of the claims. Watch:

House Republicans will vote Wednesday on a resolution to disapprove of the latest debt limit increase requested by President Obama, Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) office tells TPM. The measure was filed Friday.

The motion is largely symbolic and won’t impact the nation’s ability to continue borrowing to meet its obligations.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, sends over a lukewarm response to President Obama’s proposal to consolidate Commerce Department agencies. “Given the President’s record of growing government, we’re interested to learn whether this proposal represents actual relief for American businesses or just the appearance of it,“ Buck said. "American small businesses are more concerned about this administration’s policies than from which building in Washington they originate. We hope the President isn’t simply proposing new packaging for the same burdensome approach. However, eliminating duplicative programs and making the federal government more simple, streamlined, and business-friendly is always an idea worth exploring. We look forward to hearing more about his proposal.”

Democrats are besting Republicans in a generic Congressional ballot released by Democracy Corps, the non-profit organization founded by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg.

In the nationwide survey of likely voters, the first release of the new year by Democracy Corps, Democrats edge Republicans 47 percent to 44 percent in the Congressional ballot.

According to Democracy Corps, the survey marks the first time since the 2010 midterm elections that Democrats top Republicans in a Congressional matchup in their polling.

TPM’s average shows a razor-thin margin separating Congressional Democrats and Republicans; however, as evidenced by the chart below, Democrats have been making small but steady inroads since the fall.

In a restoration of diplomatic ties, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said the U.S. is ready to start the process of exchanging ambassadors with Myanmar, Reuters reports. Myanmar on Friday released hundreds of political prisoners, marking what Clinton called a “momentous day.”