TPM News

It's a critical month in the Republican primaries, as Rick Perry reshuffles the race, the Ames Straw Poll results set in, and candidates prepare for a brutal stretch of debates in September. So where will Newt Gingrich soon spend a three-day stretch campaigning?

That would be sunny Hawaii, where he's scheduled for a meeting with the Maui GOP on Saturday followed by a visit to an elementary school in Makawao on Sunday to teach about the founding fathers.

Politico wryly notes that while the trip is ostensibly for fundraising, it just happens to coincide with Newt and Callista Gingrich's wedding anniversary.

Newt isn't shipping out from Iowa or New Hampshire, either -- Politico notes that Gingrich will be in California on Friday to screen one of Newt Inc.'s movies.

On the campaign trail, governor Rick Perry will claim credit for the so-called Texas miracle. His state weathered the housing and jobs crises better than many others, and he'll happily tell voters it was the result of his small government conservative approach to running things.

But his state's relative success has a lot to do with things out of his control -- population growth resulting from an influx of immigrants from Mexico and of workers and retirees from other U.S. states, and high oil company profits, to name just a couple. Oh, and also federal stimulus.

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Daryn J. Moran, who's been claiming that he's AWOL from the military in Germany because he thinks President Barack Obama's birth certificate is fake, might want to check his own paperwork.

The Air Force says Moran (who wrote his opposition to Obama is "not because he's Black") isn't AWOL at all, but rather on approved leave status awaiting discharge, Scott Fontaine reports for Air Force Times.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) reaffirmed his climate change denier status before a crowd in Bedford, N.H., Wednesday and accused the researchers behind climate change science of playing games with the numbers to land more research funding.

"I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized," Perry said. "I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects."

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You might have noticed a sudden influx of Google+ invites in your Facebook News Feed in the past 24 hours. That's because everyone seems to be testing an assertion made by a couple of Google executives Tuesday morning that Facebook is blocking Google+ invites in the feed, (as you'll see in the YouTube video below.)

The brouhaha began Tuesday morning. Bradley Horowitz and Vic Gundotra, two Google executives who work on Google+, posted a YouTube video that showed someone trying to share their Google+ invite in a Facebook status update, but failing to do because the friend's account failed to reflect that update.

"We are getting reports of Google+ invite links not showing up on Facebook news feeds anymore (they appear to have stopped on Friday). I wonder how widespread this problem is?" asked Gundotra in a Monday morning post on his Google+ account.

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On a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Wisconsin Democrats claimed victory with the end of the Wisconsin recalls -- in which they gained two state Senate seats, just short of the three needed to take a majority, and where their own incumbents fended off Republican challenges.

"In the wake of this historic recall season, we really see Democrats with the most momentum and most success on the board. We won an obvious majority in these elections, five of nine contests," said Tate, referring to the two Democratic pickups, and three successful defenses by Dem incumbents.

"And this is an important point, all three recalls against Democrats failed - not a single Democrat was recalled for standing up to Scott Walker and the extreme Republican agenda. On the other hand, two Republicans from red districts were recalled for supporting Scott Walker and his agenda."

One reporter asked Tate if the recall election season could truly be called a success, after many millions of dollars were spent, to remain in the minority. "Well look, obviously we would have loved to swing 1,200 votes in Baraboo and Ripon and had an official Democratic majority," Tate said. "But if the goal was to change the face of the state Senate in Wisconsin, we've done that."

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Perhaps Rick Perry isn't the only late entrant into the Republican field. According to one report, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is considering a last-second bid as well.

According to reporter Jonathan Alter on Twitter, "sources say NJ Gov. Chris Christie is conducting focus groups in preparation for a possible run for president in 2012."

Christie has long denied any interest in a 2012 run. Of course, so did Perry, but the New Jersey governor's denials have been Shermanesque to the point of absurdity.

"Listen, I threatened to commit suicide. I did, I said, 'What can I do short of suicide to convince people I'm not running?'" Christie said in February. "Apparently, I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I'm not running."

But Christie has developed a strong following among grassroots and establishment Republicans alike with his combative style and many conservative commentators have openly pined for him to run. While it's late in the campaign, a lot of top Republican donors have yet to take sides, meaning there's still room to find donors. Or for donors to find Christie: a group of major GOP fundraisers led by Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone met with the governor last month to beg him to change his mind, according to Politico's Mike Allen, only to be rebuffed when the governor gave a firm "no" based on family and state commitments.

Update: CNN quoted an anonymous source close to Christie saying that the governor's thinking doesn't seem to have changed. Still no official denial. Update II: A spokeswoman for Christie, Maria Comella, denied the focus groups report to First Read. "It's absolutely not true," she said.

In a significant de-escalation of partisan brinksmanship on Capitol Hill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is asking his members not to push for further cuts to discretionary spending in the wake of the debt limit agreement.

"While all of us would like to have seen a lower discretionary appropriations ceiling for the upcoming fiscal year, the debt limit agreement did set a level of spending that is a real cut from the current year level," Cantor wrote in a Wednesday memo to House Republicans. "I believe it is in our interest to enact into law full-year appropriations bills at this new lower level."

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