TPM News

And then there was Newt.

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry knocked former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney from his frontrunner status, it was no shock. But when Perry fell from grace to the single digits, replacing him with businessman Herman Cain seemed odd, as Cain had been a candidate since early spring. But it was a clear signal that a non-Romney contingent had been fortified, and was turning their eye toward another candidate.

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Congress is entering the 21st century in a small but meaningful -- let's call it handheld sized way -- with two new iPad apps designed specifically for the legislative body, released this week.

MarkUp is a new iPad app designed by the advocacy-aggregator startup company POPVOX, which bills the $9.99 product as "the first app designed specifically for Congressional staff & Members."

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As Herman Cain's sexual harassment scandal dominated campaign coverage, Mitt Romney was asked point blank at a CNBC debate whether he'd "hire" Cain as America's CEO based on his own experience in the business world.

Romney declined to answer. "The people in this room and across the country can make their own assessment," he told the moderator.

In this particular case, however, Romney's business experience really was instructive. As an executive at Bain Capital he faced a similar situation in the private sector with a businessman whose successful career had been derailed by a sex scandal.

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Super Committee Democrats and Republicans and the leaders of both parties will work through the weekend to avoid missing their fast approaching deadline to cut $1.2 trillion from federal deficits over the next decade. Though the 12 members officially have until Wednesday to reach an agreement, the more realistic deadline is Monday evening, by which time they must have word back from CBO about the impact any plan they send to Congress will have on the budget.

Failure is very much an option. And if failure happens, Capitol Hill politics will take a severe turn heading into the 2012 election.

If November 23 comes and goes and there's no deal, Republicans will declare war on both Democrats and each other, and the most powerful interest groups in Washington will maul both parties in an effort to make sure that Super Committee failure doesn't translate into lost profits.

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On Thursday morning , Herman Cain skipped a scheduled interview with the Union Leader after the paper’s editorial board refused a Cain campaign request that the interview not be videotaped and shortened from a planned 60 minutes down to 20. On Friday, the paper responded to the snub.

“We had an hour-long-interview scheduled. They, in effect, canceled that, saying it could only be 20,” said publisher Joseph McQuaid. “It’s kind of funny, I think, that with candidates complaining that the media doesn’t give enough time for depth, that Cain’s camp blows off an in-depth interview.”

The influential paper has yet to editorially endorse a candidate in the campaign ahead of the January 10th primary, and it sounds like that endorsement certainly won’t be going to Cain.

“I don’t think he’s going anywhere from here at this point, anyway,” McQuaid said.

Craig Schoenfeld and Katie Koberg, two of the six Newt Gingrich Iowa staffers who abandoned his campaign in June, are back onboard, according to the Des Moines Register.

The return of Schoenfeld and Koberg comes amidst Gingrich’s dramatic resurgence in recent polling. Before fleeing the campaign, Schoenfeld was the Iowa executive director of Newt2012, and Koberg was deputy director.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been running a new ad campaign aimed at combatting what it calls its “perception problem.” It features the personal stories of church members who defy the common Mormon stereotypes, such as a Hawaiian longboard surfing champion, a fashion designer and a single father in New York City.

With the candidacies of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, the Church is sensitive to perceptions that it’s trying to affect politics. As a result, the campaign is not running in the early voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina. The Church even pulled the ads from Nevada, which had debated holding its caucuses on January 14th.

However, the ad campaign isn’t being pulled from major swing states. They are being run in Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

Combating the “perception problem” isn’t just a problem for the Church, but for Gov. Romney as well. Polls taken during the last presidential race showed that 40% Americans said they would not not vote for a Mormon. While that number has fallen slightly, it’s still high enough to be a major concern.

Stephen Colbert's "super PAC" Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow last week asked supporters to write the Federal Election Commission in "support" of American Crossroads' request to, essentially, coordinate "non-coordinated" campaign advertisements with politicians.

Colbert was mocking a request for an advisory opinion sent to the FEC on behalf of Karl Rove's American Crossroads which stated: "While these advertisements would be fully coordinated with incumbent Members of Congress facing re-election in 2012, they would presumably not qualify as 'coordinated communications."

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Okay, pizza is not actually a vegetable. Delicious, yes. But vegetable? Nope. The scant serving of tomato paste in school lunch pizza does, however, count as one half-cup serving of vegetables, thanks to the final version of the House-Senate agriculture spending bill.

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The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated the chairwoman of Arizona’s redistricting commission.

Earlier in the month, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ® removed Colleen Coyle Mathis as head of the commission in the middle of its deliberations over new voting maps for the state.

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