TPM News

Supporters of Michele Bachmann are launching an independent Super PAC to help elect her president, making her the third Republican candidate with the backing of an organization that can accept unlimited donations.

Founder Bob Harris told CNN on Thursday that the new organization Keep Conservatives United will run ads in Iowa playing up Bachmann's record in Congress while also lobbing attacks at Rick Perry, who is expected to enter the race soon.

"Bachmann has the guts to fight the Washington establishment and Rick Perry is just a spoiler," Harris told CNN. "I think his record is not what people think it is."

Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate with the candidates, but can accept unlimited donations, including from corporations. Mitt Romney supporters have raised over $12 million so far for the Super PAC Restore Our Future, which made headlines this month after one donor, former Bain Capital executive Ed Conard, contributed $1 million indirectly through a mysterious corporation that closed within months. Perry backers have already launched multiple competing Super PACs that are currently battling for his supporters' favor.

The roster's now complete. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has named her picks to the deficit Super Committee, and they're a familiar bunch: Reps Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Each of the three has served at her behest on different fiscal working groups in the recent past. All are loyal members, current or former, of her leadership team, all with fairly liberal voting records.

But here are a few caveats...

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Mitt Romney told an Iowa crowd on Thursday that the country should not raise taxes to shore up Medicare and Social Security because "corporations are people" too.

Responding to a question from an audience member as to why Social Security should be included in deficit talks when it doesn't add to the deficit, Romney drifted into a defense of corporate rights.

"Corporations are people, my friend," he said. "Of course they are."

After receiving jeers from the audience over the quote, he elaborated: "Everything corporations earn goes to people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? People's pockets. Human beings, my friend."

Romney went on to suggest raising the retirement age rather than increasing taxes on business in order to fix entitlement programs' shortfalls.

A video of the key quote below:

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In a new column published on Wednesday at Human Events, Newt Gingrich calls for the United States to respond strongly to the expected move by the Palestinians to seek statehood at the United Nations in September -- by threatening to cut off American funding to the U.N.

Gingrich writes:

The United States has the leverage to prevent this diplomatic disaster if the Obama Administration wants to use it: we are by far the largest donor to the U.N., financing roughly a quarter of its entire budget.

We should be willing to say that if the U.N. is going to circumvent negotiations and declare the territory of one of its own members an independent state, we aren't going to pay for it. We can keep our $7.6 billion a year.

We don't need to fund a corrupt institution to beat up on our allies.

Gingrich explains that back in 1989, the administration of President George H.W. Bush used the same approach with the U.N. to prevent the extension of statehood to the Palestinians.

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The U.S. Defense Advance Research Projects Agency on Thursday launched the second of its hypersonic flight tests, and promptly lost contact with it. The test is part of a long-term project to create a craft that can travel across the globe in an hour.

The unmanned craft, called the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2,) launched at around eight in the morning West Coast time from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The plan was to launch the vehicle on an Air Force Minotaur IV rocket and to guide it to the edge of space, before the plane separates and travels at the speed of 13,000 miles per hour (about 20 times the speed of sound) on its way back to Earth, where it'll fall into the ocean.

DARPA said in a statement that the goal of this mission is to fine-tune technical challenges in aerodynamics, aerothermal effects, navigation and control. Engineers adjusted the vehicle's center of gravity, changed some of the dynamics of the flight, and included a system to better control the flight flaps to try and maintain better stability during flight.

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New data from the latest national CNN poll out on Thursday shows that the distance between President Obama and his possible GOP opponents is tightening among the declared (Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney) and nearly declared (Tex. Gov. Rick Perry) GOP frontrunners. But it also showed that there was one Republican candidate in the poll who outpaced Obama in a matchup, 51 - 45. That candidate was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Just one problem...he's probably not running.

Other candidates did have a decent showing against Obama: the President was ahead of Romney only by a point, 48 - 47, and Perry was able to pull within five points, at 51 - 46, despite not even announcing or having a formal campaign yet. Even Bachmann, beginning to sag in the polls due to the entrance of Perry, was able to get close to the President at 51 - 45.

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Fake Apple stores have been sprouting up like mushrooms in China. Chinese authorities have set up a complaint hotline and are stepping up enforcement efforts against the phenomenon after Apple complains.

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