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The Bachmann campaign has released two videos of footage from her 99-county bus tour. The ads show Iowans talking about why they like Michele Bachmann. The second video also features Bachmann’s daughter. “Whenever she speaks, there’s like, there’s passion,” her daughter says at the beginning of the ad. At the end, she reappears: “It’s cool that she’s my mom, of course, and I’m gonna be voting in this election for the first time. So, one more vote mom. You’re welcome.”



House Democrats have named Reps. Levin, Becerra, Van Hollen, Schwartz and Waxman as their conferees to work on a year-long payroll tax cut extension.

At a Capitol Hill press conference, Harry Reid said: “There’s nothing off the table — everything’s on the table. And of course, you know, I’ve talked to Senate Republicans, plural, who think that there should be a fair tax on rich people.”

TINA CASEY Scientists at the University of Illinois are developing a self-healing electronic circuit that could mean a far longer lifespan for next-generation cell phones and other electronic devices, as well as for batteries. Aside from saving money for consumers, the new "autonomous" circuit could help untangle the complex chain of environmental issues that wraps around broken electronic products and spent batteries.

The basic concept of a self-healing circuit is fairly straightforward. The U of I team developed tiny capsules about ten microns (ten millionths of a meter) in diameter that are filled with a liquid metal and inserted alongside the circuit. When the circuit breaks, so do the capsules. The liquid metal seeps into the crack and restores the circuit.

As explained by U of I chemistry professor Jeffrey Moore in a recent press release:

"It simplifies the system. Rather than having to build in redundancies or to build in a sensory diagnostics system, this material is designed to take care of the problem itself."

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With frustration with both Democrats and Republicans rising, USA Today reports that voters across the country are leaving both major parties while registration as independents is rising:



Democrats declined in 25 of the 28 states that register voters by party. Republicans dipped in 21 states, while independents increased in 18 states. The trend is acute in states that are key to next year's presidential race. In the eight swing states that register voters by party, Democrats' registration is down by 800,000 and Republicans' by 350,000. Independents have gained 325,000.

Hary Reid has appointed Sens. Baucus, Cardin, Casey and Reed as conferees to hammer out a year-long payroll tax cut extension.

A left-leaning comedian and a far-right Republican candidate in his late 70s, Ron Paul and Jon Stewart may not be the most natural political alliance. But by all appearances the two have struck up an extremely friendly relationship in recent months, trading kind words in the press throughout the campaign.

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Moments after the Senate passed a revised payroll tax cut extension bill, Harry Reid said, “I hope this Congress has had a very good learning experience.”

Everything Congress has taken up this year has been a “knock down, drag out fight,” Reid added.

Ten days ago, TPM asked the question "If Newt slips in Iowa, what happens next?"

Well, Newt slipped big time in Iowa. So what happens next?

"People have this idea that it's chaos out here," veteran Iowa pollster Ann Selzer told TPM in an interview. "It's normal. This is the way it works."

If the 2012 Republican primary race has been anything it's been hard to make sense of, with flavor of the month candidates popping up and crashing down, challenging a weak frontrunner bent on capturing the GOP establishment at a time when the grassroots seem to run the show. There have been moments when it seemed that no one but former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney could possibly get the nod, and moments when it seemed like anyone but Mitt Romney could get the nomination.

But while that's been a source of confusion on the national level for those used to the days of the Republican coronation process, Selzer said it's par for the course in Iowa. "We're the first state. We have nothing else to guide us and people want to make a good choice," she told TPM.

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