TPM News

Worried about the debt ceiling fight coming down to the wire and freaking out the world's financial markets? Don't be, says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The investors he talks to could apparently care less about the country failing to pay its short-term debts, for a little while at least.

"That's what I'm hearing from most people," Ryan told CNBC this morning. "What is more important is that you're putting the government in a materially better position to be able to pay their bonds later on."

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It was almost inevitable that Glenn Beck would bring up the Holocaust when talking about his planned rally in Israel this summer, and it seems that Tuesday was the day.

"This August," Beck said on his Fox News show, "this journey to Israel for me is personal. It's not about celebrity or teaching anybody a lesson or sending a message to any earthly power. It is about sending a message to our maker and letting him hear our message, as individuals. That this time, I will stand and I will be counted. I will not cower as people have in the past. I will not stand by and watch a whole race of people be called vermin."

"Because I've read history," he continued. "I know how it ended last time and I know how it started. First they came for the Jews, and I said nothing. Let me declare to the entire world, and ask who's with me. This time I will stand. This time I will say something. This time I will be a force for good."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the national Tea Party movement star who is considering a run for president, is now saying that she could potentially move her decision up from its current June target.

In an interview on Fox News, host Martha MacCallum asked Bachmann how the recent announcements by Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump, who have declared that they won't be running, has changed Bachmann's own decision-making process.

"Well I think what this has changed is the grassroots, and what they're looking for," said Bachmann. "Our phones have been ringing off the hook, our Facebook has been lit up, our donations are pouring in. And people are saying, 'Michele, jump in, we want you to run.' And we had announced earlier that we would be looking at a June entry date for a decision one way or another about this race. Possibly, we may move that up."

MacCallum asked Bachmann when she now expected to make her announcement.

"Well, that's a good question. We're talking to a number of people, and you know, things are in the works. So we will let you know."

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If you're running for President on a legalization platform and can't secure country singer and proud pothead Willie Nelson's endorsement, you probably should just go home. Fortunately for Republican candidate Gary Johnson, Nelson announced his support on Tuesday.

Nelson met with Johnson after a performance in his native Texas before committing the Teapot Party, a group he founded to advocate for ending restrictions on marijuana, to backing the former New Mexico governor's campaign.

"I am truly gratified to have the endorsement of such an iconic entertainer, philanthropist, innovator and champion for individual rights as Willie Nelson," Johnson said in a press release by the group "Not only is he a superstar talent, he is a bold advocate for social change. Americans are demanding the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams without interference from a heavy-handed government, and Willie Nelson lends a tremendous voice to those demands."

According to the release, Johnson is the first presidential candidate to ever receive the group's backing. Nelson personally backed Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in the 2004 and 2008 Democratic primaries.

Not since David Lee Roth left Van Halen has a defection augured so poorly for team success. On Tuesday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told reporters he was stepping away from the Gang of Six negotiations -- a bipartisan working group of senators putting together a plan to reduce the deficit and debt -- over their inability to agree on entitlement spending cuts.

After a bit of confusion over Coburn's status in these talks, his spokesman John Hart confirmed the departure in a statement, "He has decided to take a break from the talks."

A source with knowledge of the negotiations says Coburn ultimately broke ranks after members of the group rejected his proposal to introduce a global cap on Medicare spending that would have cut $150 billion from current beneficiaries.

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This has been a hard week for the GOP's presidential prospects. First Newt Gingrich laid into the House Republican budget plan with the force of a DailyKos diarist. Now another big name (likely) presidential candidate is refusing to admit that man-made climate change might be a hoax.

"If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we'd listen to them," former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman told Time in a new interview. "I respect science and the professionals behind the science so I tend to think it's better left to the science community - though we can debate what that means for the energy and transportation sectors."

The reaction to that little nugget was about as you'd expect.

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Newt Gingrich isn't the only victim of his political implosion this week. His biting remarks on the Republicans' Medicare plan come right as Democrats sharpen their attacks on the Republican budget -- and party officials are only too happy to bank his remarks for later.

"We're getting a gold mine of things we can use," Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the chair of the DSCC in a difficult election cycle, told TPM when asked about Gingrich.

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Ever thought that a visual representation of Glenn Beck's rhetoric would be the perfect thing to really tie your room together? Well, if you had an extra $10,000 lying around last weekend, you could have made that wish come true.

That's because Beck auctioned off six paintings over the weekend, several of which he painted solo or with the help of an artist, and one that was given to him as a gift. The paintings sold for up to $10,300 each, with the proceeds going to an as yet undisclosed charity.

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Offering up a new excuse for calling Paul Ryan's Medicare plan "right wing social engineering," Newt Gingrich blamed his comments on harsh questioning from Meet The Press host David Gregory.

In a conference call Tuesday with conservative bloggers, Gingrich said that he was unprepared for a series of "gotcha" questions on individual mandates and the Ryan budget, both of which had been major stories for days before the interview.

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