TPM News

Ohio Democrats, who are favored to win a referendum this Tuesday to repeal Gov. John Kasich's law eliminating collective bargaining for public employees, have rolled out another petition drive in an ongoing fight: Congressional redistricting.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Dems announced that petitions will be circulated during the campaigning on election day next week, targeting the redistricting map signed in September for Ohio's new 16-member delegation, which would produce 12 solid Republican seats to 4 solid Democratic seats. (The current line-up, after the 2010 Republican wave, is 13 Republicans to 5 Democrats, out of 18 seats.)

But this threat of a referendum does have an escape clause. Dems could call off a referendum -- if Republicans negotiate a new map. And thus far, the Columbus Dispatch reports that Republicans are poised to try holding a vote on a new map on Thursday, though they are still without an actual deal with the Dems.

So why would Republicans want to play ball here?

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Two weeks ago, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) neatly demonstrated the power of retail politics -- and at the same time brought to light a legal conflict that has made the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell a bumpy affair.

Shaheen had intervened on behalf of a constituent named Charlie Morgan -- an openly gay Chief Warrant Officer in the New Hampshire National Guard -- who had just returned from a deployment in Kuwait, only to be forbidden by the military from bringing her spouse Karen to an event aimed at helping families deal with the transition back to life at home.

It's unthinkable that a straight, married service member would have faced this kind of obstacle. But though Don't Ask, Don't Tell had been stricken from the books, and Morgan was allowed to serve openly, the Defense of Marriage Act still allowed the New Hampshire National Guard to deny her spouse authorization to attend the so-called Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.

Shaheen took Morgan's case straight to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the policy was quickly reversed -- the Morgans were allowed to attend Yellow Ribbon event earlier this month.

But the problem isn't limited to reintegration events or the New Hampshire National Guard. It's happening nationwide -- the ripples of an inherent tension between the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the continued existence of the Defense of Marriage Act. So advocates, politicians, and service members are handing megaphones to service members and their spouses who have suffered as a result of the conflict, to see the Defense of Marriage Act overturned by the courts or repealed by Congress.

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The Washington Times floated a bizarre theory on Wednesday night, citing only a source “who is friends with the Cain campaign.” This highly reliable individual told the paper that former WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel forced a NRA employee based out of the Chicago office to leak the Cain sexual harassment story to the Perry campaign.

The Perry campaign is strongly denying the bizarre charges. Curt Anderson, the Perry advisor who the Cain campaign is accusing of leaking the story says that he’d “never heard any of these allegations until I read them in Politico.”

Reuters reports that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has not resigned. The BBC earlier reported that the prime minister would resign shortly.

President Obama today at the G20 meeting in Cannes, France, said the United States will remain a partner to Europe to resolve the widespread debt crisis, CNN reports.

“The most important task for us is to resolve the financial crisis here in Europe,” Obama said.

Another round of clashes between protesters and police in Oakland last night. There were massive demonstrations in the city after protesters called for a general strike, the AP reports. The protests closed down the city’s port and police reportedly used tear gas and “flash bang” grenades on the crowd.

The AP reports:

The Labor Department says weekly applications dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 397,000, the lowest level in five weeks. It’s only the third time since April that applications have fallen below 400,000.

RNC Chair Reince Priebus today said the sexual harassment allegations surrounding Herman Cain won’t hurt the GOP’s changes in 2012, the Associated Press reports:

He says the Cain controversy is a fleeting thing and that “this issue and other issues are going to come and go.” Asked about the Cain-Perry matter, Priebus says, “We’re not the Sherlock Holmes of the presidential primary field.”

The BBC reports that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is expected to offer his resignation shortly. The prime minister has come under fire for calling for a referendum on an EU bailout package. France and Germany have warned that Greece will not receive “one more cent” unless it abides by the rescue package.