TPM News

Twitter on Thursday afternoon launched a major redesign of its website called #LetsFly, which promises to make the popular microblogging website “faster and simpler.”

The company said that the new features would be available immediately on mobile devices (iPhone and Android apps and mobile sites) and Tweetdeck, and would be rolled out for all desktop users over the coming weeks. Check out the new features in depth here. #LetsFly.

Virginia Tech’s news bureau reports that one police officer has been shot. A second potential victim has been reported. Students and people on campus are still urged to stay indoors.

Former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren has jumped to a healthy lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race, according to the new University of Massachusetts-Lowell/Boston Herald poll.

The numbers: Warren 49%, Brown 42%. In the previous survey from late September, Brown had a narrow lead of 41%-38%. The new survey was conducted from December 1-6, and has a ±5.3% margin of error.

Brown was elected to the Senate in a special election in January 2010, following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, in a stunning upset against Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley. However, a major challenge for him going into 2012 is that he is a Republican senator in a deep-blue state, which is expected to vote Democratic by a wide margin in the presidential race.

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CNN reports that the gunshots reported on Virginia Tech’s campus were reported at the basketball arena’s parking lot.

Here’s the alert from the university’s website:

Suspect described as white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack. On foot towards McComas. Call 911.

Following reports that gunshots have been fired on campus at Virginia Tech, CNN reports the university is on lockdown.

MSNBC and others are reporting that Virginia Tech has sent out an alert about a report of gun shots being fired on campus. The suspect reportedly is a white male wearing gray sweatpants, a gray hat, a maroon sweatshirt and a backpack.


This morning at 8:46am Eastern the Romney camp released an email attacking Newt Gingrich in advance of a phone call briefing featuring Romney's surrogates, former NH Gov. John Sununu and Sen. Jim Talent. This is the text of that email. Obviously it's campaign opposition material, but we put it forward in order to let the readers see what reporters are being given.


"Conservatives want our next president to be an ally in the fight to reform government and cut spending. Speaker Gingrich's attack on Paul Ryan's plan as 'right-wing social engineering' - and then denying his own attack before doubling down on it - is the kind of Washington politics that Americans are tired of. Lifelong Washington insiders can't fix the mess they helped create." -Gail Gitcho, Romney Communications Director

In May, Speaker Gingrich Attacked Congressman Paul Ryan's Plan As "Right-Wing Social Engineering"

Gingrich: "I Don't Think Right-Wing Social Engineering Is Any More Desirable Than Left-Wing Social Engineering." QUESTION: "Do you think that Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors ... some premium support and - so that they can go out and buy private insurance?" GINGRICH: "I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 5/15/11)

Specifically Asked About Paul Ryan's Plan, Gingrich Compared It To Obamacare And Said "I Would Be Against A Conservative Imposing Radical Change." QUESTION: "But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare." GINGRICH: "I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the ... I'm against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 5/15/11)

After Denying He Had Attacked The Ryan Plan, Gingrich Then Embraced His Prior Attack: "What I Said Was True"

In A Mid-November Interview, Gingrich Unequivocally Said He Had Not Attacked Paul Ryan's Plan. QUESTION: "You said of Paul Ryan's plan that it was too radical." GINGRICH: "No. What I was asked was, 'Should we impose on the country something the country thinks is deeply unpopular?' And it didn't even reference Ryan." QUESTION: "You weren't talking about the Ryan plan?" GINGRICH: "No. I was..." QUESTION: "And the questioner wasn't talking about the Ryan plan?" GINGRICH: "Well, the questioner initially asked me about the Ryan plan, and I said overall there's a lot I like, and there are pieces I don't like. Which Paul knows full well. But I was talking about a fundamental principle of governing." (Union Leader Editorial Board Meeting With Newt Gingrich, C-SPAN, 11/21/11)

Days Later, Gingrich Affirmed His Critique Of The Ryan Plan: "What I Said Was True." QUESTION: "When you said about Paul Ryan and criticized his Medicare plan and right wing social engineering..." GINGRICH: "Look, it was a technical mistake, but what I said was true. I was asked the question should Republicans impose a plan if it is deeply unpopular. And I said something that was written about, right wing social engineering is as dangerous at left wing social engineering. I had a lot of my conservative friends mad at me, but in fact, Hayek wrote it because he was right." (Fox News' "Hannity," 11/30/11)

If Gingrich Didn't Attack The Plan, Then Why Did He Call Congressman Ryan To Apologize?

Days After His Initial Attack, Gingrich Phoned Ryan And Apologized For His Remarks. "Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich apologized in a telephone call to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday afternoon for his remarks on 'Meet the Press,' where the presidential candidate referred to Ryan's Medicare proposal as 'radical change.' 'Newt apologized,' said Rick Tyler, his press secretary and longtime aide. 'The call went very well.'" (Mike Allen, "Newt Gingrich Apologizes To Paul Ryan," Politico, 5/17/11)

Conservatives - Including Congressman Ryan Himself - Denounced Gingrich's Attack

Congressman Ryan: "With Allies Like That, Who Needs The Left?" "Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) took a swipe Monday at Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich after the former House Speaker criticized his proposed Medicare reforms. 'With allies like that, who needs the left?' Ryan told guest host Raymond Arroyo on conservative talker Laura Ingraham's radio show." (Michael O'Brien, "GOP Rep. Ryan Swipes At Gingrich: 'With Allies Like That, Who Needs The Left?'" The Hill, 5/16/11)

Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) Said She Was "Terribly Disappointed" In Gingrich's Attacks On Ryan. "Haley, whose promise to endorse a presidential candidate has made her a key power broker in the Republican primary fight, joined in the chorus Tuesday and said she is 'terribly disappointed' in Gingrich. 'What he said was absolutely unfortunate,' Haley told CNN in a phone interview. 'Here you've got Representative Ryan trying to bring common sense to this world of insanity, and Newt absolutely cut him off at the knees.' 'When you have a conservative fighting for real change, the last thing we need is a presidential candidate cutting him off at the knees,' she added." (Peter Hamby, "Gov. Nikki Haley Hammers Gingrich Over Medicare Remarks," CNN, 5/17/11)

Columnist Charles Krauthammer Said Gingrich's Words Would Be Used By Democrats Against All Republican Candidates. "Krauthammer's criticism of Gingrich echoed that of many other conservatives who said that Gingrich's words will be used against fellow Republicans in future congressional campaigns. 'I mean, I think every one of these Republican candidates running for the House is going to have a Democratic opponent who's going to run an ad you can write today. It's going to start, even conservative Newt Gingrich, the former leader of the Republicans in the House, says "It's radical, it's social engineering.'"" (Jeff Poor, "Krauthammer On Gingrich's Presidential Aspirations: 'Now It's Over'," The Daily Caller, 5/16/11)


Oops! Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wasn't sheepish Wednesday when his official Twitter account re-tweeted a message critical of his political opponents.

The tweet, translated, read:

It has become clear that if a person writes the expression 'party of swindlers and thieves' in their blog then they are a stupid sheep getting f****d in the mouth :)

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Now that Mitt Romney’s gone on the offensive against Gingrich, releasing his surrogates John Sununu and Jim Tester in a conference call today, how can we expect Newt to react? With studied mildness, apparently.

In a series of tweets, CBS News' Sarah Huisenga, who is travelling with the former House Speaker, gave a preview of what came from her one-on-one interview with Newt. You can read them here. The general gist, however, was that he refused to stoop to the same level, and is attempting to maintain his efforts to float loftily and positively above the GOP fray.

“The number of times Gingrich used the word "positive” in his one-on-one interview w/ me this morning…8. #Messaging" – reads one tweet.

“Newt says he’ll remain positive if Romney attacks: ‘(it’s) his prerogative–everybody should run the campaign that they’re comfortable with.’” – reads another.