TPM News

Mitt Romney's campaign is up with a new web video about Allentown Metal Works, a Pennsylvania factory that closed up shop after President Obama visited it in 2009 to tout his economic agenda.

Romney has focused like a laser on the country's high unemployment in recent months, making the heavily disputed claim that the White House's policies made the recession even worse. He's scheduled to speak in Allentown today.

Video after the jump:

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Time magazine's Mark Halperin has been suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst for MSNBC, after he called President Obama a "dick" on Morning Joe for his confrontational performance vis-a-vis Congressional Republicans at Wednesday's press conference:

MSNBC issued a statement containing comments from both the channel and from Halperin:

Statement from MSNBC:

Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.

Statement from Mark Halperin:

I completely agree with everything in MSNBC's statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.

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One of America's foremost climate change skeptics, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) says Al Gore (one of the nation's foremost climate change believers) is right in saying that President Obama has backed off when it comes to selling climate change to the electorate.

Inhofe says climate skeptics like him are partially responsible for the change. And he also warns that the shift is only skin-deep.

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An emergency hearing Wednesday determined Jared Lee Loughner will continue to be be given psychotropic medication against his will. Reuters reports that a court filing urged the motion due to behavior that was "either intended or reasonably likely to cause physical harm to another," which included spitting on his attorney and throwing chairs at the prison psychologist.

The alleged Tucson shooter is on trial for killing 6 people and wounding 14 others, including Rep. Gabriel Giffords (D-AZ), who made her first public appearance since the January shooting at a NASA space center in Houston on Monday.

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Quarterly fundraising totals are due today and Mitt Romney is the first to put out some confirmed numbers: $15 to $20 million, according to a campaign source.

The quarterly cash gives him a total of between $25 and $35 million raised overall. While Romney's haul is expected to easily outpace the rest of the field, the numbers fall short of the huge figures some fundraisers had touted to the press in recent months and are roughly in line with his quarterly performance in 2008, when he was less established as a frontrunner. In March, one fundraiser raised the bar as high as $50 million by the early summer filing deadline in an interview with the WSJ. Expectations were further boosted after he raised over $10 million at one Vegas event.

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During a campaign stop in South Carolina, Michele Bachmann said that her dedication to the pro-life cause, as well as her experience of serving as a foster parent for a total of 23 children, were rooted in a miscarriage she had years ago.

"After our second was born, we became pregnant with a third baby," Bachmann told an audience of 400, CNN reports. "It was an unexpected baby, but of course we were delighted to have this child. The child was coming along and we ended up losing our child. And it was devastating to both of us, as you can imagine if any of you have lost a child."

"At that moment, we didn't think of ourselves as overly career-minded or overly materialistic but when we lost that child, it changed us, and it changed us forever," she further added. "We made a commitment that no matter how many children were brought into our life, we would receive them because we are committed to life."

In a blistering Thursday morning speech at the Economic Policy Institute -- a progressive think tank -- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked a question that's been on the minds of many Democrats and progressives: Are Republicans sabotaging the economic recovery as part of their quest to defeat President Obama next year?

"[W]e need to start asking ourselves an uncomfortable questions -- are Republicans slowing down the recovery on purpose for political gain in 2012?" Schumer said. "Senator McConnell made it clear last October that his number one priority, above everything else, is to defeat President Obama. And now it is becoming clear that insisting on a slash-and-burn approach may be part of this plan -- it has a double-benefit for Republicans: it is ideologically tidy and it undermines the economic recovery, which they think only helps them in 2012."

Schumer -- the third ranking Democrat in the Senate and the party's top political strategist -- has been inching in this direction ever since Republicans trotted out new-found opposition to a payroll tax cut for business owners. But the Thursday speech constituted an escalation of his strategy. And, in a new twist, he pre-emptively saddled Republicans with blame for economic fallout of a debt default if Congress fails to raise the debt limit in a timely fashion.

"If the public comes to believe that Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the economy, it will backfire politically," Schumer said. "If there are any negative repercussions on the economy resulting from the delay in raising the debt ceiling, Republicans rightly fear that Americans will hold them responsible."

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Sen. Ron Johnson's $10 million post-election windfall from his former company not only raises eyebrows among election lawyers, but the lump-sum payout also could raise serious red flags for the IRS, according to legal experts and accountants.

The Wisconsin Republican, a Tea Party favorite who defeated Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) last year, received a $10 million payment in deferred compensation from his former plastics company, Pacur, weeks after his $9 million self-financed 2010 campaign for Senate came to an end.

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