TPM News

So who has the (very early) lead in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries? A big set of polls from key states released this week by Public Policy Polling (D) -- conducted as part of their surveys of various states in the days leading up the recent midterm election -- shows Mitt Romney with narrow leads in most states, followed closely by Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee.

Romney leads in New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Connecticut and Florida. Meanwhile, Palin leads in Maine, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Mike Huckabee posts narrow leads in Illinois and Pennsylvania

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Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is offering a new compromise take on the Bush tax cuts. In a nutshell, the moderate Senator says Congress should hew to the President's plan to end tax cuts for the top 2% of earners -- but instead of using the new revenue to pay down the deficit as President Obama has suggested, Warner says it should be used to pay for new tax cuts aimed at boosting the economic activity of businesses.

Here's Warner's plan, as he laid it out in a Financial Times op-ed today:

Instead the administration should consider an alternative compromise. Extend the tax cuts just for 98 per cent, allowing the cuts for top wage earners to expire as scheduled. But instead of removing $65bn from the economy, we should work with the business community to enact $65bn in new, targeted business tax cuts and incentives to spur private-sector investment.

Warner says his proposal checks all the boxes. But with leaders on both sides of the "no compromise" line digging in, does it have much of a chance?

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Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) is setting the stage for an official challenge to Nancy Peolsi's bid to lead the Democratic minority in the next Congress. Shuler, a moderate from the North Carolina mountains, will make his intentions official on the national stage this weekend, The Hill reports.

Shuler pitched himself as a moderate alternative to Pelosi as leader of the House caucus before she officially announced her run for Minority Leader in the next Congress.

Now, with most observers thinking Pelosi has the position locked up, Shuler appears ready to make good on his promise to take her on.

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Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who just won re-election, is set to take the leadership of the Republican Governors Association, the campaign group tasked with helping to elect GOP governors across the country, Politico reports:

Perry recently released a book taking aim at the federal government and both the subject of the tome, "Fed Up!," and his promotion of it have increased speculation that he's eyeing a presidential bid.

But his appointment to helm the RGA heading into 2011 - when three states will hold governors' races - amounts to the first concrete evidence that the Texan is serious when he says he has no interest in pursuing the White House. It would be nearly impossible to raise money for the committee and help direct the gubernatorial contests in Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky while simultaneously running for president.

There is possibly an even more important question here. By taking part in a truly national organization to strengthen the Republican Party across the whole country, does this mean Perry has truly given up on secession?

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is standing with Speaker Nancy Peolosi and other progressives urging Democrats not to compromise and extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest earners in the upcoming lame duck session.

"It is absolutely insane that in these tough economic times some people want to continue George W. Bush's tax giveaways to millionaires," Trumka said in a statement. "Speaker Pelosi is exactly right that there should not be a so-called compromise on this issue."

Trumka's declaration sets up the battle lines on the tax cut fight. On the side of extending all the cuts for everyone no matter what are House Republican leaders like Eric Cantor and the party's allies in the tea party and business communities. On the side of eliminating the cuts on the wealthiest Americans no matter what are Pelosi and the progressive movement's traditional allies in labor and the netroots activist community.

In the middle, it seems, is President Obama, who is continuing to suggest compromise is possible even as both sides dig in.

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The legal filings are already flying around in the impending Minnesota gubernatorial recount, with Republican nominee Tom Emmer and the state GOP filing lawsuits against two counties, St. Louis and Pine, for not satisfying their data requests immediately.

Now just to be clear, this is not the lawsuit you might be thinking of for a Minnesota recount -- known as an election contest, which would come after the recount itself, and potentially delay the swearing-in of the new governor.

Rather, these are complaints that the counties involved have not delivered important election-related data to Team Emmer, such as voting-machine data, poll rosters, the names of poll workers, incident reports, ballot security information, information on absentee ballots, any communications with the campaign of Democratic nominee Mark Dayton, etc., in a timely manner.

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Maryland's Attorney General filed a complaint in federal court this week alleging that the company and two individuals behind election day robocalls that told mostly Democratic voters to "relax" and not bother voting violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The court filing by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler also revealed that the phone calls, which began two hours before polls closed, went out to more than 100,000 Maryland residents, more than double the number originally reported.

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Two Justice Department prosecutors involved in the botched investigation of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens have asked a federal appeals court to review a judge's ruling which upheld a civil contempt finding against them.

A motion was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday on behalf of federal prosecutors William Welch II and Brenda Morris, reported Mike Scarcella of the Legal Times.

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